Doctoral program in Eastern Christian Studies

Stockholm School of Theology (University College Stockholm) offers doctoral level training and supervision, equipping doctoral candidates for research within the field of Eastern Christian studies. The program is equivalent to 240 ECTS credits and can be studied full-time or part-time. The program can focus on one of three areas of study: Eastern Christianity in History and the Present; International Relations and Ecumenism; and Religion, Art and Democracy.

Eastern Christian Studies (ECS) investigates different aspects of Eastern Christianity using a variety of historical, theological, literary, sociological, and philosophical methods and theories. Fundamental perspectives are biblical interpretation, patristic literature, liturgical traditions and ecclesiology with a variety of scholarly methods. Important areas of research are the relation to Jewish and Greco-Roman religious, philosophical, rhetorical, social, and cultural heritages in the Early Church, the exploration of the processes associated with the reception of Sacred Scripture, the growing power of the Church in ancient society, the rise of the Christian Empires, the impact of the Islamic world and modern nationalism, current ecumenical issues and the relation of Christianity to the society in a postmodern world.

Thus, among the prominent features of Eastern Christian Studies at Stockholm University College are the Early Church, monastic life and thoughts, the use of the Bible in the liturgy, Arabic Christianity (especially the encounter with Islam), international relations and ecumenism, public and systematic ecclesiology, the function of the liturgy, and the place and function of art in Eastern Christian traditions. We cover a variety of traditions, such as Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Byzantine (both Greek and Slavic) traditions. A common understanding among our scholars is critical enquiry as a mechanism of progression. A variety of methods are used to unravel the past in relation to its historical context and to interpret and understand the present condition of the church as a juxtaposition between history and the socio-cultural position of the church today.

Program objectives

Eastern Christianity in History and the Present takes a historical and critical view of Eastern Christianity from various perspectives: biblical, patristic, liturgical, and ecclesiological.

International Relations and Ecumenism focuses on ecclesial diplomacy, inter-church relations, church organization, external relations and how the church understands itself in the public square.

Religion, Art and Democracy takes a deeper look at various Christian political theologies, secular ideologies, and modern/contemporary philosophies. Students who decide to pursue this path will have a chance to study how Eastern Christianity has contributed to these discourses, and how these discourses have affected the doctrinal and practical life of Eastern Christianity. The field also enables the exploration of art, in its aesthetic, theological and ideological dimensions, in the context of Eastern Christianity.

Doctoral candidates within the field of Eastern Christian studies will be part of larger networks both within the Nordic countries and internationally, which allows for the possibility of short exchanges at other institutions.

Structure of the program

The third cycle program concluding with a doctoral degree consists of an independently written scholarly thesis of 165 credits and a course part of 75 credits.

The part with courses consists of the following:

a) Interdisciplinary Introductory Course with Advanced Philosophy of Science (5 credits).
The course introduces the doctoral student to the program, as well as relevant and contemporary discussions of philosophy of science in relation to the research subject areas.

b) History and Methods of the Research Subject Area (5 credits)
The purpose of the course is to give the doctoral student an informed survey of the broad research subject area constituted by Eastern Christian Studies.

c) Compulsory Courses in the Area of Specialization (30 credits)
The purpose of the courses offered here is to deepen the specialized knowledge of the doctoral student, as well as his/her particular competence in the chosen area of specialization. The compulsory courses are specified in the document ”Compulsory and Elective Courses” relating to Eastern Christian Studies.

d) Elective Courses (35 credits)
The doctoral student may choose several different courses, for instance, a higher education pedagogical course (for teaching), the elective courses on offer, or a course adapted to principal aspects of the thesis. The student may also choose a joint course in common with another institution. The elective courses are specified in the document ”Compulsory and Elective Courses” relating to Eastern Christian Studies.

More information is available in General Syllabus for the Third‐Cycle Programme in Eastern Christian Studies

Fees and funding options

Doctoral students are admitted in two categories: scholarships and doctoral students who are able conduct their research within their working position or have other financial means. Calls for applications and deadlines for this are advertised on the website. The research program embraces four years of studies (240 credits) and may be done either as a full-time program or as a half-time program.

Program director:  Professor Samuel Rubenson
Contact person: Grant White,
How to apply?