The annual Fellows Programme is a weekly term-time study programme for up to 10 PhD students with seminars, discussion of guided reading, and supported practical exercises.
The 2022-23 programme is now underway, but if you are interested in joining next year, please sign up to the Forming a Christian Mind mailing list to be informed about registering for next year’s taster sessions.
We invite you to consider applying to join our 2021-2022 scholarship group – the Fellows Programme – which we host for around 6-10 PhD students.
Fellows gather for 90 minutes every week in term-time (from December to mid-June) to engage with set readings and seminar material on serving God in the academy as Christians.
We discuss significant texts and ideas from the Christian intellectual tradition which encourage the re-integration of the Christian faith with scholarship, teaching, research and the intellectual life. The curriculum consists of three parts:
- Theological and philosophical foundations
- Contributing to our fields from a Christian perspective
- Drawing on our academic expertise for winsome and persuasive apologetic outreach
Some of our past seminar leaders include:
- Dr Chris Watkin, who lectures in French Studies at Monash University, Australia, where he also teaches in the Literary Studies and Religion and Theology programmes; publications include: Thinking Through Creation: Genesis 1 and 2 as Tools of Cultural Critique.
- Prof Julian Rivers, Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Bristol.
- Dr Brad Green, Professor of Theological Studies, Union University, Jackson TN, Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, and chair of the Scripture and the University Seminar within Kirby Laing Centre’s Scripture Collective; publications include Colin Gunton and the Failure of Augustine and The Gospel and the Mind: Recovering and Shaping the Intellectual Life.
- Rev Dr Craig Bartholomew, Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, Cambridge; author of both academic and popular volumes, such as The Doctrine of Creation: A Constructive Kuyperian Approach and Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview.
- Dr Anna Nickerson, the Katherine Jex-Blake Research Fellow in English and College Lecturer, Girton College, University of Cambridge.
- Tim Benton, former actor and theatre director, now executive communications coach at GSB Comms.
- Dr Dan Strange, College Director and Lecturer in Culture, Religion and Public Theology, Oak Hill College; publications include For Their Rock is Not as Our Rock.
- Prof Richard Buggs, Senior Research Leader, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London and
- Dr David McIlroy, Visiting Professor in Banking Law at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Notre Dame (USA) in England.
- Dr David Glass, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Mathematics at Ulster University.
- Andrew Fellows, Apologist in Residence at Christian Heritage Cambridge, and former Chairman of the L’Abri International.
- Rev Dr Kirsten Birkett, Latimer Trust Research Fellow, Theological Consultant to Church Society, and former Tutor in Ethics and Philosophy.
- Dr Tim Ward, Lecturer in Hermeneutics and Word ministry, Oak Hill College.
- Dr Peter Williams, Principal of Tyndale House and University of Cambridge Divinity Faculty member; publications include Can We Trust the Gospels?
The Fellows Programme offers:
- The opportunity to be a part of an interdisciplinary reading and discussion group, learning in community, with seminars led by experienced mentors
- A book grant to support you in the integration of your Christian faith and your research
- Support in preparing an essay and a draft public talk (see below)
Fellows are expected:
- Commit to attend the full programme, including two “away days” in Cambridge (14 January and 17 June 2022)
- To write an essay that illustrates the contribution of a Christian perspective to a live question in your academic field
- To prepare a 15-minute practice apologetic talk for a public audience in which your specialism contributes to an attractive and persuasive commendation of Christianity
Taster session dates, application process and contact details
We will be hosting three ‘taster’ sessions open to all-comers in December 2022. These taster sessions will provide an introduction to the curriculum, and you are strongly encouraged to attend these sessions if you would like to apply to the Fellows Programme. Please sign up via the form linked below.
|6th Dec||The Trinity and absolute personality theism||Chris Watkin|
|13th Dec||The Creator-creature distinction||Chris Watkin|
|20th Dec||Augustine and the intellectual impact of the Fall||Brad Green|
These tasters will include an opportunity to hear from a Fellow from last year’s programme.
If you would like to apply to the Fellows Programme, you are strongly encouraged to attend these taster sessions, which cover the first three topics of the main curriculum. The closing date for scholarship applications will be Wednesday 23 December 2022.
Successful applicants will gather together to commence the formal Fellowship on Saturday 14 January 2022 for an “away day”, with weekly meetings starting from Tuesday 17 January 2022.
To sign up for the taster sessions, please fill in the form linked below.
As I approached my first year as a PhD student at University of Cambridge, I had no idea how much of a highlight the Fellows Programme – then completely unknown to me – would be as I now reflect on my first year. The generosity of the bursary allowed a “cash-strapped” PhD student to further pursue the many fruitful trails begun during the sessions in a more permanent and enduring way. The programme’s excellent lecturers and fellow partcipants helped me dig deeper in ascertaining the Gospel’s implications for my field.
I’m very glad I was able to participate in the Fellows Programme this year. I’d been praying and thinking about what it looks like to be a Christian academic as it seemed that’s the direction the Lord was taking me. The fact that it was online and I was able to join from elsewhere in the country was fantastic. The readings and seminars with excellent speakers have opened up a world of possibilities for how to engage in academic life as a Christian and a range of thinkers and writers that I want to explore further. In addition, [the community has] been a source of encouragement as we shared with and critiqued each other’s work. It’s good to know that there are many others committed to serving Christ in a university setting.
The Fellows Programme enhanced my perspective on faith-influenced work in science and medicine. It provided fellowship with scholars from disparate fields and discussions on readings from the most influential theological writers. Many concepts learned from this programme will certainly be applied to my dissertation research and profession as a whole.
I would thoroughly recommend the Fellows Programme to any aspiring Christian thinker. The discipline of setting aside time to think about the practice and duties of Christian scholarship is hugely valuable. And it is a privilege to read and debate some of the great pieces of Christian scholarship in such congenial company!
The Fellows Programme gave me time, space, and opportunity to seriously think through how my faith and my scholarship interact with each other. In my scientific field, these discussions often go badly and are conducted poorly. But the programme has helped equip me to continue these discussions in a sensible way which takes account of the entire biblical story.
The Fellows Programme has been one of the most useful learning experiences I’ve had to date in my PhD. Helping to assimilate my faith and my discipline together and more broadly approach the intersection of academia and Christianity with like minded individuals has been a real highlight of my year.
The programme was a wonderful opportunity to get to know other Christian PhD students and hear a diverse range of inspiring speakers. I enjoyed being introduced to new texts, and found it really helpful to write my paper and deliver my talk, getting feedback from the other fellows. The programme has greatly enriched my learning and spiritual growth over the last year, and I am very thankful for it.
Part 1 – Thinking through our Theological Foundations
Part 2 – From Christ to our work: Christian scholarship
Part 3 – From our work to Christ: apologetics and evangelism
The Forming a Christian Mind Fellows Programme is delivered in partnership with the UCCF and IFES Europe’s Postgraduate Initiative and is hosted by the Cambridge Christian Study Centre.