The Fellows Programme is an annual study programme for PhD students who want to go deeper in forming a Christian mind through guided readings and seminars.
The programme will be starting in December with three taster sessions. Read on to find out more, and sign up to our mailing list to be notified about them.
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.
A typical programme is listed below:
Fellows gather for 90 minutes every week in term-time (from late November to mid-June) to engage with set readings and seminar material on serving God in the academy as Christians. Fellows who are based in Cambridge meet in the Round Church, with those based elsewhere joining on Zoom.
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 is intended to help equip Fellows both to engage in their academic work in a way that is shaped by the gospel and also to pursue their study toward its ultimate end of worship, including by deploying it within a cultural apologetic and pointing persuasively to Christ.
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
- 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 autumn 2022. These taster sessions (dates TBC) 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 check back again for more details.
|30th Nov||The Trinity and absolute personality theism||Chris Watkin|
|7th Dec||The Creator-creature distinction||Chris Watkin|
|14th 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 22 December 2021.
Successful applicants will gather together to commence the formal Fellowship on Saturday 15 January 2022 for an “away day” (or Zoom equivalent half-day), with weekly meetings starting from Tuesday 18 January 2022.
To register for the taster sessions and receive the pre-reading, please fill in this form.
We will be hosting three ‘taster’ sessions open to all-comers in autumn 2022. These taster sessions (dates TBC) 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. If you would like to be notified when the taster session dates are announced, please sign up to our mailing list.
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|
|Creation – The Creator-creature distinction|
|Fall – Augustine and the intellectual impact of the fall|
|Away Day – Scripture and Hermeneutics|
|Part 2 – From Christ to our work: Christian scholarship|
|Contributing to our faculties: the vocation of Christian scholarship|
|Contributing to our faculties – natural sciences: science and religion|
|Contributing to our faculties – social sciences: moral order and human flourishing|
|Discussion of Fellows’ essays|
|Part 3 – From our work to Christ: a persuasive cultural apologetic|
|Ultimate ends: seeing Christ as the (subversive) fulfilment of our faculty’s culture|
|Case study: drawing on your discipline to introduce and commend the gospel|
|Effective oral communication for public engagement|