PhD Programme in Theological Studies

The PhD Programme in Theological Studies offers the opportunity to specialize in philosophical as well as theological subjects, especially in respect of interdisciplinary networking with non-theological sciences.

The goal of the PhD Programme in Theological Studies is to prepare students for further academic work. Furthermore, in some cases, the PhD degree is a prerequisite for relevant professional activities in leading positions.

The courses of the PhD Programme in Theological Studies offer a scientific education at an international level and enable students to conduct independent research in the field of their dissertation according to international standards. 

The Catholic Faculty consists of 7 institutes subdivided into 15 departments, hosts the interdisciplinary research center "Religion and Transformation" and is an active part of a broad network of different sciences and scientific activities at the University of Vienna. Hence, it offers excellent conditions for a PhD programme that meets the high standards of the international scientific community.

The PhD degree is not equivalent to a canonical doctorate recognized by the Catholic Church. Therefore, it does not entitle the holder to teach at ecclesiastically recognized theological faculties or universities.


Type of study: PhD- study

Duration: 6 semesters 

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Code: UA 794 145 011

Language: German, English, other foreign languages by arrangement

Admission procedure: yes

Prerequisite: Completion of a professionally relevant master's/magister's or diploma degree or an equivalent course of study at a recognized domestic or foreign university or university of applied sciences. To compensate for significant differences in terms of content, skills or learning outcomes of the degree programme, supplementary examinations can be prescribed, which must be taken by the end of the 2nd semester of the degree programme.

Further information (in German)

Long version of the curriculum

 Admission procedure

Before you can be admitted to the PhD Programme in Theological Studies, you must undergo an admission procedure assisted by the Doctoral Advisory Board. The suitability of applicants is assessed according to their adequate specialist knowledge in terms of the intended dissertation field as well as high motivation and potential for the academic work.

Hence, students should clarify the following points before submitting their application:

  • Which theological discipline is proper for the dissertation project?
  • Who is eligible for supervision? This is important as the teachers of the individual departments are assigned to the individual institutes.
  • Which topic do you want to work on? Please discuss your intended topic with a teacher you may choose as your supervisor*, because you obligatorily need a confirmation of supervision for the admission application.

You submit the application for admission to the Center for Doctoral Studies. There you will also find information about deadlines and documents you have to provide.

 Study architecture and study contents

  • Minimum duration of studies: 3 years
  • Performances to be achieved have an extent of 20 ECTS points
  • Public presentation of the dissertation project within the first year of admission
  • Writing of a dissertation agreement
  • Regular progress reports once a year
  • Writing a dissertation
  • Final public examination after completion of all examinations of the curriculum and a positive assessment of the dissertation

 Detailed information can be found here.