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July 10, 2009


Joseph M. Smith

The Bath reference caught my attention. My wife was born in Bath when her father, Eric Rust, was pastor of Hay Hill Baptist Church. We have visited Hay Hill in recent years. My mother-in-law used to refer to it as "the fifth-ranked church" ... size? age? prestige? Never knew ... but Manvers Street was likely first!


Work for the funding - get the PhD done, full time and before settlement if at all possible. In some senses that is a more old-fashioned route, but it is vital that some people take it. The immersion in research for 3 years has benefits that 6 years of part time can never give you. Talk to BUGB scholarships and see what they can do for you.

Glad to know you are OK. Book reviews will be with you some time in August


Three years part-time. Only way to do a PhD... More seriously, Sean is right to suggest that you will gain things from full-time study that you can never get from pt work; I can still identify the gaps in my education that could/should/perhaps would have been filled if I had the space and leisure to work full time on the doctorate. (Woeful German being the chief one.)

That said, pt work gives you something as well. I hear people sometimes talk as if it's impossible to write anything unless you have one, or preferably more, completely clear weeks; I've done all my research in odd days and hours (for a variety of reasons, I've never even yet had a sabbatical), and the ability to do this makes you a much more productive scholar (& is your only hope of continuing any scholarship in pastorate...)

Do you need to do the DPhil in Oxford? We could (& I would...) take you on for a doctorate starting September, as could many other places I suspect. BUGB ought to be able to work out a scholarship in that time.


Doing a doctorate part-time is definitely possible, as long as you're able to use odd days and hours, as Steve indicates.

And Steve - I find it very difficult to believe that you have any gaps in your education!

Neil Brighton

My own experience is that trying to do a PhD in pastorate is very tough but not impossible.

If it were possible to sort out the funding I would go for the full time PhD option.

andy goodliff

Thanks everyone for your comments ... i'll throw them into the melting pot of my thoughts ...


Some interesting and helpful comments here. I suspect it depends a lot on where you see your future - if in the academy then I think Sean's route is almost undoubtedly right; if in a local church and with research as a means of staying sane (?) or providing interest then p/t may be a realistic option - but it's flippin' hard work especially if you're in a small church, so be warned!

A word to the wise - choose your establishment and style of doctorate carefully so that you get what you want from it.

Whatever route you choose beware supervisors who flee to the antipodes to escape from you!! (apologies to Revd Prof Escapee)

Craig Gardiner

Hi Andy we've already had a long chat about this at Manchester and all the advice here is very good but in the end it comes down to vocation, what is God calling you to do, where and when. So the bad news is despite all the great advice from the Christian Community it comes down to your discerning what God is saying to you (both). The good news is that that same community will be around to support you whatever is decided.

If it is a PhD route then one last piece of advice, give yourself to a topic/ quiestion about which you are passioante, find a supervisor who is equally passionate but who will give you the space to write what you need to write and become who you need to become at the end of it all.

I hope Bath is going well.

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