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Our students come from all over the world. We work hard to make sure they have the best experience possible while pursuing their PhDs, whether they are on campus with us in London or a non-residential student as far away as India. We asked our former PhD students to reflect on their time in the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible.


Eric Clouston, PhD 2017

'I was delighted to receive my PhD certificate within five years of starting part-time research, despite being at a great distance—I live in Asia, teaching theology to part-time degree students in small, local groups.

'Through SMU, I had a supervisor expert in the New Testament, who met me on my occasional trips to the UK and who, the rest of the time, was able to guide me very efficiently through email and Skype.

'Online access to journals helped a lot. I did miss out on college life, and was a bit jet-lagged at the viva. But throughout, even though I was in Asia for two years at a time, both supervision and admin. all worked smoothly. Exactly what I needed, to be able to fit research into a rather complicated way of life!'


Helen Morris (UK), PhD 2016

'My doctoral experience at St Mary’s was excellent. I received a huge amount of support from my supervisors and the additional benefit of high quality academic conferences that I was able to attend and contribute to.

'The staff members that I met were welcoming and supportive of my studies and, whenever I visited the Campus, there was always the hope that I might get to see Mo Farah running around the track named after him!

'I’m now teaching Theology at Moorlands College in Christchurch, Dorset, and I’m grateful for the way that St Mary’s has formed and prepared me for this work.'


David Smith (USA), PhD 2017

'My experience doing a PhD at St. Mary’s pushed me in a number of ways. Above all, with a lot of work, it strengthened my writing abilities. St. Mary’s is a very tight knit community, so you quickly grow familiar with the faculty and other research students.

'Ultimately, the greatest testimony I can give is that if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t hesitate to do a PhD at St Mary's.'


Eric Clouston (India and UK), PhD 2017

'I was delighted to receive my PhD certificate within five years of starting part-time research, despite being at a great distance—I live in Asia, teaching theology to part-time degree students in small, local groups.

'Through SMU, I had a supervisor expert in the New Testament, who met me on my occasional trips to the UK and who, the rest of the time, was able to guide me very efficiently through email and Skype.

'Online access to journals helped a lot. I did miss out on college life, and was a bit jet-lagged at the viva. But throughout, even though I was in India for two years at a time, both supervision and admin. all worked smoothly. Exactly what I needed, to be able to fit research into a rather complicated way of life!'


Reuben Brendenhof (Canada and Australia), PhD 2017

'I was privileged to study at St Mary's for four years as a part-time PhD student based overseas (first living in Canada, then Australia). My research was benefited immensely by the guidance and encouragement of my two supervisors, one of whom was at St Mary's, the other at Loyola University, Chicago.

'Along the way the support staff at St Mary's was also most helpful with any administrative matters that needed attention.

'I visited the beautiful Twickenham campus a few times over the course of my studies, most notably for my viva, and then for my graduation in March 2017.

'Presently I am the pastor of a Reformed church near Perth, Western Australia.'