What is the Research Programme for PhD?

The OCMS Research Degree Programme equips Christian thought leaders and mission practitioners in sound and relevant research.

From its inception in 1983, OCMS has been committed to cutting edge mission scholarship by global mission and ministry leaders with an emphasis in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. With flexible residency requirements and part-time study framework, the OCMS Programme is designed to allow those engaged in mission and ministry to remain embedded in their ministries while pursuing their research degree. The OCMS Programme is able to offer accredited Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Previously we have had links with the British Open University, Leeds University, and the University of Wales. Our current agreement with Middlesex University will run to 2033 for those scholars already in the programme. OCMS is in the process of identifying a new validating university with whom to partner from September 2024.

OCMS graduates can be found worldwide, as leaders, scholars, and practitioners. OCMS alumni are having a significant impact on the people and institutions they serve.

Is the OCMS Research Programme a good fit for you and your research interest?

  • Are you currently engaged in mission and ministry that would benefit from sound scholarship and informed transformative practice?
  • Are there key challenges, questions, or issues that you and your ministry are addressing that would benefit from extended research and deep analysis that lead to transformative engagement?
  • Will a PhD enhance your effectiveness and impact in mission and strengthen the ministry of the Church and mission movements globally?
  • Do you want to develop your own research and research skills to enable others?
  • Do you want to conduct research in order to teach, train, and model sound leadership in ministry and mission?

What can an OCMS PhD offer?

  • Equipping in ministry and mission with an attention to sound research and transformative analysis
  • Recognition as a leader and scholar in mission and ministry
  • Connection through OCMS to a worldwide network of research scholars, leaders, and practitioners that can inform and transform your mission and ministry
  • A recognised research degree from a British university

Programme outline

OCMS stage (6–18months)

The first part of the research journey is delivered through the “OCMS Programme of Research Induction” or (OPRI). This introduction consists of three parts. An online, supported module on Mission Research. A residential component that provides access to the Oxford libraries and helps students to develop a research portfolio including a mature research proposal. Finally, a range of online teaching sessions to refine the proposal in the light of research methodologies, methods, and practical skills training. This stage is supported by a personal mentor from the OCMS faculty.

MPhil stage (12–24 months)

Students progress to this stage after their registration with the accrediting University. They are assigned a supervisory team to support their studies. Students in the MPhil stage progress to identifying and generating primary sources, refining their methodology and understanding of the relevant secondary literature. The MPhil Stage concludes with a transfer panel which assesses their written portfolio that promises original contribution to knowledge or practice/knowledge. Once approved, students are transferred to the PhD stage.

PhD stage (2–5 years)

Students continue to work with guidance from a supervisory team at producing a written thesis of up to 40,000 words for MPhil and 80,000 words for PhD examination. The degree is awarded after passing the Oral examination conducted by an Examining Board approved by the accrediting University.

Study support

Usually a student has 2 supervisors to guide their studies. OCMS selects the most suitable supervisors for a student’s area of research, many of whom are leading academics and acknowledged authorities in their field. Supervisors can be located anywhere, but a supervisor more local to the student’s own workplace may be found to ensure that the student is not left without guidance while studying back home.
In addition, a student is assigned a House Tutor from within the OCMS faculty who provides personal and pastoral support throughout your studies.

Added value in doing a PhD with OCMS

  • OCMS specialised library, and a further 101 libraries in Oxford including the Bodleian Library
  • Online resources for registered students of the accrediting University
  • Professional academic guidance and mentoring for thinking and research
  • A global community of scholars and mission practitioners
  • World class supervisors from all over the world
  • Weekly student seminars and public lectures to support learning.
  • Weekly chapel services
  • OCMS spiritual community


  • Upper second-class honours degree or/and a Master’s qualification in the relevant field (preferably with a research component or a dissertation)
  • Proof of funding of full academic fees
  • Proficiency in English language
  • A short academic essay about your proposed research interest or question
  • Ministry/Pastoral/Professional experience

Indicative Costs and Fees

Annual Fee (part time) Annual Fee (full- time)
OCMS Stage £6,900
University (MPhil/PhD Stages) £6,900* £11,145*

* Plus an estimated £1150 initial accrediting University Registration fee followed by an Annual Fee of £280.00
For up-to-date costs, please use the ‘contact us’ form.
Scholarships are available in case of need.

About our Partnership with Middlesex University

The institutional partnership with Middlesex University brings a wealth of learning opportunities to OCMS students. MPhil/PhD degrees are awarded by Middlesex University, but are jointly developed, delivered and assessed by Middlesex and OCMS. The academic management of the research degrees programme operates in compliance with the Middlesex University’s Regulatory Learning and Quality Enhancement Handbook (LQE Handbook) and quality assured by Middlesex University.
As an MU/OCMS student, You will have access to an extensive catalogue of resources, including 350,000 books & e-books, and over 24,000 online journals. In addition, borrowing and visiting rights at the MU library, access to research seminars and lectures, sports facilities and MU social events are also available to university registered students.

Our Student Policies and programme regulations are here


  • If it is right for you, fill out the enquiry form.
  • Submit it here

Examples of research topics

  • Human Agency and Capability: A bottom-up perspective from North Central Nigeria,
    Nigeria,  Fanen Ade, 2017
  • Appropriation, Translation and Transformation of Institutionalised Development Discourses: The Case of Faith-based Organisations Doing Development Work in the Philippines, Philippines,
    Edwardneil Benavidez, 2020
  • The Person of Christ in the Seventh-day Adventism: Doctrine-Building and E. J. Wagonner’s Potential in Developing Christological Dialogue with Eastern Christianity, Romania/USA,
    Nicu Butoiu, 2018
  • Unbreakable Bones: Christian Mission and the Resilience of Temi Culture, Switzerland,
    Klaus-Peter Derungs, 2017
  • The Church of Antioch and the Eucharistic Traditions (ca. 35-130 CE), Romania,
    Amiel Drimbe, 2018
  • Learning Journey Abroad: A Critical Analysis of the Impact of Short-Term Mission by Korean Christians on Intercultural Sensitivity, Korea,
    Joo Yun Eum, 2020
  • Mining God’s Way: Towards mineral resource justice with artisanal gold miners in East Africa, Ireland,
    Terence William Garde, 2020
  • Everyday Practices and Shariʿah Interpretations: The Dynamics of Shariʿah Interpretations in the Life of Muslims in Belgium, Belgium/Egypt,
    Ishak Ghatas, 2019  


An introduction to the PhD programme at the Oxford Centre for Mission studies