Course Development Grants

Our project seeks to encourage research and teaching on science and theology and / or religion. We have found getting students thinking about the relationship between theology and empirical research is a good way to introduce new students to the field, as well as a good way to get advanced students performing at the highest level.

During the St Andrews-based pilot programme, one course we developed turned out to be the largest in our department. Another, aimed for upper-division seminar discussions, was team taught by an expert in science and religion together with a professor in Hebrew Bible; they found it the perfect context for research-led teaching. Since developing any new course will take time away from other research, we have launched this series of Course Development Grants.

What we provide

  • Stipend of up to £2,000
  • Eligibility for a travel bursary (£500) to share findings at next American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting

Your new course

  • Develop a new or significantly rework an existing course to incorporate empirical research in some aspect of theology and / or religion.
  • We welcome proposals for any syllabus that engages theology and / or religion with empirical science.
  • We are especially drawn to the pairings of:
    • (1) Moral Theology & Evolutionary Biology,
    • (2) Spiritual Formation & Developmental Psychology, and
    • (3) Ecclesiology & Cognitive Science
  • (For applicants from universities) Courses could be open to any major or limited to theology and / or religion, and would typically be listed in one or more of your departments including: theology, religion, philosophy, liberal studies, interdisciplinary studies, or similar.

Selection criteria & eligibility

  • Courses (classes) can be for lower-division undergraduates, upper-division undergraduates, or for Master’s degrees.
  • Applications are also welcome from high school or senior schools teaching in the academic areas listed above.
  • We welcome applicants from around the world and from all faiths.
  • Overall fit with project vision – see What is Science-Engaged Theology?
    • Our project is somewhat different than the discipline of ‘Science & Religion’.
  • Clear choice of relevant scientific and theological subdisciplines/topics.
  • Course plan reflects innovative ideas within best pedagogical practice and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • Because bias gets in the way of good science (and theology), we seek a diverse set of topics and participants. Therefore, we are especially eager to facilitate participation by women and courses that study women’s contributions to science and theology.
  • Open to any scholars worldwide with a PhD who are currently teaching in a high school; college; seminary; or university department of theology, divinity, or religious studies.

How to apply

Complete our online Course Development Grant application.

You will be asked to submit:

  • Course description (around 750 words), to include;
    1. details of the subdisciplines you plan to use or use in the course you are redeveloping, both from theology and the relevant science,
    2. why this course is important to the study of science-engaged theology,
    3. the intended audience,
    4. an indicative reading list or a mock syllabus,
    5. a brief explanation on how your course plan takes on board insights from the scholarship of teaching and learning, and instances of an existing course being reworked, briefly indicate which aspects of the original course you changed to meet the guidance noted above.
  • Current CV.
  • Letter of support from your department chair, dean or similar, indicating that the new or significantly reworked course will be considered for future teaching, included as a .PDF referencing your application.  Alternatively, this can be provided to

If you are selected, you will provide:

    1. Course syllabus/handbook, detailing planned assignments you set, readings, etc.
    2. If and when the new course has been taught, student feedback and your own feedback from a teachers’ perspective

Upcoming application rounds

3rd round

  • Deadline: 31 October 2020
  • Decisions announced: 30 November 2020

4th round

  • Deadline: 28 February 2021
  • Decisions announced: 31 March 2021

Additional application rounds will be announced regularly until early 2022.


Recommended resources

The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion, by Sarah Rose Cavanagh

How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching, by Joshua R. Eyler

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck

What the Best College Teachers Do, by Ken Bain

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, by James M. Lang

Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel