Mary Pope PhD Scholarship in Spiritual Care and Ageing

Applications closed on 20 March 2020.

Baptcare and Whitley College have served the Baptist community of Victoria for a combined total of just over 200 years. Their shared legacy of ministry committed to the training of leaders and pastoral care of women and men, throughout that period, leads to this bold, new, and collaborative research initiative.

Evidence-based aged-care including high quality pastoral and spiritual care implemented throughout Baptcare’s network of facilities and services, and has been identified as a strategic focus for Whitley College’s Research Programme. This Scholarship will support a Whitley College student studying towards a PhD at the University of Divinity that makes a demonstrable contribution to the strategic research objectives of Baptcare and Whitley College in the area of spiritual care and ageing.

The Scholarship of up to $30,000 per annum, will be awarded at a level determined according to individual student circumstances.


  1. The candidate must be successfully admitted to commence a PhD in the fields of aged-care and ageing at the University of Divinity, with the intention of beginning the programme of study in second semester 2020 or first semester 2021.
  2. The candidate must be willing to collaborate with a team of researchers, industry practitioners and stakeholders.
  3. The candidate must have capacity to make a contribution to the future of Australian theological scholarship and education in this area.
  4. The candidate must have the capacity to collaborate with others in developing industry-standard resource that makes an impact upon, and engages with, the strategic objectives of aged-care stakeholders.
  5. Students who have already commenced a PhD at the University of Divinity and meet the other criteria are eligible to apply.


  1. Request a Mary Pope Scholarship application form and return, along with a completed HDR enquiry form, to the Director of Research at Whitley College, Associate Professor Darrell Jackson. You should also include with your application a statement of up to 650 words on your capacity to contribute to the future of Australian theological scholarship and, secondly, your capacity to collaborate with others in developing industry-standard resources that will potentially impact the provision of aged-care.
  2. Both forms are available on request by emailing the Whitley College Director of Research djackson@whitley.edu.au or the Academic Registrar, dmorgan@whitley.edu.au
  3. Applications will be considered by a Selection Panel representing the interests of Baptcare and Whitley College. The successful applicant will be invited by the Selection Panel to complete an HDR application form for PhD entry (download from https://divinity.edu.au/sgr/future-research-students/) return this to the Whitley College Director of Research for signature and forwarding to the School of Graduate Research of the University, for consideration by the Research Committee of the University.
  4. Applicants for the Mary Pope PhD Scholarship must be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of both Whitley College and Baptcare, that the proposed research topic and/or research question has academic merit and has demonstrated potential for real and direct benefit to the development and advancement of spiritual care and ageing, in its various dimensions, and/or improving the provision of aged-care at an operational level within Baptcare.
  5. Applications close March 20th, 2020, for anticipated enrolment in Semester 2, 2020. A second enrolment to the HDR programme (for enrolment in January 2021) will take place in November 2020, if there are no successful applicants in response to this first round.
  6. The short-listed applicant may be interviewed by members of a Selection Panel. The outcome of the award will be announced by March 27th, 2020, allowing time for University HDR application by the 13th April 2020 with anticipated entry into the PhD programme from mid-2020

The Mary Pope Scholarship Fund

Mary Pope was the President of the Baptist Women’s Association during the 1940s and helped raise over £4,000 to pay for a homestead at Strathalan, which opened as the Strathalan Homes in 1945, with nine residents. This was the Victorian Baptist community’s first aged care facility and it started the journey towards what would eventually become Baptcare.

The Scholarship Fund promotes research-led activity in the fields of spiritual care and ageing. This includes the provision of scholarships for PhD study, publishing activity for peer review, and the development of industry-standard resources.

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