81-year-old receives PhD from the University

A retired minister in the Church of Scotland has become the oldest student to qualify for a doctorate at the University.

Eighty-one-year-old Rev. Norma Stewart, from Glasgow, studied for her PhD in Theology & Religious Studies at the University’s School of European Culture and Languages at its Canterbury campus.

After beginning her doctorate, Rev Stewart faced major health problems beginning with a hip replacement and then cancer of the blood. She praised the University of Kent for its support and described her supervising professor as ‘absolutely wonderful’.

As a result of the support of a continuation year offered by the University of Kent to complete her PhD, Rev Stewart was able to submit her PhD early.

Rev Stewart’s supervisor, Professor Yvonne Sherwood, congratulated her and said her success signalled the University’s support for life-long learning for students of all ages.

Her thesis, entitled A critical study of the ‘settlement narratives’ in Judges 1-5 using insights from Postcolonial Studies, to consider the relevance of these texts for the peoples of Israel/Palestine today, is about the biblical conquest narratives in the politics of contemporary Israel/Palestine.