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Degree type

MA

Course length

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Location

Durham City

Programme code

V8K407

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Course details

Our broad-based MA in Theology and Religion builds on the Department’s global academic reputation to provide you with an in-depth understanding of theology and religion and their impact on the world’s belief systems in the past, present and future. 

You will benefit from the theological and religious expertise that exists among academic staff and in University-based institutions such as the Centre for Death and Life Studies, the Centre for Catholic Studies, the Michael Ramsey Centre for Anglican Studies and the International Centre for Moral Injury. You will also have access to the magnificent resource that is our theological and religious libraries.

Teaching and research in the Department is focused on three key areas; biblical studies, Christian theology and the study of religion. Reflecting the wide-ranging expertise in the Department, this course requires you to choose your areas of study from an extensive selection of modules, from classic texts in Christian theology to the principles of ethics to the Gospels and Canon.

Learning is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials that require substantial preparatory work and contributions during sessions in order to develop your skills in analysis, presentation and independence of thinking. We also adopt a lecture-style format in some classes which provides a firm basis for further research and study in a particular topic.

You will also benefit from our cross-departmental links with the University’s Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies on this fascinating and challenging course. 

Course structure

All the MA programmes offered by the Faculty of Arts & Humanities consist of three components:

  • a Major Research Project to the value of at least 60 credits

  • Core Modules to the value of 0-90 credits, depending on the programme
  • Elective Modules, making up the total number of credits to 180; some of these modules will be defined as Recommended Electives for particular programmes.

For students studying the MA in Theology and Religion, the Dissertation (your Major Research Project, 60 credits)) consists of a 12,000-15,000-word piece of research that will boost your knowledge and understanding of a theological or religious subject of particular interest to you. It will also hugely enhance your abilities in the areas of research and analysis of texts, ideas and arguments.

No modules are defined as core for this programme, but it is recommended that candidates for the MA in Theology and Religion take at least one of the following elective modules:

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology (30 credits)
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion (30 credits)
  • Catholic Theology: A Preliminary Tour (DL) (30 credits)

In total, you will choose 120 credits of elective modules from across the Faculty of Arts & Humanities (at least one of which should be from the modules listed above), so that your total number of credits adds up to exactly 180.

Learning

The course offers a flexible programme of learning which puts you in control. The dissertation is the only compulsory module, with the remainder of the course made up of a wide range of theology and religion optional modules.

The majority of teaching is delivered in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere through small group seminars and tutorial sessions, designed to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out independent academic research. Classes include a lecture-style delivery which will give you a clear understanding of a particular subject so that you will be able to properly analyse and interpret information.

As well as supporting your own independent research activities with the possibility of continuing to doctorate level, skills in analysis and presentation will help you in your search for professional employment.

Assessment 

Assessment is conducted through coursework, the majority of which are essay based. Some modules include oral examinations and the delivery of presentations as well as written exams.

A significant contribution to the outcome of your study will be a dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words, written on a subject of your own choice and approved by your supervisor.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirement is a BA (Honours) degree (UK 2:1 or equivalent, for example, a GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale)  in Theology, Religious Studies or a related discipline.

The two principal exceptions to this rule are as follows:

  • Graduates of other disciplines who have studied at undergraduate or equivalent level in one or more of the areas in which they hope to work, through their first degrees, through training for the ministry of the churches, and so on
  • Students from overseas universities who have successfully reached a point in their theological studies comparable with completion of a British BA at the standard noted above - for example, on the German model, passing the Zwischenprüfung or Kolloquium and two semesters at the Hauptseminar level.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £12,600 per year
EU students £26,750 per year
Island students £12,600 per year
International students £26,750 per year

Part Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £7,000 per year
EU students £14,800 per year
Island students £7,000 per year
International students £14,800 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Theology and Religion

Durham graduates are in demand across many sectors. The world-class study facilities, combined with a research-led approach to learning and the Department’s international outlook mean our postgraduate taught courses and research degrees provide the fundamental skills and personal qualities needed to succeed in the workplace.

Our Theology and Religion graduates are equipped to follow a wide range of careers, including law, politics and government, marketing, business and finance, industry, charity work, the media, journalism and the clergy. Many progress into careers with religious institutions across the world, while others work in schools, colleges and universities. Our taught MAs also offer a pathway into research and many graduates take the step into higher-level studies.

Previous employers have included Linklaters, Kirkland and Ellis, Coltraco Ultrasonics, the Home Office, Durham Police and Jaguar Land Rover.

Department information

Theology and Religion

Durham University’s Department of Theology and Religion is a supportive and vibrant international teaching and research community where ‘belief’ and ‘beliefs’ are studied in detail, whether those beliefs are atheistic, humanistic or religious.

We are a recognised global leader in the field of theology and religion. Delivered by researchers at the forefront of their disciplines, our range of highly regarded postgraduate degrees enables students to pursue their interests in the fields of theology, philosophy, religious studies, biblical studies, and ethics, through the exploration of diverse and contemporary issues such as the migrant crisis, homelessness and Catholic identity.

In the Department we have an intellectual community of more than 30 academic staff and 150 postgraduate students and researchers who join us from across the world, giving our courses a highly international focus. The local, national and international contexts in which we work and study help to build a more joined up picture of the complex world in which we live.

The Department is home to a range of research centres and projects, including the Centre for Anglican Studies, the Centre for Catholic Studies, the Centre for Death and Life Studies, and the Project for Spirituality, Theology and Health. These all help to foster a vibrant research culture, of which our postgraduates are an important part.

Our postgraduate provision is designed to develop the academic and personal qualities that are valued in the workplace and in higher-level academic research. This includes a professional development and training programme with opportunities to work as a teaching or research assistant.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • World Top 10 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • 4th in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2024 
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2024
  • 6th in The Complete University Guide 2024

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Theology & Religion Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 4th in the UK for Research Power (REF 2021)
  • 91% research graded world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021)

Facilities

We are a leading Department in the field of Theology and Religion, uniquely situated within a World Heritage Site next to Durham Cathedral and within easy walking distance of the Students’ Union, colleges and Durham Castle. Our home, Abbey House, is an inspiring place to study and research the field of theology and religion.

We hold extensive library resources. As well as the University’s well-equipped central library which includes wide-ranging collections of rare books and manuscripts of particular interest to theology and religion students, we also hold the largest collection of German language theological materials in Britain. Next door, Durham Cathedral is home to Sharp Library, which focuses on modern and pastoral theology, while a number of college libraries also hold theological collections.

Apply

Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more

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