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V8K107 Religion and Society MA Postgraduate Taught 2015


UCAS code V8K107
Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time)
Start Date 28-09-2015
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 3929

Course Content


In this course, the focus is on religion in its anthropological and sociological perspectives. Durham has particular strengths in the study of Mormonism; death, dying and disposal; shamanism; religion and emotion; religion/faith and globalisation; religion and politics; contemporary evangelicalism and post-evangelicalism; and religion and generational change. It also boasts the Centre for Death and Life Studies and the Project for Spirituality, Theology and Health.

Core Modules

  • Resources methods and interpretation (RMI) module
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

  • Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Religion, Modernity and Identity
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion
  • Literature and Religion
  • Christian Formation, Faith Development and Critical Education
  • The Public Understanding of Science and Religion
  • Theological Interpretation of Scripture
  • Transformative Listening
  • Christian Northumbria 600-800
  • Worship and Reform in Britain 1530-1662
  • Anglican Perspectives on God and the Human Condition
  • The Anglican Theological Vision
  • Liturgy and Sacramentality
  • Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism
  • Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology
  • Theology and Asceticism in the Ancient Catholic Tradition
  • The Practice of Theology in the Catholic Tradition AD 400-1900
  • Christian Gender
  • Principles of Theological Ethics
  • Theology, Ethics and Medicine
  • Advanced Hebrew Texts
  • Advanced Aramaic
  • Middle Egyptian
  • Advanced Hebrew Text and Exegesis
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament
  • The New Testament and the Social Sciences
  • Paul and his Interpreters Gospels and Canon.

Learning and Teaching

Most MA teaching is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials. These exemplify and encourage the various skills and practices required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues. Teaching in the Department of Theology & Religion is ‘research led’ at both BA and MA levels, but particularly at MA level. Research led teaching is informed by staff research, but more importantly it aims to develop students as independent researchers themselves, able to pursue and explore their own research interests and questions. This is why the independently researched MA dissertation is the culmination of the MA programme. Such engagement with texts and issues is not only an excellent preparation for doctoral research, it also develops those skills of critical analysis, synthesis and presentation sought and required by employers.

Many MA classes will contain a ‘lecture’ element, conveying information and exemplifying an approach to the subject-matter that will enable students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve their own ability to analyse and evaluate information and arguments. Seminars enhance knowledge and understanding through preparation and interaction with other students and staff, promoting awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and developing skills of articulacy, advocacy and interrogation. Through small group discussions and tutorials, feedback is provided on student work, with the opporunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing student knowledge and writing skills.

The compulsory module on Resources, Methods and Interpretation (RMI) provides training in generic research skills, from the use of the Library to issues in referencing and bibliography. It also introduces students to questions of interpretation and argument in the disciplines encompassed by theology and religion, and helps them to develop their own interests and questions that will issue in the MA dissertation. The latter is a piece of independent research, but it is fostered and guided through individual tutorials with a supervisor, with whom students meet throughout the academic year.

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

The standard entry requirement is a good upper second class honours degree or equivalent (for example GPA 3.7) 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

IELTS score of 7.0 with no band below 6.5.

Requirements and Admissions

The University accepts the following alternative English language tests and scores.

Fees and Funding

Fees shown are for one year. Total fee will depend on the length of your programme. All fees are subject to annual increases. For more information please visit the Tuition Fees page

EU student fees


Home student fees


Islands student fees


International non-EU student fees


Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Theology and Religion

A significant number of our graduates find employment in academic institutions (universities and seminaries) around the world. For some examples of academic careers in Theology launched at Durham, please click here.

Others go into teaching, church ministry, the caring professions, and many other professional fields.

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please click here.

Open days and visits

Campus tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits

Department Information

Theology and Religion


The Department ranks highly amongst departments of Theology and Religion in the UK, and is one of the world's leading institutions for the study of Theology and Religion.

The Department's traditional strengths lie in the fields of biblical studies and Christian theology, where it continues to provide teaching and research in depth and breadth second to none in the UK. In recent years the Department has also broadened its range of expertise to include Early Jewish studies, the sociology and anthropology of religion, theological ethics, historical theology and Catholic and Anglican studies.

The Department enjoys many cross departmental and interdisciplinary links around the University, as well as strong collaborative relationships with the denominational theological institutions based in and around Durham.

There are 21 full-time, research active staff in the Department, making us one of the largest and most influential departments in our field in the UK. We have a strong community of about 180 postgraduate students including large numbers of international students and a significant proportion of part-time students.

The postgraduate community is supported by our 11 regular research seminar series, along with interdisciplinary seminars and other conferences and colloquia which place Durham at the centre of international scholarship. There is also a full professional development and training programme available for postgraduates, including opportunities to work as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant.

Our home, Abbey House, right next to Durham Cathedral, is a stunningly beautiful and immensely exciting place to study and to pursue research in Theology and Religion.


Teaching Staff

Professor Gerard Loughlin teaches Christian doctrine, religion and film, and gender and theology. He has research interests in theology and contemporary culture, with reference to sexuality and cinema, and in nineteenth and twentieth century theology. His most recent book are Alien Sex: The Body and Desire in Cinema and Theology (2004) and (ed.) Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body (2007).

NB: Information contained on the website or in the literature with respect to the fee is correct at the time of publication but the University reserves the right to change the course information or fee at a later date.