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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Part-time study in Theology and Religion

All our postgraduate degrees can be studied full-time or part-time (the DThM is usually taken part-time). A significant minority of our students study part-time, and we are accustomed to helping students with the particular challenges that this mode of study presents.

Part-time students are registered for twice as long as full-time students on the equivalent course, and pay reduced fees.

Taught Programmes

On taught programmes, part-time students will be required to be present in Durham for specific classes. If you have commitments outside your studies at specific times this may reduce the choice of modules available to you. If you are concerned about this you should discuss it with the MA Director before you apply.

For part-time MA students, the normal pattern is to study the core module and two other taught modules during the first year, and to devote the second year to a third taught module and the dissertation.

Research Programmes

On research programmes, there is no formal residence requirement. Many part-time students live in or near Durham, can participate in the social and intellectual life of the department and meet their supervisors regularly.

It is normally possible for part-time research students to alter their registration to full-time during the course of their studies, and vice versa; but there is no automatic entitlement to do so.

Non-resident part-time studies

It is also possible to pursue a research degree on a non-resident part-time basis. International students may find this particularly appealing. These students are required (as a minimum) to hold four in-person supervisions per year with their primary supervisor, which can be conducted face-to-face, by videoconferencing or by telephone. The pattern of supervision in each case will be agreed between students and supervisors. Applicants who wish to pursue non-resident part-time studies should be aware that this is a particularly challenging mode of study. The Department has a good deal of experience in supervising students in this mode, but we will only accept applicants to it when we are persuaded that they have the necessary skills and experience to succeed in it.

Students in Canada may also wish to consider studying through our partnership with Vancouver School of Theology.

Part-time postgraduates and the University community

Part-time postgraduates are encouraged to play as full a part in the Department and University's life as their outside commitments allow. Several of the Department's postgraduate study spaces are reserved for the use of part-time students. Part-time students are valued members of our seminar groups and of the Staff-Student Consultative Committee; work as a teaching assistant or research assistant is also available.

All of the training opportunities open to full-time students are also open to part-time students, and the University's training programme includes a session specifically aimed at new part-time research students (available as an evening session). Those who may find travelling regularly to Durham for training difficult will be able to access some training courses offered by other universities in the North-East (Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside). In addition, a set of key research training sessions are offered annually as an intensive four-day summer school, which many part-time and non-resident students may find convenient.

The Library offers a postal loan service for non-resident students who are based in the UK, and our reciprocal arrangements with other British universities will mean that you should be able to access most of their libraries. Of course, all part-time students have full remote access to all the Library's electronic resources.

Colleges and Accommodation

All postgraduates are members of one of our colleges, as well as being accepted by an Academic Department. Each college is individual, and offers a wide range of support, accommodation and facilities. You can find out more information on our colleges within the Colleges and Accommodation section of the university website.
Queries should be directed to the Collegiate Office at

Full details of the college and accommodation application process for postgraduate applicants can be found here.

If you have questions about this mode of study, or if you would like to be put in contact with a current part-time postgraduate who can explain more about the experience of part-time study, please contact the Department.