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Department of Theology and Religion

MA / MSc in Spirituality, Theology & Health

MA / MSc in Spirituality, Theology & Health

These programmes focus on the interdisciplinary and inter-professional issues that emerge in the study of spirituality and wellbeing, particularly in the healthcare context. It is possible to take an MA or MSc, depending upon the balance of theology and science options selected. However, all students will engage in theological reflection on a relevant topic and undertake a double module research dissertation, as well as taking the taught core module on spirituality, religion and health. Both programmes provide a stepping-stone to doctoral work. For more information, please contact Professor Chris Cook.

Optional modules in Theology include:

  • The Public Understanding of Science & Religion
  • Resources, Methods & Interpretation
  • Theology, Ethics & Medicine
  • Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Specialised Aspects of Practical Theology
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion

Optional modules in Health and Anthropology include:

  • Quantitative Health Research Methods
  • Qualitative Health Research Methods
  • Assessment Theory and Practice
  • Theory, methods and principles in medical anthropology
  • Advanced Theory in Medical Anthropology
  • Advanced perspectives on mental health and drug use

For a complete list of optional modules and their descriptions, please consult the programme handbook.

Application Process

  1. Check that you meet the department's entry requirements
  2. Consult the Fees and Finance website for current tuition fees and funding information
  3. Assemble your supporting documentation. You will need to submit:
    • academic transcripts
    • two references (using the reference form [Word]); it is your responsibility to ensure that reference forms are sent to your two referees, each with a first class stamped addressed envelope; please note that open letters supplied by the applicant are not acceptable
    • evidence of English proficiency (if applicable)
    These must be sent to the Postgraduate Admissions Secretary, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham, DH1 3RS. Note: do not send your supporting documentation to the Graduate School (please ignore what the online application form says at this point)
  4. Complete the Online Application Form. If you have a preference for a particular college please indicate this on your application. When asked to outline your proposed area of research list five optional modules, in order of preference. Complete module descriptions are available in the Taught MAs Handbook (PDF). If you are thinking of studying subsequently for a PhD, you should indicate this, saying also if possible roughly what broad field of study it might be in
  5. Wait for your application to be reviewed. Most forms are processed within four to six weeks of submission

Applications may be made at any time in the academic year, though no later than the very beginning of September for a start in October. If you have any questions throughout this process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Secretary, the Programme Director or the Director of Taught Programmes.

Overseas Students Deposit

If you are an overseas and self-funding student you are required to pay a deposit of £1000. This deposit is not in addition to your fees, but deducted from them. The fees will be less the £1000 deposit. The deposit is not normally refundable. It can be paid online, and is required within 6 weeks of receiving an offer from the University of a place on one of our taught postgraduate programmes, or immediately if the programme is due to begin within 2 months of receiving the offer. Further details about the deposit and how it can be paid will be sent with the offer of a place. These details will also include the circumstances in which the deposit can be refunded. Please note that a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) cannot be issued without payment of the deposit, and you will need a CAS number in order to obtain a visa. Further information is available here.

US students seeking funding from the US Department of Education's Direct Loan Scheme should contact the department about waiving the deposit. Further information about this scheme can be found on the web pages of the Student Finance and Support Office.

Entry Requirements

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 Zwischenpruüfung or Kolloquium and two semesters at the Hauptseminar level.

Some modules have special prerequisites limiting registration for the module to those who have studied a particular language or subject at undergraduate level. Any queries concerning eligibility for modules should be referred to the Director of Taught Programmes.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants for whom English is not their first language, and who have not undertaken part or all of their earlier theological education in the English language, must fulfill a minimum acceptable English language requirement prior to registering as students. The requirement for this department can be satisfied by any of the following:

  • An Overall Band Score of 7.0 or above in the British Council International English Language Testing Service test (I.E.L.T.S.) with no band below 6.5.
  • TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test) 102 or above, with no element below 25.
    (Applicants planning to take this test are advised to contact the Postgraduate Admissions Secretary at before booking the test.)
  • Pearson Academic (PTE) score of 70 (with no score less than 62 in each component).

In all cases the relevant certificate should have been issued within two years of the programme start date.

If you fall short of these requirements, you may be offered a place conditional on your registering for and completing one of Durham's pre-sessional English language courses. These have an excellent track record both for raising students' facility in academic English and for introducing them to academic life in Durham.