Catholic Theology (Distance Learning)
Our distance learning Postgraduate Diploma in Catholic Theology offers you the freedom to study one of the major global religions in depth wherever you are in the world.
2 years part-time
Led by the University’s world-renowned Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) in partnership with the Department of Theology and Religion the PG Dip in Catholic Theology provides an in-depth knowledge of individual figures, periods, themes and areas of Catholic theology. This course is particularly suitable if you have an undergraduate education in Theology, Religious Studies, or a related discipline. It is an excellent foundation for progression to the MA, and for those pursuing ongoing personal and professional development.
You will undertake a ‘Preliminary Tour’ as a core module while three further optional modules will enable you to adopt a historical and philosophical approach to the subject from an ethical and political perspective through the study of topics such as faith and reason, twentieth century Catholic theology and conceiving change in contemporary Catholicism.
The course is offered part-time over two years via distance learning. It has been set up to enable you to study from wherever you live regardless of your time zone, however there will be a residential session of 2-3 days in the University each year. The residential is an important part of the course. It offers a valuable opportunity to connect with fellow students and lecturers and to attend a series of tailored lectures and seminar sessions.
As a distance learner, you will be considered a valued and engaged member of the CCS and the department’s student body as whole. You will be encouraged to participate in the Department’s research seminars where possible and other online events. We also hold an early career conference in Catholic Studies which is run online in alternate years. We are fully committed to making the high-quality academic study of Catholic theology available to students in different parts of the world and in a wide variety of life situations.
Catholic Theology: A Preliminary Tour provides a strong intellectual foundation to help you move from undergraduate studies in theology and religious studies or in related subjects such as classics, philosophy, history or literature to the study of Catholic theology at a more advanced level. You will also gain training in research methods and resources that are used in the academic study of Catholic theology.
In recent years, optional modules have included:
A limited CCS Bursary Fund specifically for this programme in Catholic Theology by Distance Learning is now available. For full details see Funding - Durham University
Teaching will be delivered using a highly effective mixture of written and recorded material, asynchronous online discussion, optional co-ordinated webinars and occasional tutorials. There will be a 2-3 day residential in Durham each year, with the remainder of the course offered as distance learning.
The study resources that you will need for the course, including all reading materials, will be available online and all video and audio-recorded material will be accompanied by a transcript.
Timetabling of optional seminars and office hours will take the varying time zones into account while the other components of the modules will be asynchronous or organised individually as they are with tutorials.
Convenors have been allocated to the course modules and, as a minimum, they will be available during University term time to answer questions, give feedback on written work in tutorials and lead the optional webinars.
The majority of modules are assessed by essays, with a small number including an oral presentation and an exam.
A 2:1 undergraduate degree in Theology, or Religious Studies or a related discipline.
A 500-word personal statement should include the following:
Two professional and/or academic references from people who are familiar with your work, commenting on your suitability for the programme.
A brief one-on-one interview with a programme convenor.
The tuition fees for 2024/25 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.
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 www.durham.ac.uk/postgraduate/finance/tuition
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
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
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.
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.
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.
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