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Course length

9 months full-time, 21 months part-time


Durham City

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Course details

Our Graduate Diploma in Theology and Religion offers you the opportunity to pursue your interest in this significant and fascinating feature of human existence even though your undergraduate degree may have been in another subject.

This highly flexible conversion course gives you the control to select from a wide range of optional modules based on your intellectual curiosity and career aspirations. Successful completion enables you to go on and study for an MA in the field of theology and religion. 

We are a recognised global leader in the exploration of theology and religion and you will be able to choose from topics as diverse as Hebrew prose texts, the links between science and theology, New Testament ethics and the globalisation of Christianity.

Within the Department, we offer a breadth and depth of theological and religious expertise through 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 benefit from highly effective cross-departmental and interdisciplinary links between the department and, for example, the University’s Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. We also work in partnership with external theological institutions.

This course gives you the means to explore the aspects of theology and religion which interest you, regardless of the subject of your graduation degree, delivered in the inspirational environment of the city of Durham itself where the magnificent Cathedral is evidence of the city’s own major religious role over nearly two millennia.

Course structure

This course does not feature compulsory modules and instead comprises six optional modules chosen from an extensive range of subjects.

In recent years, optional modules have included: 

  • Literature and Theology of the Old Testament 
  • New Testament Theology 
  • Syriac 
  • Hebrew Prose Texts 
  • Death, Ritual and Belief
  • Creation and New Creation: Imaging God
  • Reading the New Testament in Greek 
  • Science and Theology: Exploring the Interface
  • Religion in Contemporary Britain
  • Atheism, Belief and the Edge of Reason 
  • Topics in Christian Ethics 
  • Early Christian Doctrine: Trinity and Christology 
  • Christ and the Human Mystery: Imaging God 
  • Myth and Meaning: The Structural Analysis of Mythology
  • Research Project and Colloquium in Theology and Religion 
  • God and the Universe of Faiths
  • Catholic Theology in the Modern World 
  • Sacred India: Land, Politics and Identity 
  • The Reformation and its Legacy 
  • Medieval Theology and Spirituality
  • Sects, Prophets and Guru’s 
  • Jewish Religion in Antiquity: Belief Systems, Ethics, Political Conflicts
  • Faith, Identity and Power in Latin America 
  • Create, Image, Enact: Christian Theology and the Arts 
  • Augustine of Hippo
  • Introduction to the theology of Bonaventure
  • Emotion, Religion and Identity
  • Theology and Culture in Atlantic History
  • Aramaic 
  • Advanced Greek Texts 
  • Issues in Old Testament Studies
  • New Testament Ethics 
  • Religion and Film 
  • Emotion and Identity in Religion
  • Christian Fundamentalism and the Modern World 
  • Christian Tradition and the Practice of Politics 
  • John and the Archheretics: The Gospel of John, the Letters of John and the Origins of Gnosticism (in Greek)
  • Jesus Christ in the Twentieth Century
  • The Historical Jesus 
  • Religious Diversity in African Contexts 
  • Thomas Aquinas: Background, Context and Legacy 
  • Religion, Media and Popular Culture
  • Picturing Biblical Texts
  • The Globalisation of Christianity
  • Theology, Nature, Environment 
  • Faith and the Experience of War: Byzantium and Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Medieval Theology and Spirituality
  • The Reformation and Its Legacy 
  • Competing Gospels: Jesus inside and outside the Canon 
  • Performative Theology 
  • The Cross of Christ
  • The Thought of St Bonaventure
  • Tractarians and Modernists – Catholic Retrievals
  • Sacred India


Teaching includes a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials, giving you an average of 7.5 hours of timetabled contact per week and providing a launchpad for your growth as an independent learner.

The classroom teaching and learning will typically amount to around 25% of learning time with the remaining 75% spent working independently. 

The flexible structure enables you to choose the equivalent of six modules from an extensive range. This includes the option to complete a Graduate Diploma dissertation for which you would have the support of a supervisor. The dissertation is the equivalent of two modules and would count for a third of your marks. 

You will also be encouraged to engage with the extensive programme of research-related activities in the Department, including research seminar series and public lectures by high-profile guest speakers and visiting scholars. 


Assessment is rigorous and continuous with the majority of assessments based on coursework. Most of the modules from which you will be able to choose, are assessed by essays, presentations and oral examinations or any combination of those methods. The biblical language modules also include written examinations. 

The optional Graduate Diploma dissertation is an independent piece of research of up to 12,000 words in length. This is the equivalent of two standard modules.

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 scale of 4.0 scale), but applicants from non-traditional backgrounds or with other qualifications may be considered subject to interview and a review of written work.

The diploma is an ideal course to take if you are wanting to transition from another discipline to theology and religion, which you might wish to pursue at MA level. It is also ideal if you have already studied theology and religion to first degree level in another country, and wish to become familiar with the critical approach to these subjects that is typical in British public universities.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £7,000 per year
EU students £16,300 per year
Island students £7,000 per year
International students £16,300 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.


  • 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


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)


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.


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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