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Degree type

MA

Course length

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Location

Durham City

Program code

V8K607

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Please note: Courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

Course details

This course focuses on the Catholic theological tradition, within the more general context of Christian theology. Durham has a strong interest in and engagement with contemporary Catholicism, with a Centre for Catholic Studies, the Bede Chair in Catholic Theology and the St Hilda Chair in Catholic Social Thought and Practice.

Course Structure

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology - core module
  • Three optional modules
  • Dissertation.

Core modules:

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology
  • Dissertation.

Examples of optional modules:

Optional modules in previous years have included 2-3 choices from:

  • Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology
  • Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism
  • Christian Gender
  • Principles of Theological Ethics
  • Patristic Ecclesiology
  • Patristic Exegesis
  • Catholic Social Thought.

Plus up to 1 choice from:

  • The Anglican Theological Vision
  • Liturgy and Sacramentality
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion
  • Paul and his Interpreters
  • Gospels and Canon
  • The Bible and Hermeneutics
  • Christian Northumbria 600-750
  • Theology, Ethics and Medicine
  • Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Literature and Religion
  • Advanced Hebrew Texts
  • Advanced Aramaic
  • Middle Egyptian
  • The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament
  • Ecclesiology and Ethnography
  • Doctrine of Creation
  • The Thought of Thomas Aquinas in Context
  • Religion in the Neo-Liberal Age
  • Selected modules from the MA in Theology and Ministry course
  • Level 3 undergraduate module, or any Level 1 – 2 language module offered by the Department of Theology and Religion, taken in conjunction with the Extended Study in Theology & Religion module
  • 30 credits from another Board of Studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study).

Learning

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 you as independent researchers, able to pursue and explore your own research interests and questions. This is why the independently researched MA dissertation is the culmination of the MA course. 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 you to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve your 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 completed work, with the opportunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing knowledge and writing skills.

The Dissertation module includes training in generic research skills, from the use of the Library to issues in referencing and bibliography. The subject specific core module introduces you to questions of interpretation and argument in the disciplines encompassed by theology and religion, and helps them to develop your 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 you will meet throughout the academic year.

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 4.0 scale) 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.

The University will contact the referees named in your application directly. Please ensure that your referees are able to provide a reference in a timely fashion. If you are also applying for a Durham MA bursary, please ensure that your referees understand that their references will be used both for admission and for a very competitive funding process.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £10,800 per year
EU students £22,900 per year
Island students £10,800 per year
International students £22,900 per year

Part Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £5,940 per year
EU students £12,595 per year
Island students £5,940 per year
International students £12,595 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

Graduates enter a wide range of career areas, including law, government, marketing, business and finance, industry, charity work, teaching, media, the clergy and journalism. Employers include: Linklaters, Kirkland and Ellis, Coltraco Ultrasonics, the Home Office, Durham Police and Jaguar Land Rover.

Department information

Theology and Religion

The Department of Theology and Religion is where ‘belief’ and ‘beliefs’ are taken seriously, respected and studied, whether those beliefs are atheistic, humanistic or religious. Our home, Abbey House (pictured right), is next door to Durham Cathedral, and is a beautiful and inspiring place to pursue research in theology and religion.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • World Top 5 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2021.
  • 2nd in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2020 and The Complete University Guide 2021.
  • 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2021.
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2021.

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Theology & Religion Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 1st in the UK in the REF2014 evaluation of research quality

Facilities

Library facilities for Theology and Religion in Durham are extensive, and the holdings at the Bill Bryson Library are only the beginning. Our next-door neighbour, Durham Cathedral, houses another theological library: The Sharp Library, which focuses on modern and pastoral theology. Additionally, the Meissen Library, located on level 3 of the Bill Bryson Library, is the largest collection of German-language theological materials in Britain. Some of the College libraries (notably St. Chad's College and St. John's College) hold extensive theological collections and the Department has some library resources of its own, in particular in Hebrew and Jewish studies.

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 24/11/2021
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Register for open day
Discover Durham Tours
  • Date: 25/10/2021
  • Time: 13:30 - 16:00
Register for open day