Ancient Religions (MA)

Ancient Religions

The aim of this unique multi-disciplinary MA programme in Ancient Religions is not to focus on any one tradition, but to engage with different religious traditions across the ancient world. You will get new insights into the nature of ancient religions across the globe, from the Mediterranean world to ancient China The programme is very flexible to suit your research interests.

Key Facts

Institution Code: T80
Course Length:
Full-time: 2 years, Part-time: 4 years. Location: Lampeter or Online

Scholarships and Bursaries

Faculty of Humanities and Performing Arts
Contact Email:
Language Choice:

Facebook‌ ‌ Twitter

link to humanities blog

Postgraduate Funding

The MA Ancient Religions offers students whose interests centre on this field the opportunity to take a specialist higher degree tailored to investigating the Celtic, Christian, Egyptian, Jewish, Greek, Minoan/Mycenaean and Roman religions. The programme enables students to gain a clearer understanding of the interrelations of religion and society in a cross-cultural perspective and so better enables them to understand multi-religious worlds. Moreover, students will gain a wider understanding of the cultural economic and social forces underpinning the ancient world and these ancient ideas and practices in particular. 

The scheme allows you to study a wide range of modules covering a wide range of ancient religions, giving you a choice to shape the programme to your interests. All our modules in the MA in Ancient Religions are taught by internationally renowned specialists and active researchers from different disciplines, notably Classics, Egyptology, Theology, Religious Studies, Prehistory, Cultural Astronomy, Celtic Studies and Chinese Studies. The influence of our research on our teaching offers our students the opportunity to learn from the best in the subject and follow the latest scholarly trends and discoveries. In addition, you can also study Latin, Greek or Classical Chinese as part of this MA programme.

The MA Ancient Religions is available to both on-campus students and distance learners. Our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a live forum through which students and staff can interact, through which students are better able to revise and explore difficult topics and access the electronic resources available in the virtual world.

There are three compulsory modules:

  • Theory and Methodology in the Study of Ancient Religions is a compulsary module. It enables students to engage with debates on important themes relating to the nature of ancient religions and introduces different methodological approaches.
  • Spaces, Places and Objects in Ancient Mediterranean Religions enables to students to gain a detailed and critical understanding of the evidence for ceremonial activities and ritual practises in Antiquity.
  • Dissertation, 15,000 words

The MA Ancient Religions offers further modules, of which students are required to make a selection of four. For example:

  • Ancient Egyptian Religious Beliefs
  • Celtic Otherworlds: From the Druids to the Monastic Voyage Tale
  • Religions in China, 1500 BCE - 500 CE
  • The Female Saints of Wales
  • Religious Life in the Roman Empire
  • Ritual and Religions
  • Skyscapes, Cosmology and Archaeology
  • Self and Suffering: Ascetis Life in Christian History
  • The Bible: Text and Transmission
  • Cosmology, Magic and Divination

An MA degree in Ancient Religions involves a wide range of assessment methods. In addition to traditional essays, you will be assessed through bibliographic exercises, presentations – oral and PowerPoint-based, creation of abstracts and encyclopaedia articles, in-house conference papers, article reviews, creation of project plans and, of course, the final 15,000-word dissertation.

This variety of assessment helps develop skills in presenting material in a clear, professional and a lucid manner, whether orally or in writing.

The traditional requirement for entry onto a Level 7 programme is a 2.1 or 1st class undergraduate degree. In addition, the Faculty encourages students with an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant and relevant professional experience to apply.

The programme provides a broad foundation for postgraduate work by laying particular emphasis on the methodologies and research tools needed for independent advanced study, thus acting as training for students who intend to undertake an MPhil or PhD. The course also provides a professional qualification for teachers or others seeking Continuing Professional Development. In addition, the programme will be attractive to students who wish to study out of personal interest.

Residential Study

Students can study for any of our degrees residentially on the Lampeter campus. Classes take place between Monday and Friday during the teaching semesters. On average, a full-time student is expected to attend eight hours of classes every week. All non-linguistic classes are very small, usually not more than five students, while language class sizes depend on the level of study, hence beginners’ languages often attract some 15 students, while advanced languages have an average class-size of five students.

Distance Learning

All our degrees are available to distance learners, and indeed those studying in this way comprise the greater part of our postgraduate cohort. Every student has access to all module materials, including reading lists, on the Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). All modules are taught by our lecturers, and are designed to be accessible and friendly to learning at a distance. Many of the modules are delivered in a blended fashion with use of video and audio presentations by the lecturers on each individual topic.

The assessment is on the student’s own subject of choice in relation to each module, always in consultation with the relevant tutor. Most modules are assessed by long essays, but some modules are assessed by alternative means, such as conference-style presentations. It is essential that distance learners have a good internet access, as well as use of computer facilities. The university offers all distance students individual support in accessing material from home. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David Learning Resources Centre provides access to a variety of electronic academic material to distance learners, such as e-books and e-journals.