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Ancient Religions (MA)

This unique multidisciplinary Ancient Religions (MA) programme provides a comparative analysis of different religious traditions across the ancient world, beyond Greece and Rome as far afield as ancient Egypt, Celtic Britain and ancient China.

You will have the opportunity to debate the origins of organised religious practices and explore the earliest temples in southwest Asia, engage with the religions of the Bronze Age Mediterranean, meet the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, and explore the sacred landscapes of north west Europe. Other modules will introduce you to the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, cosmology, magic and divination in the classical world and the texts of the Old Testament.

The programme is very flexible to suit your research interests.


You can apply directly to the University using the Apply Now button at the top of the page. 

Request Information Humanities Blog
Contact Name: Dr Angus M Slater

Tuition Fees 2023/24:
Home: £7,800
Overseas (distance/online): £10,400
Overseas (on-campus): £15,000
Fees are for the whole course

What you will learn

Course Overview

The Ancient Religions (MA) offers students whose interests centre on this field the opportunity to take a specialist higher degree tailored to investigating evidence for religious practices and beliefs in diverse cultural contexts: Neolithic southwest Asia, Bronze Age Mediterranean, Celtic, Egyptian, Jewish, Graeco-Roman, and ancient China.

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. It draws upon a variety of methodologies and theoretical perspectives taken from Archaeology and Anthropology as well as from the textual traditions of ancient China, the Classical world and Old Testament studies. 

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 Ancient Religions (MA) are taught by internationally renowned specialists and active researchers from different disciplines, notably notably Archaeology, Classics, Egyptology, Theology, Religious Studies, 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.

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.

Module Topics

Level 7

  • Ancient Egyptian Religion (30 credits; optional) *
  • Aspects of Greek and Roman Religion and Cult (30 credits; optional)
  • The Bible: Contemporary Approaches (30 credits; optional)
  • Bible: Text and Transmission (30 credits; optional)
  • Celtic Sanctity, Spirituality and Hagiography (30 credits; optional)
  • Cosmology, Magic and Divination (30 credits; optional)
  • From Patriarchs to Prophets: Reading and Reception (30 credits; optional)
  • The Gospel of John (30 credits; optional)
  • Myth in Greek and Roman Epic (30 credits; optional)
  • Religious Change and Resilience: The case study of Amarna (30 credits; optional)*
  • Religions in China, 1500 BCE - 500 CE (30 credits; optional)
  • Sacred Geography (30 credits; optional)
  • Spaces, Places and Objects in the Ancient Mediterranean (30 credits; compulsory)
  • Theory and Methodology for the Study of the Ancient World (30 credits; compulsory)
  • MA Dissertation (Ancient) (60 credits; compulsory).

* These modules alternate with each other on an annual basis. 


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.

Key Information

Entry Criteria

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.

Career Opportunities

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.

Further Information

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.