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Study of Religions (MA)

The Study of Religions (MA) has a distinct methodological emphasis drawing on the expertise of staff. The aim of the programme is not to focus on any one tradition, but to enable engagement with different traditions in a manner that is free, fair, accurate and open to correction.

This programme has a distinctive focus on contemporary religions. Its range of modules, exploring different aspects of religion today, has been designed by staff members with a background in sociology, anthropology, and religious studies.

The modules enable students to explore not just the theoretical, but also the practical lived aspects of religious faith and practice in different contexts.

The Study of Religions (MA) at UWTSD is a unique programme that enables students to develop research skills in case they want to continue on a PhD but also prepares them for a career in Religious Education.


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Tuition Fees 2023/24:
Home: £7,800
Tuition Fees 2023/24:
Overseas (distance/online): £10,400
Fees are for the whole course.

Reasons to choose this course

  • Distinct methodological emphasis drawing on the expertise of staff
  • All our staff are research active, and on hand throughout to guide you in the right direction.
  • Opportunity to study a wide range of different religious traditions
  • Furthermore, you’ll be able to take modules from a distance that enable you to interact with students and staff – indeed, we offer as much interaction as you wish.
  • We have strong international recruitment that supports students from a diverse range of circumstances; indeed, our students come from all over the world and many take the MA whilst juggling other responsibilities – we recognise this special context of distance-learners, and our courses make full use of the virtual world and have the personal approach of expert tuition.

What you will learn

Course Overview

Students will usually start the Study of Religions (MA) with the compulsory module on Theory and Methodology in the Study of Religions. It will provide them with knowledge and understanding of key areas in the study of religions. Students then can select their other three modules from a list of optional modules. These modules will enable students to specialise on distinct aspects of religion and on distinct methodologies. This flexibility allows students to develop their own research interest within the Study of Religions from the start.

Students have the choice to study in-depth an aspect of Buddhism (Buddhist Philosophy), China (Chinese Religions at the Grassroots) and / or Celtic Spirituality (Celtic Spirituality, Sanctity and Hagiography).

Additional modules are available in the area of Islamic Studies (Islam Today) and aspects of alternative spirituality (e.g. in the modules Sacred Geography and Western Esotericism). Some modules allow students to look at religion in a comparative approach such as Religion and the Environment and Interreligious Encounter.

Students can also explore the phenomenon of religious and spiritual experience (Religious Experience Today) – a subject area which the Institute considers is important given the location of the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre on the Lampeter campus.

In choosing their options, students should consider which modules are most relevant to the topic of their dissertation and will receive advice on this from the subject specialist.

Part II consists of a 60-credit dissertation of 15,000 words. Students will be able to apply the skills and knowledge gained in Part I when undertaking this sustained piece of personal research.

Module Topics

Part I (PG Cert, PG Dip & MA)

  • Buddhist Philosophy – Mahayana and Zen Approaches (30 credits; optional)
  • Celtic Sanctity, Spirituality and Hagiography (30 credits; optional)
  • Chinese Religions at the Grassroots (30 credits; optional)
  • Interfaith Encounters: Religious Interaction in a Complex (30 credits; optional)
  • Islam Today (30 credits; optional)
  • Religion and the Environment (30 credits; optional)
  • Religious Experience Today (30 credits; optional)
  • Sacred Geography (30 credits; optional)
  • Sufism and Islamic Spirituality: The Mystical Dimensions of Islam (30 credits; optional)
  • The Islamic Intellectual Tradition: Medieval, Modern and Contemporary (30 credits; optional)
  • Theory and Methodology in the Study of Religions (30 credits; compulsory)
  • Western Esotericism (30 credits; optional).

Part II (MA)

  • MA Dissertation (Religion) (60 credits; compulsory).

Assessments include long essays (usually 4,000 words), shorter critical reviews, research proposals, and other shorter tasks. There are no examinations. The dissertation is a single piece of work comprising 15,000 words.

Key Information

Entry Criteria

Normally the entry requirement for this degree is a first class or upper second class undergraduate degree. In addition, enquiries are also welcome from students with an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant and relevant professional experience. If you are unsure whether you would be accepted onto the MA you should contact the Programme Co-ordinator for an informal chat. Each application is assessed on its own merits.

Career Opportunities

This course develops core transferable skills in religious literacy, intercultural sensitivity, and self-reflection valued by employers. Students typically go on to work in a number of professions, including teaching, banking and financial business, marketing and advertising, publishing, civil service, health and social care, counselling, and customer service.

Additional Costs

Estimates are on the assumption that students buy new copies of the books. Students may also choose to spend money on printing drafts of work.

Students may spend up to £300 per year on books and additional related materials.

Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study.  To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries section.


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Further Information

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions related to the University or to this course in particular.