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Masters Degrees (Buddhism)

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This MA is unique in combining the study of Buddhism, Buddhist art, and the techniques and conservation of Buddhist art. Offered by The Robert H. Read more
This MA is unique in combining the study of Buddhism, Buddhist art, and the techniques and conservation of Buddhist art. Offered by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Art and Conservation at The Courtauld, the MA was established as a one-year degree in 2013. In order to build on and expand the strengths of the programme, the MA is changing in 2017 to a two-year degree taught in collaboration with SOAS.

The MA now brings together world-famous institutions: The Courtauld for the study of art history and conservation, and SOAS for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing on the unique strengths of the two institutions and their exceptional faculties, the new curriculum of the MA provides detailed and systematic teaching over two years. Each discipline is introduced, expanded and integrated to allow students to obtain the best possible learning experiences and skills acquisition. Designed to provide increased specialisation over the two years, the course culminates in research and a substantial dissertation in the final months.

Offered once every two years, applications are now invited for the programme beginning autumn 2017. Taught by a wide range of specialists from both The Courtauld and SOAS, the MA also benefits from teaching by visiting experts. The course includes study trips to museums in the UK and Europe, and a longer study trip to India to develop an appreciation of Buddhist art in its original contexts. Students also benefit from conferences and public events regularly held by the Ho Centre at The Courtauld.

Drawing also on the research and conservation work undertaken by The Courtauld’s Conservation of Wall Painting Department in Bhutan, China and India, this MA is specifically designed to equip students with knowledge of:

‌•the central concepts of Buddhism, and their historical diffusion;
‌•the history of Buddhist art in its various religious, social and cultural contexts;
‌•the materials and techniques involved in the making of various types of Buddhist art;
‌•approaches to the conservation of Buddhist art, including understanding of the ethical, technical and administrative issues involved.

This MA provides a comprehensive grounding in the history of Buddhism, Buddhist art and its conservation for those intending to pursue further specialist conservation education, and for those who wish to proceed into related fields such as art-historical research, curating, and site-management.

About eight students are accepted on the MA. Applicants from different academic and geographical backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Previous experience in any of the fields covered by the MA is not required.

Please Note: Plans are being made for the redevelopment of The Courtauld’s home at Somerset House. The project, called Courtauld Connects, will include the development of state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. During the redevelopment the location of some teaching will move. Further information on Courtauld Connects will be published on The Courtauld’s website over the coming months.

Programme Structure

This two-year MA combining the study of Buddhism, Buddhist art, and the techniques and conservation of Buddhist art, is structured to provide increased specialisation during the course, with a substantial dissertation at the end. The programme consists of interwoven strands. Led by Professor David Park and Dr Giovanni Verri at The Courtauld, and by Dr Christian Luczanits and Dr Vincent Tournier at SOAS, it includes teaching by a wide range of specialists from both institutions and from elsewhere. Some strands will be taught at The Courtauld or on-site, while for others students will join classes at SOAS.

Year 1
The objectives of this year are to provide a grounding in the concepts of Buddhism and their historical diffusion; an appreciation of the chronological development, regional variations and major themes of Buddhist art; an understanding of the making of different types of Buddhist art, and of the ethical, legal and other issues underlying the conservation and display of Buddhist art; and an interdisciplinary exposure to the imagining and presentation of Buddhas and their achievements in South Asia, juxtaposing the textual perspective with what is communicated through imagery. The formal teaching is reinforced through a study trip in the second term to museums in Paris or elsewhere in Europe, and in the third term by a longer study trip to India.

‌•Strand 1: Critical Concepts in Buddhist Studies Convenor: Vincent Tournier (SOAS) This course is designed to provide a broad understanding of the major processes and dynamics at work in the growth and development of Buddhism as a pan-Asian religion, and with the key methodological tools required to approach this major cultural force in its fascinating diversity.

•Strand 2: History of Buddhist Art Convenors: David Park (The Courtauld) & Christian Luczanits (SOAS) This course provides an overview of Buddhist art with regard to its chronological development, regional variations, major themes, and the multiplicity of different media. Buddhist art in collections will also be studied, examining aspects of collecting and display.

•Strand 3: The Making of Buddhist Art, and Conservation Principles Convenor: Giovanni Verri (The Courtauld) This course provides an introduction to the making of Buddhist art from its origins. Primary sources and technical studies are used to understand the different types of materials employed. It will also provide an introduction to the principles, ethics and other issues underlying the conservation and display of Buddhist art.

•Strand 4: Imag(in)ing Buddahood in South Asia Convenors: Christian Luczanits & Vincent Tournier (SOAS) This course engages in an interdisciplinary manner with the central idea of Buddhism, as it developed within and beyond its South Asian cradle. Bringing together the expertise of an art historian and a historian of Buddhist thought, it will provide exposure to a diversity of approaches to textual, iconographic, and archaeological sources, to understand how Buddhas and their achievements were imagined, presented and encountered by Buddhist practitioners.

‌•Strand 5: Study trip to museums in Europe To examine Buddhist art in major museums in Paris or elsewhere, considering art-historical, technical and conservation aspects, as well as display and management issues.

•Strand 6: Fragile Inheritance: the Conservation of Buddhist Art Convenor: David Park (The Courtauld) To examine the measures directly involved in the preservation of Buddhist art in museums and in situ; and to examine particular major case studies in detail with regard to the legal, ethical, management, practical and other issues involved.

Year 2
Strand 6 continues in Year 2. More specialised teaching is introduced in a variety of areas: texts, and their relationship to Buddhist objects; the scientific examination and imaging of Buddhist art; and a choice of specialised courses in Buddhist studies and Buddhist art, allowing students to pursue particular interests and to assist in the choice of dissertation topic. The dissertation, undertaken over a period of fourteen weeks, should consider an aspect of the original techniques, conservation, management, curating, history or use of Buddhist art.

‌•Strand 6: Fragile Inheritance: the Conservation of Buddhist Art Continued from Year 1

•Strand 7: Texts on and around Buddhist objects Convenors: David Park (The Courtauld) & Vincent Tournier (SOAS) This course will

‌-explore the many ways by which texts inform, respond to, and accompany Buddhist objects across Asian societies. It will, in particular, -explore the Text-Image relationship, examining how textual and visual narratives respond to each other. It will introduce students to the methods of epigraphy and codicology, including the increasing use of imaging technologies.

‌•Strand 8: Analysis and Imaging of Buddhist Art Convenor: Giovanni Verri (The Courtauld) This course provides an introduction to methods of examination and analysis through the use of visual observations and scientific instruments, and an introduction to and basic instruction in the technical imaging of Buddhist art including multispectral imaging.

•Strand 9: Choice of one of the following specialised courses in Buddhist Studies and one in Buddhist Art at SOAS Students will select these courses in consultation with their tutors, on the basis of their previous background and career objectives; options will also depend on availability at SOAS. This further specialism will aid students in their choice of dissertation topic. Presentations and discussions at The
Courtauld will enable students to harmonise their experience.

Specialised Course in Buddhist Studies

-Buddhism in Tibet (Ulrich Pagel)
-Chinese Buddhism in the Pre-modern Period (Antonello Palumbo)
-East Asian Buddhist Thought (Lucia Dolce)
-The Buddhist Conquest of Central Asia (Ulrich Pagel)
-Specialised Course in Buddhist Art

-Buddhist and Hindu Art of the Maritime Silk Route (Peter Sharrock)
-Collecting and Curating Buddhist Art in the Museum (Louise Tythacott)
-Illustrated Manuscript Cultures of Southeast Asia (Anna Contadini & Farouk Yahya)
-Sacred Art and Architecture of Ancient Korea (Charlotte Horlyck)
-The Figure of the Buddha: Theory, Practice and the Making of Buddhist Art History (Ashley Thompson)
-Tibetan Buddhist Monuments in Context (Christian Luczanits)

‌•Strand 10: Dissertation: A major component of the MA is a 12,000-word dissertation, undertaken in the second and third terms of Year 2. The dissertation topic should focus on the original techniques, conservation, management, curating, history, or use of Buddhist art. Students are encouraged to design their research to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the MA. Selection of the topic will be undertaken in the first term of Year 2 in consultation with course tutors, and will include assessment of the state of research, and production of an illustrated outline proposal with references.Topics have been varied; those of the previous one-year MA have included:

-19th– and early 20th-century copies and photographs of the Ajanta murals;
-narrative and biography in early Tibetan teacher portraits;
-tree and forest imagery in Buddhist Yamato-e handscroll paintings;
-technical study and investigation of Nagthangs;
-materials and techniques of red dyed gold from Southeast Asia;
-the influence of Tibetan Buddhism on Ming Imperial porcelains;
-examination and assessment of the environmental conditions of the Textile Museum of Bhutan.This range demonstrates the scope for students to research avenues that significantly develop their individual interests and skills, while also providing a contribution to the field.

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods and work required of the students are related to each strand and include:

‌•lectures: to impart factual information;
‌•seminars: to provide a forum for open discussion, and to allow assessment of the development of the individual student’s critical abilities;
‌•student seminars: to develop skills in gathering, organising and presenting a body of information, including visual material;
‌•essays: to develop skills in written communication and research methodology;
‌•reports: on the study trips;
‌•tutoring: to provide individual guidance, and to allow monitoring of the student’s progress.

How to Apply

Before starting your application, please ensure that you read and refer to the following three sets of information. Then access our Online Application System by selecting the relevant "Apply Now” link from the table of courses, below.

Follow this link for the information: http://courtauld.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-how-to-apply

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The MA in Religion provides advanced study of the religious traditions of both the West and Asia. The programme offers two pathways. Read more
The MA in Religion provides advanced study of the religious traditions of both the West and Asia. The programme offers two pathways:
-Buddhist Studies
-Theology and Religious Studies

These reflect the expertise in the Department of Religion and Theology and allow you to study various religious traditions with scholars who are world-renowned experts in those fields.

Programme structure

Students follow one of two pathways, taking units worth 180 credit points.

BUDDHIST STUDIES PATHWAY
Core units (40 credit points):
-Buddhism: the Foundations (20 credit points)

Plus one of the following language units (20 credit points):
-Introductory Sanskrit I
-Classical Chinese
-Pali and Buddhist Sanskrit (only available to students with one year of Sanskrit)

NB: Not all languages will be taught each year

Optional units (80 credit points total; 20 credit points each). Optional units can vary each year but may include:
-Introductory Sanskrit 2
-Buddhism: The Mahayana Tradition
-The Practice of Theravada Buddhism in Asia
-Aspects of Chinese Buddhism
-Buddhist Psychology and Mental Health
-The Origins and Development of Zen Buddhism
-Yoga and Meditation
-Supervised Individual Study (on an aspect of Buddhism not covered by other units)
-An open MA unit chosen from those available in the Faculty of Arts

Dissertation
You will engage in supervised research on a topic of your choice and submit a dissertation of between 10,000 and 15,000 words.

THEOLOGY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES PATHWAY
Core units
-Buddhism: The Foundations (20 credit points)
-History of Christianity: Core Texts (20 credit points)

Optional units (80 credit points total; 20 credit points each)
-Medieval Mystics and Visionaries in Medieval England
-Reflection on Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Society
-Alchemy, Magic and Science in Early Modernity
-The Renaissance and the Rise of the Modern Age
-Reflection on Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Society
-Greek Language Level A
-Latin Language Level A
-Jesus in an Age of Colonialism
-Ancient Jewish Novels
-Atheism
-Buddhism: The Mahayana Tradition
-The Origins and Development of Zen Buddhism
-Yoga and Meditation
-Buddhist Psychology and Mental Health
-An open MA unit chosen from those available across the Faculty of Arts.

Dissertation
You will engage in supervised research on a topic of your choice and submit a dissertation of between 10,000 and 15,000 words.

Careers

Students who complete this MA programme have taken up many different careers, including academic research, social work, banking and industry, counselling and teaching, design, journalism, film and the arts.

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This MA Buddhist Studies course is ideal for teachers wishing to enhance their subject knowledge, and also for those working in Buddhist organisations who wish to gain a recognised qualification. Read more
This MA Buddhist Studies course is ideal for teachers wishing to enhance their subject knowledge, and also for those working in Buddhist organisations who wish to gain a recognised qualification. It is also an excellent course for those wishing to study Buddhism in its own right.

This course is delivered entirely online and in English. Learning resources and contact with tutors and fellow students will be provided through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. This enables you, wherever you are in the world, to be part of an internet-based group to study, explore and discuss Buddhism using high quality, stimulating and academically rigorous materials. This means that study and participation can be fitted flexibly around other commitments.

See the website http://courses.southwales.ac.uk/courses/1378-ma-buddhist-studies

What you will study

Modules that are currently available include:

- Buddhist Traditions (compulsory)
Learn about key Buddhist concepts and practices as well as the misconceptions of Buddhism. Also, gain an insight into the history of the development of Buddhism and its main sub-traditions.

- Buddhist Ethics
Gain an understanding of Buddhist Ethics in both theory and practice across a number of different cultures.

- Buddhist Meditation and Psychology
Develop your knowledge of Buddhist meditation traditions in both theory and practice across a number of different cultures. Also, consider Western psychological perspectives on Buddhist meditation.

- Buddhist Philosophy
Learn about Buddhist philosophical traditions across a number of different cultures.

- Pali Language (numbers permitting)
Develop a solid grounding in Pali language, forming the foundation for further self-study

- Dissertation (for those progressing to MA)
A significant piece of research into an appropriate area of study.

Learning and teaching methods

This course is delivered entirely by distance learning. The learning resources and contact with tutors and fellow students are provided on the internet through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.
- Certificate: 1 Year
- Diploma: 2 years
- Masters: 3 years

Those with a therapy background may be interested in exiting with a Postgraduate Certificate in Buddhist Studies by pursuing only the Buddhist Traditions and Buddhist Meditation and Psychology modules. To achieve the Postgraduate Diploma you need to complete four modules over two years. If you then wish to progress to the full Masters you must complete a dissertation which will take an additional year.

Work Experience and Employment Prospects

This course will provide you with advanced level skills and knowledge related to Buddhism, and also forms an excellent basis for those wishing to pursue further academic study in the field.

Assessment methods

Assessment is mostly through coursework, submitted online. There are non-invigilated timed examinations for the Pali Language module.

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The MA Buddhist Studies suits students with different academic backgrounds and prospective personal objectives, from those interested in broadening their knowledge of Buddhism as a whole or of specific Buddhist traditions to those intending to embark on language-based research or fieldwork among Buddhist communities. Read more

Who is this programme for?:

The MA Buddhist Studies suits students with different academic backgrounds and prospective personal objectives, from those interested in broadening their knowledge of Buddhism as a whole or of specific Buddhist traditions to those intending to embark on language-based research or fieldwork among Buddhist communities.

It typically suits:

- students planning to pursue further research in Buddhist Studies, which may involve at a subsequent stage the acquisition of a doctoral degree and a career in higher education.

- students willing to pursue a career or professional activity, for which advanced knowledge of Buddhism as a global cultural force is essential.

- students who wish to pursue the academic study of religions as a complement to their personal experience and commitments.

- students from traditionally Buddhist countries, willing to broaden their knowledge of Buddhism as a global religion, and to be introduced to an academic approach that is characterised both by its critical distance and by its empathy.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/religions-and-philosophies/programmes/ma-buddhist-studies/

Duration: Full time: 1 calendar year Part time: 2 or 3 calendar years. We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.

Structure

The structure of MA Buddhist Studies provides a unique study pathway, characterised both by its coherence and by its flexibility. The core course, “Critical Concepts in Buddhist Studies” (0.5 Unit), co-taught by four staff whose expertise cover most of Buddhist Asia, provides students with a broad and stimulating journey into key notions and methods in the study of Buddhism. Students will moreover have to submit a Dissertation in Buddhist Studies of 10,000 words, on a topic chosen from the course chosen as major. The remaining 2.5 Units may be chosen in the large pool of courses on Buddhist topics and languages, thus allowing each student to build up a specialized knowledge of one or more areas of Buddhist Asia. Students are allowed to take courses taught outside the department of the Study of Religions up to one unit, which may or may not include a language.

For more informations, please contact Antonello Palumbo () or Vincent Tournier ()

Programme Specification (msword; 247kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/religions-and-philosophies/programmes/ma-buddhist-studies/file92979.doc

The Department

Key facts

- Two BA programmes (both single or joint degrees), five taught MA programmes, and Research Degree
- Unrivalled expertise in the religions and philosophies of Africa, Asia and the Middle East
- First philosophy degree in the UK centred on non-Western and global systems of thought
- Research-driven, interdisciplinary approach to all the world’s major religious traditions and philosophical systems

Department comes 2nd nationally for research publications:
18 December 2014: REF results highlight SOAS publications on religions. Find out more... (https://www.soas.ac.uk/news/newsitem98005.html)

Our strengths:
At SOAS you can study a wider range of religious and philosophical traditions in more depth than any other programme in the field, anywhere in the world. With our highly diversified expertise, our comprehensive resources, and our interdisciplinary approach we offer a unique learning and research environment for a truly inter-cultural approach to systems of belief and thought in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

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With interest growing in India’s creative literature and Indian philosophy, linguistics and literary criticism, the study of Sanskrit is becoming vitally important. Read more

With interest growing in India’s creative literature and Indian philosophy, linguistics and literary criticism, the study of Sanskrit is becoming vitally important.

We are the only research department of this kind in Scotland, and one of only four in the UK. The latest Research Assessment Exercise confirmed the international significance of the work being undertaken by our staff and postgraduate students.

You will be part of a community committed to exploring the linguistic and cultural aspects of this fascinating language.

We can offer you supervision in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Pali language and literature, as well as links with the School of Divinity, if your area of interest includes the study of religions such as classical Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism. Purely linguistic research can also benefit from links with the Translation Studies area.

Our current areas of interest include:

  • Jainism
  • Prakrit language and literature
  • Sanskrit literature and literary theory
  • Theravada Buddhism

We also serve as the base for the Centre for South Asian Studies, through which various aspects of modern South Asia can be studied under the supervision of staff in several arts and social sciences departments. In addition, you will be encouraged to attend any undergraduate or masters courses you see as being appropriate to your research.



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This interdisciplinary programme is designed to allow you to undertake sustained and focused study across the disciplines of politics and religion, with particular attention to the topic of conflict. Read more

This interdisciplinary programme is designed to allow you to undertake sustained and focused study across the disciplines of politics and religion, with particular attention to the topic of conflict.

In addition to core and optional modules in politics and religion, a 20,000 word dissertation provides you with the opportunity to undertake an extended project which focuses upon one of a number of dimensions relating to the interface of politics and religion, as it pertains to conflict.

Course Structure

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Core

Optional

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.



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The Arts MRes allows you to undertake a one year full-time or two year part-time research project in one or more of the School of the Arts’ key subject areas. Read more
The Arts MRes allows you to undertake a one year full-time or two year part-time research project in one or more of the School of the Arts’ key subject areas: Architecture, Communications and Media, English, Music and Philosophy. You will receive training in research skills and supervision from one or more academic specialists in their subject area(s).

The programme provides excellent preparation for you if you’re intending to undertake a PhD in the Arts and Humanities, but is also a good choice if you wish to pursue a research project for purposes of professional development or personal interest. You will become part of a community of active researchers and will be encouraged to pursue your own research interests in collaboration with an academic supervisor.

Key Facts

Internationally renowned
The department has a strong international reputation for its work in Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, History of Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy, Indian Philosophy, Moral and Political Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Art.

Research Excellence Framework 2014
63% of our research outputs were rated world-leading or internationally excellent, and 37% were rated as internationally recognised.

Why Philosophy?

We offer a distinctive combination of unusual philosophical diversity in a close-knit atmosphere with excellent staff-student relations.

Our staff publish and lecture in a wide range of philosophical areas, including: Logic and Philosophy of Language; Metaphysics; Ancient Philosophy; Philosophy of Mind; Moral and Political Philosophy; Aesthetics; Buddhism and Indian Philosophy; Environmental Philosophy; Continental Philosophy; History of Philosophy and Literary Theory. We supervise research projects in all of these areas within our friendly, down to earth and vibrant postgraduate research community.

Experience the full breadth of our academics' expertise

Our staff publish and lecture in a wide range of philosophical areas, including: Logic and Philosophy of Language; Metaphysics; Ancient Philosophy; Philosophy of Mind; Moral and Political Philosophy; Aesthetics; Buddhism and Indian Philosophy; Environmental Philosophy; Continental Philosophy; History of Philosophy and Literary Theory. We supervise research projects in all of these areas within our friendly, down to earth and vibrant postgraduate research community.

Career prospects

Our programmes aim to equip students with the general and widely applicable analytical, argumentative and problem solving skills and abilities valued by employers. Some of our postgraduate students have gone on to a career in academic Philosophy, but a variety of careers are open to those obtaining postgraduate Philosophy degrees, including business, management, the law, the media, the arts, computing, the Civil Service and teaching.

The MRes Arts may enhance the career prospects of those working or wishing to work in fields associated with the study of Arts subjects or other areas of academic work and study, including teachers, librarians, and professional writers. While managerial positions often require the ability to conduct research or project-work and to demonstrate sustained and complex organisational skills in ways encompassed by this programme, its emphasis on oral and written communication skills as well as on IT-based presentation skills will be useful for many types of employment. Some students may want to take this course for its own sake and for the sake of personal development and the revitalization of subject awareness. Equally, the MRes is designed to prepare students too for further research at MPhil or PhD level, and to enable them to enter postgraduate study, thus offering a first step towards a career in academic teaching and research.

The advanced study of one or more Arts subject on this programme equips students with powers of fine discrimination and judgement that will set them apart in workplaces of many kinds. The skills it fosters are those which enable graduates to deal logically with the complex demands of a whole range of careers. These skills include:

- the ability to process large amounts of information
- the ability to organise disparate material into a coherent argument
- the capacity to compare many different views and come to a decision about the merits of each
- the independence to define a complex project and bring it to completion with minimal input.
- imaginative and creative responsiveness to problems
- powers of expression (both written and oral) which allow for the lucid delineation of nuanced ideas.

Such skills are essential for those considering careers in, for example, journalism, publishing, management, and the law. Graduates have gone on to work in a wide variety of professions. Our alumni include lecturers, communication specialists, broadcasters, writers, teachers, librarians, public relations managers and publishers.

MRes Arts students will have access to the University's Careers and Employability Service and to careers events at both School and University level. Supervisors and other academic staff will be able to provide guidance and support to students intending to progress to doctoral study and academic careers.

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The last 20 years have been a period of transition for Japan. The abrupt end in the early 1990s of Japan’s seemingly unstoppable economic growth plunged the nation into two decades of recession, which has in turn brought to the fore a range of social and political issues accumulated since the Second World War. Read more

The last 20 years have been a period of transition for Japan.

The abrupt end in the early 1990s of Japan’s seemingly unstoppable economic growth plunged the nation into two decades of recession, which has in turn brought to the fore a range of social and political issues accumulated since the Second World War.

The end of Japanese economic superiority also coincided with the end of the Cold War, an event that brought about new regional and global dynamics, and with them new security challenges.

Meanwhile, Japanese culture has experienced a renaissance, with Japan recognised worldwide as a centre of global ‘cool’, and Japanese cultural products continuing to find new markets and influence new demographics worldwide.

The overall picture is of a rapidly changing nation in the vanguard of post-industrial societies — fascinating not only for its rich traditional heritage and diversity, but also for what its recent experience can tell us about world trends.

Understanding such complexity requires an interdisciplinary approach, and we offer you the opportunity to explore Japanese history, international relations, politics, religion, and arts, and help you see the connections between them.

Using Japanese source materials in tandem with the extensive English language literature on Japan, we will help you build upon and develop your own interests, focus on the aspects of Japan that fascinate you, and support you as you carry out your own original research project.

By the end of the programme you will have acquired specialist skills and knowledge that mark you out as an expert on Japan, and the confidence to apply those skills in industry, academia or beyond.

Programme structure

The programme is taught through a combination of seminars and tutorials. You will take one compulsory and four option courses, as well as a compulsory research skills and methods course. After two semesters of taught courses you will conduct your own research for your dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • State, Society and National Identity in Japan after 1989
  • Research Skills and Methods

Option courses may include:

  • The Buddhist Brush: Discursive and Graphic Expressions of Japanese Buddhism
  • Contemporary Japanese Cinema
  • Japanese Performing Arts
  • Japanese Religions in the Modern Era
  • Japanese Cyberpunk
  • East Asian International Relations
  • The Role of Sub-State Actors in East Asian Politics
  • Radical Japan, culture, politics and protest in Japan's 'Long 1960's'

Learning outcomes

Students who follow the programme will:

  • develop critical awareness of at least two specific areas of Japanese Studies, both in terms of the indigenous literary and/or critical traditions and in comparison with Western critical thinking
  • acquire specialist knowledge of Japanese culture and awareness of the interaction of Japanese and other cultures in the contemporary context
  • use the bibliographic, internet and other relevant resources to advanced level
  • develop the ability to read and evaluate critically core texts in the specific areas studied

Those with previous experience in Japanese language learning will have the opportunity to develop the necessary linguistic skills to conduct research in defined areas within Japanese Studies by retrieving, selecting, translating and assimilating information from Japanese sources.

Career opportunities

The flexibility of focus this programme offers makes it an ideal foundation for advanced study, potentially leading to an academic career. Teaching or curatorship roles in cultural institutions are alternative career pathways

The transferable skills you gain in communication, project management and presentation will prove a valuable asset to employers in any field.



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The Archaeology MA is an intensive induction programme on current archaeological theory and interpretive trends which equips students to undertake research in their chosen field. Read more

The Archaeology MA is an intensive induction programme on current archaeological theory and interpretive trends which equips students to undertake research in their chosen field. The flexible programme of study serves as an excellent expansion of undergraduate studies or as a self-designed foundation for further postgraduate and professional work.

About this degree

The programme provides a wide-ranging introduction to archaeology as a comparative, anthropologically-informed, and socially situated discipline. Students develop critically aware perspectives on archaeological practice and research processes and gain an in-depth understanding of approaches to the collection, analysis and interpretation of archaeological data. The programme is extremely flexible, with a wide choice of options available allowing students to tailor the programme to their own interests.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

All students are required to take the following: 

  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
  • Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Current Issues

Optional modules

Students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 60 credits from an outstanding range of Master's programme options available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Some of the most popular choices include: 

  • Aegean Prehistory: major themes and current debates
  • Ancient Italy in the Mediterranean
  • Archaeologies of Modern Conflict
  • Archaeology of Buddhism
  • Archaeology and Education
  • Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from the Emergence of Modern Humans
  • Aztec Archaeology: Codices and Ethnohistory
  • Beyond Chiefdoms: Archaeologies of African political complexities
  • British and European Prehistory: Neolithic to Iron Age
  • Cities, States and Religions in Ancient India
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Interpreting Pottery
  • Key Topics in the Archaeology of the Americas
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Greek Art
  • Making and Meaning in Ancient Roman Art
  • Maya Art, Architecture and Archaeology
  • Medieval Archaeology: Select Topics and Current Problems
  • Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis
  • Society and Culture in Ancient Egypt
  • The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Near East: The Emergence of Villages and Urban Societies

Dissertation/report

All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words (90 credits).

Teaching and learning

The core modules are seminar based, and the sessions are interactive, with an emphasis on student participation and critical discussion. The optional modules are delivered through seminars, lectures, practicals, laboratory sessions, tutorials, and site and museum visits, as appropriate for specific modules. Assessment is through essays, oral examination and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Archaeology MA

Careers

Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to PhD studies while others have pursued an incredibly wide range of professional careers both within and beyond archaeology.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Project Manager, Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation
  • Freelance Archaeologist, Murray Archaeological Services
  • Sales Executive, Harper Collins
  • MPhil/PhD in Archaeology, UCL
  • Assistant, Museum of Nicosia

Employability

As the most general of the MA/MSc programmes, the experience and skills acquired depends on the optional modules selected, and how those skills are developed through assessed work, developing expertise in the archaeology of specific regions, periods or themes, or specific field, museum and analytical skills. All students acquire a detailed understanding of specific theoretical debates and the critical skills to evaluate existing arguments and interpretations and to develop their own research, develop a range of research skills, and design and carry through original research. Taught from a comparative anthropological perspective, understanding cultural differences, in the past and present, is fundamental.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and one of the most highly regarded centres for archaeology, archaeological science, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain, highlighted by its leading position in university assessments and National Student Survey results. It is one of the very few departments in the world undertaking research on a truly global scale. Its degrees offer an unrivalled variety of modules. The institute hosts events on many different aspects of archaeology and is linked to heritage organisations, museums and archaeological societies, providing an outstanding research environment for students.

It is truly international in outlook and membership, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the world.

UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. UCL's own museums and collections constitute a resource of international importance for research.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology

73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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Research profile. Edinburgh has one of the largest concentrations of South Asianists in the UK, constituting a wide range of expertise. Read more

Research profile

Edinburgh has one of the largest concentrations of South Asianists in the UK, constituting a wide range of expertise.

Examples of our recent research include the study of:

  • social, historical and anthropological aspects of Joint Forest Management Agreements in India
  • socio-historical research on the Indian Uprising of 1857
  • sociological and human geographical aspects of secondary schooling in north India
  • sociological and anthropological aspects of pharmaceuticals in India and Nepal
  • federalism and ethnic conflict management in South Asia

Other cross-disciplinary areas where students are particularly welcome include:

  • the historical and contemporary study of religion (Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism) and South Asian societies
  • gender, family and population
  • nationalism and caste
  • the media
  • the South Asian diaspora
  • contemporary politics and identity
  • territorial politics (federalism, regionalism)
  • India as a global emerging power

Training and support

The MSc by Research in South Asian Studies offers core research skills and conceptual grounding for a research career or further study.

The PhD and MPhil programmes combine work on an individual thesis project with systematic training in research skills.

The Centre for South Asian Studies hosts a weekly research seminar as well as regular workshops and conferences.

Facilities

The University’s Main Library has many manuscripts in oriental languages originating from the countries of the Middle East and South Asia.

You will also have access to rich library and archive resources across the University including divinity and Celtic and Scottish studies, as well as the National Library of Scotland (holding the papers of several Viceroys of India) and the Scottish National Record Office.

Scholarships and funding

Find out more about scholarships and funding opportunities:



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First taught at Edinburgh in 1976, Japanese has developed to encompass a thriving postgraduate research programme. Covering a wide spectrum of interests, it also allows for joint supervision, should your research goals be interdisciplinary. Read more

First taught at Edinburgh in 1976, Japanese has developed to encompass a thriving postgraduate research programme. Covering a wide spectrum of interests, it also allows for joint supervision, should your research goals be interdisciplinary.

Postgraduate researchers can choose from array of topics covering Japanese history, politics and the performing and literary arts. These include:

  • Japanese performing arts, both traditional (especially Japanese drama of the Tokugawa period) and contemporary
  • Japanese/Chinese relations
  • media and politics
  • the history of Japanese religion (especially Zhenyan or Shingon Buddhism)
  • the Meiji period
  • traditional and modern Japanese literature

Training and support

Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to liaise closely with the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh, the Japan Society and the Japan Foundation, each of which can offer a variety of events and resources.

Facilities

As well as the comprehensive collections of the University, we can offer a specialised collection of journals and reference works. Additional research resources are available at the nearby Edinburgh Central Library and National Library of Scotland. You will also be involved in a programme of regular seminars and workshops, as well as tuition in subject-appropriate skills where necessary.



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This cross-disciplinary programme allows you to pursue and develop your interests in philosophy and religious studies, and to focus on the interface between the two. Read more

This cross-disciplinary programme allows you to pursue and develop your interests in philosophy and religious studies, and to focus on the interface between the two. It builds on core modules, which introduce you to central disciplinary skills and knowledge, with choice from a wide range of optional modules across both disciplines. You will take five taught modules, each assessed by a 5,000 word essay. The programme culminates in the writing of a 20,000-word dissertation, on a topic that brings the two disciplines together.

The advanced research skills, developed through the programme, are relevant to a range of professions. Equally, if you intend to go on to a PhD, this programme provides an opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the two disciplines.

Course Structure

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Core

Optional

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.

Assessment

Coursework and dissertation.



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This unique multidisciplinary programme is designed to allow you to undertake sustained and focused study across the disciplines of Politics, Philosophy and Religion. Read more

This unique multidisciplinary programme is designed to allow you to undertake sustained and focused study across the disciplines of Politics, Philosophy and Religion. It particularly encourages you to explore the interface between these related areas, and allows for the selection of optional modules across the whole Department.

In addition to core and optional modules, a 20,000 word dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake an extended project which focuses upon one or a number of dimensions relating to the interface of politics, philosophy and religion.

The programme prepares you for a range of careers from working in non-governmental organisations, business, government, to think tanks. It also provides a firm foundation for those looking to pursue academic careers.

Course Structure

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Core

Optional

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.



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Pg Cert. This programme aims to provide you with a secure knowledge of the major theories, concepts and issues relating to Religion in a variety of intellectual traditions and historical and contemporary contexts. Read more

Pg Cert

This programme aims to provide you with a secure knowledge of the major theories, concepts and issues relating to Religion in a variety of intellectual traditions and historical and contemporary contexts. You will gain a systematic understanding of a range of debates and discussions raised by past and present religious belief and practice. In addition, the PgCert will equip you with the necessary skills appropriate to evaluating, analysing and interpreting both academic and practitioner approaches to Religion.

In addition to the core module of Studying Religion you will choose two optional modules from the range available in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion.

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Core

Optional

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.

Pg Cert (distance learning)

The programme, delivered entirely online, aims to provide you with a secure knowledge of the major theories, concepts, issues and practices relating to Religious Studies. You will gain a systematic understanding of a number of ways in which the scholarship of religion frames and analyses religious belief and practice in the modern world. In addition the PgCert will also allow you to gain a firm grasp of the necessary skills appropriate to evaluating, analysing and interpreting the concrete contexts of contemporary religious belief and practice.

The programme comprises three modules, two compulsory and one taken from the suite of religion modules specifically designed for distance learning delivery.

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Core

Optional

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.

MA

This is a broad MA programme for anyone interested in the academic discipline of Religious Studies. It is designed to introduce you to key theoretical and methodological issues in the study of religion from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

The programme explores key topics such as the social and cultural transformations of contemporary religion and spirituality; religion and conflict; religion and popular culture; modern religious thought and history; new religious movements; and religion and gender. In addition, the programme provides you with an opportunity to explore the history, texts and contemporary contexts of specific religious traditions.

The advanced research skills, developed through the programme, are relevant to a range of professions. Equally, it also provides a firm foundation for those looking to pursue academic careers.

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Core

Optional

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.



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This programme is designed to encourage you to consider the practical processes, ideological dynamics and theoretical dimensions involved in the interface of diplomacy/foreign policy and religion. Read more

This programme is designed to encourage you to consider the practical processes, ideological dynamics and theoretical dimensions involved in the interface of diplomacy/foreign policy and religion. You will develop analytical skills in the field of religious studies and international relations and be encouraged to engage in cross-disciplinary research, notably with the MA dissertation.

The programme is especially relevant if you are thinking about or currently working in diplomacy, international NGOs, and international policy and politics. Core modules are supported by selected Politics modules. You will take five taught modules each assessed by a 5,000 word essay.

Distinguished practitioners with experience in the field contribute to elements of the programme. We may organise student trips, for example to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

Course Structure

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Core

Optional

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.



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