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Masters Degrees (Religious Studies)

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Looking to build upon your Bachelor's degree in Theology or Religious Studies? Or perhaps you are engaged in pastoral work and seeking to deepen your theoretical insights? Where better than at KU Leuven, where theology has been taught and practised for nearly 600 years? KU Leuven's Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has always acted as a think tank within the Catholic community. Read more

Looking to build upon your Bachelor's degree in Theology or Religious Studies? Or perhaps you are engaged in pastoral work and seeking to deepen your theoretical insights? Where better than at KU Leuven, where theology has been taught and practised for nearly 600 years? KU Leuven's Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has always acted as a think tank within the Catholic community. We offer a history of critical dialogue conversant with tradition, but situated in the present and yet ever conscious of the future - why not make this openness your own? Leuven's famed theology professors will put you in a great position to determine your own future, whether it is in pastoral work, at NGOs throughout the world, in the media, or in politics. The choices are endless. But with Leuven's MA in Theology and Religious Studies, they become meaningful.

What is the Master of Theology and Religious Studies all about?

The goal of this Master's programme is to expand and deepen students' initial education in Theology and Religious Studies, whether obtained at KU Leuven or elsewhere. It prepares students to engage in independent research in the various domains of Theology and Religious Studies and equips them to function as experts in Church and society.

The curriculum has a twofold focus.

  • On the one hand, students are given the opportunity to specialise and write a Master's thesis in one of the faculty's six research disciplines or majors: biblical studies, systematic theology, theological ethics, history of Church and theology, pastoral theology, and religious studies.
  • On the other hand, the curriculum continues to offer a general orientation towards the interdisciplinary academic investigation of the Christian faith tradition in a multi-cultural and multi-religious social context.

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Structure

The Bachelor programme offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies endeavours to make a contribution to the overall formation and development of the students and to prepare them to engage in independent theological and interdisciplinary reflection on the Catholic faith tradition. At the same time, the programme also intends to stimulate interest in the mutual relationships between the various Christian churches and between Christianity and the other world religions.

Faculty

The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has built a rich history and tradition ever since its founding in 1432. The Faculty focuses on training students and researchers in scientifically-based, and methodological reflection and application, where theology and religious studies mutually enrich one another. All of the Faculty’s programmes are taught in both Dutch and English and are open to students of every nationality. The Faculty currently has students from more than sixty countries and thus from virtually every part of the globe.

Objectives

The Theology and Religious Studies curriculum is aimed at the interdisciplinary and scientific study of the Catholic faith tradition in the context of a multicultural and multi-religious society and world. The full curriculum (comprising a Bachelor, a Master and an Advanced Master programme) aims at promoting academic excellence leading up to an increasing personal academic contribution and to a growing commitment with regard to theology and religion in society. Academic formation intended to prepare men and women to judge and act maturely in matters related to theology and religious studies ought not only to pass on the broad lines of the tradition of research in these domains, but also to develop the capacity to analyse closely the context in which theology and religion are set, and to focus in depth on developments in the various fields of study that contribute thereto. It is for this reason that the teaching programmes offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies endeavour to make a contribution to the overall formation and development of the students and to prepare them to engage in independent theological and interdisciplinary reflection on the Catholic faith tradition. At the same time, the programmes also intend to stimulate interest in the mutual relationships between the various Christian churches and between Christianity and the other world religions.

The Master's in Theology and Religious Studies is aimed at the further elaboration of the formation acquired in the Bachelor's Programme with a view to (a) preparing students for increasingly independent research in the domains of theology and religious studies and (b) equipping students to participate as responsible experts in both church and society. The study curriculum thus comprises of a double focus: on the one hand students are given the opportunity to specialise in one of the six research disciplines available in the faculty while on the other the curriculum continues to offer a more general, interdisciplinary academic formation whereby students are enabled to study the Catholic faith tradition as a whole in the context of a multicultural and multi-religious society. The faculty's programmes in English place additional emphasis on the international character of theological research and on the international context of religion and theology. Students are consciously encouraged to familiarise themselves with the diverse cultural backgrounds of their fellow students thus facilitating and augmenting their theological endeavours at a variety of levels. Research and engagement thereby acquire an international dimension.

Career perspectives

Degrees in Theology and Religious Studies prepare students for a variety of careers, including secondary and higher education, publishing, the media, academic research and the various domains of pastoral care.

Graduates who wish to engage in further specialisation, can continue their study career by enrolling for the Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies.



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The political and social dimensions of religions are at the heart of this innovative programme, which explores the role of religions and theology in global development. Read more

The political and social dimensions of religions are at the heart of this innovative programme, which explores the role of religions and theology in global development. You’ll consider religion as a resource, obstacle and participant in development, exploring the relationships between religions, aid agencies and local communities.

You’ll develop your understanding of both development and religious studies, as core modules introduce you to theories and issues in development and how they relate to developing countries across the Global South. In addition, you’ll choose from optional modules in each area, allowing you to specialise in topics such as the links between conflict or gender and development, or the role of religion in public life.

Drawing on sociological, historical, anthropological and political approaches, this diverse degree will equip you with the skills and knowledge to research the relationship between religions and development in a stimulating environment.

This programme is also available to study part-time over 24 months.

Course content

This course is taught jointly by Theology and Religious Studies and the Centre for Global Development.

Across the year you’ll study a core module introducing you to theories and approaches in development studies, and how social, economic and political inequalities lay at the heart of development. In Semester Two another core module will focus on the complex relationships between religions and global development – the views of different religious traditions towards issues such as poverty, gender and welfare, and the roles they can play in development.

At the same time you’ll be thinking about your dissertation: an independent research project on a topic of your choice which allows you to demonstrate the skills and subject knowledge that you gain. You can choose to extend your dissertation if you want to go into even greater depth. You’ll submit the finished dissertation by the end of the programme in August.

You’ll also have other opportunities to specialise, as you choose from optional modules to focus on topics that suit your interests or career plans. In development studies, you’ll select from modules on topics such as democracy and development, or Africa in the modern world. If you opt for the standard dissertation, you’ll choose another module from religious studies.

If you decide to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

There are three compulsory modules throughout the programme including the Dissertation (60 credits). You’ll then choose an optional module, or if you select the Extended Dissertation (90 credits) you’ll take a single optional module.

  • Global Inequalities and Development 30 credits
  • Religions and Global Development 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Unfinished Business: Trauma, Cultural Memory and the Holocaust 30 credits
  • Modernity and the Jews 30 credits
  • Africa in the Contemporary World 30 credits
  • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance 30 credits
  • Democracy and Development 30 credits
  • Gender, Globalisation and Development 30 credits
  • Development Management Techniques 15 credits
  • Research Methodology for Development 15 credits
  • Contemporary Issues in Religion and Gender 30 credits
  • Muslims, Multiculturalism and the State 30 credits
  • Religion and Society: Research Process and Methods 30 credits
  • Religion, Politics and the Future: From Apocalypse to Utopia 30 credits
  • Religion, Society and Public Life 30 credits
  • Research Project (Theology and Religious Studies) 30 credits
  • Special Options in Theology and Religious Studies 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Religious Studies and Global Development MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Religious Studies and Global Development MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Most of our taught modules use a combination of lectures and seminars, which allow you to discuss the issues arising from your lectures and reading. Independent study is also an important element of this programme, as it allows you to develop your skills and gives you space to form your own ideas.

Assessment

We also use a range of assessment methods. These usually include essays, but some modules may involve project reports and presentations. Modules taught by other Schools within the University may also use different methods.

Career opportunities

This programme will equip you with diverse and in-depth subject knowledge, as well as strong political and cultural awareness. These are all valuable in a wide range of careers – and you’ll also have advanced skills in areas such as analysis and interpretation, oral and written communication, and different types of research.

Graduates pursue careers in a variety of sectors where they can use their knowledge of development and religion, as well as a variety of other fields. These include the charity sector, NGOs, education, local government, civil service and policy work, business and legal services, the media and social work. Many also continue their studies at PhD level, and even pursue academic careers after this.

We offer plenty of support to boost your employability, including an impressive array of research training offered by the School, the University Library and the Leeds Humanities Research Institute. The School also has a dedicated postgraduate employment advisor who can offer tailored careers advice.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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This flexible programme will give you a sophisticated understanding of theories and methods at the forefront of Theology and Religious Studies. Read more

This flexible programme will give you a sophisticated understanding of theories and methods at the forefront of Theology and Religious Studies. You’ll study diverse religious traditions in the UK and beyond, as well as their impact on the world around us.

Core modules explore the relationship between religion, theology and the public sphere in areas such as human rights, wealth and wealth creation, terrorism and social justice. You’ll also gain an understanding of research methods in the humanities and social sciences.

Then you’ll select from optional modules focusing on topics that suit your interests such as philosophy of religion, the links between religion and global development or gender, multiculturalism and more.

With the support of leading researchers, including those working in our Centre for Philosophy of Religion and Centre for Religion and Public Life, you’ll develop a wide range of skills while exploring a subject that is vital for understanding the world we live in.

You’ll find plenty of resources at Leeds to inspire and inform your studies. The Special Collections housed in our world-class Brotherton Library include extensive collections of archive and early printed material, including hundreds of theological works from the 17th century onwards.

We also hold the library of Ripon Cathedral and the archives of the Dean and Chapter, spanning from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century, as well as extensive archives relating to Quaker history. There are even a large number of early printed books and manuscripts connected with Jewish theology and history. All the major world religions are also fully represented in our excellent library resources.

This programme is also available to study part-time over 24 months. You can also study for a postgraduate certificate (PGCert) or diploma (PGDip) qualification, where you take fewer modules overall.

Course content

Your first semester will equip you with the knowledge and skills to study theology and religion. You’ll take core modules introducing you to research methods in the subject, using approaches from across the humanities and social sciences, as well as exploring the relationship between theology and public life. You’ll learn about political, urban, systematic and practical theologies among many others, focusing on issues such as racism, criminal justice and social cohesion.

This foundation will enable you to gain specialist knowledge in the areas that suit your interests. You’ll choose two optional modules from the range we offer, allowing you to focus on topics such as Muslims and multiculturalism, or philosophical approaches to spirituality.

During the programme you’ll acquire skills in research and interpretation and good social and cultural awareness. You’ll demonstrate this with your dissertation – an independent study on a research topic of your choice – which you’ll submit by the end of the programme in August. You can even go into greater depth if you swap one optional module for an extended dissertation.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

If you study for the PGCert or PGDip qualification, you’ll take fewer modules. You’ll also specialise in either theology or religious studies, depending on the modules you choose.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

There are three compulsory modules throughout the year including the Dissertation (60 credits). You’ll then choose two optional modules, or just one if you select the Extended Dissertation (90 credits).

  • Religion and Society: Research Process and Methods 30 credits
  • Theology and Public Life 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Philosophy and Spiritual Practice 30 credits
  • Sin, Public Discourse and Public Life 30 credits
  • Religions and Global Development 30 credits
  • Contemporary Issues in Religion and Gender 30 credits
  • Muslims, Multiculturalism and the State 30 credits
  • Religion, Politics and the Future: From Apocalypse to Utopia 30 credits
  • Religion, Society and Public Life 30 credits
  • Philosophy and the Spiritual Life: Contemporary Perspectives 30 credits
  • Special Options in Theology and Religious Studies 30 credits
  • Theology & Religious Studies: Extended Dissertation 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Theology and Religious Studies MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Theology and Religious Studies MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, seminars and tutorials where you can discuss the issues arising from your reading in greater depth. Independent study is also an important element of the programme, allowing you to develop your skills and pursue your own interests more closely.

Assessment

To help you gain and demonstrate a range of skills, you’ll be assessed using a range of different methods. These include essays and assignments as well as literature reviews, project reports and presentations.

Career opportunities

This programme will give you a range of in-depth subject knowledge, as well as valuable transferable skills in research, analysis, interpretation, communication and cultural awareness. All of these qualities are valuable in a wide range of careers.

Graduates pursue careers in a variety of sectors including the charity sector, NGOs, education, local government, civil service and policy work, business and legal services, the media and social work. Many also continue their studies at PhD level, and even pursue academic careers after this.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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Religion and culture form a challenging field of interdisciplinary study. This Research Master's offers you a thorough training in the sub disciplines of theology and religious studies. Read more
Religion and culture form a challenging field of interdisciplinary study. This Research Master's offers you a thorough training in the sub disciplines of theology and religious studies.

The programme is a mix of a compulsory foundation and an individual route in which you can specialize further in terms of both content and methodology. In the core modules, you learn to define your own position as a junior researcher. We offer you an unique approach to the study of religion. Pluralism, for example, is an important characteristic of all our research. In the study of the three monotheistic religions, considerable attention is paid to alternative movements. We research how religion is embedded in culture. The global and diachronic perspective of our research is also represented. It is important to conduct research not only from Western and modern perspectives, but also from other cultural and historical ones.

The individual route comprises three elements: electives , research traineeships, and writing a thesis and a research proposal. The electives are designed to equip you with in-depth knowledge of specialized subjects, together with subject-specific skills and methodological knowledge. The final specialization occurs in the Research Master's thesis, which forms the basis of a PhD thesis proposal or an application for research funding.

The programme is offered in English.

Degree: MA in Theology & Religious Studies (research)

Why in Groningen?

• The strongest theological and religious studies degree programme in the Netherlands
• Best Research Master's programme in the Humanities in The Netherlands
• Top 100 university
• Taught by leading experts with a world-class reputation
• A highly stimulating learning environment
• Students can follow their own research interests
• Focus on the dynamic relationships between religion, culture and society

Job perspectives

A degree in Theology and Religious Studies (research) provides a perfect background for:
- admission to PhD programmes at national and international institutes and universities;
- positions outside academia for which academic research skills are required;
- positions as civil servant, advisor or policymaker with local and national government;
- teaching positions.

Job examples

• PhD position
• Independent scholar
• Secondary education teacher
• Civil servant or policy advisor at national or local government
• Position in publishing

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Theology students today are faced with the momentous task of contributing to modern culture. This requires a thorough and interdisciplinary academic training. Read more

Theology students today are faced with the momentous task of contributing to modern culture. This requires a thorough and interdisciplinary academic training. With this in mind, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies insists on developing well-rounded and highly trained scholars with critical minds. The two-year Research Master equips students to function as experts in Church and society and prepares them for further research specifically oriented towards the Doctoral Programme in Theology. 

What is the Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religious Studies all about?

 The Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion offers you a broad perspective on what theology and religious studies are all about. After graduation, you will have obtained a broad yet profound theoretical foundation in the great European traditions of thought and you will be able to move with ease as a dialogue partner in diverse theological fields.

The (full-time or part-time) programme is offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies which ever since its founding in 1432 has built a rich history and tradition. Guided by our world-renowned faculty members, whose individual areas of expertise span the breadth and depth of theology, you will learn to give shape to your own independence, and transform it into a project with the potential to lead into doctoral studies. And rest assured: research at Leuven is second to none. Just ask Jansenius, Erasmus, or Louis Janssens – names from Leuven’s rich and ongoing history that spring to life in the Faculty’s peerless library, containing countless priceless volumes and ancient manuscripts. At Leuven, your research is sharpened by the newest digital tools, and bolstered by subscriptions to a rich variety of international journals, ranging from the mainstream to the cutting edge of today’s theology. The Faculty also confers on qualified students the degrees of Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (S.T.B.) and Licentiatus (S.T.L.) in combination with the Research Master.

This is an Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Structure

The 120-credits programme comprises the following:

  • Courses (60 credits): you take six courses of the truncus communis (24 credits), one inter disciplinary course (4 credits), three courses from three different majors outside your specialization major (12 credits), and five electives (20 credits).
  • A research master's thesis (32 credits): you will have two years to write a thesis in which you present the results of your study of an original research topic. The thesis must provide a structured and coherent survey of the issue while including an evaluation of research already undertaken and demonstrating evidence of an awareness of problems related to the topic.
  • major (28 credits): you take seven major courses (28 credits). The major can be selected from the research areas on offer at the faculty: Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology and the Study of Religions, Theological and Comparative Ethics, History of Church and Theology, Pastoral and Empirical Theology. 

International experience

The research master’s programme attracts students from all over the world, which adds a valuable intercultural element to your experience. The Faculty currently has students from more than sixty countries and thus from virtually every part of the globe. We also encourage students to participate in exchange programmes that allow them to spend a semester abroad. The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has 68 agreements in 23 different countries within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. All of the Faculty’s programmes are taught in both Dutch and English. 

Faculty

The programme is offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, which from its founding in 1432 has built a rich history and tradition. The Faculty focuses on training students and researchers in scientifically-based, and methodological reflection and application, where theology and religious studies mutually enrich one another. All of the Faculty’s programmes are taught in both Dutch and English and are open to students of every nationality. The Faculty currently has students from more than sixty countries and thus from virtually every part of the globe.

Objectives

Final attainment levels with respect to the Programme of Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion as a whole:

The graduate has acquired

1.  a general familiarity with theology and religious studies;

2.  specialization in a particular discipline with a view to the provision of a constructive contribution to the study of theology;

3.  thorough acquaintance with the sources, problems and methods characteristic of one's own major and area of specialization;

4.  the ability to apply both the knowledge acquired as well as the methods relevant to one's particular discipline in a manner which contributes to the reflection of the faithful within the Church;

5.  insight into the relationship between the study of theological and social-religious issues and the actual social context which is characterized by religious and ethical plurality and a multiplicity of fundamental life options;

6.  the ability to conduct independent theological research, as well as to pass on the acquired attitudes, methods and knowledge;

7.  an openness to interdisciplinary inquiries and the ability to contribute and engage in interdisciplinary research from within one's own area of specialization;

8.  the ability to set up a theological or religious studies project: the formulation of a relevant research issue and the development of a method of argumentation pertaining to the formulated problematic;

9.  the ability to complete a project-oriented research thesis;

10.  the ability to comprehensively present one's research results;

11.  the ability to write a theological or religious studies article in an academically appropriate manner.

Career prospects

The research master’s programme prepares you for admission to the Doctoral Programme in Theology, but also for a variety of careers in sectors including secondary and higher educationbusinesspublishingacademia, the media, the socio-cultural sector, and the various domains of pastoral care.



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Supervision in Theology can be offered in areas such as Biblical studies; Patristics; Church History; History and Interpretation of Christian doctrine; Systematics/Constructive Theology; Modern Theology and Philosophy, Theology and Sexuality; Theology and Theatre/Performance Studies, Political Theology and Black Theology. Read more
Supervision in Theology can be offered in areas such as Biblical studies; Patristics; Church History; History and Interpretation of Christian doctrine; Systematics/Constructive Theology; Modern Theology and Philosophy, Theology and Sexuality; Theology and Theatre/Performance Studies, Political Theology and Black Theology.

Supervision in Religious Studies can be offered in areas such as Comparative Religious Studies; Jewish Studies; Jewish-Christian dialogue; Hindu Studies; Buddhist Studies; Tibetan Studies; Religion and Visual Culture; Religion and Literature; Philosophy of Religion; Religion and Social Theory; Religion, Gender and Sexuality; Religion and Postmodernity.

Visit the website: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/courses/postgraduate/theology-and-religious-studies-by-research.aspx

Course detail

You should discuss your initial ideas for a MA by research topic with a suitable supervisor from the programme team in the area of your study. If you are unsure, please contact Dr Maria Diemling, the Subject Lead in Theology and Religion, Philosophy and Ethics, who will be able to advise you whom to contact.

Your research topic may develop from a recent undergraduate encounter with a particular aspect of Theology or Religion, Philosophy and Ethics or you may be returning to education looking for a structured environment in which to formally pursue an established passion.

Please note that while students can build up on their BA research dissertation, they will not be allowed to submit identical material again under the current QAA policies.

Suitability

Are you fascinated by religions and their role in shaping our diverse, globalised, and multicultural world? Are you drawn to thinking about God, or relish the prospect of understanding how people of faith have instilled life with religious meaning? Are you concerned about questions of ethics, society, and justice in modern life? Do you value open-minded, independent and critical thinking? If so, you will enjoy studying the Theology and Religious Studies MA by Research.

Format

The teaching team at Canterbury Christ Church provide an excellent student experience in Theology and Religious Studies. They are passionate about their subject, and encourage students to share their enthusiasm and excitement. Drawing on academic expertise in major areas of Judaism and Christian Theology, as well as Indian and Chinese Philosophies, the team can offer supervision in an exciting and broad range of topics, including studies in world religions, the history and interpretation of religious thought, and the study of critical challenges in the contemporary world.

Assessment

Students will write a research thesis on their chosen topic. For an MA by Research students will need to demonstrate critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at the forefront of their own academic discipline.

The length of the Masters by Research thesis excluding bibliography and appendices, but including footnotes, is 25,000-30,000 words.

The MA by research will be assessed by dissertation. The examination will be done by an internal and an external examiner and might include a viva voce examination.

What can I do next?

This programme is a significant qualification in its own right but could also fast-track you, if you're successful, to MPhil and ultimately to PhD qualifications.

The research and writing skills you'll gain, together with the specialist disciplinary knowledge developed during the course, will enhance your employability and can provide an invaluable grounding for careers in teaching, media and journalism, publishing and marketing.

How to apply

For information on how to apply, please follow this link: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/how-to-apply/how-to-apply.aspx

Funding

-Masters Loans-

From 2016/17 government loans of up to £10,000 are available for postgraduate Masters study. The loans will be paid directly to students by the Student Loans Company and will be subject to both personal and course eligibility criteria.

For more information available here: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/funding-your-degree/funding-your-postgraduate-degree.aspx

-2017/18 Entry Financial Support-

Information on alternative funding sources is available here: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/funding-your-degree/2017-18-entry-financial-support.aspx

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This course is designed as a bridge from undergraduate to master’s study and may be used as a qualifying course for study at MA level. Read more

This course is designed as a bridge from undergraduate to master’s study and may be used as a qualifying course for study at MA level. It offers a flexible structure where you can select modules from Theology, Religion in the Contemporary World and Religion, Philosophy & Ethics. 

Key benefits 

  • Theology & Religious Studies is taught in the very centre of one of the world's most dynamic cities.
  • It is one of the largest and most wide-ranging departments of Theology & Religious Studies in the UK.
  • Unparallelled access to specialist libraries, including the Maughan Library at King's, and other religious and cultural resources in central London.
  • A supportive educational environment within a department that specialises in the three 'Abrahamic' faiths.

Description

If you would like to study theology and religious studies at a postgraduate level, but do not have the academic background required, our course is perfect for you. It is specifically designed to ease the transition between subjects and provide you with the necessary skills and background to take your study further. You will only need to attend one or two days a week.

Course purpose

For applicants of graduate or equivalent status in areas of study other than Theology & Religious Studies. The Graduate Diploma may be used as a qualifying course to enable study at MA level, as it is especially designed to ease the transition to Theology & Religious Studies from another subject.



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Research profile. Religious Studies or the Study of Religion/s is a vibrant research cluster, based in theoretically informed and comparative studies of religion. Read more

Research profile

Religious Studies or the Study of Religion/s is a vibrant research cluster, based in theoretically informed and comparative studies of religion.

You can specialise in a variety of areas which include contemporary and historical topics and fields such as Asian Studies, History of Religions/New Religions, and Jewish Studies.

You will be encouraged to frame your research using a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, from the classic to the cutting-edge. You will be able to draw on methodological expertise which includes biographical analysis, discourse analysis, ethnography, historical and textual studies, memory studies and narrative studies. The thematic interests of academic staff include ethnicity, gender, indigeneity, nationalism, textuality and the transnational.

You can find out more and identify a potential supervisor by looking at the School’s staff profiles, which give details of research interests and publications, and email addresses.

You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your research project before making a formal application.

At the School of Divinity you will join a community of around 150 research students, drawn from around the world, and from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds.

You will study in a stimulating environment. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 ranked the School’s research environment at 100% world-leading / internationally excellent, second in the UK on this front in theology and religion. This outstanding result reflects the vibrancy of the School’s research culture.

Masters by Research

If you have academic training in theology or religious studies (or another relevant subject), and would like to develop your interest with a focus on a particular area, the Masters by Research may interest you.

You can study full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). Your pattern of study can either be three supervised research essays followed by a 15,000 word dissertation, or a 30,000 word dissertation. Most students take the ‘research essays + shorter dissertation’ path. All students receive research training.

Training and support

The ethos of the Graduate School is to promote excellence in postgraduate study, within a stimulating and supportive environment. We value equality and diversity in the School community, and an academic culture that is both critical and constructive.

  • At the start of the academic year, you will be invited to Welcome Week, an intensive introduction to study and life in Edinburgh. Some events are especially for international students new to Scotland and the UK, but everything is open to all.
  • In the first weeks, the School provides a general orientation to research skills and to wider opportunities for training and support.
  • From your first days as a student, you will work one-to-one with your primary research supervisor.
  • Your progress will be tracked, through regular supervisions and milestone reviews, to ensure that you get the support you need to bring your project to fruition.
  • You will be part of the research seminar in Religious Studies, to which visiting speakers are invited and to which postgraduates present work-in-progress.
  • You will be able to follow taught courses that contribute to your interests and research needs, and can also take advantage of opportunities to learn ancient and modern languages.

A University review (2015) commended the Graduate School for providing excellent support: responsive to student feedback; proactive in helping new postgraduates to adjust to their studies and to life in Scotland; enthusiastic and practical in promoting career development. The postgraduate student committee works closely with the School to make the research student experience the best it can be.

Facilities

Resources for research are excellent. You can draw on the outstanding holdings of New College Library, the University of Edinburgh’s main library, and the nearby National Library of Scotland. New College Library has one of the largest theology collections in the UK, with more than a quarter of a million items and a large and rich manuscript collection. The University library exceeds 2.25 million volumes. The National Library of Scotland – a ‘legal deposit’ library like the British Library in London and the university libraries of Oxford and Cambridge – is just around the corner.

The School provides an extensive programme of weekly research seminars and special guest lectures. In addition, three research centres provide a special focus for activity: the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins; the Centre for Theology and Public Issues; the Centre for the Study of World Christianity.

You will have access to excellent study facilities, dedicated to postgraduates. PhD and MPhil students have access 24/7, and can request an allocated desk. Masters by Research students have shared study space. All areas have printing/scanning and computer facilities. The main postgraduate study wing has a kitchen. New College has an on-site cafe that is open during term-time.



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The University of Brighton is one of the UK's largest teacher training universities, rated ‘outstanding’ in our last Ofsted inspection. Read more
The University of Brighton is one of the UK's largest teacher training universities, rated ‘outstanding’ in our last Ofsted inspection.

This course leads to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for the 11–16 age range which enables you to teach in schools in England and Wales. The course also offers enrichment opportunities to teach the 16–18 age phase.

The programme is suitable if you have graduated with a good honours degree or equivalent, in the traditional areas of religious studies and theology, or associated disciplines such as anthropology, philosophy and sociology.

Studying with us, you will have access to excellent resources and gain practical experience in two of around 250 schools with whom we have partnerships. You will be mentored by a successful teaching team with an outstanding national reputation and comprehensive research profile that informs course content.

Religious education continues to occupy a lively, distinctive and often controversial place in education and we engage in this debate as part of the healthy growth of the subject. You will be required to work out your own answers and approaches to the exciting challenges in religious education in professional, reflective and practical ways as you take on the role of a religious education teacher.

Specialising in religious education at PGCE level means that you will be able to take a role in the leadership and development of this subject area throughout your career. Find out more about teaching RE and training bursaries:

http://www.teachre.co.uk/want-to-teach-re/

Course structure

Two-thirds of your year will be spent teaching, under supervision, in schools. Our tutors and mentors will advise and support you throughout each placement. You will receive comprehensive feedback during this time, enabling you to see where you are doing well and where you could improve.

The university works in partnership with schools and colleges to provide a high quality programme of support, ensuring a sound relationship between theory and practice. You will benefit from undertaking two placements in two schools or colleges, with the opportunity to visit additional schools or colleges as part of the 'Peer Observation' programme.

You will be encouraged to approach your teaching strategies creatively, to aid the progress of your students and your own skills as an RE teacher. You will learn and practice a variety of teaching approaches and innovative classroom practices on this programme.

Please visit the website to find out more about the course structure:

https://www.brighton.ac.uk/courses/study/secondary-religious-studies-pgce.aspx

Areas of study

A number of support systems are put in place before and during the course, to help students develop their subject knowledge in key curriculum areas. The subject knowledge required for Key Stages 3/4 includes the six major world faiths, religious philosophy and ethics, and secular philosophies and other religious traditions.

There are four strands to this course: subject study/subject education, education studies, school placements and professional development.

Course content is kept up to date with changes in local and national initiatives and legislation, so you will be confident that your working knowledge is based on current theory and practice.

The subject study/subject education strand builds upon your existing expertise in religious studies and provides you with the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of religious studies in the secondary school context. You will consider the learning and teaching strategies that are relevant to the specialist subject.

The subject education module is specifically related to teaching the specialist subject in school while the subject study module enables you to take your subject specialist studies to an increased depth. You can earn 20 masters-level credits through the assessment for the subject study module.

The education studies strand will give you a thorough understanding of the learning process itself, including an appreciation of individual differences. The study of the principles and practices of learning and teaching is through both school and university settings, allowing you to develop practical competences, supported by analytical skills. By the end of the course you will:

• refine your understanding of pedagogy, including an appreciation of current and emerging educational theories and debate
• understand how to use and adapt a range of teaching, learning, management and assessment strategies in order to meet the varying needs of learners
• understand how the progress and well-being of learners is affected by a range of influences and know how to take account of the principles of equality, inclusion and diversity.

Professional development is intrinsically linked to all key strands of the programme and is designed to enable you to evaluate critically and reflect upon your learning in order to make improvements. You will be expected to gather and justify evidence of your achievements on a regular basis and develop and implement improvement plans.

Students use an e-portfolio to record their achievements, and this is reviewed throughout the course. An action plan is used to support professional development during placements and makes up a significant part of the improvement planning process.

At the end of the course, the e-portfolio provides evidence that you have met the Teachers’ Standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status.

Placements

Ofsted identify our approach to training in schools as a key strength of this course, with an excellent balance between university tuition and school-based training.

You will spend a minimum of 120 days on school-based activities, with your training shared between the university and the partner school.

Your school-based training will include observing teachers, working with individual pupils and groups of pupils, team teaching and independent teaching. Your training will also entail completing specific subject tasks and developing your knowledge of school policy and effective practices.

You will maintain a professional training portfolio and be supported to review your work critically and analytically as well as to set appropriately challenging targets. We will also develop an action plan with you to identify strengths, development needs and actions, so that your practice is continually developing. Please visit the website for further details regarding the placements:

https://www.brighton.ac.uk/courses/study/secondary-religious-studies-pgce.aspx

School Direct

School Direct is an alternative route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and the University of Brighton is working with a number of schools to deliver this programme across a range of secondary subjects as well as in the primary phase.

To train as a teacher through the School Direct programme you need to apply directly to a school for a School Direct training place, with schools advertising their vacancies on the UCAS Teacher Training website. The University of Brighton supports School Direct through providing training and assessment opportunities at the request of participating schools. Please follow the link below to find out more about School Direct and view vacancies:

https://www.brighton.ac.uk/courses/study/School-Direct-Tuition-and-School-Direct-Salaried.aspx

Careers and employability

You will graduate from this course equipped with the skills and knowledge to become a confident and competent secondary school teacher.

As well as gaining a PGCE, you will be assessed against the national Teachers’ Standards in order to be recommended for the award of Qualified Teacher Status.

Most students gain employment in schools across the UK very soon after they have completed the course and achieved the teaching qualifications.

If you demonstrate a high level of understanding you may be eligible for masters-level credits.

If you are considering whether a career in teaching is for you, and you are a UK resident, the Department for Education’s School Experience Programme (SEP) offers 1 to 10 days’ classroom experience in a secondary school. For details,visit http://www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/school-experience.aspx.

The teachers we train are:

• highly committed to their pupils’ learning and ambitious in what they want to help them achieve
• inquisitive, critically reflective and motivated to keep learning and improving their own practice
• quick to adapt to different learning contexts and confident to challenge inequalities
• an asset to the profession, willing to share their knowledge and experience and to collaborate with others
• well-prepared for the realities of teaching, with the confidence, resilience and skills to be innovative, to take risks and be creative.

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The Advanced Diploma is a nine-month postgraduate qualification especially designed for those who already have a degree, but in a subject other than Theology and Religious Studies. Read more
The Advanced Diploma is a nine-month postgraduate qualification especially designed for those who already have a degree, but in a subject other than Theology and Religious Studies. Taking this course may be a first step to doing an M.Phil. or Ph.D. in Theology and/or Religious Studies in this or another university, but does not count towards such a degree.

Please note this course will be renamed to Advanced Diploma in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion with effect from 1 October 2017.

Candidates submit a dissertation of not more than 10,000 words and offer three or four papers selected from Papers A1, B1-B16, C1-C12 and D1-D2 of the Theology and Religious Studies Tripos (the Faculty's undergraduate degree). Candidates shall offer at least one paper from the set consisting of Papers C1-12 and D1-D2 (third year papers). Only one may be from Papers A1, B1 or C1 (language papers). No candidate shall offer more than one paper examined by an alternative form of assessment (ie by essay).

Visit the website: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/dvdvadtrs

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the Advanced Diploma students should have:

- made the transition from another discipline, usually in the humanities, and acquired a grounding in the key concepts and methods in the subject;
- acquired advanced understanding in up to four sub-disciplines of the subject;
- acquired detailed knowledge of a specific topic, either in a chosen sub-discipline, or of an interdisciplinary character, and of basic principles of scholarly research, through the writing of a dissertation;
- had the opportunity to acquire a basic or advanced proficiency in a scriptural language of a major religious tradition and in the interpretation of scriptural texts.

Format

Students attend the lectures and classes given for the Undergraduate students. Supervisions will be given for the papers and the dissertation.

Assessment

A dissertation of not more than 10,000 words. The examiners may at their discretion request an oral examination in any aspect of the work submitted by the candidate.

Candidates may choose one of the papers assessed under alternative means. Depending on the paper, such means may be either two essays of no more than 5,000 words each; or a portfolio of supervision essays.

Candidates must offer two papers assessed by three-hour written examination, as well as a third paper assessed either by three-hour examination or by alternative means (see above). In addition, candidates may offer a fourth supplementary paper assessed by three-hour examination.

Continuing

Must achieve at least 67% in the examinations.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please follow the link below.

General Funding Opportunities: http://www.2016.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

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This programme provides the opportunity to study a variety of religious traditions, in combination with advanced learning in the theory and method of the study of religion. Read more

This programme provides the opportunity to study a variety of religious traditions, in combination with advanced learning in the theory and method of the study of religion.

Religious beliefs, behaviours and institutions are powerful components in human societies. Understanding their motivations and structures can help the search for solutions to major challenges in the contemporary world.

This programme allows a deepening engagement with theory and method in religious studies, while encouraging in-depth study of one or more religious traditions. This combination of theoretical know-how with studies in specific traditions equips you to compare, interpret and explain religion in a cross-cultural perspective.

You can study Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Indian traditions, as well as indigenous religions of Africa, North America and East Asia, and new age and diasporic traditions. The programme also offers the opportunity to learn Sanskrit, Arabic or Persian (subject to availability) through our expertise in Asian Studies and in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Programme structure

This programme is run full-time over one year (or part-time over two years). You will be taught mainly in small classroom/seminar groups. You will be given training in research methods which offers a practical approach to postgraduate level skills of critical investigation and writing, and receive individual supervision for your 15,000 word dissertation.

Compulsory courses

Compulsory courses comprise Theory and Method in the Study of Religion; one further course from the options specific to this programme; and two courses in research methods.

Option courses

You will choose three options. At least one must be a course in religious studies, such as:

  • Contemporary Theories of Religion
  • Hindu Traditions: Critical Investigations
  • From Diatribe to Dialogue in Christian-Muslim Relations
  • New Age Spirituality in Contemporary Culture

The options on offer change from year to year, so please consult the Programme Director for advice on what will be available. With the agreement of your Programme Director, you may also choose options from other taught masters programmes, language courses, and advanced undergraduate courses.

Career opportunities

This programme is designed to provide a strong foundation for postgraduate research in the field or for employment in a range of areas requiring critical analysis and empathetic understanding.



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Our MA in Religious Studies allows you to specialise in one of two pathways. Asian Religions or Late Antiquity. Late Antiquity Pathway. Read more
Our MA in Religious Studies allows you to specialise in one of two pathways: Asian Religions or Late Antiquity.

Late Antiquity Pathway:

On this pathway you will discover the great religious and cultural transformations of Late Antiquity - the landmark period when contemporary world faiths emerged. This pathway draws on internationally-recognised expertise in Religion from Late Antiquity to the contemporary era, across a wide geographical area, and with sensitivity to issues in the public eye. Acquiring advanced theological, historical and linguistic skills, you will analyse major texts and artefacts of the period (200 - 800AD) to better understand the major world religions. Drawing on the concentration of expertise found in the Centre for Late Antique Religion and Culture, you will explore religions such as Paganism, Gnosticism and Zoroastrianism. A highlight is the availability of Arabic, Greek or Latin teaching for deeper understanding of original sources.

Asian Religions Pathway:

This pathway allows you to explore the religious literature and culture of South Asia or China in combination or isolation in this specialist programme. You will be rooted within the Centre for the History of Religion in Asia, with expertise ranging from Chinese Buddhism to the study of the ancient Indian religious tradition of Jainism. At the heart of the UK’s largest single concentration of Mahabharata scholars, you also have the rewarding option of gaining a firm grounding in the classical Indian language of Sanskrit if you wish.

Distinctive features

• Teaching by internationally renowned experts and informed by the latest research of our Centres for the History of Religion in Asia and Late Antique Religion and Culture.

• The opportunity to engage in postgraduate research culture, by participating in Research Centre activities

• Designed to be flexible to your interests.

Structure

This course can be completed in 1 year with full-time study or in 3 years with part-time study.

You will take a mixture of core and optional modules totalling 120 credits over two (full-time) or four (part-time) semesters.

On successful completion of the taught stage, you will progress to your dissertation (60 credits), researching and writing a dissertation (20,000 words) on a topic or theme of your choice in consultation with your academic supervisor.

Teaching

Classes are delivered via small student-focussed tutorials rather than formal lectures, and with individual interests and flexibility in mind.

As part of the programme, you will be encouraged to deliver presentations to your fellow MA students within our supportive community.

Assessment

Assessment is via written assignments of approximately 4,000 words, and language exams if you specialise in language study.

Career Prospects

This programme is essentially a research preparation programme. Graduates from this programme have successfully applied for funded places as PhD students. Beyond that, this programme also enhances the skills and knowledge base acquired through a first degree in Religious Studies. Previous graduates have therefore successfully embarked on careers in a range of employment, such as religious organisations, primary and secondary teaching, print and broadcasting media, and higher education administration and management.

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This course will enable you to explore the diversity of global religious and spiritual life; probe relationships between religion, spirituality, society, identity, ethics and popular culture; explore texts and traditions; consider the phenomenon of religion from a range of disciplinary perspectives; receive training in advanced research skills; and undertake field research. Read more
This course will enable you to explore the diversity of global religious and spiritual life; probe relationships between religion, spirituality, society, identity, ethics and popular culture; explore texts and traditions; consider the phenomenon of religion from a range of disciplinary perspectives; receive training in advanced research skills; and undertake field research.

Why Study Religious Studies with us?

Our course is ideal for anyone seeking to gain greater understanding of the impact of religion and spirituality in the contemporary world and at some key points in history, and to develop critical thinking skills. It is also ideal as a means of training for further doctoral studies in religion.

Professionals in both the private and public sectors engage in this Master’s course to increase their ‘religious literacy’ and to demonstrate to their employers the many transferable skills fostered by the study of religions. Teachers take the course to bolster their expertise in a range of religious traditions. Many students take this course simply because they consider studying the world’s religious beliefs, texts, histories and practices fascinating and relevant.

We will provide you with opportunities and training to undertake field research in religious communities, both abroad and in the UK.

What will I learn?

You will study two introductory core modules, which provide a foundation in key literature on theory and training in practical research methods and ethics. You may then select three specialist modules, covering many major traditions, as well as spirituality and popular culture; the contemporary religious and spiritual landscape; indigenous religions; and field research.

How will I be taught?

The course is available entirely through online distance learning or through a combination of face-to-face taught sessions, intensive residentials and online learning.

Full-time and part-time students should expect to devote 30 hours or 15 hours respectively per week to their studies. You will also have two to six contact hours per week.

How will I be assessed?

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 20,000 words.

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Why study at Roehampton. The MA draws on a variety of research centres, conferences and seminar series which include contributions from world-renowned academics, community organisers and civic leaders. Read more

Why study at Roehampton

  • The MA draws on a variety of research centres, conferences and seminar series which include contributions from world-renowned academics, community organisers and civic leaders.
  • It is delivered by an experienced subject team who consistently score well for excellence of teaching in the National Student Survey.
  • The course offers flexible teaching: the MA can be taken either full-time or part-time and teaching takes place in the evening, with the occasional weekend study day.
  • Roehampton is ranked best modern university in London (Complete University Guide 2018) and the most research-intensive modern university in the UK (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Course summary

As faiths of all kinds navigate their way through a period of great social change, it is more important than ever to possess an in-depth understanding of how faiths interact with each other and society. This MA creatively balances the close study of particular traditions with a broad understanding of the subject area. It is one of the few programmes in London that offers specialised teaching in Islam as well as several different aspects of Christian theology.

On this course, you can study a variety of religious traditions in relation to key topics such as social justice, gender, text and textual interpretation, and inter-religious dialogue and conflict. You will have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of particular religious themes, with a broad view of religious studies, and its diverse forms of interpretation and practice. This course will suit students who want to develop advanced skills in the study and analysis of a range of issues, rather than focus on one specialist subject.

A strength of the course is that it allows you to have a critical awareness of the relationship between different religions and modern secular society, with an informed and scholarly understanding of differences within as well as between religious traditions and cultures. From this,you will use advanced methods of research and critical analysis to explore the ways in which different religious perspectives contribute to contemporary debates about identity, politics and culture.

Drawing on London's rich resources for studying religions in their material, social and historical contexts, this course provides an enhanced learning environment and contributes to your wider cultural awareness and understanding. This is underpinned by a focus on advanced study and research skills, designed to equip you with a high level of proven academic competence and preparing you for careers and vocations that require this expertise. This might include educational institutions, NGOs and other organisations in which understanding of religious perspectives is an advantage.

Content

The MA in Theology and Religious Studies allows you to focus on a broad range of topics within the subject area, and study your particular interests in-depth.

On offer is specialised teaching in Hinduism and Islam as well as different aspects of Christian theology. You could study gender across these traditions, for example looking at women in Islam from feminist, reformist and traditionalist perspectives, or specifically looking at gender across religious texts and narratives. Or you could study contemporary doctrine, such as Pentecostalism in different parts of the world, or in Christian marriage and family life, also taking into account qualitative and quantitative data on marriage and family today, and the political and policy decisions that affect families.

As well as contemporary debates, you will look at historical issues, for example through the effect of Christian theology on art and culture throughout history. You will look at how depictions of nature and grace, suffering and redemption, and gender and incarnation, changed through the Reformation, and then how these new representations influenced modern art and philosophy.

The course also provides opportunity to investigate the relationship of religion and society through modules look at, for example, human rights and community engagement. You will gain an understanding of the historic and contemporary relationship between the Church and the State, as well as the nature of Christian activism in public policy and public discourse. 

Finally, you will write a dissertation on a topic of your choice, which can be informed by your study on the optional modules, or from an area of interest of your own.

Modules

  • Research Skills
  • Reading Seminar
  • Dissertation
  • Islam and Women
  • Human Rights: Religious Perspectives and Challenges
  • Contemporary Issues in Hinduism
  • Christian Doctrine Today
  • Christian Spirituality and Ministry Practice
  • Public Theology and Community Engagment

Career options

This course is especially beneficial for those hoping to: pursue a PhD or conducting specific research; work in faith-based organisations, social services or education; work in international aid, the charity sector and community organisations.

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This course will give you the opportunity to follow specific pathways in Philosophical Theology; Theology, Philosophy and Literature; or Biblical Interpretation and Theology. Read more
This course will give you the opportunity to follow specific pathways in Philosophical Theology; Theology, Philosophy and Literature; or Biblical Interpretation and Theology. Alternately, you may choose a General Pathway, which encourages you to understand and analyse aspects of biblical texts, Christian theology and religious studies at a significantly deeper level than in your undergraduate studies.

It is very suitable for RE teachers and Christian (or other) religious ministers who would like to upgrade or update their undergraduate studies.

It is also an ideal degree if you wish to pursue a one-year MA as preparation for a research degree (either MPhil or PhD), as suggested by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Key facts

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies has a long and distinguished history.
The RAE confirmed that Nottingham had retained its place in the top 10 elite theology departments across the UK: this reflects the high quality of publications which the staff have produced.
You will be part of a thriving postgraduate community that welcomes students from all over the world.

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