The MRes Cultural Astronomy and Astrology (CAA) is programme that is divided into a 60 credit taught part and a Dissertation of 120 credits amounting to up to 30,000 words in total. The taught element is done via distance-learning, through the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture and amounts to 3 taught modules chosen from the collection of modules on the programme, with a requirement that one of the choices be the Research Methods module (Researching Contemporary Cosmologies).
Since the programme is online there is no residency requirement and Students work from home.
Applicants who do not already have both a knowledge of the subject area and research skills at postgraduate level. Applicants without such a background should apply for the MA Cultural Astronomy and Astrology.
The MRes in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology is a unique course which deals with the ways in which human beings attribute meaning to the planets, stars and sky, and construct cosmologies which provide the basis for culture and society.
The course, quite simply, is unique. It is the only accredited university degree in the world to explore the human relationship with the sky through history and culture. We cover a wide range of material, from the ancient work to the present, and across cultures, and give students the chance to undertake individual research projects.
All our teaching staff are experts in their fields and either have PhDs or are undertaking doctoral research. Course material is on the web and we teach using webinars – live video-conferencing sessions, and all seminars are recorded.
Each module is assessed by 5000 words of written work or the equivalent. For example, some modules require one short essay of 1000 words and a longer, 4000-word essay, normally due in week 10 - 12. Assessment requirements, lengths and due dates can vary from module to module. The shorter essays may be a critical review of a piece of writing, or be picked from a choice of two titles. For the longer essays there is a wider choice of titles. In some modules, the title and subject is negotiated with the course tutor. Each is then returned with comments from either one or two tutors, and students are offered the chance to have a tutorial via Skype in order to discuss the comments.
Students then go on to write a 30,000 word dissertation based on a piece of independent research on a topic chosen by the student in discussion with the module tutor, and other appropriate members of staff. Each student is allocated a supervisor who can guide them through the research and writing process.
Most of our students study with us as an end in itself because they love the subject. Some go on to study for PhDs, either with us, or at other universities.
The relationship between all academic work and non-academic employment is always based on potential employers’ appreciation of the generic skills acquired in MA study. Typically, these include critical thinking, communication skills, time-management and the ability to take on and complete independent projects. The latter quality is particular prized by many employers. One graduate is teaching at undergraduate level while another, a school teacher, was awarded a promotion and pay rise on her graduation.