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Religion and Public Life

Course Description

Religion and faith are major influences on social, cultural and political life around the world. This interdisciplinary MA draws on a range of perspectives to study the public roles of religious communities and individuals.

You’ll think about theological and philosophical responses to issues in the public sphere, the place of religion in public policy on issues such as discrimination and multiculturalism, and the bonds that tie individuals to their communities. Using approaches from sociology, religious studies, theology, history, anthropology and philosophy among others, you’ll also learn about the research process.

Core modules will introduce you to key issues and approaches, and you’ll choose from optional modules to explore topics that suit your interests such as religion and gender, Muslims and multiculturalism, or remembering the Holocaust. Guided by experts in an active research environment, you’ll gain an insight into the significance of religion in the public sphere.

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

Course Content

In your first semester you’ll take a core module that develops your understanding of the research process, equipping you with a range of skills from different disciplines. You’ll learn about interviewing and other forms of fieldwork as well as working with legal and historical documents, the use of theory and ethics among others.

A second core module in the following semester will build your knowledge of the role of religion in public life, focusing on issues such as the meaning of secular and post-secular society, tolerance and religious freedom, multiculturalism and globalisation. By the end of the year, you’ll be able to showcase the knowledge and skills you’ve gained with your dissertation – an independently researched project on a topic of your choice – and you can even choose to extend your dissertation to go into greater depth.

You’ll also have the chance to select from a range of optional modules. These will allow you to specialise in topics that suit your interests, from religion and global development to Islam in the modern world. You’ll take two optional modules if you do the standard dissertation, or you can swap one for the extended dissertation.

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

Visit the Religion and Public Life page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

(Student Profile)

SueAnn Johnson

MA in Religion and Public Life

Campaign worker for the Democratic Party during US Presidential elections.
"It's been exciting to meet many of the candidates personally and to be able to ask them directly about the issues I feel are important. I am loving being involved in grass roots politics".

(Student Profile)

Chloe Morland

MA Religion and Public Life

Relationship Management for the Bible Society, working on a fundraising programme.

"It's great to be working in an area which is directly related to my Masters and with others who are just as interested as I am in the subject matter".

(Student Profile)

Caroline Starkey

"I thoroughly enjoyed my MA in Religion and Public Life at Leeds. Although I was working full-time, the Department were very supportive, friendly and helpful and the course has opened so many doors for me".

(Student Profile)

Jasjit Singh

MA Religion and Public Life
PhD ongoing

"Since joining the Theology and Religious Studies department at Leeds, I have completed an MA with distinction, have delivered papers at conferences, published book reviews in journals and am now undertaking a fully-funded PhD. Come to Leeds, you won't regret it"!

(Student Profile)

Amy Russell

BA Theology and Religious Studies and English literature
MA Religion and Public Life
PhD ongoing

"The past year has been one of the busiest and most demanding ones of my life, but it has also been one of the most enjoyable. It feels like I've finally found where I'm meant to be".


Entry Requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in an appropriate humanities or social science discipline. IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.

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Recipient: University of Leeds

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