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Our MA in Religion provides core training in the methodologies of the study of religion while encouraging wider interdisciplinary work. You spend a term studying at our Paris centre where you gain insight into the influence of religion in a European context.

The programme is primarily for students who wish to pursue further postgraduate research or research in other contexts. It offers an overview of key theoretical debates in the study of religion, as well as methodological issues and approaches for conducting fieldwork. Your knowledge is enhanced and shaped through the independence that is gained by living abroad for a period of time.

A cross-cultural, interdisciplinary programme, you spend your first term at our Canterbury campus with full access to its excellent academic and recreational facilities. In the spring term, you relocate to the Paris School of Arts and Culture where you study at the Columbia Global Center (known as Reid Hall) in a historic corner of Montparnasse. We offer advice and support to help you relocate to Paris; you visit Paris in the autumn term, where you meet our Paris staff and are taken on a tour of the city.

The interdisciplinary nature of the Paris School of Arts and Culture means you can choose modules from outside your subject area, broadening your view of your subject. As part of our international community of students and staff, you can take part in regular seminars and talks, write for the student-run literary magazine or help to organise our annual student conference.

About the Department of Religious Studies

Collectively, the staff in the Department of Religious Studies at Kent cover all the current methodologies and theoretical approaches (from empirical research to psychology of religion, and to continental philosophy and history of ideas). As well as offering expertise in all the major world religions, we are widely recognised for leading work at the fringes of the category of religion, as well as for work on the invention of the category of ‘religion’. Among the many options of Religion and covered in the department are: religion and media, religion and politics, religion and comparative literatures, and religion and society. See the staff research tab for further details.

The Department supports cross-disciplinary work and students are encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of postgraduate classes and seminars that are available within the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL) and across the University as a whole.

Course Structure

You complete two core modules (one in the Autumn; one in the Spring), both attracting 30 credits. You can also select two 30-credit option modules that will help you to further develop your specific interests. Assessment is by coursework on the taught modules and the dissertation.

Compulsory modules:

  • Religion and Modern European Thought
  • The Study of Religion

You are also able to select optional modules that will help you to develop your specific interests. As demand for doctoral research funding becomes increasingly competitive, you also receive guidance on seeking funding and writing research proposals, as well as the opportunity to refine ideas for a research project through the taught modules and dissertation.

Research areas

Research areas undertaken in the Department of Religious Studies include:

Religion, the sacred and contemporary society

This includes the study of the role of religious NGOs in global civil society, the cultural sociological study of the sacred (including humanitarianism and nationalism), the relationship between religion and late capitalism, and religious engagements with pluralist, secular societies

Religion, media and culture

The Department of Religious Studies has particular expertise in the study of religion and film, including the religious significance of film as a medium and the critical theological analysis of film texts. Other work explores different forms of the mediation of religion, the material and aesthetic dimensions of religious life, and the significance of news media for the circulation of sacred meanings.

Theory and method in the study of religion

In addition to engaging with current debates about the nature of religious experience and the broader understanding of religion and the sacred, the Department has expertise in a range of theoretical writers and debates within continental philosophy, cultural, critical and social theory, and psychological theory. Research supported within the Department utilises a range of approaches including theoretical research, textual analysis, analysis of visual and material culture, historical research and ethnography.

Understanding Unbelief

Understanding Unbelief is a major new research programme aiming to advance the scientific understanding of atheism and other forms of so-called ‘unbelief’ around the world. Its central research questions concern the nature and diversity of ‘unbelief’.

Careers

A postgraduate qualification from the University of Kent opens up a wealth of career opportunities by providing an impressive portfolio of skills and specialist knowledge.

The interdisciplinary nature of Religion means that you can specialise while also being well-prepared for the modern University job market, where versatility and interdisciplinary is increasingly the norm. The University’s aim of ensuring that our students acquire discipline-specific and transferable skills through the curriculum is at the heart of this new MA programme. 

At Kent, we are committed to enhancing the employability of all our students, equipping you with the right skills to successfully enter the competitive world of work. By living overseas, and studying at our Paris centre, you are showing employers that you are independently minded, ambitious and confident; combining these attributes with the transferable skills we help you to develop throughout your studies makes you very attractive to future employers.


Visit the Religion - MA (Canterbury & Paris) page on the University of Kent website for more details!

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