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Religious Studies and Global Development

Course Description

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 will 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 will 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 will 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 will 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 will submit the finished dissertation by the end of the programme in August.

You will 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 will study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Visit the Religious Studies and Global Development page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Nicki Saunders

MA Religious Studies and Development Studies

Internship for Actionaid International, based in Brussels, assisting with lobbying tours throughout Europe.

"It gave me a real insight into how the NGO sector really works. I really did enjoy doing my Masters at Leeds".


Entry Requirements

Bachelor degree with 2:1 (Hons) in religious studies, development studies or another humanities or social science subject. Other subjects will only be considered if you can show you have relevant experience, background or private study in the field of religion and/or development.

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