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Durham University, Full Time MA Degrees

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This is a specialist programme geared towards preparing you for higher research in ancient philosophy - partly through direct research training, and partly through modules taught by experts in their field in small-group seminars. Read more

This is a specialist programme geared towards preparing you for higher research in ancient philosophy - partly through direct research training, and partly through modules taught by experts in their field in small-group seminars. Durham has a longstanding tradition of international excellence in the field of ancient philosophy, with several recent doctoral students having gone on to take up academic positions in the UK and abroad. The programme lasts for one year full-time (two years part-time).

Course Structure

You will take modules to a total of 180 or 190 credits. The structure of the course is as follows:

  • Core research training module (30 credits)
  • Language module in an ancient or modern language relevant to research in the area of Classics (20-40 credits)
  • Core module in Ancient Philosophy (30 credits)
  • 15,000-word Dissertation (60 credits)
  • Optional modules (20-30 credits).

MA modules are 30 credits; you may substitute two 20-credit undergraduate modules for one MA module. You may also take up to 40 credits of modules offered by other Departments (subject to approval).

Not all modules will be offered every year, and new modules (both elective and core) are added regularly.

Core Modules

  • Classical Research Methods and Resources
  • Language module in an ancient or modern language relevant to research in the area of Classics
  • Core module in Ancient Philosophy (in 2016-17, options were Aristotle’s Systems or Plutarch the Philosopher)
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional modules are offered according to the current research interests of members of staff. In recent years, optional modules available in the Department have included:

  • Akkadian
  • Ancient Philosophers on Necessity, Fate and Free Will
  • Ancient Philosophers on Origins
  • Animals in Graeco-Roman Antiquity
  • Forms After Plato
  • Greek Text Seminar on Homeric Epic
  • Greek Sacred Regulations
  • Latin Love Elegy
  • Latin Text Seminar on Roman Epic
  • Life and Death on Roman Sarcophagi
  • Monumental Architecture of the Roman East
  • Religious Life in The Roman Near East
  • Rewriting Empire: Eusebius of Caesarea and the First Christian History
  • The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought
  • The Queen of the Desert: Rise and Decline of Palmyra’s Civilization
  • The Roman Republic: Debates and Approaches.

Course Learning and Teaching

The MA in Ancient Philosophy is principally conceived as a research training programme which aims to build on the skills in independent learning acquired in the course of the your first degree and enable you to undertake fully independent research at a higher level. Contact time with tutors for taught modules is typically a total of 5 hours per week (rising to 7 for someone beginning Latin or ancient Greek at this level), with an emphasis on small group teaching, and a structure that maximises the value of this time, and best encourages and focuses the your own independent study and preparation. On average, around 2 hours a week of other relevant academic contact (research seminars, dissertation supervision) is also available.

At the heart of the course is a module focused on the range of research methods and resources available to someone working in the field of Classics. This is run as a weekly class, with a mixture of lectures and student-led discussions. Three or four further elective modules deal with particular specialised subjects. You must choose one module involving work with a relevant foreign language (ancient or modern: beginners modules in each language and specialised text seminars for those who have already studied Greek and Latin are offered every year), and one dealing directly with research on ancient philosophy. All those offered will form part of the current research activity of the tutor taking the module. Numbers for each module are typically very small (often no more than five or six in a class). Typically, classes are two hours long and held fortnightly, and discussion is based on student presentations. (Modules for those beginning ancient Latin or Greek are typically more heavily subscribed, but their classes also meet more often: 3 hours per week.) All students write a 15,000-word dissertation, for which they receive an additional 5 hours of supervisory contact with an expert in their field of interest. 

All staff teaching on the MA are available for consultation by students, and advertise office hours when their presence can be guaranteed. The MA Director acts as academic adviser to MA students, and is available as an additional point of contact, especially for matters concerning academic progress. MA students are strongly encouraged to attend the Department’s two research seminar series. Although not a formal (assessed) part of the MA, we aim to instil the message that engagement with these seminars across a range of subjects is part of the students’ development as researchers and ought to be viewed as essential to their programme. In addition, MA students are welcomed to attend and present at the ‘Junior Work-in-Progress’ seminar series organised by the PhD students in the Department. Finally, the student-run Classics Society regularly organises guest speakers – often very high-profile scholars from outside Durham.



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Description. The English Language Centre's MA in Applied Linguistics for TESOL programme offers excellent opportunities for experienced language teachers to develop careers in English language teaching. Read more

Description

The English Language Centre's MA in Applied Linguistics for TESOL programme offers excellent opportunities for experienced language teachers to develop careers in English language teaching.

The programme is designed for anyone with an interest in the wider aspects of teaching English as a foreign language, combining innovative classroom practices with an understanding of issues such as language structure and research methodology.

Course Structure

The programme offers a core of syllabus design and assessment, with greater depth provided through further required modules focusing on both theoretical and practical aspects of the English language and on classroom practice. You will then have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge base by taking three or four further optional modules covering a wide range of relevant areas. The MA is completed by a 15,000-word dissertation.

Core Modules

  • Language Teaching Methodology
  • Second Language Development: Perspectives for Teaching
  • Basic Research Methods (non-credit bearing)
  • Language for Teaching
  • Advanced Teaching Practice: The Reflective Practitioner.

Optional Modules

Previous optional modules have included:

  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • Teaching English for Academic Purposes
  • Teacher Training, Development and Education
  • World Englishes
  • English for Specific Purposes
  • ELT Materials Development and Evaluation
  • Discourse, Texts and TESOL
  • English Language Teaching Management
  • Teaching Young Learners
  • Pragmatics and the Language Classroom.

You can also choose to study an optional module offered to students across the University as one of your four options:

  • Expert English
  • Foreign Language.

MA Streams

You can choose to further focus your Masters qualification through our programme streams. To qualify, you must choose the optional module and complete your dissertation in the same topic area.

Course Learning and Teaching

ELC MA programmes are delivered via lectures, seminars, practical sessions and micro-teaching sessions, giving students a solid grounding in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the field. In many cases, contact hours will be a mixture of these approaches (rather than, say, a session consisting solely of a two hour lecture). The balance will depend on the particular module, with some more suited to a lecture/seminar approach, others being of a more practical nature.

The focus throughout the programmes is on independent learning and student engagement, with students expected to participate in presentations, micro-teaching and the like. The average weekly number of contact hours over the first two terms is 12, with students filling the remaining time with reading, class preparation and assignments.

In addition, starting in the first term, students attend a series of dissertation sessions (typically 2 hours per fortnight) culminating in a poster conference in term 3. Students are assigned a dissertation supervisor, and can expect 3 or 4 meetings during term 3 and the summer.

  • Students each have an academic tutor, with whom they will meet on average once a term, and all staff have office hours.


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This course is ideal both for prospective professional translators and for those wishing to go on to further academic study, and it is internationally well respected for both of those purposes. Read more
This course is ideal both for prospective professional translators and for those wishing to go on to further academic study, and it is internationally well respected for both of those purposes. The course is designed for both native speakers of Arabic, and speakers of English who have near-native competence in Arabic.

The MA lasts for twelve months and it combines training in English to Arabic and Arabic to English translation with a special consideration of the theoretical issues involved in the process of translation. The MA modules are mainly taught in the Department of Arabic. Translation Theory and Research Skills for Translation Studies are offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (MLAC).

Course structure

The MA involves a combination of core modules, which are taken by all students, plus a number of optional modules, where students have a choice. The course structure of the MA is as follows:

Core modules: obligatory for all students
In 2015, core modules included:
-Research Skills for Translation Studies (15 UCUs)
-Translation Theory (30 UCUs)
-Translation Practical Arabic>English, English>Arabic (30 UCUs)
-Dissertation (60 UCUs)

Optional modules 1
Students choose one module. In 2015, modules included:
-History of Translation (15 credits)
-Intercultural Project Management (15 credits)
-Revising and Editing for Translators (15 credits)
-Sociology of Translation (15 credits)
-Translation Ethics (15 credits)

Optional modules 2
Students choose two modules. In 2015, modules included:
-Business and Technical Translation, Arabic>English, English>Arabic (15 UCUs)
-Legal Translation, Arabic>English, English>Arabic (15 UCUs)
-Interpreting, Arabic>English, English>Arabic (15 UCUs)

Learning and Teaching

The main emphasis of this programme is on the development of translation and interpreting skills, which are reinforced by the provision of a general introduction to translation theory, as well as to more general academic, research and bibliographical techniques. Students attend on average six hours of translation and/or interpreting classes per week during the first two terms of the year. These classes, which are spread over three separate modules, are held in small groups, and alternate between Arabic>English and English>Arabic work. The classes are prepared for by independent learning in the form of preparation and reading (131 hours per module). The structure of the classes allows for extensive student participation, and for the provision of timely feedback on students’ home assignments in an interactive environment.

The practical orientation of these classes is supplemented and reinforced by the Translation Theory module, taught on a School-wide basis, which typically involves an average of one hour’s attendance per week at either a lecture or a seminar. This should be supported by 282 hours of preparation and reading.

In addition, students receive instruction in general academic, presentational and bibliographical skills through participation in the School-based Research Skills module. Research Skills for Translation Studies provides interactive lectures on research skills and training sessions on the use of library and other resources over the course of the first two terms and, in the early part of the programme, a series of user-focused workshops in which students work intensively to consolidate their knowledge of selected translation technologies.

Over the final few months of the programme, students are able to apply the skills and theory learned over the year to a larger project (either a dissertation or an extended, annotated translation) in a more independent way. Each student is allocated a supervisor, who provides up to five hours of supervision / consultation on an individual basis. This exercise enables the student to apply the results of their studies during the year to a text or topic of particular interest to themselves (595 hours of independent study).

In addition to the formal provision detailed above, all students have access to the MA Course Director and to other members of the teaching staff during weekly office hours. Feedback on formative course assignments may also be provided to students on an individual basis outside these hours. Outside their particular programme, all students are also strongly encouraged to participate in other activities of the School and Department (for example research seminars) as appropriate.

Other admission details

We welcome applications from holders of international qualifications. For advice on the equivalency of international qualifications and further information on English language requirements, please contact our International Office or visit their website. We will require two academic letters of reference. If these are not uploaded with your application, we will contact your referees directly. It would be useful if you could inform your referees to let them know that they will be approached for references by Durham University.

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The MA in Archaeology can be studied on a full-time and part-time basis. Read more

The MA in Archaeology can be studied on a full-time and part-time basis. Through sets of specialist modules, skills-oriented classes and workshops, and dissertation research it provides the opportunity to advance your skills and knowledge in archaeology with a view to progressing to doctoral level research, or to pick up vital transferable skills ready for working in commercial archaeology or in the wider employment market.

A unique feature of our MA is the provision of specialist strands within which you will study, allowing you to gain breadth and depth in your understanding of particular periods, areas and topics. The current strands are:

  • Prehistory
  • Egypt / Ancient India / Near East (EAINE)
  • The Classical World
  • Medieval and Post Medieval Archaeology

By the end of this course, you will have had a chance to engage in advanced collection, management and analysis of archaeological data and materials; to develop a sound understanding of current archaeological approaches, concepts and practice; and to acquire specialist skills and knowledge related to their strand from our team of leading experts in the field.

Course Structure

The MA in Archaeology is a 180 credit programme comprising

  • Two 15 credit modules in research and practical skills training in the first two terms (one per term)
  • Two 30 credit specialist research topic modules in the first two terms (one per term)
  • One 90 credit research dissertation of 20,000 words (developed in term 3 and summer)

Students can take a 20 credit language module from the Centre for Foreign Language Study in lieu of the practical skills module. 

There is also the option of substituting a specialist research topic module with another MA module on offer in the department, and in some instances one offered by another department in the University. See below of other modules offered in the department.

Part-time students are expected to complete the course in 2 years. Typically part time students complete the two 15 credit and two 30 credit modules in the first year and the dissertation in the second year.

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops or practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among archaeologists in a specific area or on a particular theme. Seminars then provide opportunities for smaller groups of students to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that they have gained through their lectures and through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Practical classes and workshops allow you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Archaeology. Finally, independent supervised study enables you to develop and undertake a research project to an advanced level. Throughout the programme emphasis is placed on working independently outside the contact hours, in order to synthesise large datasets and to develop critical and analytical skills to an advanced level.

The balance of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge and abilities as independent learners and researchers, in order to prepare them for work or advanced study once they have completed the programme. In the first two terms students typically attend around four hours of lectures and two one hour seminars per week. These are supplemented with two hours a week of workshops or practical classes. The practical work complements desk-based analytical skills, and are intended to develop skills applicable within and outside the field of Archaeology. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare effectively for your classes, focus your subject knowledge and develop a research agenda. During these first two terms you have the opportunity to do one or two formative essays or practical projects in preparation for summative (assessed) work. Typically you will submit around three to four pieces of summative work per term (essays of c. 3,000 words; practical projects such as photographic portfolios or posters).

Over Term 2 and into Term 3 the balance shifts as you develop your abilities as independent researchers. The lectures and workshops already attended have introduced them to and given them the chance to practice archaeological research methods in specific fields of study. You will also engage with academic issues, archaeological datasets and their interpretation, which are at the forefront of archaeological research. The dissertation is regarded as the cap-stone of the taught programme and as an indicator of advanced research potential, which could be developed further in a professional or academic field. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff, with whom they will typically have up to ten one-to-one supervisory meetings, students undertake independent, detailed study of a particular theme, area or research problem, and produce a substantial piece of academic written work of around 20,000 words.

Throughout the programme, all students also have access to an academic adviser who will provide them with academic support and guidance. Typically a student will meet with their adviser two to three times a year. In addition, all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The department also has an exciting programme of weekly research seminars which postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to attend.

Career Opportunities

Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.



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This course focuses on the context and interpretation of biblical and pseudepigraphal texts, along with the study of biblical languages. Read more

This course focuses on the context and interpretation of biblical and pseudepigraphal texts, along with the study of biblical languages. Durham has a long tradition of outstanding biblical scholarship, providing a wide range of distinctive approaches to biblical studies, including historical, critical and theological.

Course Structure

  • The Bible and Hermeneutics core module
  • Three option modules
  • Dissertation.

Core Modules

  • The Bible and Hermeneutics
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional Modules in previous years have included:

2-3 choices from:

  • Advanced Hebrew Texts
  • Advanced Aramaic
  • Middle Egyptian
  • The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament
  • Gospels and Canon

Plus up to 1 choice from:

  • Paul and his Interpreters
  • Patristic Exegesis
  • Patristic Ecclesiology
  • Christian Northumbria 600-750
  • The Anglican Theological Vision
  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology
  • Liturgy and Sacramentality
  • Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism
  • Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology
  • Christian Gender
  • Principles of Theological Ethics
  • Theology, Ethics and Medicine
  • Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion
  • Literature and Religion
  • Catholic Social Thought
  • Ecclesiology and Ethnography
  • Doctrine of Creation
  • Selected modules from the MA in Theology and Ministry programme
  • Level 3 undergraduate module, or any Level 1 – 2 language module offered by the Department of Theology and Religion, taken in conjunction with the Extended Study in Theology & Religion module
  • 30 credits from another Board of Studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study)

Course Learning and Teaching

Most MA teaching is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials. These exemplify and encourage the various skills and practices required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues. Teaching in the Department of Theology & Religion is ‘research led’ at both BA and MA levels, but particularly at MA level. Research led teaching is informed by staff research, but more importantly it aims to develop students as independent researchers themselves, able to pursue and explore their own research interests and questions. This is why the independently researched MA dissertation is the culmination of the MA programme. Such engagement with texts and issues is not only an excellent preparation for doctoral research, it also develops those skills of critical analysis, synthesis and presentation sought and required by employers.

Many MA classes will contain a ‘lecture’ element, conveying information and exemplifying an approach to the subject-matter that will enable students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve their own ability to analyse and evaluate information and arguments. Seminars enhance knowledge and understanding through preparation and interaction with other students and staff, promoting awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and developing skills of articulacy, advocacy and interrogation. Through small group discussions and tutorials, feedback is provided on student work, with the opportunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing student knowledge and writing skills.

The Dissertation module includes training in generic research skills, from the use of the Library to issues in referencing and bibliography. The subject specific core module introduces students to questions of interpretation and argument in the disciplines encompassed by theology and religion, and helps them to develop their own interests and questions that will issue in the MA dissertation. The latter is a piece of independent research, but it is fostered and guided through individual tutorials with a supervisor, with whom students meet throughout the academic year.

Career Opportunities

A significant number of our graduates find employment in academic institutions (universities and seminaries) around the world. Others go into teaching, church ministry, the caring professions, and many other professional fields.



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This course involves the study of historical and systematic theology from a range of Christian perspectives. Durham has long-established strengths in both Greek and Latin patristics, the medieval Church and Reformation, contemporary Catholic and Anglican theology, theological ethics, and philosophical theology. Read more

This course involves the study of historical and systematic theology from a range of Christian perspectives. Durham has long-established strengths in both Greek and Latin patristics, the medieval Church and Reformation, contemporary Catholic and Anglican theology, theological ethics, and philosophical theology.

Course Structure

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology core module
  • Three option modules
  • Dissertation.

Core Modules

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional modules in previous years have included:

2-3 choices from:

  • Paul and his Interpreters
  • Gospels and Canon
  • The Bible and Hermeneutics
  • Patristic Exegesis
  • Patristic Ecclesiology
  • Christian Northumbria 600-750
  • The Anglican Theological Vision
  • Liturgy and Sacramentality
  • Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism
  • Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology
  • Christian Gender
  • Principles of Theological Ethics
  • Theology, Ethics and Medicine
  • Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion
  • Literature and Religion
  • Catholic Social Thought
  • Ecclesiology and Ethnography
  • Doctrine of Creation

Plus up to 1 choice from:

  • Advanced Hebrew Texts
  • Advanced Aramaic
  • Middle Egyptian
  • Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament
  • Selected modules from the MA in Theology and Ministry programme
  • Level 3 undergraduate module, or any Level 1 – 2 language module offered by the Department of Theology and Religion, taken in conjunction with the Extended Study in Theology & Religion module
  • 30 credits from another Board of Studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study)

Course Learning and Teaching

Most MA teaching is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials. These exemplify and encourage the various skills and practices required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues. Teaching in the Department of Theology & Religion is ‘research led’ at both BA and MA levels, but particularly at MA level. Research led teaching is informed by staff research, but more importantly it aims to develop students as independent researchers themselves, able to pursue and explore their own research interests and questions. This is why the independently researched MA dissertation is the culmination of the MA programme. Such engagement with texts and issues is not only an excellent preparation for doctoral research, it also develops those skills of critical analysis, synthesis and presentation sought and required by employers.

Many MA classes will contain a ‘lecture’ element, conveying information and exemplifying an approach to the subject-matter that will enable students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve their own ability to analyse and evaluate information and arguments. Seminars enhance knowledge and understanding through preparation and interaction with other students and staff, promoting awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and developing skills of articulacy, advocacy and interrogation. Through small group discussions and tutorials, feedback is provided on student work, with the opportunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing student knowledge and writing skills.

The Dissertation module includes training in generic research skills, from the use of the Library to issues in referencing and bibliography. The subject specific core module introduces students to questions of interpretation and argument in the disciplines encompassed by theology and religion, and helps them to develop their own interests and questions that will issue in the MA dissertation. The latter is a piece of independent research, but it is fostered and guided through individual tutorials with a supervisor, with whom students meet throughout the academic year.

Career Opportunities

A significant number of our graduates find employment in academic institutions (universities and seminaries) around the world. Others go into teaching, church ministry, the caring professions, and many other professional fields.



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This course focuses on the Anglican theological tradition within the more general context of Christian theology. Read more

This course focuses on the Anglican theological tradition within the more general context of Christian theology. Durham offers unparalleled resources for the theological study of Anglicanism, a strong basis for which is provided by the Department's close historical links with Durham Cathedral, the seat of numerous theologian-bishops.

Course Structure

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology core module
  • Three option modules
  • Dissertation.

Core Modules

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology 
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional Modules in previous years have included:

2-3 choices from:

  • The Anglican Theological Vision
  • Liturgy and Sacramentality
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion
  • Ecclesiology and Ethnography
  • Selected modules from the MA in Theology and Ministry programme

Plus up to 1 choice from:

  • Paul and his Interpreters
  • Gospels and Canon
  • The Bible and Hermeneutics
  • Patristic Exegesis
  • Patristic Ecclesiology
  • Christian Northumbria 600-750
  • Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism
  • Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology
  • Christian Gender
  • Principles of Theological Ethics
  • Theology, Ethics and Medicine
  • Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Literature and Religion
  • Advanced Hebrew Texts
  • Advanced Aramaic
  • Middle Egyptian
  • The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament
  • Catholic Social Thought
  • Doctrine of Creation
  • Selected modules from the MA in Theology and Ministry programme
  • Level 3 undergraduate module, or any Level 1 – 2 language module offered by the Department of Theology and Religion, taken in conjunction with the Extended Study in Theology & Religion module
  • 30 credits from another Board of Studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study)

Course Learning and Teaching

Most MA teaching is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials. These exemplify and encourage the various skills and practices required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues. Teaching in the Department of Theology & Religion is ‘research led’ at both BA and MA levels, but particularly at MA level. Research led teaching is informed by staff research, but more importantly it aims to develop students as independent researchers themselves, able to pursue and explore their own research interests and questions. This is why the independently researched MA dissertation is the culmination of the MA programme. Such engagement with texts and issues is not only an excellent preparation for doctoral research, it also develops those skills of critical analysis, synthesis and presentation sought and required by employers.

Many MA classes will contain a ‘lecture’ element, conveying information and exemplifying an approach to the subject-matter that will enable students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve their own ability to analyse and evaluate information and arguments. Seminars enhance knowledge and understanding through preparation and interaction with other students and staff, promoting awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and developing skills of articulacy, advocacy and interrogation. Through small group discussions and tutorials, feedback is provided on student work, with the opportunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing student knowledge and writing skills.

The Dissertation module includes training in generic research skills, from the use of the Library to issues in referencing and bibliography. The subject specific core module introduces students to questions of interpretation and argument in the disciplines encompassed by theology and religion, and helps them to develop their own interests and questions that will issue in the MA dissertation. The latter is a piece of independent research, but it is fostered and guided through individual tutorials with a supervisor, with whom students meet throughout the academic year.

Career Opportunities

A significant number of our graduates find employment in academic institutions (universities and seminaries) around the world. Others go into teaching, church ministry, the caring professions, and many other professional fields.



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This course focuses on the Catholic theological tradition, within the more general context of Christian theology. Durham has a strong interest in and engagement with contemporary Catholicism, with a . Read more

This course focuses on the Catholic theological tradition, within the more general context of Christian theology. Durham has a strong interest in and engagement with contemporary Catholicism, with a Centre for Catholic Studies and the Bede Chair in Catholic Theology.

Course Structure

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology core module
  • Three option modules
  • Dissertation.

Core Modules

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology 
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional Modules in previous years have included:

2-3 choices from:

  • Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology
  • Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism
  • Christian Gender
  • Principles of Theological Ethics
  • Patristic Ecclesiology
  • Patristic Exegesis
  • Catholic Social Thought

Plus up to 1 choice from:

  • The Anglican Theological Vision
  • Liturgy and Sacramentality
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion
  • Paul and his Interpreters
  • Gospels and Canon
  • The Bible and Hermeneutics
  • Christian Northumbria 600-750
  • Theology, Ethics and Medicine
  • Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Literature and Religion
  • Advanced Hebrew Texts
  • Advanced Aramaic
  • Middle Egyptian
  • The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament
  • Ecclesiology and Ethnography
  • Doctrine of Creation
  • Selected modules from the MA in Theology and Ministry programme
  • Level 3 undergraduate module, or any Level 1 – 2 language module offered by the Department of Theology and Religion, taken in conjunction with the Extended Study in Theology & Religion module
  • 30 credits from another Board of Studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study)

Course Learning and Teaching

Most MA teaching is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials. These exemplify and encourage the various skills and practices required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues. Teaching in the Department of Theology & 

Most MA teaching is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials. These exemplify and encourage the various skills and practices required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues. Teaching in the Department of Theology & Religion is ‘research led’ at both BA and MA levels, but particularly at MA level. Research led teaching is informed by staff research, but more importantly it aims to develop students as independent researchers themselves, able to pursue and explore their own research interests and questions. This is why the independently researched MA dissertation is the culmination of the MA programme. Such engagement with texts and issues is not only an excellent preparation for doctoral research, it also develops those skills of critical analysis, synthesis and presentation sought and required by employers.

Many MA classes will contain a ‘lecture’ element, conveying information and exemplifying an approach to the subject-matter that will enable students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve their own ability to analyse and evaluate information and arguments. Seminars enhance knowledge and understanding through preparation and interaction with other students and staff, promoting awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and developing skills of articulacy, advocacy and interrogation. Through small group discussions and tutorials, feedback is provided on student work, with the opportunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing student knowledge and writing skills.

The Dissertation module includes training in generic research skills, from the use of the Library to issues in referencing and bibliography. The subject specific core module introduces students to questions of interpretation and argument in the disciplines encompassed by theology and religion, and helps them to develop their own interests and questions that will issue in the MA dissertation. The latter is a piece of independent research, but it is fostered and guided through individual tutorials with a supervisor, with whom students meet throughout the academic year.

Career Opportunities

A significant number of our graduates find employment in academic institutions (universities and seminaries) around the world. Others go into teaching, church ministry, the caring professions, and many other professional fields.



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The MA in Classics is our core research training degree, suitable for anyone wishing to pursue doctoral work in a branch of Classics. Read more

The MA in Classics is our core research training degree, suitable for anyone wishing to pursue doctoral work in a branch of Classics. The programme places a strong emphasis on language training, on theoretically informed approaches to Classical texts, and on practical engagement with your chosen specialism. The programme lasts for one year full-time (two years part-time).

Course Structure

You will take modules to a total of 180 or 190 credits. The structure of the course is as follows:

  • Core research training module (30 credits)
  • Language module in an ancient or modern language relevant to research in the area of Classics (20-40 credits)
  • 15,000-word Dissertation (60 credits)
  • Optional modules (60-70 credits).

MA modules are 30 credits; you may substitute two undergraduate (20 credit) modules for one MA module. You may also take up to 40 credits of modules offered by other Departments (subject to approval).

Not all modules will be offered every year, and new modules (both elective and core) are added regularly.

Core Modules

  • Classical Research Methods and Resources
  • Language module in an ancient or modern language relevant to research in the area of Classics
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional modules are offered according to the current research interests of members of staff. In recent years, optional modules available in the Department have included:

  • Akkadian
  • Ancient Philosophers on Necessity, Fate and Free Will
  • Ancient Philosophers on Origins
  • Animals in Graeco-Roman Antiquity
  • Forms After Plato
  • Greek Text Seminar on Homeric Epic
  • Greek Sacred Regulations
  • Latin Love Elegy
  • Latin Text Seminar on Roman Epic
  • Life and Death on Roman Sarcophagi
  • Monumental Architecture of the Roman East
  • Religious Life in The Roman Near East
  • Rewriting Empire: Eusebius of Caesarea and the First Christian History
  • The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought
  • The Queen of the Desert: Rise and Decline of Palmyra’s Civilization
  • The Roman Republic: Debates and Approaches.

Course Learning and Teaching

The MA in Classics is principally conceived as a research training programme which aims to build on the skills in independent learning acquired in the course of the student’s first degree and enable them to undertake fully independent research at a higher level. Contact time with tutors for taught modules is typically a total of 5 hours per week (rising to 7 for someone beginning Latin or ancient Greek at this level), with an emphasis on small group teaching, and a structure that maximises the value of this time, and best encourages and focuses the student’s own independent study and preparation. On average, around 2 hours a week of other relevant academic contact (research seminars, dissertation supervision) is also available.

At the heart of the course is a module focused on the range of research methods and resources available to someone working in the field of Classics. This is run as a weekly class, with a mixture of lectures and student-led discussions. Three or four further elective modules deal with particular specialised subjects. You must choose one module involving work with a relevant language (ancient or modern; beginners modules in each language and specialised text seminars for those who have already studied Greek and Latin are offered every year). All the modules offered will form part of the current research activity of the tutor taking the module. Numbers for each module are typically very small (often no more than five or six in a class) . Typically, classes are two hours long and held fortnightly, and discussion is based on student presentations. (Modules for those beginning ancient Latin or Greek are typically more heavily subscribed, but their classes also meet more often: 3 hours per week.) All students write a 15,000-word dissertation, for which they receive an additional five hours of supervisory contact with an expert in their field of interest. 

All staff teaching on the MA are available for consultation by students, and advertise office hours when their presence can be guaranteed. The MA Director acts as academic adviser to MA students, and is available as an additional point of contact, especially for matters concerning academic progress. MA students are strongly encouraged to attend the Department’s two research seminar series. Although not a formal (assessed) part of the MA, we aim to instil the message that engagement with these seminars across a range of subjects is part of the students’ development as researchers and ought to be viewed as essential to their programme. In addition, MA students are welcomed to attend and present at the ‘Junior Work-in-Progress’ seminar series organised by the PhD students in the Department. Finally, the student-run Classics Society regularly organises guest speakers – often very high-profile scholars from outside Durham.



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This programme provides an exciting opportunity to develop professional practice that is supported by an in-depth theoretical understanding for those working in a wide range of careers with young people and communities. Read more
This programme provides an exciting opportunity to develop professional practice that is supported by an in-depth theoretical understanding for those working in a wide range of careers with young people and communities. The programme attracts practitioners from a wide range of contexts and countries, enabling learning in an internationally-comparative context. At the same time, it enables students to become professionally validated by the National Youth Agency (with JNC recognition) for practice in the UK. Learning on the programme incorporates reflective professional approaches to informal education which enable the development of young people and communities. These are integrated together with wider critical learning on shaping the wider social, political and organisational context in which such practice takes place. The programme combines academic study on taught modules, two periods of fieldwork practice and students conducting their own choice of research with support from experienced researchers. The fieldwork practice placements enable students to develop their practice within local agencies (e.g. local charities and non-governmental organisations) with supported from experienced supervisors. Find out more about the programme from staff and students by watching our short videos.

Course structure

Core modules:
-Community Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Professional and Personal Development (30 credits)
-Management in Community Settings (30 credits)
-Research in Professional Practice (45 credits)
-Fieldwork Practice Development 1 (15 credits)
-Fieldwork Practice Development 2 (30 credits)

Students are required to pay for travel costs to and from their fieldwork practice placement.

Academic learning is assessed through 3,000 word essays, fieldwork reports, self-assessment, oral presentation and a 10,000 word research report. There are no examinations. To gain a Durham University MA, you must gain 180 credits at Masters level (pass mark 50%)..

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a range of lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, reflective practice seminars, research seminars, fieldwork practice and study visits.

Within an ethos of informal education, our teaching and learning incorporates a range of methods which reflect this and time is allocated to provide a balance between tutor-led and self-directed learning. The programme is taught as part of a group of programmes, which attract practitioners from a wide range of contexts and countries, enabling learning in an internationally-comparative context, whilst including a particular focus on UK policy and practice.

Typically, taught sessions provide students with academic input on a particular area of the professional discipline of community and youth work and reflect the diverse range of community and youth settings within which practice takes place. Drawing from relevant literature and legislation and acknowledging the related range of professional skill, competence and understanding, issues are identified for discussion, drawn from historical and contemporary contexts. Seminars provide the opportunity for students to discuss and debate the issues, to share ideas and experience, broaden their understanding and test out their knowledge gained through the taught sessions and independent study. Classroom learning provides students with the latest research and critical theory on the subject area. Two assessed periods of fieldwork practice offer opportunities for learning in practice settings related to community and youth work.

The MA Community and Youth Work provides the student with a learning opportunity within which they can apply and test understanding, knowledge and skills related to professional roles and responsibilities in practice settings. A critical examination of the relationship of theory and practice is central to this.

Core modules are structured to enable students to attend university for teaching on an average of one day per week (part time) or two days per week (full time), so that their study can fit around other commitments that they may have.

The programme is assessed through continual assessment using a range of methods including written assignments, reflective journals, individual and group presentations, and assessed fieldwork practice. There is an expectation that students will undertake independent study to prepare and plan for their classes, through reading relevant literature and legislation, journals and drawing on their current and previous practice experience.

The Community and Youth Work Programme is part of the School of Applied Social Sciences and is significantly involved with the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action at Durham University, as well as being a partner in many collaborative pieces of research and professional practice developments. There are therefore many events and initiatives that students are encouraged to attend, such as extra-curricular training, research seminars and workshops to broaden their understanding and deepen their knowledge of wider issues related to the professional discipline.

Other admission requirements

Applicants with substantial professional experience may be admitted by concession without an upper second class honours degree, providing that they have demonstrated an ability to undertake Masters level work. All applicants for this programme have to pass an informal interview, which can be conducted either in person in Durham or via telephone/webcam. This will also give applicants an opportunity to find out more about the programme from a member of the teaching team and have any questions answered. If potential applicants have any queries about the entry criteria or programme before making an application, we are happy to respond to informal queries at any stage and to discuss the programme with you.

Admission is subject to satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced Disclosure check being undertaken upon an offer of a place being made, to assess whether applicants have any previous convictions that prevent them from working with vulnerable people. The cost of a DBS check is currently £44.

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This is a 2 year (full-time) or 3 year (part-time) course, which educates and trains graduate students to be conservators capable of researching, analysing, cleaning, preserving and caring for a wide range of archaeological and museum objects. Read more

This is a 2 year (full-time) or 3 year (part-time) course, which educates and trains graduate students to be conservators capable of researching, analysing, cleaning, preserving and caring for a wide range of archaeological and museum objects. This course is particularly appropriate for those seeking a career in conservation research.

It is intended for those who wish to become conservation scientists or work in the fields of artefact research or preventive conservation. Graduates of the course will normally work in museums or large heritage organisations such the National Trust or English Heritage.

Graduate students are drawn from a wide range of disciplines, but manual dexterity, a very basic knowledge of chemistry and an enthusiasm and desire to work with museum objects are essential.

Course Structure

Modules

  • Conservation Theory
  • Conservation Skills
  • Artefact Studies
  • Care of Collections
  • Conservation Practice
  • Dissertation.

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical classes as well as a dissertation. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among Conservators in that area. Practicals then provide opportunities for you to implement and develop your skills, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programmes formal contact hours. Self-learning development packages allows you to continue your learning in a structured way outside the practical sessions. The dissertation allows you to develop advanced research skills in an aspect of conservation or artefact studies.

The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge, skills and the ability as independent learners and practitioners that is one of the key attributes that the programme develops in its students. The programme therefore prepares you for work or further study once you have completed the programme, with an emphasis on taking your learning from the classroom to real life situations in Museums and conservation laboratories. All teaching is delivered by qualified conservators.

In the first two terms of the first year you will typically attend 4-5 hours a week of lectures, 6 hours of practical work including seminars, 3 hours of structured self-development learning and up to 9 hours of conservation skills working in the conservation laboratory. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge.

The balance shifts in the third term, as you develop your abilities as independent learners through supervised practical conservation work for 4 days a week over 10 weeks and create a portfolio of your work and reflections.

The emphasis on using the independent study and research skills developed in the first year of the course is continued through the dissertation, which marks out the researcher route. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom you will typically have ten one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research.

The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which you are strongly encouraged to attend.

Career Opportunities

Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.



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This is a 2 year (full-time) or 3 year (part-time) course, which educates and trains graduate students to be conservators capable of researching, analysing, cleaning, preserving and caring for a wide range of archaeological and museum objects. Read more

This is a 2 year (full-time) or 3 year (part-time) course, which educates and trains graduate students to be conservators capable of researching, analysing, cleaning, preserving and caring for a wide range of archaeological and museum objects.

It is intended for those who wish to become practising artefact conservators, or work in the fields of artefact research or preventive conservation. Graduates of the course will normally work in museums or large heritage organisations such the National Trust or English Heritage.

Graduate students are drawn from a wide range on disciplines, but manual dexterity, a very basic knowledge of chemistry and an enthusiasm and desire to work with museum objects are essential.

Course Structure

Modules

  • Conservation Theory
  • Conservation Skills
  • Artefact Studies
  • Care of Collections
  • Conservation Practice
  • Professional Practice.

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical classes as well as an industrial placement. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among Conservators in that area. Practicals then provide opportunities for you to implement and develop your skills, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programmes formal contact hours. Self-learning development packages allow you to continue your learning in a structured way outside the practical sessions. The industrial placement forms a major part of the contact time in the programme for Professional Practitioners, allowing you to gain direct experience of practical and applied skills in Conservation. Industrial partners include the Museum of London, National Museum of Wales and Victoria & Albert Museum. 

The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge, skills and the ability as independent learners and practitioners that is one of the key attributes that the programme develops in its students. The programme therefore prepares you for work or further study once you have completed the programme, with an emphasis on taking your learning from the classroom to real life situations in Museums and conservation laboratories. All teaching is delivered by qualified conservators.

In the first two terms of the first year you will typically attend 4-5 hours a week of lectures, 6 hours of practical work including seminars, 3 hours of structured self-development learning and up to 9 hours of conservation skills working in the conservation laboratory. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge.

The balance shifts in the third term, as you develop your abilities as independent learners through supervised practical conservation work for 4 days a week over 10 weeks and create a portfolio of your work and reflections.

This move towards greater emphasis on independent learning and acting in the role of professional conservator continues in the final year, where you will have a placement in a working conservation lab for 9 months. You will gain experience of working with a wide range of material and develop further your practical skills, within a real-life working environment. A focus is placed upon problem solving and organisational and managerial skills, under the supervision of a professional conservator.

The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which students are strongly encouraged to attend.

Career Opportunities

Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.



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The MA in Creative Writing is an exciting new programme at Durham University. Taught by award-winning writers Dr Paul Batchelor and Dr Vidyan Ravinthiran, this is an academically rigorous programme that will develop students’ practical knowledge of writing poetry and prose fiction. Read more

The MA in Creative Writing is an exciting new programme at Durham University. Taught by award-winning writers Dr Paul Batchelor and Dr Vidyan Ravinthiran, this is an academically rigorous programme that will develop students’ practical knowledge of writing poetry and prose fiction. Students will receive structured support through writing workshops and one-to-one tutorials in order to develop their own ideas. Students will also study a broad range of literature from the 20th and 21st centuries, and produce new work in response.

Core Modules

Creative Writing Poetry OR Creative Writing Prose Fiction

Each student will take one of these writing-workshop modules. In these modules students will write longer pieces within their chosen literary discipline, sharing their work and giving and receiving feedback and suggestions from the module convenor and the other students. There are few if any writing exercises. Each student can expect to have their work scrutinised closely in a workshop setting several times. These modules are assessed via a portfolio of ten pages of poetry plus 2,000-word self-critique, OR a 6,000-word portfolio of prose fiction plus 2,000-word self-critique.

Reading as a Writer

This seminar module brings poets and prose writers together, and (unlike any of the other core modules for Creative Writing) is also open to English Studies students. Each week we discuss some key poetry and prose from across the twentieth century, focusing on the technical innovations introduced by the writers studied, and the ways in which writers learn from one another, both within their medium and beyond it. The module combines breadth and depth of coverage, offering students an advanced understanding of a range of writers, schools, and styles in order to broaden their research interests, and help them to identify and research a topic of their own choosing with guidance from a subject specialist in the extended essay part of the Research Project. It is assessed via two 3,000-word essays. 

Reading as a Writer: the Workshop

This is very much a companion module to Reading as a Writer, and is a writing-workshop module focusing on short, directed writing assignments and their discussion. The focus will be on formal and technical experiments, stretching students’ technical facility via assignments inspired by the texts studied on Reading as a Writer. Prose writers and poetry students will once again work side by side, sharing work and ideas, learning to appreciate literary conventions and their subversion. Each student can expect to have their work work shopped several times, though these engagements will not be as formal or thorough as those in Creative Writing Prose Fiction or Creative Writing Poetry. Assignments might include adapting syntactical techniques; investigative creative non-fiction; experimenting with poetic forms; creative translation; writing an opening paragraph; or trying out editing methods. It is assessed via a portfolio of EITHER ten pages of poetry OR 6,000 words of prose fiction, plus 2,000-word self-critique. 

Research Project

The Research Project provides students with the opportunity to produce a 6-8,000-word extended critical essay on a subject of their choosing. Students choose their own extended essay titles, with guidance from the module convenor and subject to the approval of the English Studies Board of Examiners. Focusing on depth rather than breadth, the essay is independently researched and builds on the work covered in the taught elements of the programme. Students will be expected to choose a research topic with particular bearing on their own creative practice, and to reflect on how their critical and creative work have informed one another, either in the main body of the essay, the introduction, or chapter dedicated to integrative reflection. Students may wish to refer to specific aspects of their own writing when writing this part of the essay. The Research Project also provides the opportunity for students to to produce a final portfolio of creative work: poets will be asked to produce ten pages of poetry; prose writers produce 6-8,000 words of fiction. The portfolio will consist of new work, produced after the completion of the structured workshop-oriented modules. The module is assessed via an extended essay of 6,000-8,000 words and a creative writing portfolio of EITHER ten pages of poetry OR 6,000-8,000 words of prose fiction.

Optional Modules

Creative Writing students would take one module of their own choosing, either from the English Studies MA modules or taking this new optional module:

The Word in the World

This module focuses on the ways in which the students’ writing can be made available to the public. It would take the form of a series of lectures and seminars covering topics such as: how writers make a living; the possibilities and challenges presented by collaborating with other artists; how to adjust teaching methods according to the setting and audience; how to write a pitch letter; how to get a literary agent; submitting work to poetry journals; how to make the most of web resources; how to communicate with an editor; book design, blurbs, jackets; writing copy; formats; sales and distribution channels; publicity and promotion; book reviewing, etc. This part of the module will be taught both in-house at Durham and via visiting speakers such as editors, industry experts. Students would also be invited to either collaborate with a student in another medium (most likely music or the visual arts) or go on a teaching or literary-industry placement that would take place in July. This module is assessed via one 3,000-word essay and one 3,000-word report on the industry placement, teaching placement, or collaborative project.



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Durham's MA in Early Modern History is a broad-ranging Master's programme which seeks to equip students with historical research techniques and approaches, advanced skills in critical analysis and independent study, as well as strong and effective communication skills. Read more
Durham's MA in Early Modern History is a broad-ranging Master's programme which seeks to equip students with historical research techniques and approaches, advanced skills in critical analysis and independent study, as well as strong and effective communication skills. The MA programme is designed to enable students with different career ambitions to succeed in their chosen area, and it caters for students of different backgrounds, previous training, and areas of specialisation. The breadth of research interests of the early modernists at Durham allows the department to offer supervision in topics about the early modern world from the mid-fifteenth century through to the early nineteenth. The programme seeks to enable students to build an awareness of the contemporary boundaries of early modern scholarship, to master advanced understanding of historical concepts and methods, and ultimately to make their own contributions to the field.

Durham's History Department is an international centre for the study of the Early Modern period, and is situated in the historic setting of the World Heritage Site, which includes Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle, and the surrounding area. Students of early modern history at Durham benefit from the rich archival and manuscript resources in the collections of the University (at Palace Green Library and at Ushaw College) and in the Cathedral Library, while the wider regional resources for study of the period are also highly significant: these include the landscape of industrial revolution, of vernacular architecture and of early modern globalisation. Early Modern History at Durham is comprehensive and international in its reach, with specialists in the History of Medicine, consumer culture, print and information, court culture, ecclesiastical and intellectual history, and political thought. Area specialisms include the British Isles, Continental Europe, North America, China and the Steppe regions.

Course Structure

The MA in Early Modern History is a one-year full-time programme (or two-years part-time). All students are allocated a supervisor at the beginning of the first term, and s/he guides each student through the year. The programme is structured as follows:

Michaelmas Term (October-December)

Archives and Sources (15 credits)
Issues in Early Modern History (30 credits)
*Skill module (30 credits) - taken over Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms

Epiphany Term (January-March)

Critical Practice (15 credits)
Option module (30 credits)

Easter Term (April-June)

Dissertation (90 credits, or 60 credits if taking a *Skill module)

The formal requirements and structure of the programme can be found at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/courses/info/?id=9199&title=Early+Modern+History&code=V1K607&type=MA&year=2016#essentials; a full list of optional modules is available at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/history/postgraduate/ma_degrees/optionalmodules/

The MA can be taken part-time, over two years. In the first year the module combination consists of Archives and Sources, Critical Practice, Issues and in addition a Skills module OR Optional module. In the second year your work will consist of either a 90 credit, 20,000 word dissertation (if you took an Optional module in the first year) OR a 60 credit, 15,000 word dissertation, AND an Optional module (if you took a Skills module in the first year).

Additional courses can be taken on an audit-basis (not for credit), and can include language modules as well as optional modules. You will need to ask and receive the permission of the module leader before auditing a class. If the class is outside the department you will also need to inform the Director of Taught Postgraduates.

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered primarily through small group seminar teaching with some larger classes, and lecture-style sessions. Termly division of contact hours between terms depends on student choice. Issues in Early Modern History has 16 contact hours, all classroom-based; this module is team-taught and exposes students to a wide variety of staff support and expertise. Archives and Sources has 8 contact hours, split between lectures, classes and seminars. Skills modules are taught through seminars or classes and are usually more contact-hour-intensive. Optional modules are taught in seminars and provide a total of 16 contact hours. Critical Practice involves lectures, a drama workshop, and oral presentation to a group (at a 'mini-conference'). Dissertation supervision involves 8 hours of directed supervision, individually with a dedicated supervisor.

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The MA in Education provides outstanding opportunities to study a wide range of educational issues. It will provide you with a clear understanding of the nature and significance of policy and practice in education, relevant to researchers as well as professionals in schools, colleges and universities. Read more

The MA in Education provides outstanding opportunities to study a wide range of educational issues. It will provide you with a clear understanding of the nature and significance of policy and practice in education, relevant to researchers as well as professionals in schools, colleges and universities.

A key feature of the programme is the facility for you to draw on your own professional and personal as well as academic and theoretical interests, through being able to choose from a range of optional modules to study (see below). And you will also be able to explore your own interests in depth through the completion of a dissertation.

In all of our modules, we aim to introduce you to key ideas and ways of thinking that enable you to engage with related issues in contexts that are relevant to you. Our programme is constructed in such a way that contexts as diverse as science education in schools, informal learning in the workplace and the management of schools outside the UK, can be explored through module assignments as well as the dissertation.

The degree has been designed to meet the needs of educational professionals, especially those in teaching, management or administration at all levels of education. Students likely to benefit from the programme are those who are interested in education, often teachers or people planning to become teachers, with a commitment to pedagogy, and educational managers in schools, colleges and higher education institutions, as well as those working in educational administration, in the UK and overseas.

Through its flexible delivery routes the MA in Education is suitable for students from all backgrounds and countries. In addition to a traditional full-time study route, the course is available via part-time and International Summer Postgraduate Institute routes. On the part-time route, teaching is delivered through intensive teaching weekends scheduled around (Durham) school half-term holidays making the programme more accessible for those working full-time. Meanwhile, the part-time International Summer Postgraduate Institute (ISPI) route is delivered through an intensive summer school teaching programme. The ISPI summer teaching runs in Durham throughout July each year and attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and countries, including the UK, and is ideal for those seeking part-time study in a truly international context. ISPI students benefit from a range of extra academic and cultural activities organised by the School of Education. 

Students who have successfully completed the PGCE at Durham in the previous academic year have the option to use 90 credits they have accredited on this course. These students will only need to do the core modules, Education Enquiry and the Dissertation (if part-time, over 2 years), to complete the programme.

Course Structure

Full-time students study the four taught modules plus the dissertation over one year.

Part-time students normally study two taught modules per year in years one and two and the dissertation in year three.

Core Modules

  • Research Methods Education (30 credits)
  • Critical Perspectives in Education (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits).

Optional Modules

You must select 60 credits from a list of optional modules which may include:

  • 21st Century Technology: Implications for Teaching and Learning (30 credits)
  • Arts in Education (30 credits)
  • Curriculum Analysis (30 credits)
  • Enhancing Teaching and Learning for Productive Thought (30 credits)
  • Improving Computer Education
  • Intercultural and International Education (30 credits)
  • Intercultural Communication (30 credits)
  • Policy Studies (30 credits)
  • Psychology of the Learner (30 credits)
  • Special Educational Needs and Inclusion: Rhetoric or Reality? (30 credits).

The above are examples of modules we have run in previous years. Modules are continually developed in response to student feedback and interests, as well as to reflect the changing nature of academic research within the department.

Course Learning and Teaching

In all of our postgraduate taught programmes we place an emphasis on empowering students to be autonomous, independent learners. The taught modules provide an introduction to module content which is then developed and extended through our use of online resources, key reading and independent study and research. We consider the development of independent learning and research skills to be one of the key elements of our postgraduate taught curriculum and one which helps our students cultivate initiative, originality and critical thinking.

On the MA Education programme you will take compulsory core modules worth a total of 60 credits plus two optional modules worth 60  credits. Modules are offered either mid-week or at weekends, which provides flexible study routes and a wide choice of options. Modules are delivered using a combination of lectures, seminars workshops, and tutorials. The core modules are designed to provide you with a critical understanding of theories, research and issues relevant to your chosen programme of study. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work.

In addition to the taught core and option modules all postgraduate taught students following a Master’s programme will undertake a 60 credit dissertation. This crucial piece of work is a significant piece of independent research that constitutes a synthesis of theory, method, and practice in education and is supported by an individual supervisor, specialist dissertation workshops and the Dissertation Coordinator.

Throughout the programme, all students meet regularly with an Academic Advisor, who provides academic support and guidance. In addition, Programme Leads have regular office hours where they meet students to discuss any issues. Module staff are also happy to meet with you to discuss module specific issues as needed.

In term time, the department also has an extensive programme of departmental and research group seminars which postgraduate students are encouraged to attend. Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparation for the programme. On arrival, we have induction sessions and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and attended by both academic and administrative staff. 

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities in education are wide and include classroom teaching, educational leadership and management, administration and policy development.



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