Development and expansion in undergraduate studies in religion and belief, together with the expansion of national and international ‘faith awareness’ initiatives, has resulted in a high demand for postgraduate studies within this discipline.
The programme explores the impact and influence religion and belief has on social structures, community, politics, economics, policy (education), citizenship, culture & identity, sexuality, pluralism, spirituality, and national & international relationships. The MA also introduces critical analysis of ethics, systems of belief, human rights and social justice issues and the application of these concepts within lived environments from diverse religious perspectives.
The programme is of interest to both graduates and practitioners who wish to specialise further in Religion, Culture & Society. Graduates may wish to extend their knowledge to prepare for academic and professional careers in the private or public sector.
The RCS team at UCLan have a wide variety of links with local, national and international faith and intercultural forums, faith schools and academic institutions, all of which provide valuable contacts for students wishing to enter professions related to Teaching, Ministry, inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue and relations. RCS also work with charity organisations both home and abroad and global outreach programmes. Further details and contacts are available from members of the RCS teaching team.
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AND ASSESSMENT
Students may study the MA full time over one year or part time over two or three years. In either case students will be required to successfully complete six MA modules and one MA dissertation (the dissertation is equivalent to 3 x modules). Each module requires an estimated 2 hours class contact per week plus extensive reading and dedicated personal study.
We strive to give our students key employability and transferable skills which will serve them in the world of work. Our assessment practices illustrate a move away from exams and essays per se and incorporate a move towards a more inclusive assessment which benefits our diverse student body. Assessment strategies include coursework, individual and group presentations, individual and/or group projects, reviews and ICT interaction.
Religion, Culture & Society (RCS) also includes field trips to national and international places of interest such as; Rome, Istanbul, Auschwitz, Liverpool Cathedrals, Ladywelle Pilgrimage and Shrine, the Hindu Temple etc. Although these trips are optional to MA students, they aim to draw attention to shared values, beliefs and practices, and supports students in achieving a mutual appreciation of different faiths and traditions. The international trips in particular aim to develop an experienced awareness of cultural heritage, traditions and practices of different faiths, and widen students’ appreciation of how those faiths and belief systems interact within lived environments, communities and in different social settings. Thus enhancing not only MA provision but also the learning experience and the environment where that learning experience takes place.
The programme is of interest to both graduates and practitioners who wish to specialise further in Religion, Culture and Society. Graduates may wish to extend their knowledge to prepare for academic and professional careers in the private or public sector, including local government, race relations officers, ministry, equality/diversity training officers, social services, social welfare, community development, youth work, research, education and communication support workers, lecturing in further or higher education. Practitioners may wish to update their knowledge or gain a higher qualification for personal or professional development. The programme will also appeal to working individuals who are interested in the range of topics offered and do not wish to specialise in a rigidly defined Theology based MA programme. In addition, many students are currently seeking Masters’ programmes as a way of weathering the economic recession.
RCS offers progression routes onto PGCE courses for graduates wishing to develop a career in teaching. There are also opportunities to further study for PhD or professional doctorate.
The MA in Religion, Culture & Society brings together disciplines of Theology, Philosophy, Sociology and International Relations – a very innovative, exciting and challenging post-graduate degree award.
The whole philosophy of the Religion, Culture and Society MA is to promote inclusively, encourage reflection on interfaith dialogue and highlight the important contribution religion and belief can make to community cohesion and the combating of religious prejudice and discrimination (QCA & DfES, 2004). The MA evaluates how and why the role of religion and culture has changed within society, and explores the impact and influence of religion and belief within economical, political and social constructs. Religion and faith is critically analysed within the framework of theistic and atheistic approaches to sexuality, spirituality, human rights, territory and space and cultural relationships. The application of classical and contemporary theological and philosophical concepts and theories of faith are examined in relation to lived environments.
The MA in Religion, Culture and Society embodies and supports the objectives outlined in the AHSS 2007-2012 strategy, is aligned to Theology and Religious Studies benchmarks, HEQ (2008) descriptors and is situated specifically within a social science framework. The course supports a pluralistic perspective on and within religion and belief traditions, and engages with a range of methods of study, explores a number of interesting and challenging modules and includes and a diversified range of assessment practices.