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Anthropology of Religion (MSc) [not running 2013/14]

Course Description


The resurgence of religion as a political force on the world stage has forced us to rethink our understanding of the relationship between church and state, and to formulate new questions about the world we live in. Is secularization really a necessary feture of modernity? How can we understand political violence where at least some of the parties make appeal to divine truths, or to ideals and logics which transcend humanly created social formations? How do individuals, groups and institutions that live by such ideals do so within a world of secular states? How do we understand the very categories of 'religion', 'the secular', belief' and 'the political' in the diversity of beliefs, cultures and clashes thrown up by world events?

This programme uses anthropological and sociological approaches to these questions to examine real case studies of governments, communities and conflicts on the ground.

First Semester:
Core Course - Religion, Power and Belief (30 credits). Optional Courses: A range of courses available within the College of Arts and Social Sciences, including, according to availability: Morality and Belief in Islam; Evolutionary Theories of Religion; Myth and Ritual; Anthropological Theory; Rituals of Death; Religious Belief and Practice in the Modern World; ‘In the Beginning’ and Christian Ethics; Jewish History and Culture; Supervised reading.

Second Semester:
Core Courses: Religion and the Secular (15 credits); Dissertation Preparation Course (15 credits). Optional Courses: see above.


Founded in 1495, the University of Aberdeen is one of the UK's most internationally distinguished universities. With an international multicultural community of over 14,000 students drawn from 120 different countries, the University prides itself on offering the very best learning and support facilities for students, from one of the largest and best equipped libraries in Scotland to support services that provide friendly and expert guidance on a range of areas - academic, personal, medical and financial.

The School of Social Sciences is situated on the University’s beautiful Kings College Campus, and includes the departments of Anthropology, Politics & International Relations and Sociology. In coming to Aberdeen, you’ll be joining a vibrant and active postgraduate community, taught and supervised by staff with international reputations for teaching and research.


For further details on this Masters programme, see our Prospectus (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/prospectus/pgrad)

For further details on Anthropology at Aberdeen, visit our website (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/anthropology/).


For further inquiries, contact:

- Dr Johan Rasanayagam (Programme Director) - Tel: +44 (0) 1224 272191; Email:

- Alyson Millar (Postgraduate Secretary) - Tel: +44 (0) 1224 272762; Email:

Visit the Anthropology of Religion (MSc) [not running 2013/14] page on the Aberdeen University website for more details!

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Entry Requirements

Applicants should have an Upper Second Class Honours Degree or Equivalent.

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