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MA Study of Religions

Course Description

This MA programme is based on the recognition that religion plays a crucial role in human affairs, and seeks to foster an understanding of this rich subject area.

Course Overview

The aim of the programme is not to focus on any one tradition, but to enable engagement with different traditions in a manner that is free, fair, accurate and open to correction.

This programme has a distinctive focus on contemporary religions. Its range of modules, exploring different aspects of religion today, has been designed by staff members with a background in sociology, anthropology, and religious studies. The modules enable students to explore not just the theoretical, but also the practical, lived aspects of religious faith and practice in different contexts.

The programme is delivered as a full-time and part-time programme of study, and is also available as distance learning. All module content is available through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and students will be supported throughout their studies through regular access to their module tutors, either one to one (by email, skype, phone), in groups (using media such as Skype), or via VLE module discussion forums or wikis.

Campus-based students will be supported through lectures, research seminars and public lectures. An annual residential graduate summer school is held for all students in July where students are able to experience lectures and seminars covering both issues related to generic learning and subject-specific information and to engage with a number of our research students.


The Study Skills module is intended to refresh students’ basic study skills and to introduce the skills required for study at postgraduate level.

Theory and Methodology in the Study of Religions enables students to engage with debates on themes relating to competing definitions of ‘religion’, and competing views on how best to study it. This module also introduces students to different disciplinary approaches to the study of religion, ranging from anthropology and sociology to psychology and history.

Religion, Spirituality and Secularisation engages with one of the most important debates in the field of religion today – is modern society getting increasingly secularised? Is religion increasingly a thing of the past? Is there evidence to prove this? This module enables students to explore both sides of the ‘secularisation’ debate, and offers a critical examination of such phenomena in modern western societies as the growth of New Religious Movements, and the popularity of religiously unaffiliated ‘Alternative Spiritualities’.

The MA then offers further modules, of which students are required to make a selection of any three.

Religious Experience Today examines different theoretical approaches to religious experience as a distinct dimension of religion, and develops students’ skills in engaging analytically and critically with accounts of religious experience. This module enables students to work closely with the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre archives held in the University library.

Ritual and Religion explores what we mean when we refer to ‘ritual’; analyses different ways of thinking about ritual; and examines a range of rituals in different religious contexts

Modern Yoga and Ayurveda focuses on two traditions of Indian origin, examining the transformations they have undergone from pre-colonial to colonial, and further to post-colonial, times; and exploring questions of authority and power implicit in such transformation. [currently not available]

Fieldwork in the Study of Religions aims to develop students’ skills in interview-based research, as well as research based on participant-observation at a particular event, and/or within a chosen religious group or community. Those planning to use fieldwork methods while researching for their dissertation are particularly encouraged to complete this module.

Islam Todayintroduces students to key contemporary themes relating to Islam and Muslims, particularly in western contexts.

Cosmology, Magic and Divination aims to explore the divinatory and magical practices of the classical world, paying attention to modern theories of magic and with an emphasis on the reading of classical philosophers and practitioners.

Buddhist Philosophy provides students with a systematic and critically aware understanding of current philosophical difficulties and recent insights in Buddhist Philosophy.

For further details of module availability please visit: http://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/ma-study-of-religions/ Module descriptions are updated annually in August prior to the start of the academic year.

Key Features

- An opportunity to engage with different religious traditions
- An opportunity to consider some of the key debates in the field of religion today
- Designed by staff members with a background in sociology, anthropology, and religious studies
- Highly experienced academic staff who have taught in different institutions and countries and who bring with them valuable expertise in guiding international students through their programmes of study.

Distance Learning

All our degrees are available to distance learners, and indeed the greater part of our postgraduate cohort comprises distance learners. Every student has access to all module materials, including reading lists, on the Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). All modules are taught by our lecturers, and are designed to be accessible and friendly to learning at a distance. Many of the modules are delivered in a blended fashion with use of video and audio presentations by the lecturers on each individual topic.

It is essential that distance learners have a good internet access, as well as use of computer facilities; the University offers all distance students individual support in accessing material from home. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David Learning Resources Centre provides access to a variety of electronic academic material to distance learners, including more than 1,000 Classics e-books, 70 Classics e-journals, and a number of specialised Classics e-resources

Entry Criteria

Normally the entry requirement for this programme is a first class or upper second class undergraduate degree. In addition, the School encourages students with an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant and relevant professional experience to apply.

A non-graduate may also be admitted to candidature provided that she/he has gained a minimum of three years professional experience relevant and appropriate to the programme and they can demonstrate a satisfactory level of writing /analytical skills

For information on our postgraduate study scholarships please visit: http://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/bursaries/

Visit the MA Study of Religions page on the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David website for more details!

Student Profiles

Postgraduate Study Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

Available to UK students enrolling in their first year of a postgraduate programme who require
assistance with their fees. Awarded as fee reduction.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Available to UK students enrolling in their first year of a postgraduate programme who require assistance with their fees. Awarded as fee reduction.

Application Procedure

Application forms can be downloaded from: http://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/bursaries/application-forms/
the application deadline for 2015/16 is 4th September 2015

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normally a good honours degree but applicants from a non-traditional route will be considered.

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