Undergraduate study in Divinity

The School of Divinity offers a world-class education in Theology and Biblical Studies.

Biblical Studies attends to the languages, sources, cultures and communities in which biblical literature was composed, read and transmitted in order to understand better the origins, development and meaning of those texts in their diverse historical and contemporary contexts. Theology encompasses the in-depth, serious, study of historical and contemporary reflection on God and on Christianity, its sources, ideas, contexts and traditions.

Some people who study these subjects identify as Christians and want to understand better what that means. They will be challenged to explore their own beliefs in a rigorous but supportive way. They will also have to explore the diversity of Christian belief and to consider where they locate themselves within that diversity.

Others come from another religious tradition, or from none. They will be challenged to engage and empathise with the beliefs of Christians and to explore and understand the rich intellectual and spiritual heritage of that religious tradition.

All will learn tolerance, an appreciation of diversity, and how to argue well over matters of ultimate concern. 

Theology is also an intrinsically interdisciplinary subject. It involves learning languages, reading texts closely, historical analysis, philosophical precision, sociological research and more. The good theologian learns to engage and appreciate a remarkably wide variety of evidence, and to synthesize it in strong and nuanced arguments.

Degree courses

The School offers a range of undergraduate degrees in Divinity: 

The MA (Hons) courses in Biblical Studies and Theological Studies can be taken as single honours degrees, or in combination with another subject as part of a joint honours degree.

The MTheol (Hons) combines Biblical Studies and Theological Studies for a full-immersion theology course. It can only be taken as a single honours degree. MTheol students are members of the ancient Faculty of Divinity and so wear the distinctive black gown with purple saltire. 

MA (joint Hons) in Hebrew and New Testament can only be taken in conjunction with other subjects as joint honours degrees.

The BD (Hons) in Divinity is a training course designed for those preparing for ordination. You must already have an undergraduate degree (in any subject) to apply for it. 

Degree structure

The Scottish tradition of four-year degrees permits students to take one or two modules per semester outside their primary subject, or to complement their core learning by additional subject modules. This allows considerable flexibility and choice, no matter what your degree intention.

The School of Divinity, being highly selective, places great emphasis on small cohorts and individual care.  In the first two years, small-group tutorials complement lectures. In the two Honours years, seminars (usually with no more than 15 students) are the main teaching format. Every final-year student completes a dissertation under the guidance of a dissertation coordinator and an academic supervisor.

Careers

A degree in Divinity provides the context not only for significant intellectual and personal development, but also for the acquisition of a wide range of transferable skills. Accordingly, employment prospects are usually wide-ranging.

Recent graduates from the School of Divinity have become:

  • religious studies teachers
  • lay chaplains at schools
  • ordained ministers
  • journalists with the national and religious press. 

Others have gone on to become lawyers, corporate bankers, marketing managers, social workers, language therapists, and even wine tasters.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Find out more about careers in Divinity.

Study abroad

You can spend four enjoyable and challenging years in St Andrews, or take up to one year of your degree in the USA, Canada or Europe.

North American students who join the School for one semester as part of their own programme of study find the experience very rewarding, and the School gains immensely from their presence in classes and wider community life.

Find out what study abroad opportunities are available for undergraduate and postgraduate students in the School of Divinity.