Bible and the Contemporary World – distance learning (PGDip/MLitt) 2023 entry

The distance learning PG Diploma/MLitt in Bible and the Contemporary World is a part-time virtual learning programme that connects biblical and theological studies with other disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences. 

Bible and the Contemporary World is also offered as a full-time residential programme

Start date
August 2023 or January 2024
End date
Varies, depending on single module, PGDip or MLitt route
Duration
15 weeks part-time (single module); minimum 18 months part-time, maximum 4 years part-time (PGDip); minimum 2 years part-time, maximum 5 years part-time (MLitt)
School
School of Divinity

Application deadline

17 July 2023 for August 2023 entry; 30 November 2023 for January 2024 entry. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Entry requirements

The School of Divinity encourages applications from those who have an undergraduate degree in any subject, and recognises that in some cases this may have been attained a number of years ago.

A 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree is normally expected, but if your degree classification is lower, you should indicate more recent, perhaps informal, learning in your letter of intent. You do not need to have a degree in Theology or Biblical Studies in order to apply for a place on this programme; however, all applicants will be expected to have sufficient knowledge to equip them for postgraduate level of study in this area. Prospective applicants who are unable to offer a 2.1 Honours degree are invited to have discussions in advance with the course director: email divinitydistance@st-andrews.ac.uk.

If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date. 
  • personal statement (200 to 300 words) 
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words) 
  • two original signed references (academic or professional) 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates 

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The PGDip and MLitt in Bible and the Contemporary World is a part-time distance learning programme aimed at both lay people seeking personal development and clergy seeking continued professional development. 

Find out more about studying Bible and the Contemporary World

Highlights 

  • Gain an understanding of how public issues and culture both shape and are shaped by Christian theology, biblical interpretation and practice. 
  • Join an international and interdenominational group of students, most of whom are lay people. 
  • A residential study week in St Andrews starts each module with lectures and seminar discussions and allows you to meet your fellow participants and tutors. 
  • Opens possibilities for future doctoral work in fields such as practical theology or for those who seek to deepen their critical thinking in careers (often in the voluntary sector) that have a religious dimension.  

 

Modules

Each module typically comprises: 

  • online lectures and seminars 
  • 100% coursework assessment. 

Students will take the modules in different orders depending on their point of entry. 

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2022-2023  academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 - 2024 entry. 

 

Semester 1

Residential study week in St Andrews: Monday 28 August to Friday 1 September 2023 

  • Theology and the Arts: seeks to develop existing competencies in these two areas by concentrating attention on key articles of the Christian faith and their relationship with a broad range of different art-forms (such as literature, music and the visual arts). 

Semester 2

Residential study week in St Andrews: Monday 8 to Friday 12 January 2024 

  •  Surveillance, Theology and the Bible: will think critically about surveillance in contemporary life, considering current theories from the field of surveillance studies as well as turning to the Hebrew Bible and New Testament for themes that might stimulate the appraisal of surveillance in other ways. 

Semester 3

Residential study week and module in St Andrews: To be announced.

Semester 1

Residential study week in St Andrews: Monday 8 to Friday 12 January 2024 

  •  Surveillance, Theology and the Bible: will think critically about surveillance in contemporary life, considering current theories from the field of surveillance studies as well as turning to the Hebrew Bible and New Testament for themes that might stimulate the appraisal of surveillance in other ways. 

Semesters 2 and 3

Residential study week and module in St Andrews: To be announced

MLitt students take a fourth module for their dissertation, and attend its associated study week in St Andrews. Dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of 15,000 words must be submitted at the end of the course. 

Those on the PGDip programme will finish their studies after the third semester, and suitably qualified candidates will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.  

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Each semester begins with a residential study week held at St Mary's College, the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews.

A typical residential study week includes lectures, seminars, sessions on using the Moodle and MMS internet platforms, and study skills training. It is also a good opportunity for you to meet your distance learning peers and tutors in person. 

Attendance is required at each study week from Monday through Wednesday, but students are encouraged to stay for the remainder of the week. You will need to pay for your own travel and accommodation costs to attend these mandatory study weeks.  

Both MLitt and PGDip students take three taught modules over the course of their programme. Each module comprises 15 weeks of study (typically divided into four units) and focuses on independent learning. 

In each unit of a module, students are supplied a number of scholarly articles and extracts from books which are supplemented by two written lectures available online in digital format; you will also have access to the library's extensive online subscriptions of journals and ebooks. Instead of seminars, you will participate in online bulletin board discussions with your peers (not held in real time). 

The MLitt programme is followed by a 15,000-word dissertation submitted at the end of two years of study. Students are assigned an individual supervisor for their dissertation, and meetings with supervisors are normally held via online video messaging or telephone. 

Students typically write four essays for each module (one for each unit) and receive written feedback.

Students will have one personal tutorial with a tutor (usually via online video messaging or telephone) per module where they can discuss their recent essay.

Events

The School of Divinity regularly hosts international conferences and smaller symposia on themes across the field of biblical and theological studies. 

Fees

Home
Tuition fees have yet to be set.

Overseas
Tuition fees have yet to be set.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree

Careers

Students on this programme are often already in employment. Others have gone on to work in the charitable sector and to further studies. Previous students have had professional occupations in: 

  • education 
  • law 
  • business 
  • administration 
  • charities 
  • ministry. 

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


Further study

Many Divinity graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews. 

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate virtual days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

Phone
+44 (0)1334 46 2841
Email
divinitydistance@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
School of Divinity
St Mary's College
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JU

School of Divinity website