Bible and the Contemporary World (MLitt) 2023 entry

The MLitt in Bible and the Contemporary World is a course 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 part-time distance learning programme

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2024
One year full time
School of Divinity

Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

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

“The lecturers are always helpful, offering mentorship and guidance throughout the course and beyond. Highlights have been the interactions with world-class scholars, together with the opportunity to publish the best of my student work in St Andrews-related outlets.”
- Prague, Czech Republic

Entry requirements

  • A 2.1 undergraduate Honours degree. You do not need to have a degree in Theology 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 the field of theology. 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 academic references 
  • 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 MLitt in Bible and the Contemporary World is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Divinity. 


  • Gain an understanding of how public issues and culture both shape and are shaped by Christian theology, biblical interpretation and practice. 
  • Combines campus-based and virtual learning modules. 
  • Join an international and interdenominational group of students in relating the Christian traditions to a host of public issues. 

Find out more about studying Bible and the Contemporary World.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. 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 entry.  


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

In the first semester, students take one compulsory VLE module: 

  • 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).

Students will also take one or two additional modules from other Divinity MLitt programmes, such as 'Systematic and Historical Theology' or 'Biblical Languages and Literature' (students may not be eligible for all modules; see the module catalogue)

Depending on your choice of optional modules, you may also complete a short research project (different to the main dissertation which is taken in Semester 2).

With permission, credit may be taken from other postgraduate taught modules offered by the School.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development).

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.

Students will begin research for the 15,000-word dissertation early in Semester 2, but will focus particularly on researching and writing from May through to submission in mid-August. 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. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt. 

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.


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

A typical residential study week, which is shared with the distance learning part-time students, includes lectures, seminars and other learning activities. 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.  

After the study week, students take one or two residential modules and two virtual learning environment (VLE) modules, which are shared with students on the part-time, distance learning version of this programme. 

Each VLE 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).

Students will have one personal tutorial with a tutor (usually via online video messaging or telephone) per module. 

The taught portion is followed by a 15,000-word dissertation written over three months during the summer and submitted mid-August. 

Assessment comprises four essays for each VLE module and a combination of essay and written examination for the campus-based module. 

Students are assigned a supervisor who gives guidance on the topic and provides academic support during the research and writing phases. 


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

Previous Divinity conferences




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


Students on this programme have gone on to work in the charitable sector and to further studies. Previous students have held professional occupations in: 

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

Regular workshops, both general and subject-specific, in areas such as publishing, conference presentations, and job searches are offered by the School and the University. 

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

+44 (0)1334 46 2841
School of Divinity
St Mary's College
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JU

School of Divinity website