The MA (Hons) in Biblical Studies provides an opportunity to explore the profound influence that the Christian and Jewish Scriptures have had on Western civilisation. Your studies will focus on the Old Testament and New Testament, but you will also encounter a large number of other Jewish and Christian writings from these periods, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The MA course is particularly suited for those wanting a wider range of options across Arts subjects, but who still want to give most of their attention to Divinity. Many students choose to take Biblical Studies alongside subjects such as ancient history or classical studies in order to study important texts within the wider context of the ancient world, or with English in order to discover the way in which biblical ideas and themes have found their way into literature.
More information for 2020 entry will be available in September 2019. For information on the current year of entry for this course, see the 2019 page.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
Standard entry grades: AAAB
Minimum entry grades: AABB
Gateway entry grades: BBBB
Standard entry grades: AAA
Minimum entry grades: ABB
Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5)
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
No previous knowledge of Biblical Studies or Theology is required.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
St Andrews students meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.
The School of Divinity has enjoyed an international reputation for teaching excellence since it was founded in 1539.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2018 as 94% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
A degree in Divinity gives you the opportunity for significant intellectual and personal development, and you will acquire a wide range of transferable skills. Those who have studied Theology or Biblical Studies have learnt a range of skills including:
Graduates are in demand with employers who need rigorous but flexible thinkers with a broad knowledge base and an understanding of people and their religious and social contexts.
Recent graduates from the School of Divinity have, for example, become:
graduate students in the UK and abroad
religious studies teachers
lay chaplains at schools
journalists with the national and religious press.
Other Divinity graduates have gone on to become:
trainee manager at a national bank
art gallery assistant
Graduates have also gone on to postgraduate degrees in related areas here and at other top universities in the UK and across the world.
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.
Divinity students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Students of Biblical Studies may be interested in joining the St Mary’s College Society. The society organises social events for the staff and students of the School of Divinity. The Society is very active with Friday lunches, pub evenings, the annual dinner, the annual ball and the Christmas lunch. They also have a charitable and spiritual role within the college, raising money for different charities throughout the year.
The School of Divinity is located in St Mary’s College, one of the oldest and most historic parts of the University, where theology has been taught for over 500 years. Today, teaching takes place in seminar rooms and lecture theatres equipped with the latest technology both within St Mary’s and around the University. The Divinity library is housed in the historic King James Library, and students have their own common room in the former Principal’s House.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).