Biblical Studies MA (Hons) 2018 entry

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.

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UCAS code

V641

Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 June 2022

If you started this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Biblical Studies MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Typical entry requirements

SQA Highers AAAB
GCE A-Levels AAA
IB points 36

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.

International applicants

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.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

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.

Other qualifications

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 webpage.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Timetables

Students must meet with their advisor 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.

While every effort is made to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Biblical Studies is a four-year course run by the School of Divinity. The course is designed to introduce you to the complexities and wonders of reading biblical texts: contexts, content, methods and hermeneutics (the reading of ancient texts in a modern world).

In your first two years, you will take compulsory modules focusing on both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament modules focus on the history, religion and culture of Israel, and incorporate a wide range of texts from prophetic, hymnic, wisdom and apocalyptic literature. The New Testament modules focus on Jesus and the Gospels, Paul’s letters and the rest of the New Testament writings in the context of the history and theology of early Christianity. In addition, you will study at least one biblical language – either Hebrew or Greek, or both – which will provide a basis for Honours level exegesis courses.

Alongside Biblical Studies, in the first year of your studies you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about more about how academic years are organised.

The skills you gain in detailed analytical study will prepare you for your final two years, during which you will take advanced exegesis and hermeneutics modules. You will also be able to choose from a range of specialist subject modules in areas including (but not limited to):

  • New Testament texts in Greek or English
  • Old Testament texts in Hebrew or English
  • extra-biblical texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • biblical themes such as monarchy
  • further languages such as Biblical Aramaic.

Final year students must also complete a 10,000 to 12,000-word dissertation on a Biblical Studies topic chosen in consultation with teaching staff.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.

Find out more about studying Divinity at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Biblical Studies alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one to two Biblical Studies modules per semester during your first two years, and three or four Biblical Studies modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students take the following compulsory first-year modules:

  • Old Testament 1: Torah and Prophets: an introduction to the life, literature and religion of Ancient Israel, with particular consideration of the main literary types of the Old Testament literature.
  • New Testament 1: Jesus and the Gospels: consideration of the historical contexts of the New Testament texts, including political, socio-economic and religious factors within the Greco-Roman world and Early Judaism.

and at least one of:

  • Hebrew 1: Introduction to Hebrew Language: aims to give students a sufficient knowledge of the grammar and vocabulary of Old Testament Hebrew to be able to read and analyse prescribed texts. Continues on to Hebrew 2.
  • New Testament Greek 1: introduces the essential grammar, morphology, and vocabulary of New Testament Greek which will continue into New Testament Greek 2.

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:

  • Old Testament 2: Wisdom, Psalms, Apocalyptic and Apocryphal Literature: an introduction to the literature and theology of the period of Israel’s history from exile to the consolidation of the canon.
  • New Testament 2: Paul and the Epistles: examines the developing theology of the New Testament, paying particular attention to the issue of unity and diversity, and to the themes of Christology and soteriology.

and at least one of:

  • Hebrew 2: continues from Hebrew 1 and extends students' skills in reading the Hebrew Bible and in the techniques of textual criticism and of exegesis.
  • New Testament Greek 2: continues from New Testament Greek 1 and introduces the second half of the essential grammar, morphology, and vocabulary of New Testament Greek.

If you decide to take Biblical Studies in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options in exegesis and hermeneutics.

Biblical Studies Honours modules which have been offered in previous years include:

  • Ancient Jewish Literature from 1 Enoch to the Mishnah
  • Hebrew Readings
  • Hebrew Prose and Poetry
  • The Gospel of Mark: Greek Text
  • Epistle to the Hebrews: English Text
  • Reading the Greek New Testament
  • Creation and Chaos in the Old Testament and Ancient Near East.

In fourth year, students also undertake a 10,000 to 12,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. The School provides significant support for the dissertation, with a breakdown of the assessment into different stages and a programme of seminars to assist in the development of advanced research and communication skills.


The sub-honours modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

Teaching in the first and second years is mainly by lectures (10 to 100 students), supplemented by regular small-group tutorials (8 to 12 students).

At Honours level, greater emphasis is put on individual study and on students taking a major role in preparing for and conducting seminars (5 to 15 students).

When not attending lectures, tutorials and workshops, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by a research-led teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Biblical Studies. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader.

In addition to your studies in the School of Divinity, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.

Assessment

All sub-honours modules are assessed by at least 50% coursework and 50% written examinations. At Honours level, at least 50% assessed work is coursework, with some modules including no exam element at all.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School of Divinity provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future, and aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2018 entry

Scotland and EU Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2018 entry.
Rest of the UK Tuition fees for applicants from the rest of the UK have yet to be set for 2018 entry.
Overseas £21,290

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

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

Accommodation fees

Accommodation fees for 2018 are yet to be set. Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017-2018.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Biblical Studies as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.

Your future

Careers

Graduates from the theological and biblical disciplines develop key transferable skills in critical thinking and in written and oral communication, which make them highly attractive to potential employers. Accordingly, employment prospects are usually wide ranging.

Previous graduates from the School of Divinity have found positions as:

  • assistant minister with the Church of Scotland
  • Youth Pastor with the Free Church of Scotland
  • quality improvement officer with an English local council
  • nursery nurse
  • administrator with the Financial Services Agency (FAS)
  • officer in the accounts department of Nexus communications
  • policy officer with the Scottish Executive
  • teacher
  • trainee accountant with KPMG.

Others have gone on to become lawyers, corporate bankers, marketing managers, social workers, language therapists, even wine tasters, as well as vicars, chaplains and school teachers.

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.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

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 organizes 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. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

School of Divinity

University of St Andrews
St Mary's College
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JU

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2850
Email: divinity@st-andrews.ac.uk

Divinity website