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Divinity BD (Hons) 2021 entry

The BD (Hons) in Divinity is a shorter course intended for those who already have an undergraduate degree and are interested in focusing on theological and biblical studies. It is especially suited for those considering ordination within a Christian denomination.

You will have the option to specialise in subjects such as the Old Testament, theology, practical theology, church history or a combination of these.

How to apply Register your interest

UCAS code

V600

Course type

Bachelor of Divinity (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Three years full time

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 June 2024

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

Students must have an undergraduate degree in another subject in order to be accepted on the Divinity BD (Hons).

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

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.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of divinity is required, but applicants must already hold an undergraduate degree from a higher education institution.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

Other qualifications

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.

Course information

The BD (Hons) in Divinity is a three-year course run by the School of Divinity. The course is only available to those who already hold an undergraduate degree and are now interested in focusing on theological and biblical studies. There is a four-year option for students who wish to also study biblical languages.

The course focuses on the teachings and practices of the Christian faith as rooted in biblical and theological studies, and considers the significance of faith today as well as the challenges to it. Students can expect to have the opportunity to engage with a number of specialist topics including, for example, the study of the biblical text in its original languages or the interactions of Christian theology with current scientific and philosophical developments.

During your first year, you will take modules covering both the Old and New Testaments, systematic theology, philosophy of religion, theological ethics, and the history of the early church.

Throughout all three years of your degree, you will take the required modules in divinity only. Find out more about how academic years are organised

The skills you gain in detailed analytical study will prepare you for your second and third year, during which you will take reading-centred modules intended to bring you into close contact with the primary texts of Christian theology and biblical studies. These modules provide transition from the broader thematic study of subjects to a more detailed analysis of texts and traditions.

Final-year students must also complete a 10,000-word dissertation on a divinity 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 web page.

Find out more about studying divinity at St Andrews.

Modules

Throughout all three years of your degree, you will take the required modules in divinity only.

Typically, you will take three divinity modules per semester during your first year, and four modules per year during your second and third year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students take the following compulsory first-year modules:

  • Philosophical Theology: introduces students to the relations between philosophy and theology in thought about God, including themes in metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of language.
  • The Early and Medieval Church: History, Beliefs and Practices: explores key themes in the organisation, practice and beliefs of the early and medieval church, focusing mostly on the period from the first to the ninth centuries.
  • New Testament 2: Paul and the Epistles: examines the literature and developing theology of the New Testament, paying particular attention to the issue of unity and diversity, and to the themes of Christology and soteriology.
  • 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.

Students will also take two modules from the following:

  • 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.
  • Hebrew 2: aims to extend students' skills in reading the Hebrew Bible and in the techniques of textual criticism and of exegesis.
  • Introduction to Practical Theology and Theological Ethics: introduces students to the work of a number of practical theologians as well as key concepts from the history of Christian ethics, such as natural law, divine command, virtue ethics, the relation of scripture to ethics, and political theology.
  • New Testament 1: Jesus and the Gospels: considers the historical contexts of the New Testament texts; then studies the Gospels with a view to determining the particular interests of their authors, and with a view to assessing their portraits of Jesus in relation to the historical Jesus.
  • New Testament Greek 1: introduces the essential grammar, morphology, and vocabulary of New Testament Greek.
  • Old Testament 1: Torah and Prophets: introduces the life, literature and religion of Ancient Israel, with particular consideration of the main literary types of the Old Testament literature.
  • Theology: Issues and History: addresses a variety of themes within Christian theology. Each theme will be approached with a view to its biblical roots and historical development, its critical reception and restatement in the modern period, and its significance for contemporary theological reflection.

During your second and third year in divinity, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options focusing on primary biblical and theological texts.

Divinity Honours modules which have been offered in previous years include:

  • A Quest for God: The Religious World of Dante
  • Analytic Theology
  • Ancient Jewish Literature from 1 Enoch to the Mishnah
  • Christian Ethics and Contemporary Society
  • Creation and Chaos in the Old Testament and Ancient Near East
  • Johannine Literature and Theology
  • King and Messiah in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism
  • Medieval Monastic Spirituality
  • Reading in the Greek New Testament
  • The Book of Daniel
  • The Gospel of Mark: English Text or Greek Text
  • Themes and Texts in Christian-Buddhist Dialogue
  • Theology and Pastoral Care.

In third year, students also undertake a 10,000-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 compulsory modules listed here must be taken 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 appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.

Teaching

Teaching format

Teaching in first year is mainly by lectures (10 to 100 students), supplemented by regular small-group tutorials (10 to 15 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) and classes (5 to 35 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 an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of divinity. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken tutor training may also contribute to the teaching of classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all divinity staff on the School of Divinity website.

In addition to your studies in the School, 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 web page.

Assessment

All sub-honours modules are typically assessed by 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 aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments. 

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 see the common reporting scale.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students.

Undergraduates

Upcoming online visiting days:

  • Wednesday 30 September 2020
  • Wednesday 7 October 2020
  • Wednesday 14 October 2020
  • Wednesday 28 October 2020
  • Wednesday 4 November 2020

Fees

Tuition fees for 2021 entry

Scotland Tuition fees for Scottish applicants have yet to be set for 2021 entry.
Rest of the UK £9,250
EU and overseas £25,100

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 

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation. 

Funding and scholarships

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

Your future

Careers

Most graduates from the BD take the course as part of their preparation for ordination. That said, 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.

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. 

Study abroad

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.

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 divinity 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 University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings, parks and beaches, providing a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. Find out more about the town of St Andrews.

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

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

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).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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