Systematic and Historical Theology (MLitt) 2024 entry

The MLitt in Systematic and Historical Theology offers students the opportunity to engage at a high level with the study of Christian doctrine in its historical context and systematic expression.

Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2025
One year full time
School of Divinity

Application deadline

Thursday 8 August 2024

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

“I have a particular interest in embarking on a PhD and saw the course as the perfect opportunity to develop my work and myself as a theologian from an undergraduate to a doctoral level, through focusing on questions regarding the very nature of the self and of the divine.”
short-haired man with glasses
- Warwickshire, England

Entry requirements

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 
  • personal statement (optional) 
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic work in English (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 Systematic and Historical Theology is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Divinity. 


  • Trains students in a high-level engagement with Christian doctrines in their historical and systematic dimensions. 
  • Integrates the study of Biblical origins, primary theological texts, and contemporary scholarship. 
  • Balances coursework and a research component that allows students to apply acquired skills to a substantial subject or question of their choosing. 
  • Equips students for doctoral study in systematic and historical theology, or for enhanced ministry in church and society. 


The modules published below are examples of what has been taught in previous academic years and may be subject to change before you start your programme. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the module catalogue.

Here is a sample of modules that may be offered. 

  • A Selected Medieval Theologian: allows students to engage at length and in depth with the thought of a formative, medieval thinker.
  • A Selected Modern Theologian: allows students to engage at length and in depth with the thought of a formative, modern thinker. 
  • A Selected Patristic Theologian: allows students to engage at length and in depth with the thought of a formative, patristic thinker. 
  • A Selected Reformation Theologian: allows students to engage at length and in depth with the thought of a formative, Reformation thinker. 
  • From Nazareth to Nicaea: The origins of Christian theology: examines the beginnings of Christian theology in the New Testament texts and in early Christian writers. 
  • Persons: Divine and Human: assesses the concept of the ‘person’ as used to describe the nature of God and the Trinity on the one hand, and the nature of human beings on the other. 
  • Reconciliation: Divine and Human: explores the doctrine of reconciliation and its implications for human relationships. 
  • The Doctrine of Creation: the development of Christian thinking about the creation of the world by God from the Bible to the present day.  
  • The Good Life and the Good Death: Theological and Practical Ethics: explores how ethical concepts, and their practical application, relate to various (and often competing) theological and philosophical conceptions of the Good Life and the Good Death, using a range of important historical and contemporary moral theologians and philosophers.

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).

Over the course of the year, but with particular focus over the last three months, you will research and write a 15,000-word dissertation. Student 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 must be submitted by a date specified in August. 

There is no exit award option (such as a PGCert or PGDip) for this programme. In order to complete the MLitt, students must pass the dissertation element of their course. 


The programme comprises two semesters of taught modules, featuring both lectures and discussions, and a 15,000-word dissertation. Modules are assessed by essays.

Class sizes in the School of Divinity typically range from 6 to 12 students. 

Students also attend the weekly Theology Research Seminar, and may, if they wish, enrol in language classes and attend other lectures, seminars and reading groups as appropriate.

The School offers classes in Hebrew and Greek, which are open to all students. 


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

Students also participate in a weekly Theology Research Seminar and are invited to attend any of the other research seminars pertaining to their interests. 




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.

15% Recent Graduate Discount

If you have graduated from the University within the last three academic years, you may be eligible for a 15% discount on postgraduate taught tuition fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Taught postgraduate scholarships    Postgraduate loans

After your degree


Students on the MLitt programme are provided the skills they need to succeed in an international job market, both academic and non-academic.  

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

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year residential Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in Systematic and Historical Theology. 

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

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 online visiting 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 2826
School of Divinity
St Mary's College
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JU

School of Divinity website