Theological Studies MA (Honours) 2023 entry

The MA (Hons) in Theological Studies provides an introduction to the rich theological traditions of Christianity, covering the history, belief, practice, and implications of Christian theology from the early church to the present day. You will explore ways in which Christianity is being expressed and lived out today in different areas of the world, and you will learn about the distinctive challenges to faith presented by modern secular culture and, as importantly, how Christian theology engages with these challenges.  
 
Given its status as the founding subject of the University, theology is inherently interdisciplinary and its methods of inquiry and practices of interpretation have profoundly shaped subjects across other disciplines. You will therefore engage with theology in conversation with a diverse range of complementary subjects, including (but not limited to) philosophy, psychology, the sciences, anthropology, the arts, classics, and history. 
 
The MA course is therefore 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.  

UCAS code
V601
Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2027
Duration
Four years full time
School
School of Divinity
“I love the fact that students are given the room to explore options before concentrating on specific areas of studies. I have been exposed to topics that I did not know would interest me so much. They provoke my interest, satisfy my curiosity, and make me think. This University isn’t just four years of your life, it is a life in four years!”
Lowell
- Hong Kong

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. 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.

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 entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    AAAB
    Minimum entry grades:
    AABB
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    AAA
    Minimum entry grades:
    ABB
  • Standard entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,6,5)
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5)

General entry requirements

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

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

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

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.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of Biblical Studies or Theology is required.

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

Study abroad

Divinity students can apply to 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

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MA (Hons) in Theological Studies is a four-year course run by the School of Divinity. The course combines three distinct but closely related fields of study: theology, church history and practical theology. It also provides opportunities for optional modules within and outside of the School. Many of our elective modules take an interdisciplinary approach to theological studies.  
 
Modules in theology consider key topics (God, salvation, Jesus Christ, Trinity, creation, anthropology) in relation to the contexts in which they emerged and developed throughout Christian history, and some of the key thinkers who developed those concepts. They also consider some of the distinctive challenges to faith in the modern world. 

Modules in practical theology explore ways in which Christianity is being expressed and lived out today. They include the study of: 

  • worship, spirituality and the political involvement of the churches in contemporary Britain and beyond 
  • liturgy and social reflection in Latin America 
  • dance, worship and healing in Africa 
  • moral decision-making 
  • bioethics (abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering) 
  • political ethics (economic justice and political power, ecological issues) 
  • personal relationships (marriage, sexuality, friendship). 

Alongside theological 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 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 courses on primary texts of Christian theology. You will also be able to choose from a range of specialist subject modules in areas including (but not limited to): 

  • particular theologians in their context 
  • particular doctrines and the development of doctrine 
  • theological ethics 
  • church history 
  • inter-religious dialogue 
  • Christian mysticism 
  • Philosophical theology; theology and the arts; science engaged theology. 

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

Modules

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

Typically, you will take one theological studies module per semester during your first two years, and three or four theological studies modules per year during your third and fourth year (known as Honours).

Students take the following compulsory first-year modules: 

  • God and the World: Introducing Theology: 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. 
  • 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. 

Students will take the following compulsory second-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. 

If you decide to take theological studies in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options aimed to bring you in contact with the primary texts of Christian theology. 

Theological studies Honours modules which have been offered in previous years include: 

  • A Quest for God: The Religious World of Dante 
  • Analytic Theology 
  • Christian Ethics and Contemporary Society 
  • Medieval Monastic Spirituality
  • Reading in Reformation and Early Modern Theology 
  • Reading in Theological Ethics 
  • Themes and Texts in Christian-Buddhist Dialogue 
  • Themes in Postcolonial Theology  
  • Theological Anthropology 
  • Theology and Literature  
  • Theology and Pastoral Care.

In fourth 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 in the first and second years 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). 

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 independent research in the library 
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations 
  • undertaking assigned and recommended readings 
  • preparing for examinations. 

All sub-honours modules are assessed by coursework and 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.

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

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

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.

Fees

Scotland
Tuition fees have yet to be set.

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
£9,250

Channel Islands, Isle of Man
£9,250

EU and overseas
£28,190

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.

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Theological Studies as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Theological StudiesQV86
Master of Arts (Honours) English and Theological StudiesQV36
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Theological StudiesPV36
Master of Arts (Honours) French and Theological StudiesVR61
Master of Arts (Honours) French and Theological Studies (With Integrated Year Abroad)VRP1
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Theological StudiesLV76
Master of Arts (Honours) German and Theological StudiesRVG6
Master of Arts (Honours) German and Theological Studies (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVF6
Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and Theological StudiesLV26
Master of Arts (Honours) Mathematics and Theological StudiesGV16
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and Theological StudiesVVD6
Master of Arts (Honours) Modern History and Theological StudiesVVC6
Master of Arts (Honours) Philosophy and Theological StudiesVV56
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Theological StudiesCV86
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and Theological StudiesR7V6
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and Theological Studies (WIYA)RV10
Master of Arts (Honours) Social Anthropology and Theological StudiesLV66
Master of Arts (Honours) Spanish and Theological StudiesRV46
Master of Arts (Honours) Spanish and Theological Studies (With Integrated Year Abroad)VR64

Joint degrees taken with French, German, Russian, Spanish are also available 'With Integrated Year Abroad'. 

Careers

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: 

  • textual 
  • historical 
  • analytical 
  • creative 
  • interpersonal. 

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, historical, cultural, 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 
  • ordained ministers 
  • journalists with the national and religious press.  

Other recent graduates have gone on to become: 

  • trainee manager at a national bank 
  • art gallery assistant 
  • solicitor 
  • theatre director 
  • college principal 
  • business consultant 
  • social worker 
  • wine taster. 

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.

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.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

Phone
+44 (0)1334 46 2850
Email
divinity@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
School of Divinity
St Mary's College
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JU

School of Divinity website

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