Theology and the Arts (MLitt) 2023 entry

The MLitt in Theology and the Arts gives students a theoretically inflected and historically contextualised introduction to the field of theology and the arts, acting as a stand-alone Master’s course or a stepping stone for those considering doctoral research in the field.

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2024
One year full time
School of Divinity

Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

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

“St Andrews has given me a clear sense of the academic opportunities available in theology and the arts. It has introduced me to the theory and history of theoartistry, which has been invaluable in shaping my doctoral focus. It has also provided me with an academic model for interdisciplinary research in the arts that I hope to implement later in my career.”
- Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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 
  • statement of purpose (300 to 500 words) 
  • 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 Theology and the Arts is a one-year taught programme run by the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA), part of the School of Divinity.

The course is designed to provide a broad introduction to postgraduate work in the field of theology and the arts. It can be taken as self-contained programme of study or as a grounding for those intending to pursue doctoral research in this field. 


  • A unique training programme for artists wishing to reflect on the theological dimensions of their work, and for theologians wishing to explore the place of art within theological thought and practice. 
  • An ideal stepping stone towards the Institute's PhD programme, which centres on a three-year independent research project. 
  • An opportunity to engage with diverse forms of culture from different historical periods, including literature, drama, the visual arts and music. 


Each module typically comprises: 

  • three hours of weekly lectures and seminars 
  • coursework assessment 
  • in some cases, a written exam. 

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2022-2023  academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 entry. 

  • Christian Doctrine and the Arts: examines key Christian doctrines and their artistic presentation throughout the centuries. 
  • Religious Experience and Aesthetic FormsTheory: explores how historical and cultural contexts through the ages have shaped religious art, and examines critically how different art forms – painting, music, literature, drama, architecture, film – and different styles within those forms mediate different kinds of religious experience. 
  • Theological Engagements with the Arts: Methodologies and Critical Theories: addresses theological questions about human artistry and introduces students to different ways of engaging the relationship between Christian theology and the arts. 
  • Practical Criticism: exposes students to a multiplicity of forms and themes, with an emphasis on the practice of close reading(taught by ITIA staff). 
  • a module from another of the School of Divinity's MLitt programmes. 
  • a module from another academic School (e.g., English, Art History, Film Studies). 

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). 

Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise students in their choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, an exit award is available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


The programme consists of four taught modules taken over two semesters followed by a 15,000-word dissertation written over three months during the summer. 

Modules are interdisciplinary in nature, integrating various artistic media and theological themes, and are taught through weekly lectures and seminars.

Class sizes typically range from 6 to 12 students. 

Students attend ITIA’s weekly 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. 

Assessment comprises a combination of coursework and written examination.


The Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA) is a vibrant community of established scholars, post-docs, and graduate students. The weekly research seminar, at which internal and guest speakers discuss their ongoing work, is at the heart of the Iinstitute’s day-to-day life. 

The ITIA Research Forum allows graduates to discuss ongoing research and provides professional training for graduates. 

The Transept, a student-led artist group, meets weekly to discuss original work in all art forms. 

ITIA is home to, and associated with, a number of publications: 

  • Transpositions – an award-winning blog edited by ITIA's graduate students.  
  • Journal of Inklings Studies – ITIA hosts the editorial office of this leading academic journal on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and their literary circle. 
  • Ashgate Studies in Theology, Imagination and the Arts book series. 




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. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree


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

Graduates have taken up roles in a wide variety of occupations including: 

  • work for arts institutions and museums 
  • church ministry 
  • secondary school teaching. 

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 Theology and the Arts. 

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

ITIA provides a competitive and rigorous PhD programme aimed at those who already have the necessary scholarly grounding to begin an independent doctoral research project. 

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 virtual 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