Contemporary Religion MA

The MA Contemporary Religion course is a varied and exciting programme with two routes to choose from; a research route, for those considering an academic career in the study of religion, and a professional route to give you an advantage in any field of expertise.

York St John University
Course fees
2017 - 2018 Full-time Home & EU students: £3,500, International (non EU) students: £10,000 per annum
Full-time & Part-time options available

Course overview

This programme has been designed to allow students to study a range of subjects related to religion in today's world, while also developing skills that are vital for a professional career. It is designed to cater for graduates who are looking for an academic career in the study of religion, or who are interested in the subject area and want to improve their employability in the professional market.

There are two main routes through the programme:

  • The Research Route is specifically designed for students who enjoy research and who are likely to want to go on to do doctoral studies in the discipline. You will be taught research skills relevant to theology and religious studies, and have the chance to do an extended project leading to an 18k word dissertation.
  • The Professional Route is aimed at students who want to develop professional skills alongside the study of religion. You will be taught skills related to devising and managing a small project within a religious or similar organisation, which will help you to become a reflective practitioner.

For both routes you can choose from a range of taught modules, which draw on the research expertise of staff in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Four modules are offered each year on subjects that look at religion in relation to areas such as public life, philosophy, popular culture, psychology and peace–building. There is also a module that looks at the practice of religion in a specific faith which involves visiting a Buddhist community and engaging in conversations with devotees. The taught modules allow you to study religion from a range of different perspectives, learning different methods of study along the way.

You can also take some modules from our MA Theology & Ministry programme, which may be especially attractive to students interested in studying the Christian faith. These modules are taught in the evenings, and you can include up to two which will count towards your final award in Contemporary Religion.

The MA Contemporary Religion is primarily aimed at full-time students, and can be completed in a year. Part time students can study over two to three years, but will need to be available for one day a week in some semesters.

Course structure

MA Contemporary Religion Programme Specification (PDF, 80.3kB)

The programme can be completed in 12 to 18 months full-time study or two to three years of part-time study, with taught modules being delivered during the day in two terms. The requirements for each route are slightly different, reflecting the different emphasis of each:

  • On the Research route students must pass three 30-credit taught modules (including the Research Religion module), and a 90-credit (18k word) dissertation.
  • On the Professional route students must pass four 30-credit taught modules (including the Professional Development module), and a 60-credit (12k word) dissertation.

Students may exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits from two taught modules) or a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits from four taught modules).

Research route

On the Research route your skills module is delivered over two terms and will help you learn advanced skills in gathering, analysing and communicating research data collected within a humanities or social-science framework. You will create an e-portfolio showing your skill development, and be expected to communicate your dissertation findings to an audience of fellow students as you would for an academic conference.

Professional route

On the Professional route your skills module is delivered over two terms and will help you learn advanced skills in working with people in faith-based contexts. As part of this module would will work with an organisation to devise and implement a small project (which might something like a special acts of worship, changes to worship spaces, social events or study courses). You will create an e-portfolio showing your skill development, and be expected to communicate your dissertation findings to an audience of fellow students as you would for a client group.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Learning support

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.

Entry requirements


In addition to the University’s general entry criteria for postgraduate study, you must have:

An upper second-class or first class honours degree (or equivalent). This can be in any subject, though priority will be given to students with degrees in humanities and especially in theology or religious studies.

Applicants with a lower second-class degree and knowledge of theology and/or religious studies may be accepted on to the programme following an interview. This includes applicants who may have a lower second-class degree in another subject area and who have evidence of having studied theology or religious studies at certificate or diploma level (for example as part of ministry training).

International Students

If your first language is not English, you need to take an IELTS test or an equivalent qualification accepted by the University (see University requirements). You must pass at 6.5 or higher in all four aspects of the test (listening, reading, speaking and writing).

International students are admitted through the procedures of the University International Office. The minimum entrance requirement for this programme will be an upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in a subject related to theology or religious studies.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2016 / 17

The tuition fee for 2017 entry to this postgraduate course is £3,500 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For part-time options, see the Fees & Funding webpages for more information

Postgraduate Loan: A new Postgraduate Loan is now available to help you pay for your Master’s course for students commencing in the 2016/17 academic year. Find out more about the postgraduate loan.

Overseas 2016 / 17

The tuition fee for 2017 entry to this postgraduate course is £10,000 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, International Students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about Visa requirements and Short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration webpages.

International Fees & Funding

How to Apply

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. full-time or part-time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Applications for September 2018 entry must be submitted and completed by the start of the academic year.

Apply Now: Full-time - September Start

Apply Now: Part-time

Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876922.