Religious Studies: Asian Religions (MA)
1 year (full-time) / 2 years (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)
This is one of four distinct pathways on the MA Religious Studies course.
The study of Asian religions at Cardiff University provides a unique opportunity for students to acquire expertise in South Asian and/or Chinese religious literature and culture. The degree programme offers a firm grounding in the classical Indian language of Sanskrit for those interested in this option, and the opportunity to work with some of the leading scholars in the field. Particular strengths include study of the Mahabharata (Cardiff has the largest single concentration of Mahabharata scholars in the UK), the history of Chinese Buddhism, Sanskrit Drama in Performance, and the study of the ancient Indian religious tradition of Jainism.
Who is this Programme for?
Students with an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, or a cognate Humanities or Social Science discipline, wishing to specialise in Asian Religions.
- The MA in Religious Studies: Asian Religions Pathway draws on the scholarship of internationally-recognised experts in Indic religions. It offers a flexible programme of study geared towards the individual student, with delivery via small student-focused tutorials rather than formal lectures. In addition, the programme offers a thorough, subject-specific introduction to postgraduate study skills in the arts and humanities.
Part 1 consists of a generic postgraduate skills module, a core Religious Studies (Asian Religions) skills module, optional Sanskrit study, and optional modules focusing on the history of Asian religions.
Current options include:
- Sanskrit Language and Literature
- Aspects of the Mahabharata
- Pali Literature
- South Asian Religion and Performance
- Chinese Pilgrims’ Accounts of Indian Buddhism
Students taking the MA in Religious Studies: Asian Religions Pathway will complete modules comprising a total of 180 credits, including:
- 40 credits worth of core study skills: a 20-credit module that offers generic postgraduate research and study skills training in the Humanities, and a further 20-credit module that offers subject-specific training in the field of Asian religious studies
- 80 credits from a range of 20-credit language/text and thematic module options
- 60 credit dissertation module, on a topic agreed between the student and tutors
Please see the Religious Studies website for more course and module information.
Students will be expected to attend at least twice a week during each semester, and up to four times a week if taking Beginner’s Sanskrit.
Teaching, Resources and Facilities
Teaching is by tutorials and language classes. The School boasts a well-stocked, specialist South Asian library collection.
Information about the research expertise of Tutuors on this course can be found via their profiles below:
The taught component is assessed via a combination of written assignments of up to 4,000 words, and language exams for those who have specialised in language study.
Part 2 consists of a dissertation of 16,000 words on a topic of the student’s choice.
On completion of this programme students will have acquired high level cultural and conceptual skills that will enable them to pursue further research and/or teaching using a variety of sources, including Sanskrit religious literature. Specific skills include:
- cultural and linguistic translation skills
- language learning
- the ability to analyse historically and philosophically important primary sources in the field of Asian religions with clarity and precision
- critical engagement with the beliefs and behaviour of others
Graduates of this programme go on to undertake roles in higher education, religious education teaching, or a range of allied professions.
'The great flexibility of the course allows me to engage on a one to one basis with the lecturers.'
Phoebe, MA Religious Studies: Asian Religions, 2014-15
Read Phoebe's full testimonial
'I am thoroughly enjoying studying MA Religious Studies: Asian Religions. The great flexibility of the course allows me to engage on a one to one basis with the lecturers, who are always very encouraging and approachable, concerning my particular research interests.
'I have also seized the fantastic opportunity that the MA provides to begin learning Sanskrit which is proving to be a challenging yet rewarding experience.'
'I don't think that I have developed so much in a single year as I have on this course, and am certain that it has put me in good stead for the future.'
Craig, MA Religious Studies student, 2011-12. Now working in HE.
Read other alumni testimonials
"Undertaking the MA in Religious Studies (Asian Religions) at Cardiff University was a truly rewarding and fulfilling experience. I was able to learn there from renowned scholars in the field, who were at the same time so encouraging and supportive. Every tutor was always very willing to exchange knowledge and ideas and this was one of the most gratifying things about the course, one that has inspired me to continue my studies further. Up to this day I still find support and encouragement from the people in the Religious Studies Department."
Paloma Muñoz, Religious Studies student (2009-2010). Paloma is now undertaking a PhD in Australia.
1st or upper 2nd class UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject. The course is suitable for graduates in Religious Studies as well as a wide variety of Humanities and Social Sciences subjects.
Students whose first language is not English will be required to pass an IELTS test (minimum 6.5) or equivalent.
Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.
How to Apply
Applications can be made for this course via our Online Application Service selecting the MA Religious Studies (Religious Studies) option from the list of courses. Applicants should use the Personal Statement section of the form to outline their area of interest and, if possible, the topic that they hope to research for their dissertation.
For more information on funding available, please see the funding information page.
Next intake: September each year
Name: Dr Will Johnson
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 6698
Name: Helen Szewczyk
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0903