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Religious Studies: Religion in Late Antiquity (MA)

1 year (full-time) / 3 years (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

This is one of four distinct pathway on the MA Religious Studies course.

Course Aims

Late Antiquity, the period of history stretching from 200-800AD, is widely regarded as one of the most important times in world history. It witnessed the consolidation and emergence of many of the major world faiths, e.g. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and is a period rich in historical and cultural significance for understanding religion in the modern age.

Special Features

Course Description

The Religion in Late Antiquity Pathway provides students with a unique opportunity to develop their understanding of religions in Antiquity (including Paganism, Gnosticism, and Zoroastrianism), and to study in depth the religious and cultural transformations that occurred during this period.

This will be achieved via the theological, historical, and linguistic analysis of texts, archaeology, and artefacts from Late Antiquity. Cardiff University offers unique expertise in Christian origins, Latin and Greek Patristics, Late Roman and Persian imperial history, Syriac language and culture, and Byzantine history.

Optional provision in the teaching of source languages, especially Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Arabic, are particular highlights of the course. On completion of the Religion in Late Antiquity Pathway, graduates will be well-equipped to pursue further research in late antique studies, as well as to teach more broadly across the history of late antique religions and culture.

Examples of optional modules include:

Course Structure

Students taking the MA in Religious Studies: Religion in Late Antiquity Pathway will complete modules comprising a total of 180 credits, including:

Please see the Religious Studies website for more course and module information.

Skills Acquired

The following subject-specific and transferable skills are practised and developed in this programme:

Career Prospects

This programme is essentially a research preparation Masters programme. Successful candidates have successfully applied for funded places as PhD students. Beyond that, this programme also enhances the skills and knowledge base acquired through a first degree in Religious Studies. Successful candidates have therefore successfully embarked on careers in a range of employment, such as religious organisations, primary and secondary teaching, print and broadcasting media, and HE administration and management.

Student Testimonials

'The warm reception and support I received dispelled any worries I had'

Elgan Lawrence, part-time student, 2011-2013

Read Elgan's full testimonial

“My first contact with Cardiff was at an Open Day. The warm reception and support I received dispelled any worries I had. I applied, and after registering on the first day I worked out a plan with my tutor. Within a few weeks I was stuck into my first essay on a topic in second century Christianity. One year on I am now half-way through my dissertation. While writing my dissertation the Library service has been really great. Whatever the library doesn’t have I have been able to access through a generous and efficient inter-library loan system.

What I value as a part-time student is the flexibility with which I have been able to arrange meetings with my tutor. I find the tutorial approach ideal in that it stimulates my mind. Part-time study also gives me more time for thought and preparation, given the complexity of some of my topics. This has made this programme very enjoyable for me.

The programme also teaches research and presentational skills. In fact it has a lot of things that are surprisingly useful beyond academia.”

Elgan Lawrence, part-time student, 2011-2013

'MA Religious Studies was academically and personally rewarding'

Susie Towers, part-time MA student 2011-12 and current PhD student.

Read Susie's full testimonial

“Having been out of the academic world for more than twenty years, I have found the MA in Religious Studies: Late Antiquity Pathway to be academically and personally rewarding.

"The supervision I have received has been excellent. My supervisors have been immensely flexible and encouraging. Feedback provided is always constructive and thought-provoking. This course has enabled me to expand my research repertoire and I would highly recommend it”.

Susie Towers, part-time MA student 2011-12 and current PhD student.

Entry Requirements

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.

Tuition Fees 2016/17

Fees quoted are for the academic session 2016/17. For programmes lasting more than one year, tuition fees for subsequent years of study are subject to an increase of no more than 4.5% per year.

  UK & EU International
Full-time £6,000 £14,500
Part-time £3,000 £7,250
Deposit n/a Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Dr. Sophie Gilliat-Ray  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 6125 



School Website:

School Contact

Name: Professor Josef Lössl  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5499 

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4500 


School Website:

More information

School of History, Archaeology and Religion


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