Religious Studies: Religion in Late Antiquity (MA)
1 year (Full-time) / 2 years (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)
This is one of four distinct pathway on the MA Religious Studies course.
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.
- The MA in Religious Studies: Religion in Late Antiquity Pathway draws on internationally-recognised expertise in Religion from Late Antiquity to the contemporary era, across a wide geographical area, and with sensitivity to issues in the public eye. Classes are delivered via small student-focussed tutorials rather than formal lectures, and with individual interests and flexibility in mind. Students will have a unique opportunity to engage in postgraduate research culture, by participating in activities of the Centre for Late Antique Religion and Culture.
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:
- Religion, Culture and Society in Late Antiquity
- War in the Late Antique and Byzantine Period
- Christians and Muslims under the Caliphate
- Rhetoric and Philosophy in Late Antiquity
- Magic and Religion in Late Antiquity
- Postgraduate Byzantine Greek
- Postgraduate Patristic Latin
- Syriac Christianity
Students taking the MA in Religious Studies: Religion in Late Antiquity 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 Late Antique and Byzantine Religion and Culture
- 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.
The following subject-specific and transferable skills are practised and developed in this programme:
- ability to form a critical understanding of religion, culture and society in the late antique and Byzantine world
- ability to use and analyse source materials, including non-literary sources, and to appreciate how they have been used in scholarship
- ability to identify strengths, weaknesses, problems, and/or peculiarities of alternative interpretations in history, archaeology, history of ideas, theology and religious studies
- ability to apply a critical approach to the nature of primary archaeological and textual evidence in the assessment of historical interpretations and methodologies
- ability to communicate ideas and arguments effectively, in speech or in writing, in an accurate, succinct and lucid manner
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.
“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.
“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.
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 for Masters students in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion please see the school's funding information page.
Cardiff University Masters Excellence Scheme
This course is included in the Masters Excellence Scholarship 2015 (Pathway to PhD) scheme. If you are looking at applying for a Masters degree with the intention of going on to study at PhD level then you are eligible to apply for this scholarship. The application will ask you to consider your research area and future sources of funding. It is recognised, however, that in making this application there is not a commitment to undertake further study, or to undertake further studies at Cardiff University. Similarly, in making an award, Cardiff University is not committing to making an offer for further study or for a further award.
UK & EU Full Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
UK & EU Part Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
International Full Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
International Part Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
Next intake: September each year
Name: Dr. Sophie Gilliat-Ray
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 6125
Name: Professor Josef Lössl
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5499
Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4500