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Religious Studies (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

The MA in Religious Studies and its associated Pathways, provide the ideal progression from a degree in Religious Studies (or related Humanities subjects) into a research degree. Through a carefully-structured programme of modules that offer an introduction to postgraduate research and study skills, as well as subject-specific training, students can prepare themselves for future postgraduate research, as well as a range of relevant careers, such as religious education teaching, print and broadcasting media, and employment in religious organisations.

Special Features

The MA in Religious Studies provides a thorough introduction to postgraduate level study of religions via three Pathways that reflect the distinctive international expertise of staff in the Department of Religious Studies & Theology. Through small, student-focused tutorials, rather than formal lectures, students have unprecedented access to world-leading researchers. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in, and contribute to, the postgraduate culture of the Department, and the wider School of History, Archaeology and Religion. A number of graduates of the MA in Religious Studies have applied competitively and successfully for funded places as PhD research students. This recognises the expertise of Cardiff University staff in the wider academic community, and the quality of teaching provided via the MA programme.

Course Description

The Department of Religious Studies and Theology at Cardiff has particular strengths in the linguistic and textual study of religions. As a centre of excellence with a particular concentration of specialist and internationally-recognised religious studies scholars, students enrolled on the MA in Religious Studies will be introduced to the interdisciplinary study of religion at postgraduate level from world-leading researchers.

Within the MA in Religious Studies, students can choose to follow one of three distinctive Pathways through the programme. Available modules within these Pathways include:

Asian Religions Pathway:

Core module:

Option Modules:

Religion in Late Antiquity Pathway:

Core Module:

Option Modules:

Language and text options

Thematic options

Myth, Narrative and Theory Pathway:

Core module:

Option modules:

Course Structure

Students taking the MA in Religious Studies usually follow a particular Pathway through the programme that reflects the distinctive expertise of staff in the Department of Religious Studies & Theology at Cardiff. These Pathways will help students to develop their understanding of one of the following:

There are a wide range of possibilities for students to adopt a flexible programme of learning, according to their individual interests and skills. Depending on the Pathway selected, students taking the MA in Religious Studies will complete modules comprising a total of 180 credits, including:

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

Skills Acquired

Students who successfully complete the MA in Religious Studies will be able to engage in a critical understanding of religion, culture and society, both historically and in the contemporary period. Through the course, students will appreciate how to use and analyse source materials, including non-literary sources, and to appreciate how they have been used in scholarship. We place particular emphasis on an ability to identify strengths, weaknesses, problems, and/or peculiarities of alternative interpretations in history, archaeology, history of ideas, theology and religious studies. By the end of the programme, students will have enhanced their capacity to communicate ideas and arguments effectively, in speech or in writing, in an accurate, succinct and lucid manner.

Career Prospects

This programme is essentially a research preparation Masters programme. Successful candidates have traditionally been able to apply competitively and successfully for funded places as PhD research students.

Beyond that, this programme also enhances the skills and knowledge base acquired through the first degree in Religious Studies. Successful candidates have therefore successfully embarked on careers in a range of typical areas including employment in religious organisations, primary and secondary teaching, print and broadcasting media, and HE administration and management.

Student 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

“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 McEwan, Religious Studies Student 2011-12

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:

More information

School of History, Archaeology and Religion


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