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MA in Religious Studies

This MA course will equip you for higher level study of religion by building on your existing knowledge of, and interest in religion. Using a variety of texts and other materials the course discusses theoretical and methodological issues, utilises case studies of religions in modern Britain and elsewhere, and provides you with appropriate research training. It gives you the opportunity to carry out a substantial piece of independent research on a topic of your choice and to write this up as a dissertation.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

You will develop and enhance knowledge and skills that will be valuable for PhD study and in careers such as teaching, working in the health service, local and national government, social services and social policy.

The skills that you would gain from this subject would encompass attributes that many employers are looking for, so a wide variety of careers will be open to you.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Modules

For this masters degree you require:

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
MA Religious Studies part 1 (A880)

Focusing on controversies, religion from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries, and methods in Religious Studies, this course will help you prepare for your dissertation.

See full description.

120 Sep FINAL
MA Religious Studies part 2 (A881)

This course will enable you to plan and execute an extended piece of research and express ideas appropriately in a dissertation length piece of writing.

See full description.

60 May

You must pass A880 before studying A881.

Educational aims

This MA aims to be attractive to as wide a range of students as possible and to offer an appropriate grounding in the postgraduate study of religion. The purpose of the MA is to equip you for higher level study of religion by building on your existing knowledge of, and interest in, the study of religion. It makes use of related 'clusters' of primary texts to enable you to develop a sense of different theoretical perspectives and a sense of the current state of the academic study of religion. It is distinctive in that it discusses theoretical issues in the study of religion, provides you with knowledge and experience of a range of methodologies, and utilises case studies on religion in modern Britain. It will provide you with appropriate training in methods of research in religious studies at postgraduate level. It will give you the opportunity to carry out a substantial piece of independent research and write this up using the appropriate scholarly apparatus.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills, and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree you will have a sound knowledge and understanding of:

  • the interdisciplinary and polymethodic nature of the study of religion
  • key debates, controversies, concepts and approaches in the study of religion
  • the role and relevance of religious issues, particularly in modern Britain
  • the cultural and thematic breadth of postgraduate study of religion
  • the relationship between academic scholarship and religious practice.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • evaluate the merits of different research methods used in the study of religion and the validity of their use in particular research projects
  • analyse and compare sources in different media
  • analyse and describe religious practices and their significance.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • use research libraries, their archives and their contents efficiently
  • use specialist online databases and other online facilities for postgraduate study
  • apply critical and evaluative skills to information and sources relating to religion utilising appropriate research methods
  • demonstrate, via appropriate writing and presentation methods, a critical understanding of the practical, everyday implications of religion, in modern Britain in particular.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • write extended pieces of prose based on your own research on appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • use internet resources relevant to religion efficiently and discriminatingly
  • structure arguments
  • use scholarly conventions accurately
  • understand relationships between different research and interpretative methods.

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