Postgraduate study

Theology and Religious Studies MTh by Research, MScR

Awards: MTh by Research, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Research interests

The research interests of academic staff and graduate students in the Theology and Religious Studies department include a range of theoretical and practical approaches to:

  • ethics and practical theology
  • Hebrew and Old Testament studies
  • history of Christianity
  • Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations
  • New Testament and Christian origins
  • religious studies
  • science and religion
  • systematic theology
  • world Christianity

Who is this programme for?

If you have academic training in theology or religious studies (or another relevant subject), and would like to develop your interest with a focus on a particular area, this Masters by Research programme may interest you.

Research community and environment

At the School of Divinity you will join a community of around 150 research students, drawn from around the world, and from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds. You will study in a stimulating environment.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 ranked the School’s research environment at 100% world-leading / internationally excellent, second in the UK on this front in theology and religion. This outstanding result reflects the vibrancy of the School’s research culture.

Contacting a supervisor before application

You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your research project before making a formal application

This programme can be taken either as a:

  • Master of Theology by Research
  • Master of Science by Research

The difference is only in the name.

Study duration and patterns

You can study either:

  • full-time - one year
  • part-time - two years

Your pattern of study can either be:

  • three supervised research essays (two at 4,000 words and one at 7,000 words); AND
  • a 15,000 word dissertation

OR

  • two supervised research essays (7,500 words each), written in the style of an article for an academic journal; AND
  • a 15,000 word dissertation.

All students receive research training and will be required to audit at least one taught course.

Graduate School environment

The ethos of the Graduate School is to promote excellence in postgraduate study, within a stimulating and supportive environment. We value equality and diversity in the School community, and an academic culture that is both critical and constructive.

Research and taught opportunities

You will be part of the research seminar in your area of interest, to which visiting speakers are invited and to which PhD students present work-in-progress.

You will also be able to follow taught courses that contribute to your interests and research needs, and can also take advantage of opportunities to learn ancient and modern languages.

Student support

At the start of the academic year, you will be invited to Welcome Week, an intensive introduction to study and life in Edinburgh. Some events are especially for international students new to Scotland and the UK, but everything is open to all.

In the first weeks, the School provides a general orientation to research skills and to wider opportunities for training and support. From your first days as a research masters student, you will work 1:1 with your research supervisor.

How will my progress be tracked?

Your progress will be tracked, through regular supervisions and milestone reviews, to ensure that you get the support you need to bring your project to fruition.

School location

The School of Divinity, one of the largest centres for the study of religion in the United Kingdom, is located in the historic setting of New College, close to Edinburgh Castle and overlooking Princes Street.

Research resources

Our resources for research are excellent. You can draw on the outstanding collection of:

  • New College Library
  • University of Edinburgh’s Main Library
  • National Library of Scotland - nearby New College

New College Library has one of the largest theology collections in the UK, with more than a quarter of a million items and a large and rich manuscript collection. The University Library exceeds 2.25 million volumes.

The National Library of Scotland - a ‘legal deposit’ library like the British Library in London and the university libraries of Oxford and Cambridge – is just around the corner.

You will have access to excellent study facilities, dedicated to postgraduates. Masters by Research students have shared study space. All areas have printing/scanning and computer facilities. New College has an on-site cafe that is open during term time.

Research Centres

The School provides an extensive programme of weekly research seminars and special guest lectures.

In addition, three research centres provide a special focus for activity:

  • Centre for the Study of Christian Origins
  • Centre for Theology and Public Issues
  • Centre for the Study of World Christianity

  • School of Divinity research

A UK 2:1 honours degree with a mark of at least 65%, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject. You should also have academic training in the area of your research project.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MTh by Research1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MTh by Research2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScR1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScR2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Divinity
  • New College
  • Mound Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LX

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Divinity
  • New College
  • Mound Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LX