Postgraduate study

Religion and Literature MTh, MSc

Awards: MTh, MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

This programme, housed within the School of Divinity, draws on the strengths of one of the most distinguished centres of religious and theological studies in the country. It offers deep and broad study of the relationship between all genres of literature and religious traditions, history, thought and practice.

The programme will equip you to engage in this growing field from a variety of starting points and to understand the interaction between literature and religion from a range of wider contexts, including those of theology and the textual, historical and social scientific study of religions.

In the programme’s core course, you will cover the history of the field as well as current issues in both areas of study and in their interaction. Optional courses from which you may choose (although not all may be available each year) include courses on Scottish Literature, Imagination and Faith; Science and Religion in Literature; Islamic Literature; Peacebuilding, Theology and the Arts; and Lives of the Buddha in Indian Art and Literature.

With the agreement of the Programme Director, you may select a course from the School of Divinity's level 10 courses and/or other taught masters programmes, including those in English Literature, where available.

You will have the opportunity to research and write a substantial dissertation, with the support of an academic supervisor, which will reflect your own interests and expertise.

The programme is aimed at students and professionals with an academic background in Literary Studies, Religious Studies or Theology who are keen to acquire a more in-depth knowledge of both disciplines in dialogue.

The programme offers you the opportunity to study and collaborate with established academics, with a view to tailoring a personalized path to doctoral study or to other relevant careers.

This programme is run over one year full-time (or two years part-time). You will be taught mainly in small classroom/seminar groups. You will be given training in research methods which offers a practical approach to postgraduate level skills of critical investigation and writing, and receive individual supervision for your 15,000 word dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • Literature and Religion: Exploring the Connections
  • Approaches to Research in Divinity and Religious Studies
  • Approaches to Research: Religion and Literature

Option courses:

You will choose up to four options from among the courses specific to the programme, such as:

  • Scottish Religion, Imagination and Faith
  • Peace-building, Theology and the Arts
  • Literary Classics of the Islamic World
  • Lives of the Buddha in Indian Art and Literature
  • Science and Religion in Literature
  • Understanding the Hindu Epics: Mahabharata and Ramayana
  • Issues of Religion and Ethics in Modern Literature

The options on offer change from year to year, so please consult the Programme Director for advice on what will be available. With the agreement of your Programme Director, you may also choose an option from other taught masters programmes, including those on offer in English Literature when available. One course may also be taken from the suite of Level 10 courses offered by the School of Divinity, with the agreement of your Programme Director.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MTh1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MTh2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
  • a strong grounding in the major themes and methodologies in the academic study of religion and literature.
  • an appreciation of the breadth of the field and the critical voices from within and outwith its sphere of interest.
  • an understanding of the comparative study of religion and literature, including facility in engaging comparative methodologies drawn from religious studies, literary studies, theology and other relevant disciplines.
  • the critical skills necessary to engage in close comparative readings of major texts across a range of religious and literary traditions.
  • the ability to plan and complete a coherent research project.
  • the skills to prepare and deliver oral presentations that communicate academic research to a wider audience.
  • the ability to undertake research using a range of resources including academic libraries, archives, field-work, and internet databases.

Possible fields for employment after completion of this programme include:

  • Academia
  • Teaching
  • Academic Publishing
  • Religious Leadership
  • Creative Arts

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with a mark of at least 65%, in a relevant humanities subject such as theology, religious studies, or English Literature.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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
MTh1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MTh2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr Alison Jack
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 8944
  • Contact: a.jack@ed.ac.uk
  • School of Divinity
  • New College
  • Mound Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LX
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 31 August 2022

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit one reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Alison Jack
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 8944
  • Contact: a.jack@ed.ac.uk
  • School of Divinity
  • New College
  • Mound Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LX