Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Religious Studies

UCAS code: V627

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Divinity

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Religious Studies

Religious studies is an interdisciplinary field of study focusing on religious beliefs and practices and their relationship with the wider world.

You will study the concepts and emotions which underpin religious belief and practice, and their role and function in culture and society.

What you will cover

You will look at practices and texts and consider a range of expressions of religion from popular culture to systematic ideas. You'll approach religion at both the individual and collective level and study traditions in different countries.

Our programme covers historical and contemporary material. It takes as much interest in the groups and people who practice religion as their gods, deities, ancestors and spirits.

Religion has a long history and remains a powerful force in the contemporary world. Religious studies provides the tools and skills to help you get to grips with this vital field of study.

Year 1

Religious studies courses

You will study two compulsory religion courses. These will cover a range of religious traditions and approaches.

You will also choose from a range of courses on religious traditions, including:

  • Asian religions
  • Christianity
  • Islam

Option courses

You can choose courses from the following subject areas as combined options:

  • ancient history
  • history of art
  • classics
  • music
  • Scottish history
  • politics
  • social anthropology
  • social policy
  • sociology

You can also take optional courses from other University subject areas.

Year 2

You will study two compulsory religion courses, covering a range of religious traditions and approaches. You will also take courses following on from your Year 1 choices.

Year 3

You will choose advanced courses on one or more religious traditions and will take other courses in the study of religion.

If you took combined options in Years 1 and 2 you may continue with these.

Year 4

You will choose further advanced courses on one or more religious traditions and complete a dissertation with academic supervision.

If you took combined options in your first three years you may continue with these.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Your teaching will mostly be at New College in the centre of Edinburgh. This city landmark has its own historic library, study space, hall and garden.

Many other study and student support facilities are only a short walk away in George Square. These include the University Main Library.

The city of Edinburgh also has many museums, galleries and cultural sites. These offer opportunities to broaden and deepen your learning.

Study abroad

You will have a range of opportunities to spend time abroad. For shorter periods, these include summer programmes and working abroad.

During Year 3, you will have the chance to study abroad on exchange for up to a year at a wide selection of leading global universities. These include two institutions the School of Divinity has ongoing relationships with:

  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dartmouth College

Going abroad expands your horizons and is great fun. It also brings you academic and career benefits.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a mix of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • digital learning

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, including:

  • exams
  • coursework
  • participation in seminars
  • presentation of your work
  • an honours dissertation

Our graduates pursue a wide range of careers in a variety of settings, including:

  • the creative arts
  • non-governmental organisations
  • finance
  • teaching
  • management
  • administration
  • government
  • counselling
  • the voluntary sector

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree 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.

English language requirements

This degree is also available as a part-time degree. For more information and an application form, contact the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions.

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Religious Studies

Additional costs



For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Divinity

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences