Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Divinity and Classics with Honours

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: N/A
Final award: MA Honours
Programme title: Divinity and Classics
UCAS code: VQ68
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): n/a
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Head of School (Divinity)
Date of production/revision: June 2012

External summary

The MA (Divinity and Classics) offers academic study of any theological discipline (Biblical Studies, Church History, Religious Studies, or Theology and Ethics) as part of a joint degree with Classics. Students work with international scholars to acquire knowledge of chosen areas of interest, and develop research-associated methods and skills. The degree programme intends:

  • Development of knowledge and understanding in the chosen areas, from introductory to advanced levels
  • Acquaintance with historical, textual, and interpretative approaches to the study of Religion(s) and Classics, and critical engagement with, and evaluation of, texts, issues, and arguments.
  • Fair and accurate formulation of research questions which respect other traditions and beliefs
  • Ability to engage in argument and apologetics through various written, speaking, listening, and electronic skills
  • Interactive skills which involve working with others and an ability to address diverse audiences (peer, semi-formal, academic, popular) from a range of backgrounds.

Educational aims of programme

Not only has Classics been a popular choice with Divinity students, and vice versa, but the two subject areas have always overlapped in many significant and substantial ways, both with regard to classical historical period covered, and the Greek and Latin heritage of Christianity in Europe and N. Africa. 

The opportunity is provided for the analytic study of the metaphysical, ethical and theological traditions that have shaped contemporary thinking, in the context of their classical legacy.  The programme can serve as an intensive basis for the study of classical and/or theological matters at postgraduate level. 

The main programme aims are: 

  • To offer study in the traditional disciplines of classics and theology that have comprised the academic study of the classical world and languages, ecclesiastical history, biblical studies, religious studies, theology, and ethics, from introductory through advanced levels.
  • To allow students to tackle classics and Divinity in an integrative manner.
  • To provide students with opportunities to reflect on the nature of the development of the classical world.
  • To develop students’ experience and abilities in researching, comprehension, analysis, critical thinking, self-presentation and communication.
  • To permit students to study additional subjects outside of Classics and Divinity as a part of their degree programme.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

The programme has the following outcomes for all students: 

  • To introduce students to the complex and diverse approaches to reading classical cultures.
  • To provide students of religions with an understanding of how such variation can be and has been approached through various interpretative models and theories.
  • To allow students to engage productively with the research literature on interactions between classical religions, philosophies, literatures and society.
  • To equip students with the knowledge and practical and theoretical skills to carry out independent research.
  • To enable students to develop communication skills, initiative, professionalism and the ability to work independently as well as with others.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Successful completion of the MA (Divinity and Classics) enables graduates to:

  • Gather and analyse evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources
  • Evaluate and critique primary and secondary resources;
  • Formulate a research question and a methodology
  • Deploy an argument which gathers together evidence, research, and a viable research proposal.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

By engaging with and completing the degree in Divinity and Classics, graduates will be able to:

  • Organise and structure lengthy arguments and draw these together into a coherent conclusion;
  • Summarise, interpret and critique the work of others;
  • Engage with issues involving the intersection of inter-religious beliefs and practices within a historically and culturally conditioned context, using evidence-based research, and reach conclusions.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

By engaging with and completing the degree in Divinity and Classics, graduates will be able to:

  • Formulate a coherent written, electronic or oral presentation on the basis of material gathered and organised independently on a given topic;
  • Express clearly ideas and arguments, orally, in writing, and in electronic media;
  • Use group discussions and joint seminar presentations to research and present work collaboratively; and
  • Develop oral presentation and participation skills during seminars and group-work, and in written form through online blogs and other e- learning tools, dissertations and essays.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

By engaging with and completing the degree in Divinity and Classics, graduates will be able to:

  • Collaborate efficiently and productively with others in the process of learning and presentation of conclusions – this includes those with a range of backgrounds and knowledge bases, such as fellow-students, tutors and supervisors;
  • Organise their own learning, manage workload and work to a timetable;
  • Effectively plan, and possess the confidence to undertake and to present scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of the aims, methods and theoretical considerations relevant to Divinity and Classics; and
  • Work independently on the creation of essays and research based dissertations using the standards current in the academic field of Divinity and Classics.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Not applicable

Programme structure and features

Full details of course structures are given in the Divinity section of the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study.

The MA (Divinity and Classics) degree is an Honours degree taken over four years. It consists of two years of pre-Honours courses totalling 240 credits at SQCF level 8 and two years of Honours courses also totalling 240 credits at SQCF level 10. In years 1 and 2, students take a minimum of 40 credits in their chosen theological discipline and a minimum of 40 credits in Classics. Students are encouraged to select their remaining 40 credits, in both years, from a range of outside subjects. At Honours level, half of the courses will be in the chosen theological discipline and half in Classics. The final dissertation (worth 40 credits in year 4) can be in either area.

Courses in both the School of Divinity and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology are taught for a total of eleven weeks (and are worth 20 credits each). In years one and two teaching is largely lecture-based, augmented by small group tutorials. Honours teaching is largely seminar based in small group classes of usually two hour duration. Assessment is variable but is normally one in course essay and other course work (blogs, tutorial sheets, presentations etc), making up 40% of the final mark and one two hour exam at the end of the course, making up 60% of the final mark.

In any concentration/combination, first-year courses provide a broad introduction and foundation in knowledge and relevant skills. Second-year courses build on this foundation, focusing on particular subjects, texts, and topics. Students also have opportunity from their first year to commence study of biblical languages (Hebrew, Greek) and/or Classical languages (Greek, Latin). In addition, students must complete a one year, non-credit course on Academic Skills for Divinity students providing all students with the basic skills they require for their studies.

In years three and four, a wide array of advanced-level Honours courses is available. A major dissertation (10,000 words) is required in the final year of the MA Divinity and Classics with Honours. Supervision for the dissertation is provided by members of academic staff either based in Classics or Divinity. The Honours degree classification is based on all final marks for work done in years three and four.

Students may elect to take a “general” degree instead (as distinguished from an Honours degree), the B.A. Divinity, three-years (full-time) study, courses totalling 360 credits, at least one Divinity subject studied at three progressive levels, with a variety of patterns possible.

Further information on the content and rationale of individual courses see http://www.ed.ac.uk/divinity and http://www.shc.ed.ac.uk/classics/

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims.  The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) is which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Teaching and Learning Activities

In Year 1

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • One to one meetings with lecturers/personal tutors.

In Year 2

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • One to one meetings with lecturers/personal tutors.

In Year 3

  • Seminars
  • One to one meetings with lecturers/personal tutors.

In Year 4

  • One to one meetings with lecturers/personal tutors.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 120800
Year 219810
Year 314860
Year 411890

Assessment methods and strategies

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often takes the form of formative work which provides the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment which is submitted for credit.

In Year 1

  • Class Tests
  • Oral Presentations
  • Participation in tutorials
  • Weekly tutorial sheets
  • Blogs
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations (seen and unseen)

In Year 2

  • Class Tests
  • Oral Presentations
  • Participation in tutorials
  • Weekly tutorial sheets
  • Blogs
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations (seen and unseen)

In Year 3

  • Oral Presentations
  • Participation
  • Blogs
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations (seen and unseen)

In Year 4

  • Oral Presentations
  • Participation
  • Blogs
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations (seen and unseen)
  • Dissertation

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 162533
Year 250347
Year 353245
Year 438458

Career opportunities

Graduates of Divinity and Classics will develop skills suitable for careers in ministry, counselling, the voluntary sector and the armed forces. You will also acquire transferable skills that can be applied to careers in unrelated areas such as finance, management, banking, the Civil Service and human resources. You may also choose to continue your studies at Edinburgh or another institution or pursue a career in teaching or research.

Other items

Opportunities for studying abroad for one semester in the 3rd year of study are available to students, for example to Dartmouth College (U.S.A.), Bayreuth (Germany) and Nijmegen (The Netherlands).

Students in the programme have access to the School of Divinity’s excellent computing facilities. Their studies are supported by a dedicated site Library at New College which has extensive holdings in the field of Divinity, and the wider collections in the Main Library.

More information about the School can be found at http://www.ed.ac.uk/divinity.