Catholic Theology (Distance learning) at Durham University - UCAS

Durham University

Degree level: Postgraduate

Catholic Theology (Distance learning) (Taught)

Course options

Course summary

Led by the University’s world-renowned Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) in partnership with the Department of Theology and Religion our MA in Catholic Theology will provide you with an in-depth knowledge of individual figures, periods, themes and areas of Catholic theology. The MA is particularly suitable if you have an undergraduate education in Theology, Religious Studies, or a related discipline. It is an excellent foundation for doctoral work, and for those pursuing ongoing personal and professional development. You will undertake a ‘Preliminary Tour’ as a core module while three further optional modules will enable you to adopt a historical and philosophical approach to the subject from an ethical and political perspective through the study of topics such as faith and reason, twentieth century Catholic theology and conceiving change in contemporary Catholicism. You will also be required to complete a dissertation which will provide the opportunity for you to develop a specialism in a subject of your own choosing, under the guidance of a supervisor. The course is offered part-time over two or three years via distance learning. It has been set up to enable you to study from wherever you live regardless of your time zone, however there will be a residential session of 2-3 days in the University each year. The residential is an important part of the course. It offers a valuable opportunity to connect with fellow students and lecturers and to attend a series of tailored lectures and seminar sessions. As a distance learner, you will be considered a valued and engaged member of the CCS and the Department’s student body as whole. We are fully committed to making the high-quality academic study of Catholic theology available to students in different parts of the world and in a wide variety of life situations.


Core modules: Classic Texts in Christian Theology introduces major historical texts and enables you to understand both the nature, goal and tasks of Christian theology itself and the research methods that are used in its study.  The Dissertation consists of a 12,000-15,000-word project that enables you to deepen your knowledge and understanding of a particular subject in the field of theology and religion that you have chosen with support from your supervisor. The independent nature of the dissertation will develop your skills in the research, analysis and synthesis of texts, data, ideas and arguments. Examples of optional modules: Paul and His Interpreters; Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism; Liturgy and Sacramentality; Christian Gender; Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology;  Anglican Theology in Context; Gospels and Canon; Patristic Ecclesiology; Religion in the Neo-Liberal Age; Faith and Reason; Christian Fundamentalism and the Modern World; Theology, Nature and Environment; Christian Northumbria 600-750; Middle Egyptian; Extended Study in Theology and Religion; The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament; Biblical language studies, including a choice of Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew.

Assessment method

Small group seminars and tutorials make up the majority of the teaching on the course with the aim being to nurture the range of skills and activities that are necessary for academic research. You will learn how to develop your own knowledge and form your own opinions in areas of particular interest to you and you will also strengthen your ability to offer critical analysis and systematic thought as well as hone your presentational skills, all of which are essential for independent and cutting-edge research. Some classes include a lecture-style element which will provide you with the key information and knowledge required to go on and develop your own understanding of the subject, while the dissertation will be on a topic proposed by you with guidance from your supervisor. Assessment is rigorous and continues throughout the course. Some of the modules are assessed through essays, oral exams and written exams. You will be required to complete a dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words on a subject of particular interest to you with support from a supervisor in individual tutorials.

How to apply

International applicants

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 undergraduate degree in Theology, or Religious Studies or a related discipline. The three principle exceptions to this rule are Graduates of other disciplines who have studied at an undergraduate or equivalent level in one or more of the areas in which they hope to work, through their first degrees, through training for the ministry of the churches, and so on. Students from overseas universities who have successfully reached a point in their theological, religious studies or studies in a related discipline comparable with completion of an English BA. Students who have already passed the module ‘Catholic Theology: A Preliminary Tour’ with a score of 60 or higher. A 500-word personal statement should include the following: An outline of your interest in the MA in Catholic Theology (DL) What skills and knowledge you would bring to the course What skills and knowledge you would hope to acquire A preliminary indication of the area in which you might like to write your dissertation. Two professional and/or academic references from people who are familiar with your work, commenting on your suitability for the programme. A brief one-on-one interview with a programme convenor.

English language requirements

Durham University welcomes applications from all students irrespective of background. We encourage the recruitment of academically well-qualified and highly motivated students, who are non-native speakers of English, whose full potential can be realised with a limited amount of English Language training either prior to entry or through pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses. It is the normal expectation that candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of a programme of study, whether via the submission of an appropriate English language qualification or by attendance on an appropriate pre-sessional course. Acceptable evidence and levels required can be viewed by following the link provided.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £7000 Year 1
Northern Ireland £7000 Year 1
Scotland £7000 Year 1
Wales £7000 Year 1
Channel Islands £7000 Year 1
EU £14800 Year 1
International £14800 Year 1
Republic of Ireland £14800 Year 1

Additional fee information

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Sponsorship information

For further information see the course listing.

Catholic Theology (Distance learning) at Durham University - UCAS