MA Religions and Theology

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Master of Arts (MA)
1 year
Entry requirements

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Take advantage of specialist teaching, including ancient and modern languages such as Biblical Greek, Biblical and modern Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic.
  • Enjoy exclusive access to world-class resources for research, including the archives of The John Rylands Library - home to Biblical and Jewish papyri, anti-slavery collections and the Methodist archive.
  • Become part of research centres that attract and produce leading international scholars.
  • Study at a Top 10 UK University for Religious Studies and Theology (Guardian University Guide 2023).
Discover Religions and Theology at The University of Manchester

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £12,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £27,500
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £6,250
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,750

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards and Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a First within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

The Manchester Master's Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions
+44 (0)161 275 3098

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

English language

An overall grade of IELTS 7.0 with 7.0 in writing and no skill below 6.5 is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25 and no skill below 22.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

You should include a personal statement (no more than 500 words) that demonstrates your understanding of the subject and your motivation for wanting to study the programme.

If your academic background is not directly related to the programme, you should supply an academic-standard writing sample on a subject related to the programme.

If English is not your native language, then you should provide an academic-standard writing sample in English directly related to the subject.

For more advice on the application process, please visit our Applying  page.

How your application is considered

Applications are mainly considered on the basis of an assessment of past and predicted academic achievements, the academic reference(s) and any other supplementary evidence that supports the application. Once we have an application that is ready for a decision, the admissions tutor (often the Programme Director) will relay the decision to the admissions team, who will send you this decision.

Please note that your application is usually received by the School 24 to 48 hours after the time you submit it. If you have not provided documentation that allows the admissions tutor to make a decision, we will contact you.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.1. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of: 

  • an overall grade 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS; or
  • 100+ in the IBT Internet-based TOEFL).

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Exceptions to needing a language test (if English is NOT your first language) are:

  • if you have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries:

    Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.



Applicants may defer entry for 12 months provided they contact the postgraduate (taught) office

Please note that applicants are subject to the fees for the entry year they will start the course.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.

Course details

Course description

Our MA Religions and Theology master's course is aimed at both specialists who want to deepen their knowledge and skills, and graduates of other disciplines who want to switch to postgraduate-level study of this subject.

Studying Religions and Theology with all the intellectual tools of contemporary scholarship is a responsibility that The University of Manchester has taken seriously for over a century.

With no binding ties to religious institutions, we approach our subject from a distinctively comparative, contextual and interdisciplinary angle.

Our approach allows you to ask questions you might not otherwise ask, and to cross boundaries you might not cross in other settings where religion and theology are discussed.

This course is designed to enable you to either take units covering a broad range of religious, theological and philosophical traditions, or concentrate your study in an area that interests you.

Some of the routes you can take through this degree incorporate Biblical Studies, Jewish Studies, Theology, Philosophy and Ethics and Politics and Gender.


We aim to:

  • provide multi-disciplinary curricula informed by the research and scholarly activities of the teaching staff;
  • develop your critical understanding of religion and theology through a range of learning and teaching methods;
  • equip you with the skills necessary to interpret primary and secondary sources and to make available appropriate language instruction, where feasible; 
  • help students from diverse backgrounds progress though their programme by providing effective academic and pastoral support;
  • equip you for a variety of careers through subject-specific knowledge, active engagement in your own learning, and the development of analytical and other transferable skills;
  • provide a stimulating research environment through seminars, tutorials and programmes of guest lectures that will foster postgraduate study;
  • develop skills in research and analysis that will foster postgraduate study.

Special features

I wanted to expand my knowledge of historical and Jewish Studies subjects whilst developing my research and essay skills. The MA proved to be an ideal choice.

It encourages people from a wide age range and differing social/professional backgrounds to engage together in a stimulating and rewarding environment.

Rob Kanter / MA Religions and Theology (2016-17)

Flexible timetabling

Our core course units and the main MA course unit options are generally timetabled between 4pm and 6pm on Monday and Tuesday evenings, making it easier for those in work to complete the course.

Multi-religious Manchester

Multi-religious Manchester. Study the religious life of one of the world's most religiously and ethnically diverse cities. The city's wide variety of sacred spaces and religious communities would be hard to find elsewhere, and the Department has particularly strong connections to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith groups. Come along to our Scriptural Encounters seminar programme featuring discussions with local leaders and representatives from all faiths and none.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through high-level, small-group seminar discussion, mainly assessed by essays that form mini-research projects in areas of your interest.

These course units are followed by one-to one supervision for a research dissertation.

This structure means that if you have studied an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Ethics or related subjects, the MA provides an extended opportunity to work in depth in what fascinated you in your BA, while also offering the chance for exploring other areas that you might have missed.

On the other hand, if your degree is in another area of the humanities, the small-group and one-to-one focus gives us the chance to provide tailored help to get you up to speed in any area of Religions and Theology.

You are also able to join in undergraduate classes, whether that is to have an extended exposure to the basics of a topic or to learn a language.

In fact, even students who already have a BA in the field quite often find that they want to pick up a subject that they previously missed. One of Manchester's key distinctive features is that you are very free to do this.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is usually by essay on a topic agreed between the student and lecturer.

Language course units may also involve an examination.

The dissertation is 12,000 to 15,000 words, and you will receive one-to-one supervisory support.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to the dissertation.

The first semester of study includes two core course units. Each class is two hours for half of the first semester. They bring all the MA students together, producing interchange and dialogue between your various specialisms, backgrounds and nationalities.

In class, you first study together on Methods for Analysing Religious and Theological Issues, then on Impacts of Religious and Theological Issues on Society and Culture. However, for your assessments, you are assigned to a lecturer in an area of your particular interest (eg Jewish studies), who offers small-group or one-to-one support to produce a Methods essay and an Impacts essay relating to your interests.

You choose your other course units from six types of options. You can combine these to produce anything from a broad mix to a specialised programme. Combinations of options are subject to Programme Director guidance and programme rules.

Six dedicated MA course units in religions and theology cover a broad menu of religious, theological and philosophical texts, traditions and issues.

Topics typically available are:

  • Christian theology and politics;
  • ethnic minorities and religious Identities;
  • Bible and early Jewish texts;
  • relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims;
  • New Testament in Graeco-Roman context;
  • philosophy of moral decision-making.

You can take a third year religions and theology unit, enhanced for MA by provision of extra tutorial support and assessment by an MA-level essay.

Topics typically available are:

  • religion and cinema;
  • studying sacred spaces;
  • Rabbinic Judaism;
  • Holocaust theology;
  • Bible and gender;
  • Paul's theology and ethics;
  • radical theologies;
  • religion and politics;
  • Japanese Buddhism;
  • contemporary Islam.

A further undergraduate unit can be attended in relation to the Directed Reading option.

These lists may be subject to change. For course units running in the current year , please see the Course unit list below. For current plans for next year, please contact us.

Further study options

Manchester offers a wide range of language options: Biblical Hebrew; New Testament Greek; Arabic; Classical Greek; Latin; Modern Hebrew; many other modern languages, all at either introductory or advanced level.

Manchester also offers probably the UK's widest range of options from other subject areas that can be taken as part of your MA Religions and Theology course. You have access to most of the units within other arts, languages and cultures master's courses at Manchester. We work particularly closely with our colleagues within Archaeology and Classics and Ancient History.

You can also take many options from other areas. Another type of option is directed reading on an agreed topic, leading to an essay. Finally, there is a placement option: 20 hours in an arranged work-related placement with supporting lectures and assessed by report/essay.

You may also attend further MA or BA Religions and Theology course units without taking them for credit. There are also non-credit-bearing skills lectures provided by the Graduate School, and you are invited to a wide range of research seminars for postgraduates and staff, often given by internationally leading guest speakers.

All in all, Manchester offers you the fullest possible range of MA learning opportunities.

Participate in our research centres' research seminars, lecture series and other activities. Your core course essays and dissertation can also intersect with our research.

Centre for Jewish Studies : This is one of three designated leading European centres for Jewish studies research and teaching. Options typically available cover Bible and early Jewish texts; relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims; ethnic minorities and religious Identities; Rabbinic Judaism; Holocaust theology; Bible and gender; Biblical Hebrew (introductory or advanced); modern Hebrew (introductory or advanced); Near Eastern archaeology; papyrology.

Centre for Biblical Studies : With over 30 active researchers, this is one of the world's most productive Biblical research centres. Options typically available cover: Bible and early Jewish texts; New Testament in Graeco-Roman context; Paul's letters; Bible and gender; Biblical Hebrew (introductory or advanced); New Testament Greek (introductory or advanced); Near Eastern archaeology; papyrology; law and society in the Roman empire.

Lincoln Theological Institute : We are at the cutting edge of research into theology, ethics, social, pastoral and ecclesial issues. Options typically available cover Christian theology and politics; ethnic minorities and religious Identities; relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims; philosophy of moral decision-making; radical theologies; religion and politics; Holocaust theology; Bible and gender; Pauline theology, ethics and philosophy.

Work Placements

The Department of Religions and Theology is part of a wider university project to place humanities students in a variety of work placements. Some of our most recent list of placement partners include:

Creative Industry

  • Curatorial / Exhibition assistance (Touchstones Art Gallery)
  • Event Planning and Co-ordination (Chuck gallery)
  • Communications and Sponsorship Assistant (Manchester Jazz Festival, Quarantine Theatre)
  • Digital Marketing and Communications Assistance (Common Wealth Theatre)
  • Social Media and Marketing (Chuck Gallery)

Museums and Archives

  • Digital archiving (Imperial War Museum North, Islington Mill Archive)
  • Publications editor/curator (Manchester Modernist Society)
  • Archival assistance (Rylands Library, Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre)
  • Translation (Elizabeth Gaskell's House)
  • Project Delivery assistance (City of Sanctuary)
  • Project Assistance (Purple Patch, Digital Woman's Archive)

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
PG Dissertation RELT60000 60 Mandatory
Methods for Analysing Religious and Theological Issues RELT61131 15 Mandatory
Impacts of Religious and Theological Issues on Society and Culture RELT61141 15 Mandatory
New Testament Greek: Beginners RELT70210 30 Optional
Bible in Ancient Contexts and Current Debates RELT71002 15 Optional
Jews among Christians and Muslims RELT71152 15 Optional
Interpreting Greek texts: Advanced New Testament Greek RELT71170 30 Optional
Christian Thought and Practice in Contemporary Society RELT71201 15 Optional
Philosophy of Decision-Making: Ethical and Legal Aspects of Moral Dilemmas RELT71211 15 Optional
Religion and Gender Theory SALC62312 15 Optional

What our students say

See what our students have to say about studying Religions and Theology at Manchester on the student spotlights  page.


The John Rylands Library houses many collections of world importance, including papyri, manuscripts and the world Methodist archive. As an MA student you are able to access the archives and propose a dissertation topic using archive material, the use of which you will receive training on.

The Bill Williams Library is also a study space for Religions and Theology, housing a major collection on Anglo-Jewish history and other resources for Jewish Studies.

Find out more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:

CPD opportunities

Our core course units and the main MA course unit options are generally timetabled between 4pm and 6pm on Monday and Tuesday evenings, enabling the MA to be completed by studying in time slots designed to be as suitable as possible for continuing professional development for teachers and others in full or part-time work.


Career opportunities

There were many opportunities to develop both my academic and interpersonal skills at Manchester. I also sought out voluntary roles in galleries and museums.

The opportunities the MA afforded were key to me gaining the right skills to swiftly secure a job within the arts.

Rebecca Bailey / Exhibitions Assistant, Constantine Ltd

We aim to give our students research skills, whether for academic work or for another career, as many professions today require investigative skills. Some in the media spend time researching angles of events that relate to religions, while others in the health service investigate the experiences of various cultural groups in accessing services.

Many in museums, libraries and other archives require the textual and historical research skills that our courses teach. Postgraduate study in Religions and Theology gives you a high-level qualification for a wide range of investigative tasks.

For some, our postgraduate course acts as a gateway for a career as a leading academic via a postgraduate research degree, or as a professional in a field such as the media, public service or the voluntary sector.

For others who are already professionals in school RE teaching, religious ministry or other areas, our course brings a new level of expertise and confidence to your work.

In applying for a job in any field, a Manchester postgraduate degree will mark you out as someone with high-level skills and a track-record of successful engagement with serious and complex issues.

Read a profile of one of our graduates, Rebecca Bailey , to find out how she used her time on the MA to gain experience for an arts career.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service  that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .