Taught course

Catholic Theology (Distance Learning)

Durham University · Department of Theology and Religion

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.

Months of entry


Course content

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.

Course structure

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

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification
  • MA
    part time
    36 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Recruitment and Admissions