Taught course

Spirituality, Theology and Health

Durham University · Department of Theology and Religion

Entry requirements

An upper 2nd Class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject (including relevant professional qualifications – eg MB, BS, or RGN, etc). When applying, please ensure that your two chosen referees send their confidential academic references (using the reference form [Word]) to us in a timely manner. Please note that we are unable to accept ‘open’ references submitted by yourself. The referees may send the references by email directly from their institutional email addresses to theo.pgadmissions@durham.ac.uk provided they are signed, or by post to the address provided on the reference form. English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Months of entry


Course content

These programmes focus on the interdisciplinary and inter-professional issues that emerge in the study of spirituality and wellbeing, particularly in the healthcare context. It is possible to take an MA or MSc, depending upon the balance of theology and science options selected. However, all students will engage in theological reflection on a relevant topic and undertake a double module research dissertation, as well as taking the taught core module on spirituality, religion and health. Both programmes provide a stepping-stone to doctoral work.

Course Structure

Two core taught modules, two optional modules, and a dissertation

Core Modules

  • Spirituality, Religion & Health
  • Practical Theology: Context, Practice and Methodology
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional Modules in previous years have included:

1-2 choices from:

  • Classic Texts in Christian Theology
  • Christian Gender
  • Social Scientific Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Catholic Social Thought
  • Doctrine of Creation
  • Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion
  • Theology, Ethics and Medicine
  • Selected modules from the MA in Theology and Ministry programme

Plus up to 1 choice from:

  • Quantitative Health Research Methods
  • Qualitative Health Research Methods
  • Global Health Issues & Governance
  • Public Policy, Health & Health Inequalities
  • Health Systems Analysis and Comparison
  • The Dynamics of Evidence Informed Policy
  • Gender, Sex, Health & Politics
  • Qualitative Methods Applied to Policy and Health Research
  • Epidemiology and Statistics
  • Anthropology of Global Health
  • Public Health Anthropology
  • Body, Politics and Experience
  • Thinking Anthropologically
  • Advanced Anthropology of Mental Health and Illness
  • Fieldwork and Interpretation

Learning and Teaching

Most MA teaching is delivered through small group seminars and tutorials. These exemplify and encourage the various skills and practices required for independent scholarly engagement with texts and issues. Teaching in the Department of Theology & Religion is ‘research led’ at both BA and MA levels, but particularly at MA level. Research led teaching is informed by staff research, but more importantly it aims to develop students as independent researchers themselves, able to pursue and explore their own research interests and questions. This is why the independently researched MA dissertation is the culmination of the MA programme. Such engagement with texts and issues is not only an excellent preparation for doctoral research, it also develops those skills of critical analysis, synthesis and presentation sought and required by employers.

Many MA classes will contain a ‘lecture’ element, conveying information and exemplifying an approach to the subject-matter that will enable students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve their own ability to analyse and evaluate information and arguments. Seminars enhance knowledge and understanding through preparation and interaction with other students and staff, promoting awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and developing skills of articulacy, advocacy and interrogation. Through small group discussions and tutorials, feedback is provided on student work, with the opportunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing student knowledge and writing skills.

The Dissertation module includes training in generic research skills, from the use of the Library to issues in referencing and bibliography. The core modules introduce students to questions of method, interpretation and argument in the disciplines encompassed by spirituality, religion and practical theology in relation to health, and helps them to develop their own interests and questions that will issue in the MA dissertation. The latter is a piece of independent research, but it is fostered and guided through individual tutorials with a supervisor, with whom students meet throughout the academic year.

Information for international students

English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Scholarships and funding


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 to 36 months


full time
12 months
part time
24 to 36 months

Course contact details

Department of Theology and Religion
(0)191 334 3929