Taught course

Bible and the Contemporary World

University of St Andrews · School of Divinity

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Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree is normally expected, but if your degree classification is lower, you should indicate more recent, perhaps informal, learning in your letter of intent. You do not need to have a degree in Theology or Biblical Studies in order to apply for a place on this programme; however, all applicants will be expected to have sufficient knowledge to equip them for postgraduate level of study in this area. Prospective applicants who are unable to offer a 2.1 Honours degree are invited to have discussions in advance with the course director: email divinitydistance@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

The PGDip/MLitt in Bible and the Contemporary World is a part-time distance learning programme aimed at both lay people seeking personal development and clergy seeking continued professional development.


  • Gain an understanding of how public issues and culture both shape and are shaped by Christian theology, biblical interpretation and practice.
  • Join an international and interdenominational group of 20 to 25 students, most of whom are lay people.
  • A residential study week in St Andrews starts each module with lectures and seminar discussions and allows you to meet your fellow participants and tutors.
  • Opens possibilities for future doctoral work in fields such as practical theology or for those who seek to deepen their critical thinking in careers (often in the voluntary sector) that have a religious dimension.

Teaching format

Each semester begins with a study week normally held at St Mary's College, the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews. However, the study week in September 2020 will, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, not be held in St Andrews. Instead, the study week will be delivered online through a variety of pre-recorded lectures, real-time discussions with teachers and other students, and online social events.

Other than during the exceptional arrangements being made for September 2020, attendance is normally required at the study week from Monday through Wednesday, but students are encouraged to stay for the remainder of the week. You will need to pay for your own travel and accommodation costs to attend the mandatory study week.

Both MLitt and PGDip students take three taught modules over the course of their programme. Each module comprises 15 weeks of study (typically divided into four units) and focuses on independent learning.

In each unit of a module, students are supplied a number of scholarly articles and extracts from books which are supplemented by two written lectures available online in digital format; you will also have access to the library's extensive online subscriptions of journals and e-books. Instead of seminars, you will participate in online bulletin board discussions with your peers (not held in real time).

Students typically write four essays for each module (one for each unit) and receive written feedback. Students will have one personal tutorial (usually via online video messaging or telephone) with a tutor per module where they can discuss their recent essay.

The MLitt programme is followed by a 15,000-word dissertation submitted at the end of two years of study. Students are assigned an individual supervisor for their dissertation, and meetings with supervisors are normally held via online video messaging or telephone.


Each module typically comprises:

  • online lectures and seminars.
  • 100% coursework assessment

Students will take the modules in different orders depending on their point of entry.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see our website; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

Fees and funding

UK students
£2,000 per module, £3,000 MLitt dissertation module
International students
£4,110 per module, £6,150 MLitt dissertation module

There are a variety of funding options available for postgraduate students. For more details visit our website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MLitt
    full time
    24-60 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24-60 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • PGDip
    full time
    18-48 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    18-48 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

School of Divinity
+44 (0)1334 46 2841