Taught course

Bible and the Contemporary World – Distance Learning (PGDip/MLitt)

University of St Andrews · School of Divinity

Entry requirements

The School of Divinity encourages applications from those who have an undergraduate degree in any subject, and recognises that in some cases this may have been attained a number of years ago and that weaker performance at that time might not always indicate an applicant’s current academic potential.

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: 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.


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.

Join an international and interdenominational group of 20 to 25 students, most of whom are lay people without prior theological qualifications, in relating the Christian traditions to a host of public issues.

Provides continuing professional and personal development for clergy and lay people together.

Teaching format

Each semester begins with a residential study week held at St Mary's College, the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews. A typical residential study week includes lectures, seminars, sessions on using the Moodle and MMS internet platforms and study skills training. It is also a good opportunity for you to meet your distance learning peers and tutors in person.

Attendance is required at each 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 these mandatory study weeks.

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 ebooks. In lieu 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 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 the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018/2019 entry.

Fees and funding

UK students
UK and EU: £1,890 per module, £2,830 MLitt dissertation module
International students
£3,910 per module, £5,870 MLitt dissertation module

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
24 months


distance learning
18 months

Further details of qualification

Designed for students not resident in St Andrews, and taught largely through the use of virtual learning environments (i.e. via specially constructed Websites and electronic tutorials). Students are also required to make two short study visits to St Andrews each year.

Course contact details

School of Divinity
+44 (0)1334 46 2841