Sikh Studies MRes

This is one of the only postgraduate courses dedicated to the Sikh religion in the UK.

It is a research degree that includes taught components and a 20,000-word thesis. The programme’s taught element will seek to provide you with an understanding of the Sikh religion in a theological, anthropological and ‘case-by-case’ context with particular reference to the contemporary scene.

The focus of this programme is issue-based rather than, say, linguistic; thus, texts studied will be in English and there are no requirements barring entry with regard to languages (eg, Punjabi). It aims to develop your critical reasoning skills to enable you to objectively analyse Sikh writings as well as writings about Sikhism by both Sikh and non-Sikh scholars, and provides an excellent foundation for subsequent doctoral research. 

Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal

Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal

“This is a unique course that focuses on historical, textual and ‘Lived Religion’ approaches to understand the core elements of Sikh Dharma, to assess inter-faith dialogue and to explore the meaning of Sikh Identity in an increasingly pluralistic world.”

The Sikh Studies MRes is a research degree that includes taught components; it may be followed as an end in itself, but also provides an excellent foundation for subsequent doctoral research.

The programme comprises four components; a compulsory Research Methods in Theology and the Study of Religion module, two optional modules, and a 20,000-word thesis on a topic of your choice.

Throughout the programme there will be some emphasis on comparative study and its importance for the study of inter-religious dialogue and relations. The studies will be largely contemporary and will also make reference to wider ‘generic’ issues (eg, matters of Asian religious practices, world views and cultural aspects).

Why study this course

  • The University of Birmingham is an excellent centre for the study of religion and culture. It has built up good relationships and partnerships with Birmingham's many different communities, and such a rich cultural mix means that it provides an ideal setting to study the relations between Religion and Culture. The city is recognised as one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, with representation from most religious traditions.
  • Students of Sikh Studies come from a wide variety of backgrounds and often express very different opinions. Thus, there is no stereotypical student of Sikh Studies and all viewpoints are freely discussed in a friendly atmosphere.
  • Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham was ranked second among all Theology departments in the country in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise, with over 50% of our research judged to be ‘world-leading’ 
  • The University of Birmingham was ranked 35th in the World for Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017. These rankings are compiled annually to help prospective students identify the leading universities worldwide in a particular subject.

Modules

Core module:

Research Methods in Theology and the Study of Religion

This module consists of a series of formal discipline-specific sessions taught by members of the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion. Topics that will be addressed may include Conducting Empirical Research; Reading in theology; Research skills; Thesis planning; Textual Studies and Historical Research.
Assessment: Written coursework

Two optional modules

We would recommend you take the two models that are explicitly about Sikhism which will prepare you for your 20,000 word thesis. Recommended modules include Contemporary Issues in Sikhism and Sikh Perspectives on Interreligious Relations. 

Contemporary Issues in Sikhism

This module will explore Sikh religion and Sikhism in the contemporary world with particular reference to Sikhs in the Diaspora and in the Punjab. Examples of issues to be discussed include attitudes towards caste, dowry and arranged marriages; questions of adaptation and dialogue in a new environment with particular emphasis on second and third generation Sikhs and changing traditions. Case studies affecting diasporic Sikh Community will include issues surrounding Kirpan, Turbans etc. Reference will be made to some of the religious, ethical and moral issues for Sikhs, eg abortion, homosexuality, etc; and also gender issues. The position of women will be considered with comparative reference to other religions.
Assessment: Written coursework

Sikh Perspectives on Interreligious Relations 

This module will begin by looking at key concepts within Sikhism: God, Guru, Gender Equality, Salvation and Liberation.  These concepts will be considered in relation to attitudes to other religions and, what might be called ‘alien contexts’.  There will be a special concentration on Sikhism in diasporic contexts, particularly in the British context.
Assessment: Written coursework

The MRes is completed with a 20,000 written thesis, where you will be supported by expert academic supervision.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £5,850 full-time; £2,925 part-time
  • International: £16,320 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for for UK/EU or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2018-19 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2018-19 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent).

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The Sikh Studies MRes is delivered by formal lectures. It will be assessed by an essay for each module and a 20,000-word final thesis.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Theology and Religion

Birmingham’s Theology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including publishing, education and social work. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Church of England; Methodist Church; NHS; and University of Birmingham.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.