Theology and Religion MRes

The MRes Theology and Religion is a research programme with some provision for taught modules.

This programme is suitable for a wide range of interests. Students can pursue various approaches to religious thought and practice, including, for example, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Queer and Intercultural theologies; gender and religion; religion and culture, philosophy of religion and philosophical theology; religion and politics, and a range of approaches to religious texts such as literary, ideological, reception-focussed, historical or cultural methodologies. In addition students can undertake research projects in areas such as religion and society, practical theology, and ethics.

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of Theology and Religion second in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Tupá Guerra

Tupá Guerra

“It was an amazing experience to do my postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham, one that I recommend to everybody. The campus is beautiful, the Department of Theology and Religion is friendly and a great environment for research, plus the library and other resources offered by the University are superb. Furthermore, the city itself is filled with interesting activities and places to visit.”

This programme may be followed as an end in itself, but also provides an excellent foundation for subsequent doctoral research.

The programme comprises three components:

  • One core module: Research Methods in Theology and the Study of Religion
  • Two optional modules from the range available in the Department of Theology and Religion
  • A 20,000-word thesis on a topic of your choice.

For more information on available options, see 'Modules', below.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by written assignment, and you will complete the programme with a 20,000-word thesis.

Your thesis can focus on any area of religion/theology/textual study that interests you. However, the department has specific strengths in certain areas. You may find it helpful to consult the staff pages to see what research specialities are covered within the department together with the profiles of students currently studying on our doctoral programmes.

Why study this course

  • The MRes is an excellent transition into research for applicants who already have a Theology or Religious Studies background and are exploring the possibility of future doctoral studies, a research or other academic career, or simply want to explore in detail a topic that they find particularly fascinating.
  • 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
  • Times Higher Education ranked the Department of Theology and Religion second in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise, with over 50% of our research judged to be ‘world-leading’. 
  • The University of Birmingham has also been ranked as one of the world's top 25 institutions to study Theology and Religious Studies in the 2018 QS World Rankings.

Modules

Core module

You will study one 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: conceptualising religion, doing fieldwork, insider – outsider debates, working with space and place, working with archives, researching comparative religion, postcolonial perspectives, gendered approaches, writing skills, research ethics, research design, and research rigour and validity.
Assessment: A 4,000-word written assignment

Optional modules

You will then choose two optional modules from a range of modules in Theology and Religion that typically includes:

  • Approaches to Studying Islam (modern)
  • Approaches to Studying Islam (traditional)
  • Auschwitz in History and Memory
  • Contemporary Issues in Sikhism
  • Feminism in the Muslim World
  • God in Christian Philosophy
  • Historical and Contemporary Debates on the Holocaust
  • Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
  • Islam in Europe
  • Islamic Philosophy
  • Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust
  • Muslim Thinkers of the Western World
  • Political Islam
  • Religion in Contemporary Global Politics I
  • Religion in Contemporary Global Politics II
  • Religious Nationalism
  • Sikh Perspectives on Interreligious Relations
  • The Bible and Sacred Space
  • “Women” and Wellbeing: Soulful Dimensions

For more information, see our Theology and Religion postgraduate modules.

Thesis

The programme is completed with a 20,000-word thesis, which you will complete with the support of an expert academic supervisor.


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 2019/20 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £6,030 full-time; £3,015 part-time
  • International: £17,040 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 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 2019-20 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 2019-20 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

Application deadlines

International students requiring visas

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2020. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

UK/EU students

We would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by the end of July. However, we would encourage you to apply at the earliest opportunity, to allow adequate time to prepare for starting your studies once receiving a decision on your application.

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, which includes detailed advice on research proposals and how to write them.

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

As well as the taught modules you take on this programme, the department has a programme of research seminars, conferences and workshops which you can attend, so you’ll be able to gain insight from a range of academics and peers from across the department.

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.

Over the past five years, over 96% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. 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

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

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.