REF 2021

1st in the UK

Divinity at the University of Aberdeen was ranked 1st in the UK for overall quality of research


Religion is a distinct area of study from Divinity, and focuses on explaining the origin and function of religion and not on evaluating the truth of the beliefs of religion. As such it considers practices as much as beliefs. It considers both Western and Eastern religions as well as ancient and modern ones.

Click the tabs below for more information on what Aberdeen has to offer by way of research expertise and doctoral supervision, how to apply, and what students can expect when studying with us.

Aspects of Religion in Aberdeen

Students who decide to study a topic related to religion, myth, or ritual are supervised by experts in the field of Religion. Whether you are interested in theories of religion, Gnosticism, ancient Greek religions, or the social scientific study of religion, Aberdeen offers the opportunity to make use of our exceptional resources as you work on your thesis. 


We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work in Religion at the doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.

Professor Robert Segal: Robert Segal offers supervision in theories of religion, theories of myth, and theories of ritual from the humanities and the social sciences; Gnosticism taken as an ancient, long dead religion and in Gnosticism as also a modern, even perennial, world view; the psychology of religion; and approaches to religious texts.

Dr Sam Newington: Supervision can be offered in any aspect of ancient Greek religion, in particular, from a cultural or historical perspective. Additionally, the current research interest of Dr Newington is Greece and the Ancient Near East. 



The following are some selected publications relating to Religion by staff at the University of Aberdeen:

Professor Robert Segal

  • Myth: A Very Short Introduction.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2004.  Translated into German, Korean, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Czech, and Polish.  Second ed., 2015.
  • Theorizing about Myth. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.
  • “The Place of Ethics in Modern Theories of Religion,” Diskus 8 (2007), 1-16 (online)
  • “William Robertson Smith: Sociologist or Theologian?,” Religion, 38 (March 2008), 9-24
  • “The Modern Study of Myth and Its Relation to Science,” Zygon, 50 (September 2015), 757-71

Dr Sam Newington

  • Stuckenbruck, L.T., Lewis, S. & Newington, S. (eds), Animals and Monsters in Ancient Religion and Culture (Oxford: Taylor and Francis Group, forthcoming  2017).

Some helpful links for further information and resources in Religious Studies include: