Introduction

The MSc Religion and Society offers you an opportunity to study the intricate connections between religion and society and advance sociological research and analysis.

This programme is studied on campus.

The history of religion is recorded as before the Paleolithic period advancing to Neolithic and Axial periods with influential texts and societal rules. During the Middle Ages, the formation of religion started to take shape with specific named religions spreading internationally. The Religionsgeschichtliche Schule suggested that religion has evolved alongside humanity from human culture. Religion has shaped moral conduct and civilisation to abide by a set of rules which have influenced other disciplines formation and structure.

The MSc in Religion and Society provides you with an advanced sociological understanding of the reciprocal interactions of religion and society, with particular focus on the modern west. The programme is for students who want to pursue doctoral studies in the area or wish to continue their professional development, drawing upon their experience in parish, congregational and community development, or religious education.

The degree programme is the first of its kind in Scotland and reflects a strong concentration of research interest in the sociology of religion in the department.

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Social Theory (SO5014) - 30 Credit Points

Karl Popper argued, wisely, at least this time, that ‘all languages are theory-impregnated’. In this course we learn to reflect explicitly about that which may otherwise simply remain implicit in empirical sociological examination. In this project, we are assisted by important thinkers who have developed distinctive and influential ways of considering the social. We begin with classical sociological theory (Marx, Weber, Nietzsche) before moving on to the work of more recent social thought (including, Actor Network Theory and Dorothy Smith), giving students an advanced working knowledge of the most important theoretical tools available to jobbing social scientists.

View detailed information about this course

Advanced Qualitative Methods in Social Science (SL5011) - 30 Credit Points

Qualitative Sociology: Philosophy and Methods: This course introduces students to a range of methods used in qualitative sociological research (such as participant observation, qualitative interviewing, focus groups, diaries, photography and film, and archived data sources). The emphasis will be on the research process, from project design to analysis and presentation, with methodological issues raised in the context of researchable questions. Issues of reliability, representativeness and validity, and the potential for combining methods will be addressed. Students use the course work to develop their research interests and reflect on their research practices.

View detailed information about this course

Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Religious Belief and Practice in the Modern World (SO5514) - 30 Credit Points

Aberdeen University has long been known for its focus on the sociology of religion and is currently the only University in Britain where one can study sociology of religion at the postgraduate level in a sociology department. This course is required for students on the MSc in Religion and Society, and essential for any other students who wish to develop a sophisticated sociological understanding of religion, including postgraduates with other primary research interests (religion having implications for many other topics), and would also benefit postgraduate students of religion coming from other disciplines.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

One Specialist Option, Related to Dissertation Topic (30 credit points) from the following:

Dimensions of Globalization (SO5512) - 30 Credit Points

This interdisciplinary course focuses on substantive dimensions of globalization by considering recent changes occurring in the economic, political, social, and cultural realms of society. These themes are analyzed by considering recent empirical studies, which seek to clarify our theoretical understanding of globalization through advanced social scientific research. The substantive themes covered include global capitalism, the global division of labour, global governance, the changing role of the nation‐state, transnational social change, and cultural homogenization and heterogenization. Interconnections between these aspects of globalization are highlighted.

View detailed information about this course

The Comparative Study of European Societies (SO5515) - 30 Credit Points

The core course will look at Europe as a society as well as by comparing different nations and regions within it. It will look not just at the European Union, but also countries that are also in the broadest sense “European” stretching to the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia. It will address key contemporary issues such as citizenship and belonging, identities in a European context, work, family and the demographic challenge as well as work‐life balance.

View detailed information about this course

Sex, Gender, Violence: Critical Approaches (SO5519) - 30 Credit Points

This course investigates the ways people think about, understand, and respond to violence. How do we know what counts as violence or a violence act? Why does legislation against violence often seem inadequate, perhaps especially in the case of gendered and sexual violence?

View detailed information about this course

Quantitative Sociology: Philosophy & Methods (SO5523) - 30 Credit Points

All researchers need to understand quantitative research, not only those who carry it out themselves. Everyone comes across quantitative research in literature reviews and even in the press. In this course students will acquire an understanding of the most common quantitative methods they are likely to use or come across in published sociological research. The module will encompass different types of quantitative study and address issues such as when quantitative methods are appropriate, how quantitative questions are formulated, research design, sampling (both online and offline), scale construction, reliability and validity and ethical practices in quantitative research and design.

View detailed information about this course

Post - Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding (SO5525) - 30 Credit Points

This course is divided into three sections. The first half of the course introduces students to the central mechanisms and processes by which the international community attempts to provide justice and peace in post-conflict contexts, before presenting in a series of lectures the complications and current challenges to post-conflict and justice as both an academic field and an area of practice. The course is particularly designed to inspire students to consider the complicated nature of post-conflict issues through a number of different case studies and perspectives.

View detailed information about this course

Global Conflict and Peace Processes (SO5526) - 30 Credit Points

The course familiarises the student with the field of the sociology of peace processes, which is one of the growth areas within sociology and related areas internationally. It establishes the nature of sociology’s distinctive contribution to the study of peace processes and the conceptual and empirical focus of this approach. The course places particular emphasis on three areas, religion, gender and civil society. It addresses three international peace processes in particular, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and critically assesses the contribution in each of religion, civil society and gender.

View detailed information about this course

Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in Religion and Society (SO5902) - 60 Credit Points

This is a compulsory element on the MSc Religion and Society programme.

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Examination is exclusively by means of course work and continuous assessment. Students will be permitted one resubmission of failed work, but no resubmission of the dissertation. For the award of the MSc in both full and part time modes, there is a requirement also to complete a 15,000 word dissertation under supervision from the course team.

Why Study Religion and Society?

  • MSc Religion and Society at Aberdeen provides you with advanced level core sociology research and analytical capability alongside specialist understanding of religion.
  • Religion and Society is taught in the context of Kings College Campus with its own chapel and community, a rich heritage from 1495 when Bishop Elphinstone founded the university and a strong academic focus on the administration of religion in the North since this time.
  • The MSc Religion and Society can be studied full time or part time to allow you to combine it with other work.
  • The MSc Religion and Society is taught from a strong research background within disciplines surrounding religion such as Globalisation, Radicalisation and Resistance, Post Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding and Theology.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with at least 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body. In exceptional circumstances applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience, appropriate to the field of study.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,700
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year
International Students £15,900
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Career Opportunities

  • Counsellor
  • Researcher
  • Teacher

Elphinstone the Religious Innovator of 1495

Bishop Elphinstone founded the university in 1495 to encourage academic thought and progression of religous thinking and learning

Our Experts

Other Experts
Dr Andrew McKinnon
Professor Steve Bruce
Professor Bernadette Hayes
Programme Coordinator
Dr Marta Trzebiatowska

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

Centre for Global Security and Governance

The Centre for Global Security and Governance brings together academic experts, policy makers, and students to define, analyse, and propose remedies to the most pressing security and governance challenges the world faces in the 21st century.

Centre for European Survey Research

The ECSR has Associate Survey Agencies in more than 100 countries worldwide and can offer basic and applied research in form of quantitative and qualitative surveys as well as other empirical research tools in the social and economic sciences.

New Europe Centre

The New Europe Centre represents a group of researchers at the University of Aberdeen with projects from a number of different funding sources. We are committed to doing quality research in order to better understand the world around us.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
Aberdeen
AB24 3QY