Introduction

The Theology and Religion Flexible Learning Programme is a part-time distance programme which offers a range of course options and qualification outcomes.

It warmly welcomes applicants interested in theology and religious studies, including those who wish to undertake vocational studies relevant to church ministry and convocation.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
Online Learning
Degree Qualification
Certificate
Duration
96 months
Study Mode
Part Time
Start Month
January or September
Location of Study
Aberdeen
Degree marketing image

There are various modes of study available on the Theology and Religion Flexible Programme. Level 1 and 2 courses are worth 15 credits . Level 3 and 4 courses are worth 30 credits.

ISS – Individual Study
(Programme Code: TBC)
If you are looking to take various modules, more for interest rather than immediate programme pathway, then ISS is a perfect option. There are no prerequisites and compulsory subject areas.

Certificate in Theology and Religion
(Programme Code: 14V891R1)
For a Certificate in Theology and Religion, students would be required to take 120 credits (eight courses) which may be drawn from a selection of fifteen credit Level 1 distance learning courses offered as part of the Theology and Religion Flexible Programme.

Diploma in Theology and Religion
(Programme Code: 14V892R2)
For a Diploma in Theology and Religion, students would be required to take 240 credits (sixteen courses) with at least 120 at Level 2. Credits taken as part of the Certificate in Theology and Religion can contribute towards the Diploma.

There are no compulsory courses for either the Certificate or Diploma in Theology and Religion. Ministry candidates for the Church of Scotland are required to take eight prescribed courses for their training.

Bachelors in Theology (Distance)
(Programme Code: with Honours 08V82070, without 08V82088)
For a general BTh, students would be required to take a further 120 credits (four courses) which may be drawn from a selection of thirty credit Level 3 distance learning courses offered as part of the Theology and Religion Flexible Programme.

For an Honours BTh, students would be required to take a further 240 credits (eight courses) which may be drawn from a selection of thirty credit Level 3 and Level 4 distance learning courses offered as part of the Theology and Religion Flexible Programme. One of these courses will include the thirty credit Dissertation. Honours students will be required to have a minimum 90 credits at Level 4.

What You'll Study

There is a vast range of courses on offer to distance learning students, which alternate on a yearly basis so to maximise on choice and selection.

There are two semesters to the academic year with a range of courses being offered in each half session. To be as flexible as possible students are able to take as many courses per annum, (upper limit 75 credits with a lower limit of 15 credits per academic year). There are no compulsory subjects and advice is given to all students to ensure suitable course selection.

*Please note that courses offered each academic year may change. The courses listed below are being offered in the current academic year.

The programme allows students to exit with one of the following:

  • Individual Subject Study
  • Certificate in Theology and Religion
  • Diploma in Theology and Religion
  • Bachelor in Theology

For more information about the content of the courses on offer, please visit our school website.

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses
Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses
The Pilgrim City (DR103D)

15 Credit Points

This course traces the history of Christianity from its establishment as the religion of the Roman Empire to the period just prior to its arrival in the Americas in the late 15th century. Lectures and seminars examine some of the main strands of Christian theology, spirituality and institutional life in this period and also consider marginal groups such as the Cathars and Waldensians, as well as mediaeval Christianity’s relationship with religions of pre-Christian Europe. The course provides useful historical and theological background for students interested in the Reformation period as well as in mediaeval art, literature and history.

View detailed information about this course
Greek Language (New Testament) 1 (DR1078)

15 Credit Points

The course will introduce students to the form of Greek found in the New Testament and help students to begin to read the New Testament in Greek. The programme will follow the textbook by J. Duff, Elements of New Testament Greek (Cambridge University Press, 2005). This is not to be confused with the textbook with the same title by John Wenham.

View detailed information about this course
What IT Means to be Dead! (DR151F)

15 Credit Points

This course will explore ancient Greek attitudes towards death and dying and explore the various ways in which it meant to be dead in Ancient Greece. This course will be interdisciplinary in approach, looking at: performative texts (ancient Greek plays and epics), visual culture (monuments, sacred sites), philosophy and science (Presocratic, Plato and Epicurus).

The course will take a firm thematic approach exploring: poetic death and the heroic, locales of the departed and cosmic death and the promise of revival.

View detailed information about this course
Greek Language (New Testament) 2 (DR1578)

15 Credit Points

This course, which builds on the foundations laid in DR1039, introduces further study of the grammar and vocabulary of New Testament Greek.

View detailed information about this course
Ancient Empires: Religion, Power and Politics (DR152B)

15 Credit Points

This course will explore the rise and fall of Empires from the ancient world and beyond; examining to what extent religion, power struggles, conflict and politics impacted the shaping of an ancient Empire and the world today.

View detailed information about this course
Theology from Jesus to Calvin: The History of Christian Thought (DR151A)

15 Credit Points

How did the Jesus movement turn into the church? At what point did the church decide Jesus was God? How can God be one and three? What is heresy and why did it matter? How did Christianity relate to surrounding philosophy? Did theology develop and change? What were the sources for Christian thought and doctrine? The course introduces students to these questions through the rich history of Christian thought by considering a number of representative theological thinkers, such as Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin. Assessment is through two short essays and a final essay.

View detailed information about this course
Exploring the Tradition of Western Ethics (DR1090)

15 Credit Points

How do we know right from wrong? What are our responsibilities towards others? How should we engage with social and political problems and issues? What constitutes a good life? This course provides an opportunity for students to explore the rich tradition of Western ethical reflection and moral formation. It does so by surveying the various ways in which ethics and morality have been understood and approached by major figures in the Western tradition

View detailed information about this course
Latin 1 (LT1010)

15 Credit Points

Latin 1 is an introductory, intensive course for those with little or no previous exposure to Latin. Students completing this course should have a Latin vocabulary of about 400 words and a basic understanding of Latin grammar and syntax. Students successfully completing this course will be adequately prepared to attend Latin 2. Students will very likely discover that their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar/syntax is improved by their study of Latin. The etymological roots of many English words can be traced to the Latin language.

View detailed information about this course
Latin 2 (LT1508)

15 Credit Points

Latin 2 picks up where Latin 1 finished in first term. By the end of this course students should have a more or less comprehensive understanding of Latin syntax and grammar, a Latin vocabulary of 700-800 words, and should be capable of translating simple Latin texts into idiomatic English. Students will very likely discover that their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar/syntax is improved by their study of Latin.

View detailed information about this course
History and Religion of Ancient Israel (DR1092)

15 Credit Points

This course discusses the issues involved in reconstructing the history and religions of ancient Israel and Judah. It provides an overview of the history and religions of Ancient Israel and Judah, as portrayed in the Hebrew Bible, as illustrated by archaeological findings, and as understood within their larger Ancient Near Eastern context. It further teaches the students how to evaluate critically these portrayals and, as a result, how to reach independent and informed interpretations of the Biblical text

View detailed information about this course
The Theology and Practice of Preaching (DR103A)

15 Credit Points

This course will present the student with the discipline of homiletics and the challenge of communicating the Gospel in the contemporary world. We will begin by looking at the sermons and rhetorical delivery in Scripture and will continue by discussing the development of the sermon from the Church Fathers to the present day. The use of scripture, themes and the liturgical year will also be discussed.

View detailed information about this course
Exploring the New Testament (DR151H)

15 Credit Points

What we know today as the New Testament, a single book between two covers and most often bundled with the Old Testament, is in fact a small library of twenty-seven texts produced by various followers of Jesus between the 30s and about 120 of the Common Era. The small collection has had an enormous impact not only on Christian churches but also on the whole of Western civilization until today. This course explores the origins of these texts, their authors and audiences, and the events behind them. It neither requires nor expects any prior experience with these texts. Download course guide.

View detailed information about this course
Sacramental Theology (DR151V)

15 Credit Points

This course on sacramental theology is situated primarily in the area of Practical Theology. The model of the four voices of theology (normative, formal, operant and espoused), as developed by Helen Cameron and others, functions to structure the course around biblical, historical, and contemporary developments in sacramental theology. The students will critically evaluate contemporary views and practices of the sacraments in one particular denomination of their choice in light of this denomination’s historical and doctrinal teaching.

View detailed information about this course
Year 2

Year 2

Optional Courses

Select 45 credit points from the options below.

The Pilgrim City (DR203D)

15 Credit Points

DR2586 traces the history of Christianity from its establishment as the religion of the Roman Empire to the period just prior to its arrival in the Americas in the late 15th century. Lectures and seminars examine some of the main strands of Christian theology, spirituality and institutional life in this period and also consider marginal groups such as Cathars and Waldensians, as well as mediaeval Christianity’s relationship with religions of pre-Christian Europe. The course provides useful historical and theological background students interested in the Reformation period as well as in mediaeval art, literature and history.

View detailed information about this course
What IT Means to be Dead! (DR251F)

15 Credit Points

This course will explore ancient Greek attitudes towards death and dying and explore the various ways in which it meant to be dead in Ancient Greece. This course will be interdisciplinary in approach, looking at: performative texts (ancient Greek plays and epics), visual culture (monuments, sacred sites), philosophy and science (Presocratic, Plato and Epicurus).

The course will take a firm thematic approach exploring: poetic death and the heroic, locales of the departed and cosmic death and the promise of revival.

View detailed information about this course
Ancient Empires: Religion, Power and Politics (DR250B)

15 Credit Points

This course will explore the rise and fall of Empires from the ancient world and beyond; examining to what extent religion, power struggles, conflict and politics impacted the shaping of an ancient Empire and the world today.

View detailed information about this course
Theology from Jesus to Calvin: The History of Christian Thought (DR251A)

15 Credit Points

How did the Jesus movement turn into the church? At what point did the church decide Jesus was God? How can God be one and three? What is heresy and why did it matter? How did Christianity relate to surrounding philosophy? Did theology develop and change? What were the sources for Christian thought and doctrine? The course introduces students to these questions through the rich history of Christian thought by considering a number of representative theological thinkers, such as Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin. Assessment is through two short essays and a final essay.

View detailed information about this course
Exploring the Tradition of Western Ethics (DR2090)

15 Credit Points

How do we know right from wrong? What are our responsibilities towards others? How should we engage with social and political problems and issues? What constitutes a good life? This course provides an opportunity for students to explore the rich tradition of Western ethical reflection and moral formation. It does so by surveying the various ways in which ethics and morality have been understood and approached by major figures in the Western tradition.

View detailed information about this course
History and Religion of Ancient Israel (DR2077)

15 Credit Points

This course discusses the issues involved in reconstructing the history and religions of ancient Israel and Judah. It provides an overview of the history and religions of Ancient Israel and Judah, as portrayed in the Hebrew Bible, as illustrated by archaeological findings, and as understood within their larger Ancient Near Eastern context. It further teaches the students how to evaluate critically these portrayals and, as a result, how to reach independent and informed interpretations of the Biblical text.

View detailed information about this course
The Theology and Practice of Preaching (DR203A)

15 Credit Points

This course will present the student with the discipline of homiletics and the challenge of communicating the Gospel in the contemporary world. We will begin by looking at the sermons and rhetorical delivery in Scripture and will continue by discussing the development of the sermon from the Church Fathers to the present day. The use of scripture, themes and the liturgical year will also be discussed.

View detailed information about this course
Exploring the New Testament (DR251Q)

15 Credit Points

This course will provide a level 2 (SCQF 8) version of DR1073/1573, “Exploring the New Testament,” differentiated from this by an assessment format appropriate to the SCQF Level. The courses will be delivered together, allowing efficient delivery of content. The character and contribution of the course is that of a survey-type module, of the kind that is standard in the early years of a biblical studies curriculum, and that contributes foundational knowledge for the Divinity (Theology and Religious Studies) programme, as well as being of broader interest to students outside this programme.

View detailed information about this course
Sacramental Theology (DR251V)

15 Credit Points

This course on sacramental theology is situated primarily in the area of Practical Theology. The model of the four voices of theology (normative, formal, operant and espoused), as developed by Helen Cameron and others, functions to structure the course around biblical, historical, and contemporary developments in sacramental theology. The students will critically evaluate contemporary views and practices of the sacraments in one particular denomination of their choice in light of this denomination’s historical and doctrinal teaching.

View detailed information about this course
Year 3

Year 3

Optional Courses

90 credit points from Divinity courses of choice at level 3 or above.

Creation and Cosmos in the Ancient World (DR301Z)

30 Credit Points

This course will explore the ancient Greek, Roman and Near attitudes towards creation, cosmology and world view.

View detailed information about this course
Reading the Old Testament (DR305K)

30 Credit Points

This course offers an in-depth investigation of a key biblical character. It will look at the issue from three key angles. First, it will focus on the literary and narrative aspects of the pertinent texts: how is the character being portrayed and how does that this portrayal shape our understanding and appreciation of that character? Second, it will explore the historical-critical aspects of the text: how can knowledge of the chronological development of the text contribute to our understanding of the text and its message? Three, it will investigate how this character has been understood in subsequent Jewish and Christian: how can this later reception shed light upon aspects inherent in the text itself?

View detailed information about this course
Explorations in the Philosophy of Religion (DR305F)

30 Credit Points

Religious questions and topics have often been central to the Western philosophical tradition which stretched from Antiquity to the present. Through close extended reading and analysis of classic primary texts from this tradition, this course engages students into detailed exploration of the way religion and religious questions have been approached philosophically by formative thinkers.

View detailed information about this course
God and Salvation in the Letters of Paul (DR355H)

30 Credit Points

The writings of the apostle Paul have exercised more influence over the development of Christian theology than almost any other writings??, but much scholarship would question whether they have been interpreted correctly. Since the end of the Second World War, there have been significant developments in our understanding of the Judaism of Paul's day and of the socio-cultural realities of the wider Mediterranean world; these have led to the emergence of new readings of the apostle's theology and have demanded fresh accounts of Christian origins. This module will involve some exploration and critique of these new approaches to Paul's theology.

View detailed information about this course
Scottish Revivals (DR355E)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the manifestations of religious revivals in Scotland from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries within their economic, political, religious and social historical contexts. Firstly, it will explore the various traditions of revival that have emerged during the course of the previous 300 years. Secondly, it will review the historiography of revival studies and will consider the theories that surround religious movements. Thirdly, it will consider the timing and manner of these demonstrations of religious enthusiasm. Fourthly, it will analyse the people who were affected by revivals. Fifthly, it will investigate the effects of religious movements within the lives of the communities where they have been experienced. Finally, the course will appraise the significance of revival within the wider tradition of the Christian church in Scotland in modern times.

View detailed information about this course
Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Select one of the following dissertation options:

Dissertation (DR4044) [first-half session] OR Dissertation (DR4544) [second-half session]

Plus 90 credit points from courses of choice, at least 60 of which must be from Divinity courses at level 4 (see options below).

Creation and Cosmos in the Ancient World (DR401Z)

30 Credit Points

This course will explore the ancient Greek, Roman and Near attitudes towards creation, cosmology and world view.

View detailed information about this course
Reading the Old Testament (DR405K)

30 Credit Points

This course offers an in-depth investigation of a key biblical character. It will look at the issue from three key angles. First, it will focus on the literary and narrative aspects of the pertinent texts: how is the character being portrayed and how does that this portrayal shape our understanding and appreciation of that character? Second, it will explore the historical-critical aspects of the text: how can knowledge of the chronological development of the text contribute to our understanding of the text and its message? Three, it will investigate how this character has been understood in subsequent Jewish and Christian: how can this later reception shed light upon aspects inherent in the text itself?

View detailed information about this course
Explorations in the Philosophy of Religion (DR405F)

30 Credit Points

Religious questions and topics have often been central to the Western philosophical tradition which stretched from Antiquity to the present. Through close extended reading and analysis of classic primary texts from this tradition, this course engages students into detailed exploration of the way religion and religious questions have been approached philosophically by formative thinkers.

View detailed information about this course
God and Salvation in the Letters of Paul (DR455H)

30 Credit Points

The writings of the apostle Paul have exercised more influence over the development of Christian theology than almost any other writings, but much scholarship would question whether they have been interpreted correctly. Since the end of the Second World War, there have been significant developments in our understanding of the Judaism of Paul's day and of the socio-cultural realities of the wider Mediterranean world; these have led to the emergence of new readings of the apostle's theology and have demanded fresh accounts of Christian origins. This module will involve some exploration and critique of these new approaches to Paul's theology, but always in relation to the content of the letters themselves. Central to Paul's far-reaching and radical theology and ethics is his particular identification of Jesus, which shapes his distinctive way of speaking about God and salvation and, from this, about the church.

View detailed information about this course
Scottish Revivals (DR455E)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the manifestations of religious revivals in Scotland from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries within their economic, political, religious and social historical contexts. Firstly, it will explore the various traditions of revival that have emerged during the course of the previous 300 years. Secondly, it will review the historiography of revival studies and will consider the theories that surround religious movements. Thirdly, it will consider the timing and manner of these demonstrations of religious enthusiasm. Fourthly, it will analyse the people who were affected by revivals. Fifthly, it will investigate the effects of religious movements within the lives of the communities where they have been experienced. Finally, the course will appraise the significance of revival within the wider tradition of the Christian church in Scotland in modern times.

View detailed information about this course
Dissertation (DR4044)

30 Credit Points

This course involves the writing of a dissertation in one of the sub-disciplines in Divinity and Religious Studies. Independent Research work is done under the supervision of a member of staff. The dissertation is an extended essay, of no more than 10,000 words inclusive of bibliography and references.

View detailed information about this course
Dissertation (DR4544)

30 Credit Points

This course involves the writing of a dissertation in one of the sub-disciplines in Divinity and Religious Studies. Independent Research work is done under the supervision of a member of staff. The dissertation is an extended essay, of no more than 10,000 words inclusive of bibliography and references.

View detailed information about this course

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to change. Further information about potential changes can be viewed here.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Theology and Religion Flexible Learning Programme?

Certificate and Diploma in Theology and Religion courses are delivered by subject specialists within the School of Divinity, utilising a range of innovative online technologies. For further details about subject specialists within the School of Divinity and Religious Studies, please click on the following link: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sdhp/divinity-religious-studies/

Each course offers blended teaching and learning approaches, to include subject specific learning platforms, synchronous online tutorials, downloadable lectures and learning materials.

As a student at the University at Aberdeen you would have full access to the student faculties and support, such as library access (online journals and digitalised volumes), student support, student academic support, personal tutor and online Student Hub. Further details about the range of facilities available at Aberdeen may be found by clicking on the following link: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/students/

Entry Requirements

It is possible to apply for the Theology and Religion Flexible Programme for either September or January start. The deadline for a September start is 31st July and for a January start 20th December.

Apply for this programme by completing the application form

Should you require any further information about the Theology and Religion Studies Flexible Programme, please do not hesitate to contact us at trflp@abdn.ac.uk. The Programme Co-ordinator for the Theology and Religion Flexible Programme is Rev Dr Kenneth Jeffrey.

Entry requirements for the Certificate / Diploma in Theology and Religion, either vocational or evidence of prior study, would be expected. For further information concerning admissions, please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Coordinator, Rev Dr Kenneth Jeffrey. (trflp@abdn.ac.uk).

If you wish to apply for readmission to the university, please see the readmission website for more information.

Qualifications

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

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Divinity and Theology degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate 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 - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

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

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

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

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants

Should your programme necessitate a visit to the University you may find the following information helpful.

Fee Information

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact study@abdn.ac.uk.

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

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

Funding Opportunities

View the fees for the 2020/21 academic year

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Little Lectures

We are hosting a series of Little Lectures to mark our 525th anniversary.

The lectures are a great opportunity to get to know our experts.

View Lecture Schedule

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 and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr Kenneth Jeffrey

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.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX