Student success for MA Religion, Culture and Society graduates.
Having completed my undergraduate degree in Religion, Culture & Society (RCS), I was left thirsty for more. I decided to meet the challenge of the RCS MA; and I was not disappointed! I found the MA challenging and was stretched more than I anticipated, which I really enjoyed. That being said, the MA stands alone, and it is quite clear that you do not need to study the undergraduate degree first.
For me, the best part of the MA was the wide selection of people that were in the lectures with me. Colleagues from all different backgrounds, with different opinions and of all ages were discussing the same content; which ensured fantastic debates in the class, and certainly helped to broaden my understanding of different sociological, philosophical and theological view points. The subject matter across a wide variety of modules is engaging and absorbing – an excellent programme. From completing the MA I went on to become a teacher, and after a very successful year in my post I decided that I wanted to continue further with post-graduate study. I applied for part-time route to Doctorate and I was very pleased that Dr Carolyn King agreed to act as the Director of Studies for my PhD.
“For me, coming in as a sociologist with a keen interest in things which pertain to God, cultural diversity and spirituality, as soon as I saw the MA Religion, Culture and Society I knew the course was for me. Not only has the programme enhanced my comprehension of God, the authority of religion and the functioning of society, it has strengthened my capacity to confidently debate and present on topics which relate to socio-cultural theory, government legislation and global religious practice.
The lecturers are warm, down-to-earth intellectuals who will strike up a rapport with you instantaneously. The support and guidance given is second to none. The course has to be ultimately described as an experience – as not only does one learn, engage and revisit things one may have been exposed to previously, but the exploration of topics that are examined, assessed and evaluated are refreshing and enlightening. I have even been afforded the opportunity to expound on my own faith to my peers during the course and uncovered a plethora of academic studies about my spirituality that I was unaware of and found fascinating, to the point that I chose to base my dissertation around it.
A major support theme running through the course is the concept of dialogue. Speaking, debating, and questioning are all very present features, both inside and outside the classroom. RCS is linked profoundly to contemporary current affairs, on a daily basis! The MA brings current affairs into the classroom - highlighting something new every day.
As a course representative, I have also been able to advocate on behalf of students and feedback to lecturers any pertinent issues the students may have had. This is something the MA team take very seriously; and are happy to discuss any amendments the students suggest to the programme in order to better enhance it. From my experience; the course leader, Dr Carolyn King, ensures that the student provision is exceptional and that the student body have a ‘voice’ that is actually and truly heard – and responded to.
I now have a teaching position at Edge Hill University – thanks to the support and encouragement of the MA team.”
“I graduated in 1981 with a degree in Sociology and have spent what seems a lifetime working in industry and local government. Since graduating I have spent a lot of time thinking and reading about the relationship between Christianity and social and economic issues, even at one point setting up and leading a group in Church to study these very issues! When circumstances allowed, the opportunity to develop and test out my thinking through studying Religion, Culture and Society at master’s level appeared tailor made for me.
I have been shocked and delighted in equal measure as to how the course has exposed my lack of knowledge (especially in the wonder, depth and insight of other major world religions), and my lack of academic skill in addressing often complex and important issues. The course has shown me how to use social science to understand the complex relationship between religion and society, how to use philosophy to understand reason and rationale in religion, and how to assess the validity of an argument, along with a touch of theology to access those places where reason alone is ill equipped to go. The nature of faith and truth is an underlying principle in this heady mix.
The course’s genius is in recognising that the interdisciplinary approach is needed to properly understand the relationship between religion, culture and society. If this sounds daunting then the always highly skilled, sensitive and knowledgeable team will take you there.
If I was on a personal journey of the soul and intellect, then this course has taken me so much further in that journey, in a truly inspirational way, than I would have thought possible beforehand.”