Religion, Culture and Society MA

Religion, Culture and Society MA

School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: One year, Part-time: Two or three years.

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:

    Full-time: September; Part-time: September or January

  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

Development and expansion in undergraduate studies in religion and belief, together with the expansion of national and international ‘faith awareness’ initiatives, has resulted in a high demand for postgraduate studies within this discipline.

The programme explores the impact and influence religion and belief has on social structures, community, politics, economics, policy (education), citizenship, culture & identity, sexuality, pluralism, spirituality, and national & international relationships. The MA also introduces critical analysis of ethics, systems of belief, human rights and social justice issues and the application of these concepts within lived environments from diverse religious perspectives.

The programme is of interest to both graduates and practitioners who wish to specialise further in Religion, Culture & Society. Graduates may wish to extend their knowledge to prepare for academic and professional careers in the private or public sector.

Entry Requirements

A recognised British honours degree to a good standard or its equivalent..

Non-native speakers of English need to demonstrate a level of English broadly equivalent to an IELTS 7.0 or Band C1 on the Common European Framework. Applicants must be able to produce original certificates to prove their English language level.

Programme at a Glance

Examples of RCS modules

  • RB4000 Religion & Society
  • RB4001 God, Sex and Contemporary Britain
  • RB4003 Issues in Contemporary Paganism
  • RB4004 Reason, Faith and Logos
  • RB4005 Conceptually-based Research
  • RB4006 Dissertation
  • RB4007 Religion & Global Dialogue
  • RB4010 Specialist Project
  • VO4003 Interfaith Dialogue & Contemporary Society

Please note that modules are reviewed annually and may therefore vary, in content or availability, from those listed.

Postgraduate Advice Event

The next UCLan Postgraduate Advice Event will be on Thursday 10th November 2016.
For details and registration for this event please visit our Eventbrite page.
Please contact Course Enquiries with any queries regarding postgraduate study and research.

Further Information

The MA in Religion, Culture & Society brings together disciplines of Theology, Philosophy, Sociology and International Relations – a very innovative, exciting and challenging post-graduate degree award. 

The whole philosophy of the Religion, Culture and Society MA is to promote inclusively, encourage reflection on interfaith dialogue and highlight the important contribution religion and belief can make to community cohesion and the combating of religious prejudice and discrimination (QCA & DfES, 2004). The MA evaluates how and why the role of religion and culture has changed within society, and explores the impact and influence of religion and belief within economical, political and social constructs. Religion and faith is critically analysed within the framework of theistic and atheistic approaches to sexuality, spirituality, human rights, territory and space and cultural relationships. The application of classical and contemporary theological and philosophical concepts and theories of faith are examined in relation to lived environments.

The MA in Religion, Culture and Society embodies and supports the objectives outlined in the AHSS 2007-2012 strategy, is aligned to Theology and Religious Studies benchmarks, HEQ (2008) descriptors and is situated specifically within a social science framework. The course supports a pluralistic perspective on and within religion and belief traditions, and engages with a range of methods of study, explores a number of interesting and challenging modules and includes and a diversified range of assessment practices.

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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.

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Learning Outcomes and Aims

The Council of Europe (2002) encapsulated the wider rationale for the development of the MA. The Council advocate the importance of faith awareness, specifically relating to religious education as being a subject that has always been seen as contributing positively to both multiculturalism and interculturalism, specifically within pluralistic societies such as Britain (King, 2010). This is an important point considering the government’s ‘social inclusion’ agenda which emphasises the link between RE, citizenship and community cohesion (DfES, 2003; NFRE, 2004; CLG, 2008; King, 2010). The Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) also support the need for professional development and higher level qualifications within religious studies across the teaching community (REC, national strategies: 2007a, 2007b, 2008). Similarly, Ofsted (2004, 2007, 2010, 2013) have stressed that there is an urgent need for professionals with specialist knowledge and qualifications within RE. The required expansion of professionals with a sound knowledge in religion and belief is not limited to education (Keast, 2007). Indeed, a high proportion of business organisations require someone with expertise in ‘faith awareness’ in order to support the diversified body of the working community (Council Directive 2000/78/EC). To this end, the MA is developed in alignment with the European Directive (2003) and draws on the recommendations within this framework, which is further supported by DfES (2003) and REC (2007). Consequently, development and expansion in undergraduate studies in religion and belief, together with the expansion of national and international ‘faith awareness’ initiatives, has resulted in a high demand for postgraduate studies within this discipline.


Woman with a veil

Prayer pose


How to Apply

You can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).

Course Specification and Handbook

For a concise summary of the main features of this course, see our course specification.
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.

For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2017/18

Full-time: £6,300 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £1,050 per 20 credits for first 120 credits studied (UK/EU)

Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated and may be subject to increase annually in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rate

Further information:

For 2016/17 fees please refer to our fees page.

New UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

The UK Government has confirmed that a new postgraduate loan scheme will be introduced for students commencing a Full Masters Postgraduate programmes from 2016/17 academic year.

View further information

Industry Links

The RCS team at UCLan have a wide variety of links with local, national and international faith and intercultural forums, faith schools and academic institutions, all of which provide valuable contacts for students wishing to enter professions related to Teaching, Ministry, inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue and relations. RCS also work with charity organisations both home and abroad and global outreach programmes. Further details and contacts are available from members of the RCS teaching team.

Learning Environment and Assessment

Students may study the MA full time over one year or part time over two or three years. In either case students will be required to successfully complete six MA modules and one MA dissertation (the dissertation is equivalent to 3 x modules). Each module requires an estimated 2 hours class contact per week plus extensive reading and dedicated personal study.

We strive to give our students key employability and transferable skills which will serve them in the world of work. Our assessment practices illustrate a move away from exams and essays per se and incorporate a move towards a more inclusive assessment which benefits our diverse student body. Assessment strategies include coursework, individual and group presentations, individual and/or group projects, reviews and ICT interaction.


Religion, Culture & Society (RCS) also includes field trips to national and international places of interest such as; Rome, Istanbul, Auschwitz, Liverpool Cathedrals, Ladywelle Pilgrimage and Shrine, the Hindu Temple etc. Although these trips are optional to MA students, they aim to draw attention to shared values, beliefs and practices, and supports students in achieving a mutual appreciation of different faiths and traditions. The international trips in particular aim to develop an experienced awareness of cultural heritage, traditions and practices of different faiths, and widen students’ appreciation of how those faiths and belief systems interact within lived environments, communities and in different social settings. Thus enhancing not only MA provision but also the learning experience and the environment where that learning experience takes place.

The programme is of interest to both graduates and practitioners who wish to specialise further in Religion, Culture and Society. Graduates may wish to extend their knowledge to prepare for academic and professional careers in the private or public sector, including local government, race relations officers, ministry, equality/diversity training officers, social services, social welfare, community development, youth work, research, education and communication support workers, lecturing in further or higher education. Practitioners may wish to update their knowledge or gain a higher qualification for personal or professional development. The programme will also appeal to working individuals who are interested in the range of topics offered and do not wish to specialise in a rigidly defined Theology based MA programme. In addition, many students are currently seeking Masters’ programmes as a way of weathering the economic recession.

RCS offers progression routes onto PGCE courses for graduates wishing to develop a career in teaching. There are also opportunities to further study for PhD or professional doctorate.

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.

Joshua Samuels-Hylton

Academic Expertise

We are committed to delivering academic learning of the highest quality, helping you to stretch your mind and fulfil your university ambitions. Please take a look at our staff profiles for more information: