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.
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.
After graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Religion, Culture and Society (RCS), I knew the Masters in RCS would be my next step. The MA provided me countless opportunities to discuss and examine the longstanding and ongoing impact religion and beliefs have on politics, education and communities both nationally and internationally - joining together my interests in the study of Religion and Politics.
My biggest achievement whilst studying the MA was being offered a unique opportunity to work alongside Dr Mahmood Chandia as an Associate Lecturer. I delivered lectures and seminars to undergraduate students and facilitated students on a visit to the British Muslim Heritage Centre, where students learned about the influence Muslims have had in Britain, including fighting alongside British Armed Forces, the life of the very first British Muslim convert Abdullah Quilliam and the building of the very first mosque in Woking.
The MA equips you with a wealth of knowledge and research covering interfaith dialogue, diversity, legislation, and the Sociological study of traditional and non-traditional belief systems.
The RCS teaching staff also encourage students to have an active role in the way lectures and seminars take place. Dialogue between staff and students is at the heart of the RCS course – they listen and always exceed expectations! I am currently working as a Religion and Philosophy FE Lecturer, a position I would not be in without the support of Dr Carolyn King.
I chose to study Religion, Culture and Society at UCLan initially for my undergraduate studies. I was blown away by Carolyn and her passion for educating people on the complex nature of our multicultural society and the need for equality, by celebration and accepting the many cultures that make up society. As I came to the end of my undergraduate studies I found myself to be a more open minded, accepting and inquisitive person, all qualities which I now value in myself.
After a year in full time employment as Project Officer for Lancashire Mind, I decided to take on the Masters course alongside my job. Not only did it feel great to be back in the RCS family, I also realised I still had a lot to learn about religion, culture and the many societies around the world. The most enjoyable part of the course were the discussions we held within lectures and the continued development of my beliefs which were always valued and respected by my peers. Any new students should go into this course excited, with an open mind and a firm belief that there is always room to learn more in order to get the most out of this fascinating and, in this current social climate, much needed course.
My quest to learn more about humanity's most complex, ageless and current issues such as sexuality and identity, ethnicity, race, community cohesion, politics, culture, social justice, faith and reason, war and peace, God, man and the universe motivated me to enrol into the MA Religion, Culture and Society (RCS) programme at UCLan.
In this persuasion, and as an international student, I needed a course that examines the complex link between religion, culture and society in local and international setting. The MA in RCS was very appealing in that it provides an inspiring, in-depth, innovative and critical approach to the exploration of the role of religion in cultural orientation, politics, policy development, multiculturalism and pluralism, community cohesion, inter-faith dialogue, sexuality and identity.
During the Masters programme, I gained significantly more insight into the complexities of religion, culture and society as regards current issues such as race, migration, ethnicity, secularism, globalisation, modernity and Pentecostalism than I previously thought possible. It was also very challenging to engage in critical debates of philosophical, classical, contemporary religion and believe issues –l although stimulating at the same time. I was truly inspired by topics of religion and belief, faith and reason, knowledge and truth, faith and logos – all challenges subjects, all discussions and debates attempting to provide solutions to the problems faced by different belief systems.
I celebrate the interdisciplinary nature of the MA Religion, Culture and Society. It draws knowledge from different disciplines of theology, sociology, philosophy, politics and international relations with a view to providing a critical, enriching and balance understanding of local, national and international issues. This has broadened my knowledge of the role of religion in our increasingly diverse society and globalised world.
The erudite members of staff were ever research-active, willing to assist in times of difficulty. Having been satisfied that I went through the crucible of learning, I decided to progress onto Ph.D in the Religion Culture and Society programme.
As an international student one thing that was quite fascinating that made me feel at home was the composition of the class. I had the opportunity to interact with people from different communities, countries, religious expressions and cultural affiliations during the MA, Religion Culture and Society. This is an experience one cannot afford to miss!
After graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Religion, Culture and Society (RCS) and lacking a sense of direction for what my next step would be, I decided to take on the challenge of the MA as I knew it was something that I would enjoy having completed the Undergraduate Programme. On this course, students are able to select and create their own essay questions and assignment topics allowing them to explore the topics that are most interesting to them. So you certainly never loose interest in your work!
This course combines a variety of different subject areas across the humanities disciplines including; sociology, philosophy, politics, multi-faith dialogue, spirituality and many more. This interdisciplinary approach is certainly needed to properly understand the impact religion has had on society throughout history, and how this can help us to understand the effects that religion & culture are having on society today.
This course also offers students the opportunity to get out of the classroom and learn about religious practices directly from those who practice them each day. We visited places such as a Jain Temple, a Sikh Temple and a Franciscan Friary. As students we were able to learn from some truly lovely and fascinating people.
The RCS lecturers are friendly and outgoing intellectuals who will make you feel at home from your very first day! Dialogue between staff and students is at the heart of the RCS course - the advice and support given by each of them is unfaltering. I am now working as a Visitor Engagement Officer at a Lancashire Museum & Art Gallery.