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MA Psychology of Religion

Course length
  • 1 years full-time
  • 2 years part-time
  • An honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent in psychology, religious studies, theology or another appropriate subject
  • PGCert Psychology of Religion
  • PGDip Psychology of Religion
Summary

Investigate the intersection of psychology, philosophy and religious studies. The programme approaches religion from the standpoint of psychology, without assuming the truth of religious claims and values. By asking what psychology can offer to our understanding of people’s religious beliefs, values, and behaviour, you will explore relationships between religious belief and behaviour, as well as those between religion, mental health and well-being, and the importance of social and contextual factors in religious development.

It attracts teachers of religious education, mental health professionals, pastoral care workers, priests and ministers of religion. This degree takes into account that students will be coming from varied academic backgrounds and welcomes this diversity.

Teaching & Assessment

The programme consists of four taught modules and a dissertation. Students are assessed in each module through a combination of coursework and an end of year essay. The final dissertation of 12,000 – 15,000 words is on a research topic agreed by your supervisor.

Modules

Psychology and Religion

Focus on historical and theoretical approaches to understanding belief and practice, e.g. Freudian, Jungian, humanistic, phenomenological and behaviourist approaches.

Psychological Perspectives on Religious Development
Critically examine psychological and religious approaches to the evolution of religious faith and practice in the course of the life-cycle, e.g. in childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age.
Scientific Study of Religion
Look at main areas of research e.g. mystical experience, conversion and the effects of faith on well-being), as well as main methods of research (e.g. various forms of empirical and hermeneutical inquiry) and their value to the understanding of the individual.
Mental Health, Religion and Culture
Consider the cultural context of religious beliefs and the implications of culture and behaviour on mental health and illness.