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Contemporary Religions

The MA in Contemporary Religions offers an innovative and distinctive programme unique in Ireland. The Study of Religions Department at UCC follows a non-confessional, academic approach to the study of religions, welcoming students interested in questions of cultural diversity, politics, gender and religions in the contemporary world. Teaching staff are leading experts in Indian religions and cultures, contemporary Islam, indigenous and minority religions, neo-paganisms and new religious movements, gender and religions, and anthropology of religion. As part of the course you’ll conduct original fieldwork-based research in Ireland. The Dissertation in Contemporary Religions gives you the opportunity to research an area of your own choice in the wide field of contemporary religions.

Unique Aspects of the Course
This mind-opening MA course is unique in Ireland, where religions worldwide have traditionally been studied through theological filters. The international, cross-cultural, academic study of religions is an open-ended academic discipline that looks beyond any particular religion’s limited view to study religions as they actually exist, develop and change across the world. Globalisation is changing religious landscapes throughout the world, including of course in Ireland. Likewise, the methods we use to study religions and the concepts we employ to construct knowledge about ‘religion traditions’ or ‘spiritualties’ need to be questioned if we are to understand the complexity of ‘contemporary religions’.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.1 honours degree. Applications from candidates with other qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis and subject to approval by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, UCC.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please see course webpage (link below) to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.


One year full-time
Part-time 2 years (part-time option will be taught during evening hours 6 - 9pm)

Careers or further progression

This MA offers an ideal preparation for PhD or MPhil research in the Study of Religions. More generally, as societies worldwide become increasingly globalised, understanding people’s very different religious beliefs and practices offers an advantage both in careers overseas (e.g. Asia), and closer to home in teaching, the public sector, NGOs, the media, business, healthcare and human resources. As well as the valuable transferable skills acquired through any Arts/Social Sciences Masters course, the MA in Contemporary Religions provides deep insights into religions and cultures which enhance any career involving people.

Placement and Study Abroad Information
There is no requirement to study abroad as part of the MA. However, both the fieldwork project and Dissertation may involve research abroad if you wish, possibly in co-operation with one of UCC’s partner academic institutions overseas, and the department will encourage study abroad wherever possible.

Further enquiries

Dr. Amanullah Desondy
P: + 353 21 490 2895 / 490 2359

Subjects taught

The MA in Contemporary Religions is suitable whether you’ve already studied religions to primary degree level or have a BA/BSc in another area and are simply interested in studying religions. The course can be taken as research preparation, for MPhil or PhD, or simply to further your knowledge and understanding of contemporary religions.

You’ll take four taught modules over terms one and two and complete the Dissertation in Contemporary Religions over the summer (EU students can also take the course part-time over two or three years).

Modules (15 credits each):

RG6010: Contemporary Approaches in the Study of Religions
This course deals with three main bodies of critical theory (poststructuralist, postcolonial and gender theory), plotting the intersections and points of departure between them and tracing the implications that their insights offer to the academic study of religions.

RG6020: Contemporary Islam
You’ll study various trends and issues in modern and contemporary Islam through movements and individuals, from pre-modernist reform movements such as the Wahhabiyya and the recent Islamic 'resurgence' up to contemporary forms of globalised Islam.

RG6050 Deities, Devotion and Disciplines in Indian Religions
This module analyses modern and contemporary religious traditions of India, such as Neo-Hinduism, Popular Hinduism, ascetic and reformist traditions.

RG6060 Indigenous Worldviews and Minority Religions
This module examines the contemporary dynamics of the relationship between globalization, neo-liberalism and indigenous and minority populations. We approach this complex relationship through the lens of indigenous worldviews, knowledge systems and religious revival movements.

RG6080 Religions in Contemporary Ireland
The course examines the contemporary religious landscape in Ireland, covering diverse religious groups, communities and traditions and spans a range of topics, including current issues and debates within the wider social, cultural and political context of Ireland.

Further Details of the programme content are in the: Postgraduate College Calendar

Fuller details for each module can be found in the Book of Modules (note for technical reasons the listing is under RG - ‘Religions and Global Diversity’)


Who Teaches This Course
Dr. Lidia Guzy
Dr. Amanullah De Sondy
Dr. James Kapalo
Dr. Jenny Butler

Assessment method

All assessment is by coursework, including essays, presentations, fieldwork reports and journals, and the Dissertation.

Application date

Applications for 2017-18 intake are now open.

While UCC operates a rounds system for Postgraduate Taught courses (detailed below) we would advise you to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications: Offers will be made:

For all completed applications received by January 16th 2017 Offers will be made by January 30th 2017

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2017 Offers will be made by March 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2017 Offers will be made by May 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by July 3rd 2017 Offers will be made by July 17th 2017

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity for places.

Non-EU Applicants:

Please visit the following page for further information for Non EU applicants

Course fee

2017/2018 Irish/EU Fee: €6,000 full-time; €3,000 per year part-time

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 11 September 2017

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!