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.
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).
Why Choose This 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 'spiritualities' need to be questioned if we are to understand the complexity of 'contemporary religions'.
Placement or 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.
Skills and Careers Information
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.