Religion - Contemporary Religions

Course Outline
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.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2H1 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 click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.

Non-EU Candidates
Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.


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

All modules on the programme are taught in the evening (6-9pm).

Careers or further progression

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.

Further enquiries

Subjects taught

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.

Additional Teaching Mode Information
The part-time option will be taught during evening hours.

**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year.

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments.

Assessment method

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

Application date

Applications for 2019 start dates will open on November 1st 2018.

EU Applicants: UCC operates a rounds closing date system for the majority of postgraduate taught courses, which means we offer places four times a year on a rolling basis. Some courses have one specific closing date, please check your course prospectus page for this information.

The UCC rounds EU application system closing dates for postgraduate taught courses are below. We advise applicants to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications:

For all completed applications received by January 11th 2019
Offers will be made:Offers will be made by January 25th 2019

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by March 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by May 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by July 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offer will be made by July 15th 2019

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

While there is no official closing date for Research courses applicants are advised to submit their application at least two months ahead of their proposed start date. There are four official Research start dates – September/October, January, April and July.

Non-EU Applicants:

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

The closing date for non-EU applications is 15th June

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date 9 September 2019

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