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New MA in Catholic Theology (Distance Learning) at Durham University

The MA in Catholic Theology (Distance Learning) is a new programme enabling students to engage with major thinkers and to explore key systematic, historical and philosophical questions and debates in Catholic theology and Catholic social thought.

It is designed to be as flexible as possible so that participants can work through material at their own pace, studying equally well in any time zone and in many different life situations, alongside work, ministry, family or caring obligations. This programme is led by the Centre for Catholic Studies and the Department of Theology and Religion. Course options of a Postgraduate Diploma, a Postgraduate Certificate or completing a single Continuing Professional Development module are also available
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University student
In this MA we feel it is very important to give people the chance to be studying Catholic Theology in both senses of the word: to explore the very rich tradition but also to pursue their own deepest questions about what matters most to them.

Professor Karen Kilby
Programme Director, Department of Theology and Religion
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MA in Catholic Theology (Distance Learning)

Professor Karen Kilby and Professor Anna Rowlands talk about the MA in Catholic Theology (Distance Learning) at Durham University, its scope, modules and who the programme is intended for. 

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How will I study?

Teaching will be through a combination of written and recorded material, together with tutorials which we will fit around your schedule, and optional online seminars.

You will work through modules at your own pace, completing the core module, 3 other modules of your choice, and a dissertation.
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University student
With the MA Catholic Theology Distance Learning we have the possibility to open up the fantastic teaching resources that we have here at our Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University and make them accessible to a wider audience of people worldwide.

Professor Anna Rowlands
Department of Theology and Religion

What will I study?

You will complete a core module and three modules of your choice, as well as a dissertation. Modules may vary from year to year. Please find a list of exemplary module titles below:

Students can also choose to study for a PG Certificate in Catholic Theology, a PG Diploma in Catholic Theology, or a single module, ‘Continuing Professional Development - Catholic Theology: A Preliminary Tour’.

Careers and Personal Development

We expect some of our students to be exploring the possibility of doctoral study, while others may be pursuing long-held interests in theology for personal or professional reasons or for ongoing formation in Religious life. We aim to provide an interesting and academically serious programme which is also friendly and supportive.

University student
Studying for the MA at Durham has been a real privilege. I completed the course over two years part-time whilst working and studying to be a deacon in the Catholic church. The course has added a real theological depth to my diaconal formation and given me the confidence to talk about my faith and the church. The support from tutors has been outstanding and I have really enjoyed the range of expertise.

Gareth Rowe
CAFOD-Durham Research Fellow, MA student 2019-21

Who can apply?

We are committed to making the highest quality academic study of Catholic Theology
accessible to people in a whole range of situations, in different parts of the world, in
different life situations. This MA is designed both for those who have studied Theology before and for those who have a background in a related discipline such as Philosophy, Classics, History or English. The single module can be completed on its own or used as a steppingstone into the Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, or MA in Catholic Theology by Distance Learning especially by those whose former academic study was in an area other than Theology or a closely related academic discipline. If you are not sure whether your background would qualify you, please do get in touch.

University student
It was a joy to explore diverse thinkers within the Catholic tradition that I wouldn’t otherwise have encountered. Studying the MA enabled me to think critically about contemporary issues within both the Catholic Church and wider society through a theological lens. It also gave me the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary to enable me to progress to a PhD.

Charlotte Bray
MA student 2017-18, PhD student 2018-2022

Bursaries and Scholarships 

The Centre for Catholic Studies offers a number of scholarship and bursary schemes, applications are invited from both full-time and part-time candidates. Further information is available here.

How to apply

See all information on course details and structure, entry requirements, fees and funding and how to apply.
Go to MA Catholic Theology course page
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Other course options

Study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Catholic Theology

The Postgraduate Diploma in Catholic Theology (Distance Learning) is an academically rigorous postgraduate programme lasting two years part-time.

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Study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Catholic Theology

The Postgraduate Certificate is a one year full-time programme, with the option of continuing study further at a later stage. 

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Catholic Theology: a Preliminary Tour

Study at your own pace, in any time zone, alongside work, ministry, family, or caring commitments.  Test the waters for postgraduate study of theology.

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Department of Theology and Religion

Find out more about Durham University's Department of Theology and Religion.

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Get in Touch

Any questions? We are happy to help!

Department of Theology and Religion

Durham University
Abbey House
Palace Green