Theology is part of the critical, academic study of religion. As a university discipline, theology is situated within a multi-religious, secular, and interdisciplinary context. In this setting, theology thrives when it is comparative and dialogical, engaging with questions of how religions are actually lived in communities and traditions, past and present. It is for this reason that the MA in Theology and World Religions introduces students to comparative and constructive dialogue on the world’s major religious traditions.
This programme offers a foundational basis in the Christian traditions, exploring key historical, thematic, and textual aspects of both the Catholic and Protestant traditions. But the course go beyond this, bringing these into conversation with other traditions and fields of study. In this programme students engage with the traditions of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and more. Modules on this course also cover interdisciplinary topics such as comparative theology, literature and religion, Christian-Buddhist dialogue, and the study of sacred texts across religious traditions, including the Bible, Qur’an, and the Sutras.
Taught by staff with internationally distinguished records in research and teaching, the MA in Theology and World Religions welcomes students from varied religious and secular backgrounds. Many students arrive from years of involvement in religious and faith communities, from undergraduate programmes in the humanities, and from the education sector, to name just a few.
The programme will equip you with key cultural, political, historical and ethical insights, as well as tools for reasoning, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary research in an increasingly globalized world.
Why Do This Programme?
You’ll have access to DCU’s widely recognised expertise in the fields of Christian theology, comparative theology and world religions, theological ethics, biblical studies, philosophy of religion, public dialogue, and to the resources of our Institute of Ethics and the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue.
Upon completion of this programme, you’ll:
- Demonstrate and apply an understanding of a broad range of theological perspectives in comparative perspective and the contribution of world religions and interfaith dialogue to the contemporary search for meaning and values, justice and peace;
- Display a critical awareness of current scholarship in specific areas of comparative theology, and of key issues in ecumenism and interreligious dialogue;
- Know how to analyse and critique historical and contemporary theological and religious texts, with particular emphasis on primary sources;
- Be able to undertake theological research, present written research and engage in theological dialogue in a variety of contexts in the academy, in church and faith communities, and in society.
Programme Structure and Content
You can complete this course in one-year, full-time, or in two-years, part-time.
As a full-time student, you’ll take six taught modules over the course of a single academic year. You’ll also complete a research module that includes a series of seminars on research methodologies and a minor thesis. In addition, you may take an optional language module. Typically the programme is taught one or two evenings per week, usually Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The part-time plan follows much the same criteria as the full-time course, except you’ll complete your six taught modules and the research module over the course of two years. The part-time programme also runs on an evening schedule.
Programme Aims and Objectives
The MA in Theology and World Religions focusses on research in Comparative Theology, Theological Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Sacred Texts, Interreligious Theology, and Public Theology. Research in these thematic areas is blended with interdisciplinary teaching, sensitive to both local and global contexts. Balancing theoretical and practical elements, in light of ancient, medieval and modern contexts, the programme addresses religion in its many forms across diverse cultures.
View the current course structure
Theology in DCU is studied in a distinctively ecumenical, interreligious, and interdisciplinary environment. The School offers an MA Theology and World Religions programme that explores not only the sources and roots of religion but also its contemporary setting.
Programme Chairperson: Dr Joseph Rivera
Tel: +353 (0)1 700 7053
"I wanted to pursue my interest in theology, which came about after studying for a degree in religious education. I studied the full-time MA Theology for one year. Theology works with disciplines such as philosophy, social science, history, psychology and others, that help to bring the best of human thinking to bear on the meaning and presence of God in the world. It leads to thinking and involvement in issues in inequity, injustice, concerns for the environment, anti-Semitism, and it does not shy away from difficult questions. It has relevance for living in this culture and this time." Pamela McLoughlin, MA in Theology graduate
“I enjoyed studying the MA Theology course. I appreciated being able to audit courses in addition to those I was taking for credit. The thesis was particularly useful in allowing an in-depth study of an area of particular interest. I have a lot of experience working and living among the rural poor in Rwanda. Having had this chance to explore the questions my own life experience had raised was of great benefit as I worked as an intern healthcare chaplain.” Helen Spragg, MA in Theology graduate
Whether you’re interested in progressing to doctoral research, pursuing a theology-grounded career, or engaging in theological studies in the context of life-long learning, the MA in Theology and World Religions course can accommodate your goals.
For admission to the MA in Theology and World Religions, successful applicants will have -
- A degree at the level of an Irish or UK Honours undergraduate degree (H2.2 or above) or equivalent, in the area of Theology, Religious Studies, Religious Education, Philosophy or a related degree in Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Applicants with appropriate combinations of professional qualifications and experience may also be considered. This includes discipline-specific knowledge and know-how; transferable skills; basic research competency; personal effectiveness.
- International candidates who are non-native speakers of English must satisfy the University of their competency in the English language. More information about DCU's English language requirements can be found here.