The programme consists of 15 taught courses (72 credits all-together) and a thesis (8 credits). The two-year programme is divided into four semesters with courses amounting to 20 credits per semester.
|Module Name||Semester||Course Credits|
|Post Graduate Research and Study Skills||1||5|
|Introduction to World Religions||1||5|
|Understanding the Bible for Theology and Ministry||1||5|
|Introduction to Quranic Arabic||1||5|
|Research Methodology for the Study of Religion||2||5|
|Introduction to Islam||2||5|
|Introduction to Indigenous Religions||2||5|
|Understanding Christian Theology in the Context of Other Religions||2||5|
|History of Islam||3||5|
|Living Islam: Introduction to Islamic Practices and Beliefs||3||5|
|Islamic Scripture and Tradition (Qur’an, hadith and tafsir)||3||5|
|Diversity in Islam||3||5|
|Academic Writing and Proposal Writing||4||2|
|A History of Christian-Muslim Encounters||4||5|
|Theological Themes in Christian-Muslim Encounters||4||5|
|February to June||Recruitment and interviews|
|July to August||Orientation|
|July to November (1st Year)||Semester 1|
|January to May (1st Year)||Semester 2|
|July to November (2nd Year)||Semester 3|
|January to May (2nd Year)||Semester 4|
Duration of the Programme
For normal entry, the duration of the MA in Religious Studies programme is two years, consisting of four semesters of five months each. The first and third semesters begin in July and run until November, and the second and the fourth semesters run from January until May.
For those who are not qualified for normal entry, extra course credits are required which can be done either before or during the programme.
The programme consists of (1) Coursework and (2) Thesis or research component:
- Coursework: By the end of the two years (four semesters), students will take 15 core courses (72 credits). During each course, they will have online lectures (live and recorded), group discussions and tutorials, workshops, reading and writing assignments. Students’ academic progress is assessed via weekly reading assignments and discussion sessions/tutorials, as well as mid-term assessment (quizzes and essay) and a final exam at the end of the course.
- Thesis: Students are also required to write an MA thesis (8 credits) at the end of the programme. Students start working on their thesis proposal and then the thesis itself in the fourth semester. A multi-disciplinary approach will also be encouraged. The thesis should be around 10,000-12,000 words. Research skills will be taught in the first year so that the student is familiar with the writing and research methods required. A research guide/subject expert will supervise each student.
Post Graduate Research and Study Skills – 5 credits
This course is designed to help new students develop good study habits and critical thinking skills in order to enhance academic studies. It will also enable students to read, comprehend and respond effectively to various types of literary texts. Students will learn to appreciate and critique pieces of writing, exploring issues raised in theological and academic texts.
Introduction to World Religions – 5 credits
The Introduction to Major World Religions course is a broad overview of the dominant religions across the globe. The course introduces learners to the field of religious studies and presents each of the major world religions before examining in greater depth the essence, origins, history, features and functions of the various religions. Through this, the course seeks to help the learners understand these religions in their contexts and motivate them to investigate further for an in-depth understanding. As a result, learners will then have a greater understanding of the similarities and differences between these religions and their relation to Jesus, His message and His church. Students will then better understand people with other religious beliefs, thus strengthening their public engagement, ministry and personal perception.
Understanding the Bible for Theology and Ministry – 5 credits
Understanding the Bible for Theology and Ministry is a detailed course which examines the significance and meaning of the Bible, its interpretation, and the implication that it has for today’s context. The course teaches some important guidelines in the exegesis of Biblical passages, showing how to understand a passage as it was originally read and providing practical insight into transferring the meaning of Scripture to a contemporary context. Ultimately, Understanding the Bible for Theology and Ministry enables learners to better understand what God is saying through His Word, thus giving the course significant and rewarding long-term effects.
Introduction to Quranic Arabic – 5 credits
This is a foundation in Qur’anic Arabic, enabling the students to read and write the Arabic script, to transliterate Arabic words, to learn the Arabic vocabularies and grammar, and to create a base to enable further advanced study of the language.
Research methodology in the study of religion – 5 credits
Students will be introduced to Ninian Smart and his ‘Seven Dimensions of Religion.’ They will learn and critically examine the following approaches to the study of religion: Historical approach, Textual approach, Sociological approach, Anthropological approach, Phenomenology of religion, Philosophical and Theological approaches, Confessional approach/ Christian approach to the study of religion, and Empathetic approach.
Introduction to Islam – 5 credits
This course serves as an introduction to Islam, one of the main world religions. It provides an overview of major themes in Islamic studies: a brief history of Islam; beliefs and practices; sources of Islam and diversity in Islam. It also has a comparative element, encouraging students to reflect on Islam and Christianity.
Introduction to Indigenous Religions – 5 credits
This course will help students understand the origin, developments, and major characteristics of Indigenous Religions, and to know their values and ongoing influences on various societies and cultures. Furthermore, this course will assist students in discerning the various contemporary issues and challenges they pose to inter-religious harmony and peaceful coexistence, with the aim of helping to create meaningful engagements with indigenous religion adherents with gospel principles and Christian commitment.
Understanding Christian Theology in the Context of Other Religions – 5 credits
In this course, the students will learn the value of a careful and systematic study of Christian doctrine to discern how to live, think, and relate with other faiths/religions. It will provide a good understanding of Christian doctrine, such as revelation, Scripture, God, Church, etc. – in relation with other faiths, especially with the prevalent faith in their context.
History of Islam from pre-Islamic Arabia to the Present Day – 5 credits
The course provides a survey of Islamic history starting from pre-historic Arabia and the life of Muhammad until Islam in our present day.
Living Islam: introduction to Islamic practices and beliefs – 5 credits
This is an introductory course for Islamic beliefs and practices in Islam. Students will learn about key articles of belief in Islam such as God, angels, books, prophets, the Day of Resurrection and predestination. In addition, students will also study other tenets of Islamic faith such as tawid (oneness of God), shirk (partnership/ idolatry) and bid‘ah (innovation).
They will learn about Islamic practices, also known as the Five Pillars of Islam, Creed, Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving and Pilgrimage. Special attention is given to the Islamic law – Shariah, and the “spiritual struggle” also known as Jihad. This course concludes with a discussion on family life in Islam, the position of women, and slavery.
Islamic scripture and tradition (Qur’an, hadith and tafsir) – 5 credits
This course is designed to introduce students to the foundational sources of Islam – the Qur’an and hadith, as well as the science of interpretation of the Qur’an – tafsir. By reading the primary texts and supplementing with secondary literature for historical context, considering theology and development of ideas, students will gain an advanced understanding on how Muslims approach and interpret their Scripture and Traditions.
Students will explore the structure and format of the Qur’an, its content and main themes, its style and literary features, and its position and function in the life of Muslims and Islamic society. This course provides a critical examination of the historical origin and compilation of the Qur’an.
Diversity in Islam – 5 credits
A course introduces students to the diversity of Islam with emphasis on the following categories: (1) classical; (2) Sufi; folk; (3) modern/ reformed/ radical. Students will also cover the geographical diversity of Muslim communities across the world including a phenomenon that is often described as a ‘globalized Islam’.
Academic writing and proposal writing – 2 credits
This course serves as further preparation and training in academic writing. It is particularly focused on thesis proposals and the thesis itself. It helps students to design a research proposal, which they must submit and defend at the conclusion of the course.
History of Christian-Muslim encounters – 5 credits
This course explores the main themes in Christian-Muslim encounters from the time of Muhammed until today. It covers a wide variety of historical precedencies and contexts. Special attention is placed on early and medieval encounters as well as more recent examples such as Nostra Aetate and Common Word documents. Students will also discuss the modern-day initiatives such as Christian-Muslim dialogue and Scripture reasoning and the reality of persecution of Christians in the Muslim-majority countries.
Theological themes in Christian-Muslim encounters – 5 credits
This course provides an overview of historical and present day theological engagement between Christian and Muslims. The students will have an opportunity to discuss topics such as the concept of God in Islam and Christianity, prophethood, Scripture and revelation as well as salvation and redemption.
Mini-Thesis – 8 credits
Completing a thesis is a requirement for each student (8 credits). Thesis writing starts in the second year from the first semester onwards. Each student will select a topic related to his or her area of interest. A multi-disciplinary approach will also be encouraged.
The thesis should be around 10,000-12,000 words (20-25 pages). Research skills will be taught in the first year, so that the student will have become familiar with the writing and research methods required. A research guide/subject expert will supervise each student.