We are delighted that you are considering applying for the MTh programme. To offer this master’s degree programme in Religion and Culture (with a focus on Islam), OCRPL partners with the University of Pretoria (UP) in South Africa and the Institut Universitaire de Développement International (IUDI) in Cameroon. The content of the OCRPL programme is essentially the same, whether a student is registered at UP or IUDI. The only differences are:

  • The degree is awarded by UP or IUDI according to registration.
  • UP requires a prior clearance from The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
  • Some variations in the administrative procedures and requirements.
  • Emphasis – more academic approach at UP and more missions-oriented at IUDI.
  • Overall cost.

Course Details

Course Code 06256982
Learning Style Online
Course Length Upto 2 years (full time)
Start Date January 2023
Application Dates 1 June 2022 until 31 October 2022
Estimated Total Cost UP: $2,700
IUDI: $1650
Available Facilities OCRPL Library
Learning materials available on our Learning Management System (LMS)

A coursework Master of Theology degree requires a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence and, in some cases, demonstration of the ability to relate knowledge to a range of contexts for professional practice. It must contain a research component at NQF level 9, culminating in the acceptance of a mini-dissertation or other forms of research such as technical reports, creative performances or works, or a series of peer-reviewed articles or other research equivalent outputs.

The MTh programme is a virtual programme that combines both synchronic and asynchronic learning. Students will attend all the lectures online by accessing pre-recorded lectures and engaging with the study/reading material. Every week, students will participate in a Zoom discussion session based on the relevant lecture and attend additional enrichment sessions. Apart from regular weekly seminars and scheduled meetings with a tutor/supervisor, students will be engaged in the self-directed learning process and be responsible for their study schedule.

The purpose of this course is to help students to understand diverse traditions, cultures and interpretations that constitute various Islamic traditions. By the conclusion of the course, students will be able to engage with religious and cultural dimensions of the Islamic world critically and evaluate its implications for the Church and Christian mission today.

At the master’s level, a mini-dissertation must be submitted. The research component of the master’s degree requires a student to demonstrate that he or she has achieved mastery in a specific academic field, acquired a body of advanced-level knowledge, and has applied skills of critical analysis and evaluation to the results of the research. Students awarded a master’s degree should have acquired the intellectual skills to pursue further studies or research in a largely self-directed, independent manner. Importantly, a master’s degree does not require that the student completes original research that makes a novel contribution to the body of knowledge in the field.1


  • You can study from anywhere around the world without major disruption to your work and ministry (provided you have access to stable internet).
  • Upon successful completion, you will receive a validated degree from a world-recognised university.
  • If eligible for a scholarship, you will receive a degree at a reduced cost (up to 50%).
  • You learn from world experts in the field of Islamic studies.
  • You become a part of a global network of leaders and scholars.
  • You gain research expertise and other transferrable skills, and grow professionally in the process.
  • You may want to continue your education and apply for a PhD afterwards.
  • The course allows students to progress academically and not only get a degree from a reputable university but also gain training in critical thinking, writing, research and other transferrable skills.

Who is this course designed for?

The programme is designed for Christians who want to receive a degree from an internationally recognised university while remaining in their ministry setting. OCRPL is keen to equip future Christian leaders, particularly those who intend to teach Islamic studies and set up Islamic departments in their local universities, colleges or seminaries. The degree is recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and will suit those who want to continue their education at the PhD level.

Examples may be:

  • A seminary lecturer from the Global South who seeks a master’s degree in order to teach in the field of religion and culture.
  • A mission leader who has significant experience in missions who will gain expertise applicable for ongoing mission work in the field of religion and culture.
  • Church ministers guiding their constituency in their relations with a majority religion who wish to upgrade their competencies and credentials.
  • People involved in ministry in the public square, such as Christian development, religion, politics or Christian ethics.

How is the course delivered?

As the programme is entirely online, OCRPL provides a support system to the students wherever they are. Each student is assigned a tutor while they are doing coursework, and a supervisor when they work on their thesis. Tutors and supervisors are students’ first point of contact if any issue arises. Students submit monthly reports on their study progress, and bi-annual reports for their sponsoring body and OCRPL.

OCRPL uses Turnitin to monitor students’ submissions and to check their work for plagiarism.

OCRPL monitors attendance. Students are encouraged to catch up and watch the recorded sessions if they miss a session.

Applicant Requirements

Standard Entry

  • A candidate wishing to enrol for the master’s programme needs to have a university degree in theology with a second-class honours as a minimum requirement. Possession of a master’s degree in theology or the humanities is preferable.
  • A candidate should have an appropriate honours degree, or an equivalent qualification at NQF Level 8 in the same or a relevant field of study.1

Non-standard Entry

  • An applicant holding qualifications other than those stated above shall be considered on his or her merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the programme of work proposed. OCRPL looks for evidence of the candidate’s equivalent ability, research skills, background knowledge and training in relation to the proposed research. Professional experience, publications, written reports or other appropriate evidence of their accomplishment and potential to undertake sound research at postgraduate level are taken into consideration.

Language Requirements

Applicants must be sufficiently proficient in English to complete the programme of study. English proficiency of candidates may be achieved through:

  • Being a national of a majority English-speaking country.
  • A minimum IELTS score in academic English of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.5 in the reading and written components.
  • Successful completion of a full bachelor’s or master’s degree from a recognised and accredited university where the medium of instruction is English.
  • Applicants will be asked to provide such evidence as is deemed necessary by OCRPL.

SAQA certificate

If you aim to enrol at the University in Pretoria (UP), you will be required to acquire SAQA clearance first. SAQA is the South African Qualifications Authority that evaluates oversees diplomas and assigns a score for them. A minimum required score for the MTh programme at UP is eight.

Students who have an insufficient score (less than 8) or decide not to have SAQA clearance can consider studying at the OCRPL programme in partnership with Institut Universitaire de Développement International (IUDI), Cameroon.

OCRPL knows which institutions are recognised by SAQA for their qualifications. These are mainly state-recognised universities but do include some other theological training institutions. Before deciding which university to apply for, we would recommend checking first with OCRPL as to whether your institutional qualification at bachelor’s level is on the SAQA list. From our experience with previous candidates, we can also tell you some institutions that are definitely not on SAQA’s list.

Important: The candidates considering U P should apply for SAQA clearance well ahead of time. Getting clearance from SAQA is a lengthy process and fees vary. The candidates will cover the SAQA fees themselves. One can apply for SAQA online: https://www.saqa.org.za/.

Costs and Financing Options


Fees are invoiced annually. At the start of the programme students are required to pay a registration and admission fee of $150. Students will be invoiced for the rest of the year and may pay in full or by instalments. Students’ study progress is affected or even terminated if the fees are not paid or payment plan not agreed.

Fee Rates

The estimated fees for the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 years at UP are as follows:
1st Year: $1,350
2nd Year: $1,350
Total: $2,700

The estimated fees for the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 years at IUDI are as follows:
1st Year: $825
2nd Year: $825
Total: $1,650

Partial scholarships from OCRPL and its partnering agencies may be available to select students.

Need more information?

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1 University of Pretoria 2022 General Academic Regulations and Student Rules.