About the programme
The relationship between Science and Religion is one of the foremost intellectual debates of our day. It is impossible not to hold an opinion on it.
Our dedicated Master's programme in Science and Religion is highly distinctive in European universities. It aims to inform and engage with the debate in depth, looking at it from scientific, philosophical, historical, ethical and theological perspectives.
As such, it can be approached from a variety of disciplines, and we welcome prospective students with a good first degree in a core science subject (e.g. physics, chemistry, biology) or a core humanities subject (e.g. philosophy, history, religious studies, or theology).
No religious commitments are assumed or expected, rather an enquiring mind open to grappling with critical challenges from all directions. Since the current science-religion debate is strongly shaped by the claims of Christianity, these will be explored in depth as they are relevant, but many other religious (and non-religious) perspectives will feature too.
Much of the noisy debate between religion and science has taken place within a poorly-informed view of the history and philosophy of science and its relationship with religion. The programme provides a strong grounding in these issues. The history of science will be studied from ancient times through the modern scientific revolution, together with philosophical trends in our understanding of reality.
In addition, the main core areas of dialogue between science and religion will be explored in depth, including cosmology, evolution, divine action and miracles, consciousness and the human person.
An interdisciplinary approach
The programme’s teachers come from different disciplines: scientists, medics, historians, philosophers, biblical scholars and systematic theologians. Many of the courses are team-taught, although individual teachers also offer specialised options. All students have one-to-one supervision for their Master's dissertation.
The programme allows students to explore a very wide range of areas if they wish. Equally, it allows students to follow up special interests in depth, perhaps with a view to further study.
The programme prepares students for careers where a comprehensive understanding of the cultural impact of science is important, as well as those which require expertise in handling complex and sensitive debates such as those surrounding live religious and philosophical questions. Equally, it provides the necessary basis for a further research degree.
As such, the programme could form a useful stepping-stone for careers in education and research, journalism, innovation policy and management, information technology, knowledge exchange and communication, and civil service, to name just a few. We welcome students from all backgrounds, including those already in employment who wish to combine their work with study in our flexible part-time option.
This programme is run full-time over one year (or part-time over two years) and taught mainly in small classroom/seminar groups.
You will be given training in research methods which offers a practical approach to postgraduate level skills of critical investigation and writing, and receive individual supervision for your 15,000-word dissertation.
Compulsory courses comprise History of Science and Religion in the Christian Tradition; Cosmos, Cell and Creator: Current Debates in Science and Religion; and two courses in research methods.
You will choose three options, which can be taken from courses in science and religion, such as:
- Economy, Ecology, and Ethics
- Key Thinkers in Science and Religion
- Philosophy of Time
- Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Debates
- Science and Religion in Literature
- Science and Scripture
The options on offer change from year to year, so please consult the Programme Director for advice on what will be available. With the agreement of your Programme Director, you may also choose options from other taught masters programmes, language courses, and advanced undergraduate courses.
This programme is designed to provide a strong foundation for postgraduate research in the field or for employment in a range of areas requiring critical analysis and empathetic understanding.