Master in Theology and the Arts


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The MLitt in Theology and the Arts gives students a theoretically inflected and historically contextualised introduction to the field of theology and the arts, acting as a standalone Masters course or a stepping stone for those considering doctoral research in the field.

The MLitt in Theology and the Arts is a one-year taught programme run by the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA), part of the School of Divinity. The course is designed to provide a broad introduction to postgraduate work in the field of theology and the arts. It can be taken as a self-contained programme of study or as a grounding for those intending to pursue doctoral research in this field.


  • A unique training programme for artists wishing to reflect on the theological dimensions of their work, and for theologians wishing to explore the place of art within theological thought and practice.
  • An ideal stepping stone towards the Institute's PhD programme, which centres on a three-year independent research project.
  • Engages with diverse forms of culture of different eras, including literature, drama, the visual arts and music.

Teaching format

The programme consists of four taught modules taken over two semesters followed by a 15,000-word dissertation written over three months during summer.

Modules are interdisciplinary in nature, integrating various artistic media and theological themes, and are taught through weekly lectures and seminars with class sizes typically ranging from 6 to 12 students. Assessment comprises a combination of coursework and written examination.

Students attend ITIA’s weekly research seminar, and may if they wish, enrol in language classes and attend other lectures, seminars and reading groups as appropriate. The School offers classes in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, which are open to all students.


Each module typically comprises:

  • three hours of weekly lectures and seminars
  • coursework assessment
  • a three-hour written exam


  • Christian Doctrine and the Arts: examines key Christian doctrines and their artistic presentation throughout the centuries.
  • Religious Experience and Aesthetic Forms: explores how historical and cultural contexts through the ages have shaped religious art, and examines critically how different art forms – painting, music, literature, drama, architecture, film – and different styles within those forms mediate different kinds of religious experience.
  • Theological Engagements with the Arts: Rationales, Methods and Texts: addresses theological questions about human artistry and introduces students to different ways of engaging the relationship between Christian theology and the arts.


  • Practical Criticism: exposes students to a multiplicity of forms and themes, with an emphasis on the practice of close reading (taught by ITIA staff).
  • a module from within another of the School of Divinity's MLitt programmes.
  • a module from another academic School (e.g., English, Art History, Film Studies).

Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students.


Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise students in their choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, an exit award is available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry.


Students on the Theology and the Arts MLitt programme are provided with the skills they need to succeed in an international job market, both academic and non-academic.

Graduates have taken up roles in a wide variety of occupations including:

  • PhD study in the UK and the US,
  • work for arts institutions and museums,
  • church ministry,
  • secondary school teaching.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 undergraduate Honours degree in Theology or an Arts subject.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency.

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV.
  • statement of purpose (300 to 500 words).
  • a sample of academic work in English (2,000 words).
  • two original signed academic references.
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).


Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete Uni ... Read More

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete University Guide 2019, and 2nd overall in the UK (Guardian Good University Guide 2019). Read less
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