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Previous degree required


Distance/blended learning available?


Tier 4 visa

1-3 years


Prof James Crossley

Professor - Bible, Society and Politics
020 8240 1029

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An invitation to you to develop high quality skills, understanding and thoughtfulness in interpreting the Bible.

Why study Biblical Studies?

The MA in Biblical Studies offers excellent scholars who will help you learn, think and reflect about interpreting the Bible in today's world. You will engage with Scripture in its ancient and modern contexts, by reading the texts in conversation with high-quality scholarship and in relation to a wide range of issues.

This MA is suitable for many kinds of people:

  • the MA will prepare you well for doctoral study in Biblical Studies, and includes opportunities to engage with biblical texts in the original languages, or to learn one of the languages which you have not previously studied
  • if you serve in Christian or Jewish leadership, the MA will deepen and strengthen your engagement with Scripture in your preaching, teaching and ministry
  • the MA is open to you if you have completed suitable prior theological study, to enable you to grow in understanding, reflection and thoughtful engagement with the Bible.

You can focus your MA in different ways through your choice of options and your dissertation topic. In your dissertation you will dig deep into a topic of your choice with the supervision and support of one of our team of outstanding biblical scholars.

Why St Mary's?

Whilst studying the MA in Biblical Studies at St Mary's you will:

  • learn from our team of world-class biblical scholars who bring their own research into the classroom
  • grow in skills and understanding through first-hand engagement with the Bible in our text-focused modules
  • reflect on how others read the Bible in relation to a wide range of issues today, in society, politics, and in faith communities
  • have chance to study with fine visiting scholars from elsewhere in the world, who will offer 'intensive' modules focused in a two-week period on their specialism
  • be part of a university committed to treating Scripture seriously as part of its mission to serve faith communities
  • have access to a good library, including electronic access to many books and journals
  • have opportunities to attend the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible's conferences, and research seminars on biblical themes and topics

Teaching methods

Teaching focuses around a weekly three-hour seminar for each module, and that time will include:

  • input from the lecturer
  • group study of biblical texts
  • discussion and debate based on prior study or reading
  • presentations by small groups of students, to build skills in learning, reflecting and communicating with others—you will receive feedback on these presentations
  • individual and small group tutorials, to give tailored advice and help in making the most of the modules you study
  • the use of multi-media platforms and online resources
  • individual supervision for the dissertation project

Assessment methods

You will write and speak about your learning; these opportunities are a vital part of the learning process, as you bring your thinking together on a text or topic. This will include:

  • oral presentations by small groups of students, on which you will receive feedback to help you grow further
  • essays of 3000–4500 words on particular themes, texts or issues, to develop your abilities in critical thought and interpretation of the Bible
  • the dissertation project: either an essay of 15,000 words or producing visual art, a piece of music, drama, etc. with a shorter (7500 words) reflection
  • written examinations for those learning a biblical language as a ‘beginner’

Key facts

  • An outstanding team of excellent biblical scholars who offer cutting-edge scholarship in their teaching.
  • The support of the St Mary’s Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible.
  • A combination of studying Scripture in its own right and reflecting on its interpretation in a wide range of settings and contexts.

Course content

Full-time students take two modules each semester, plus the dissertation. Part-time students take one module each semester for two years, and write their dissertation in the third year.

Every module is not offered every year, to ensure that class sizes are sufficient for a good student experience. To gain the MA, you must take the core module, Aspects of Biblical Interpretation, plus three options and the dissertation.


  • Aspects of Biblical Interpretation Core
  • Dissertation Core
  • Gender, Identity and the Bible Optional
  • Hebrew Bible/Old Testament texts Optional
  • Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Optional
  • Introduction to New Testament Greek Optional
  • Jesus and the Gospels Optional
  • New Testament texts Optional
  • Second Temple Judaism: Texts and Traditions Optional
  • Special Subject Optional
  • The Bible in the Life of the Church Optional
  • The Bible, Society and Politics Optional
Please note: information published on this webpage is subject to change before the programme commences. Please refer to the Programme Specification document (PDF) for an authoritative summary of the programme.

Career opportunities

The MA will enhance employability in a number of roles where advanced skills in interpreting the Bible, and reflecting critically on such interpretation, are key elements, including:

  • school teaching
  • work with Christian or Jewish charities and agencies, including churches and synagogues
  • educational roles with Christian and Jewish communities
  • pastoral ministry in church or synagogue; senior leadership within churches and the Jewish community regionally, nationally and internationally

In addition, the MA is designed to lead naturally into doctoral study and the opportunities which such study provides.

The programme will also provide an education which sensitises students to engaging with religious texts from other times, cultures and places, and thus will equip them for work engaging with cross-cultural situations, such as NGOs in the UK and overseas, international relations, and the Civil Service in both the Home and Foreign Offices.

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.


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Fees and funding

2018/19 fees

2019/20 fees

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants for 2018 and 2019 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Alumni discount

A 20% tuition fee discount is available for our alumni (undergraduate and PGCE) planning to study this Master's degree. Those studying for a PGDip of PGCert are not eligible for the discount.


For guidance about financing your studies, including information about goverment-funded loans, please check out Fees & Funding section.

International Students should check their eligibility for our International Scholarship.

Additional costs

Your tuition fee will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme. Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken.

For further information about additional costs please contact

Further information