Bible and the Contemporary World Distance Learning (PGDip/MLitt) 2016 entry

The Distance Learning PG Diploma/MLitt in Bible and the Contemporary World is a part-time virtual learning programme that connects biblical and theological studies with other disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) or Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course duration

15 weeks part time (single module); 18 months part time (PGDip); 2 years part time (MLitt)

Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. You do not need to have a degree in Theology in order to apply for a place on this programme; however, all applicants will be expected to have sufficient knowledge to equip them for postgraduate level of study in the field of theology.

If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

Bible and the Contemporary World is also offered as a full-time residential programme.

Tuition fees

Home/EU: £1,510 by module; £2,270 MLitt dissertation
Overseas: £3,800 by module; £5,690 MLitt dissertation

Application deadline

Application requirements

  • CV
  • sample of academic work (2,000 words)
  • letter of intent (200 to 300 words)
  • two original signed references (academic or professional)
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates 
  • English language requirements certificate.

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

If you are looking to start this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Bible and the Contemporary World PGDip/MLitt (part-time distance) page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.

Course information

Course highlights

  • A residential study week in St Andrews starts each module with lectures and seminar discussions and allows you to meet your fellow participants and tutors.
  • Join an international and interdenominational group of 20 to 25 students, most of whom are lay people without prior theological qualifications, in relating the Christian traditions to a host of public issues. 
  • Provides continuing professional and personal development for clergy and lay people together.

Teaching format

The PGDip/MLitt in Bible and the Contemporary World is a part-time distance learning programme aimed at both lay people seeking personal development and clergy seeking continued professional development.  

Each semester begins with a residential study week held at St Mary's College, the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews. A typical residential study week includes lectures, seminars, sessions on using the Moodle and MMS internet platforms and study skills training. It is also a good opportunity for you to meet your distance learning peers and tutors in person.

Attendance is required at each Study Week from Monday through Wednesday, but students are encouraged to stay for the remainder of the week. You will need to pay for your own travel and accommodation costs to attend these mandatory study weeks. 

Both MLitt and PGDip students take three taught modules over the course of their programme. Each module comprises 15 weeks of study (typically divided into four units) and focuses on independent learning.

In each unit of a module, students are supplied a number of scholarly articles and extracts from books which are supplemented by two written lectures available online in digital format; you will also have access to the library's extensive online subscriptions of journals and ebooks. In lieu of seminars, you will participate in online bulletin board discussions with your peers (not held in real time).

Students typically write four essays for each module (one for each unit) and receive written feedback. Students will have one personal tutorial (usually via online video messaging or telephone) with a tutor per module where they can discuss their recent essay.

The MLitt programme is followed by a 15,000-word dissertation submitted at the end of two years study. Students are assigned an individual supervisor for their dissertation, and meetings with supervisors are normally held via online video messaging or telephone.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


Each module typically comprises:

  • online lectures and seminars.
  • 100% coursework assessment.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue.

Students will take the modules in different orders depending on their point of entry.

Residential study week in St Andrews, 29 August to 2 September 2016.

Residential study week in St Andrews, 16 to 20 January 2017.

  • The Bible and Contemporary Issuesexplores a variety of hermeneutical approaches that have been proposed to make intelligent connections between the Christian scriptures, events, trends and cultural assumptions.

Residential study week in St Andrews, 4 to 8 September 2017.

  • The Book of Revelation (to be confirmed).

The modules listed ran in the academic year 2015-2016 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2016 entry.

Take a look at the most up to date modules in the module catalogue.


MLitt students take a fourth module for their dissertation. Dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of 15,000 words must be submitted at the end of the course.

Those on the PGDip programme will finish their studies after the third semester, and suitably qualified candidates will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Next visiting day
November 2017

Sign up

Conferences and events

The School of Divinity regularly hosts international conferences and smaller symposia on themes across the field of biblical and theological studies.

Previous conferences


There are many potential scholarships or support schemes available to postgraduates applying for any programme at St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

After the MLitt

Research degrees

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year residential Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in Bible and the Contemporary World.

Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews.

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% reduction in postgraduate tuition fees for students who have graduated during the last three years and are now starting a postgraduate programme.

PhD in Divinity


Students on this programme have gone on to work in the charitable sector and to further studies. Previous students have had professional occupations in education, law, business, administration, charities and ministry.


School of Divinity
St Mary's College
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JU

Course director: Dr Eric Stoddart

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2850

You are welcome to contact the course director with any informal queries about the programme.

Divinity website

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB)