Skip to content

Toggle service links
You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

MA in Religious Studies


Please note that this qualification is only available until 31 December 2015. In order to claim your qualification you must have completed the required 180 credits by this time. This qualification is not available to new students. If you have any questions about your eligibility for this qualification please contact the Qualification and Ceremonies Centre on +44 (0)1908 653003 or by email .

This MA course will equip you for higher level study of religion by building on your existing knowledge of, and interest in religion. Using a variety of texts and other materials the course discusses theoretical and methodological issues, utilises case studies of religions in modern Britain and elsewhere, and provides you with appropriate research training. It gives you the opportunity to carry out a substantial piece of independent research on a topic of your choice and to write this up as a dissertation.

Planning your studies

You must hold an honours degree to study for our MA in Religious Studies course. Your degree need not be in religious studies, but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. The first module brings you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in religious studies but does not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate bachelors degree or inadequate experience. Before you enter the degree you must be able to:

  • write clear, concise, grammatically correct and accurately spelt prose
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.

If you are in any doubt about whether you possess these skills, you should consider taking one or two of our higher level undergraduate modules first. If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can contact us for advice.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

You will develop and enhance knowledge and skills that will be valuable for PhD study and in careers such as teaching, working in the health service, local and national government, social services and social policy.

The skills that you would gain from this subject would encompass attributes that many employers are looking for, so a wide variety of careers will be open to you.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this masters degree you require:

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
MA Religious Studies part 2 (A881) now discontinued

and 120 credits from the discontinued A880

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded the Master of Arts in Religious Studies entitling you to use the letters MA (RS) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

If you leave the programme before you qualify for a degree you can qualify for a Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities (D35) after completing 120 credits.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Taught Masters
Code F57
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

Get a prospectus

Download or