Monastic Studies

Study mode:On campus Study type:Part-time Languages: English
Local:$ 4.31 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 13.4 k / Year(s)  
StudyQA ranking:5623 Duration:12 months

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Monasticism is an important form of the religious quest in many religions. The aim of this MA is to allow students to gain a profound understanding of the role of monasticism in Christianity.

Christian Monasticism emerged in the third century AD, out of a longer ascetic tradition, to exert a profound inspiration upon the secular, as well as the religious life in the Christian churches.

The first `Desert Fathers´ retreated into the deserts of Egypt and Palestine; other hermits were to retreat to caves and islands - some even to live out their lives on the tops of pillars. Far from being fully separated from society, however, these early ascetics were soon engaged with church and society in a complex relationship. Monks lived a cloistered, regulated, community life, as well as periodically emerging to provide social leadership in the secular world. In the early middle ages people looked to monasticism to provide a spiritual `powerhouse´ for the church.

By the modern era, monasticism has become a rich tradition which continues to exert a variety of influences upon both the religious and the secular life. The great traditions which emerged in the middle ages see monasticism carried on, on a large scale in the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox traditions in Britain, as well as in newer religious traditions on a monastic model, such as the mendicant (Friars) and regular (Canons Regular) orders of clergy, who emerged in the later middle ages. In the later middle ages there would also be a growing tendency to adapt monastic theologies to more everyday worship - evinced by phenomena such as `books of hours´, as well as popular devotion to monastic mysticism. More recently, modern community movements, such as at Taizé in Burgundy and Iona in Scotland have continued to adapt interpretations of the medieval monastic tradition for everyday worship.

In the twentieth century, monastic writers such as the Cistercian Thomas Merton also have brought an interpretation of the monastic life into the wider community - as well as exploring the dialogue of Christian monasticism with monastic practices in other religions. Our MA and MTh degrees in Monastic Studies continue this engagement of the secular world with monastic communities, with monastic communities providing key elements of the teaching for the degree. Our programme combines the study of history and archaeology with the study of monastic theology and liturgy to produce a rich insight into the unique spirituality of the monastic tradition.

Core Modules

* Study Skills for Theology and Religious Studies
* MAMS0140 The Cistercian Experience (2 modules, 40 credits)

Module Options

* MACC0420 The Desert in the Ocean
* MAMS0620 The Monastic Island of Iona
* MAMS0520 The Spirituality of Work
* MAMS0420 Twelfth-Century Monastic Learning in Western Europe: Five Scholars and their Works
* MTHOS0620 The Experience of Orthodox Monasticism
* MTHOS0220 Eastern Christian Mystics of the Light: from the Desert to the Hesychastic Councils
* MAMS1020 English Monasticism in the Nineteenth Century

Good first degree or relevant experience for those over 25.International students applying for study at postgraduate level will normally be required to show evidence of sufficient command of the English language to be able to follow their course, undertake research and produce writing without major linguistic difficulties. For example, this is usually the Cambridge Advanced or Proficiency Certificate, IELTS minimum score of 6.5, TOEFL minimum score of 575. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 575 IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

UK Students

Unfortunately, funding is very scarce for postgraduate courses. Some funding is available from external bodies such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The AHRC is funded by a number of sources including the British Academy and the Department of Higher and Further Education and offers support including professional and vocational awards and Studentships in the Humanities. Applications can be made via the Registry in February each year. Occasionally there are University of Wales Studentships available which are equivalent to the funding given by the AHRC, but these are subject to availability. A funding guide is available from the Registry. Most UK students are self-funding and many opt for Career Development Loans.

Overseas Students


American and Canadian students can apply for funding via the Federal Student Loan System for their respective countries.

Overseas scholarships

Overseas students may apply for Overseas Research Scholarships if they are intending to study for a full-time MPhil or PhD. Application forms are available in February of each year from the Registry and must be completed and returned to the Registry by the end of April in any given year. If candidates are successful in their application, fees are reduced to that of a home student.

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