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Religious Studies (PhD - MPhil)

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  • Objectives
    The PhD/MPhil in Religious Studies is intended to provide the opportunity for good quality, innovative research in the field of religion, culture and society. As part of the growing research culture in religion and contemporary culture at Birkbeck, postgraduate students will be supported in developing key research skills, as well as conducting research projects that make a valuable contribution to academic knowledge and public debate.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry requirements A degree in religious studies or theology, or another relevant humanities or social science discipline. MPhil: good second-class honours degree or above, with evidence of the capacity for work in the upper second-class or first-class range. PhD: first-class or good upper-second-class degree or master's qualification (preferably awarded with distinction). A specific indication of research interests, demonstrating reasonable understanding of key literature in that research field, to be submitted with the application.
  • Academic Title
    Religious Studies (PhD / MPhil)
  • Course description
    Staff research areas
    Research supervision in religious studies at Birkbeck is primarily offered in the following areas: emerging forms of religion and spirituality in the contemporary West; conservative and progressive religious networks; forms of spirituality and the sacred outside the context of institutional religion; the role of visual, material and audio culture in relation to religion and the sacred; religion and media (including news, entertainment, lifestyle and communication media); religion and film; and religion and popular music. In some instances, research supervision may also be available on issues of religion and citizenship, religion and ethnicity, and religion and community development.

    Study resources
    The Faculty of Lifelong Learning provides a highly creative and supportive interdisciplinary research environment for postgraduate students. Students will work with at least two supervisors, and it will be common practice to work both with a specialist supervisor in religious studies and a specialist supervisor in another field (for example media and cultural studies, arts management, sociology or gender studies), who can offer relevant theoretical and methodological guidance and support. This provides the context for a sound interdisciplinary research training that will be particularly beneficial for students thinking of developing academic or research careers in the future.

    There is an established seminar and training programme for postgraduate students in the Faculty of Lifelong Learning, and a regular seminar on religion and culture will be established from autumn 2007. Students will also benefit from networks and events in the study of religion within the wider context of the University of London, with partner institutions such as King’s College London, Heythrop College, and the School of Oriental and African Studies. There are good connections between Birkbeck and national and international research networks in the field of religion, media and contemporary culture, and students will be encouraged to participate in these as part of their academic development.

    Relevant library holdings are available at the Birkbeck main library and other University of London libraries. The British Library is also located within a short distance of Birkbeck. The importance of London as a centre for culture, media and the arts, and its cultural and religious diversity, makes it an excellent location for fieldwork.

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