MA Death, Religion and Culture

MA Death, Religion and Culture at Winchester explores the way in which death is the only inevitability of life. This universal reality is understood differently by various cultures and religious traditions, and those understandings are played out in rituals of death, dying and bereavement.

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MA Death, Religion and Culture at University of Winchester

Entry requirements

Normally a first or second-class Honours degree or professional experience in the area of study, the course is great for anyone with an interest in exploring death as a subject area, and how religion and culture affect perceptions of death, dying and bereavement. No previous knowledge of religion or death studies is required although some summer reading would help students prepare.

There are additional entry requirements for Distance Learning programmes - please view the Distance Learning Policy online at www.winchester.ac.uk/publicdocuments

If English is not your first language: 

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing

Degree duration 

Full-time: 1 year
Part-time: 2 years

Start date: September

Distance learning only: There are e-seminars in the evenings, with full tutorial and study skills support

Course Tuition Fees and Additional Costs

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

September 2017 Entry Full-time | £5,000
September 2017 Entry Part-time | £2,500 p/a

Total Cost | £5,000

International Students

September 2017 Entry Full-time | £11,200
September 2017 Entry Part-time | £5,600 p/a

Total Cost | £11,200

Additional Costs

Mandatory

  • Core texts: Due to copyright restrictions, compulsory modules require students to purchase the core texts. Some Core Texts can be bought second hand which can often reduce this cost. Cost for compulsory modules £30. Costs for optional modules £50 - £100.

To find out what general costs are included or excluded in the course fees, such as textbooks and travel expenses, please click here

Terms and Conditions

For more information about the University of Winchester's terms and conditions click here

Personal Computing Requirements 

Note - these requirements are reviewed annually by ITS and the Head of Technology Enhanced Learning. They were last updated in February 2016. Any currently enrolled student who has concerns should contact their Programme Leader in the first instance.

Any computer or mobile device purchased within the last 5 years should be sufficient. If in doubt, or for older devices, the following minimum specifications will ensure that a workstation performs to a reasonable standard:

Operating System: Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 | Mac OS X
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster | 2 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
Memory (RAM): 2GB | 2GB
Hard Disk: 80GB* | 80GB*
Optical Drive (DVD/CD-ROM or Writer)**: Optional | Optional
Sound***:  Yes | Yes

* Considerably more disk space will be needed to store large amounts of personal files.
** May be required to install additional software if supplied on DVD/CD-ROM and can be an externally attachable one, e.g. USB
*** Required if the programme requires media which has sound. Most modern computers and mobile devices have integrated sound.

Computer Hardware Explained

a) Processor
This is the main component which will determine the speed of the computer. Intel processors are currently labeled Core i3, i5 and i7 with the latter being the most powerful and most expensive. Other brands such as AMD have equivalent models.

b) Memory (RAM)
This component is also very important to the overall performance of a PC. RAM stores files related to the operating system and programs which are running while the computer is turned on. Every program requires a certain amount of memory to run, so if too many programs or large files are run at the same time, the computer may run out of memory and begin running very slowly.

c) Hard Disk
Hard disk is the permanent means of storage and is where all the files such as Docs, Music, Pictures and the Operating System files are stored. It is important to have enough hard disk space to serve your storage needs. If a hard disk becomes very full it can negatively impact the overall computer performance.
For further advice on specification when purchasing a new computer, seek guidance from your preferred reseller.

d) Screen
When buying a new computer a screen size of at least 17” is recommended but sizes these days are routinely far larger and in wide screen format. Screen size for mobile devices such as laptops and tablets will generally be smaller than 17” but should be selected at a sufficient size for comfortable use.

e) Printer
There are currently no printer specific requirements for Distance Learning programmes.


Mobile Devices and Tablets

This heading covers the increasingly popular Smart Phone and Tablet devices such as the iPhone/iPad, Android , or Windows-based phone/tablet devices. Most of the University online systems work on these mobile devices. However we do not guarantee that all systems will be problem free. There is also a dedicated and fully supported University app available, UoW mobile app, which contains useful information and services and is available on Apple App Store, Google Play as well as a browser based version.


Workstation Health & Safety

From a health and safety point of view, staff and students are advised to use a conventional workstation for long periods of study rather than laptops and mobile communication devices. As these more portable devices have become more popular there has been a corresponding increase in the number of people suffering from upper limb disorders and back problems. Please refer to the Health & Safety pages on the Intranet of Setup Help Guides and Workstation Exercises.

Computer Software requirements

a) Operating System

Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, or Mac OS X are recommended and supported by our services. We are unable to support Linux or other less mainstream operating systems.

b) Other Software
The following software will be required for distance learning:

  • i) Microsoft Word or an equivalent word processor which can save documents in the format .doc or .docx.
  • ii) Other Microsoft Office products such as Excel or PowerPoint may be required by some courses
  • iii) Access to an email service - the Unimail email system is provided by the University through the Microsoft Office 365 service.
  • iv) A supported web browser - Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 11 or above) or the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari.
  • v) Free downloads such as Adobe Reader may be required to open online material
  • vi) A form of Malware/Virus Protection
  • vii) Adobe Flash Player

From time to time Microsoft offer deals to University staff and students. Details of any currently available deals will be posted on the Intranet by ITS.

Internet Connection

Distance learning programmes all require extensive access to online resources. As such, a broadband connection of at least 1Mbps is recommended. Higher speed services would be advantageous due to the reduced load times for online resources. A dial up connection is not recommended.

Electronic submissions for assessment

These should be word-processed documents in Microsoft Word format (either .doc or .docx). Students can submit assignments prepared using a Mac, running their preferred word processor and a standard web browser, as long as they submit work in one of these formats.

Computer Security and Disaster Recovery

Keeping the PC secure and ensuring coursework can be recovered in the event of a disaster is extremely important. Computer and printer failure cannot be used as a reason to be granted an extended deadline for an assignment.

To try and ensure the PC is kept as secure as possible staff and students should:

a) Use strong virus protection:

  • i) Microsoft offer Security Essentials for Windows 7, which is free for home use, if there is no other protection in place. Windows 8 and 10 come with Windows Defender already installed but you may wish to choose a different solution for your protection.
  • ii) Ensure the virus protection is kept up to date
  • iii) Run scans for viruses at least once per month

b) Use strong passwords:

  • i) Use numbers
  • ii) Upper and lower case letters
  • iii) Do not use common words or names
  • iv) Do not use the same password for everything

c) Be aware when using the computer that most threats can be eliminated by taking the following precautions:

  • i) Take care what links you click on in emails and online
  • ii) Be careful what email attachments you open
  • iii) Be careful where you browse on the internet
  • iv) Be careful what you say yes to when a dialogue box appears
  • v) McAfee SiteAdvisor is a free download which can help you to determine where it is safe to browse

d) Make sure the operating system and software is kept up to date using services such as Windows Update

e) Use a Firewall: Windows has a firewall built in which is more than adequate in most cases.

It is very important that work can be recovered in the event of a PC based disaster, the following can help:

  • a) Save your work regularly
  • b) Save your work in versions, especially large assignments to minimise loss of work in the event of a file corruption
  • c) Backup your work regularly to CD, Memory Stick or using an online service such as Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive which is part of your Office 365 services as a student. You could also email assignment backups to yourself
  • d) Make sure you have your computer's recovery disk available in case it needs reinstalling as a result of failure

For more information, please see the Distance Learning Policy online at www.winchester.ac.uk/publicdocuments

The programme attracts a diverse range of students including funeral directors, clergy from a variety of traditions, teachers, nurses and those preparing for a research degree, as well as a range of people who are simply fascinated by the subject.

Study provides a view of historical and current approaches to death and dying, disposal and bereavement rituals, enabling a meeting of professional groups and students with particular interests in this area of speciality.

Core modules:

  • Contemporary Approaches to Death and Dying
  • Gateway to Independent Study
  • Independent Study

Optional modules:

  • Death in the Christian Tradition
  • Death in World Religions
  • Death and Martyrdom
  • The Philosophy, Ethics and Theology of Death
  • The Pastoral Care of the Dying and Bereaved
  • Death and Visual Culture
  • Philosophical Approaches to Mourning and Eulogy
  • Connecting Death to Professional Practice
  • Postgraduate Seminar

Students undertake structured discussion and debate through electronic forums and are provided with guided course readings and access to the e-resources held in the University library in order to complete assessments.

A visit to a local crematorium, cemetery, mortuary and/or funeral home is an essential aspect of the programme.

The programme is taught by a team of highly qualified and enthusiastic staff who include internationally renowned scholars.

Programme Leader

Types of assessment used include a review of practical activities such as site visits, alongside more traditional methods of assessment such as essays and book reviews. There are no examinations. Students complete a dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words on a subject of their choice within the realms of religion and death. It is a substantial piece of independent research and full tutorial support is provided.

At the University of Winchester validated programmes may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances. The University is committed to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used in the programme you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day/Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Graduates have gone on to work within bereavement counselling, funeral homes, teaching and the church.

Course Enquiries and Applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234
Send us a message

International students seeking additional information about this programme can email International@winchester.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 1962 827023.

Applications need to be submitted before the 31 May 2017. Late applications can be accepted throughout the remainder of the application year, for more information click here.

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