Whitney – 2014

Whitney, a 2014 student on the Bible and the Contemporary World programmeThe University of St Andrews had always been the “dream school” since I was an undergraduate. When I discovered the Bible and Contemporary World distance program, I was excited to have found a way to continue my education at a world-renowned institution both abroad and at home.

The experience at St Mary’s is unparalleled. The balance between the residence week and the at-home work made it possible to succeed in an exceptional program while maintaining my busy schedule of full time work and parenting a young child. The residence weeks are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the academic work, meet colleagues from all around the world, and really get to know the module instructors and support staff.

My time in the program was truly invaluable – it has influenced my personal and professional life, and I am fully prepared to continue my work at the PhD level.

– Whitney (USA)

Sean – 2013

Sean, a 2013 student on the Bible and the Contemporary World programme.My experience at St Mary’s in the Bible and Contemporary World MLitt exceeded all of my expectations. Being able to study at such a world-renowned university from a distance is unparalleled. The carefully crafted residency weeks with the intensive taught portion combined with the ongoing cohort friendships among the students created a fantastic balance of an academically rigorous community both while in person and at a distance.

The entire program enhanced my ongoing work with ministry in Young Life, my occasional work as an adjunct at a local university, as well as serving as a catalyst for my current PhD research in theology.

– Sean (USA)

Quentin – 2015

Quentin, a 2015 student from the Bible and Contemporary World programmeI cannot begin to say enough by way of adequately expressing my appreciation for the Bible and the Contemporary World MLitt at St Andrews. I came to the programne as a Canadian medical student seeking to think carefully and theologically about specific issues in medical ethics as well as other relevant issues that are manifestly relevant to the contemporary world. It is fair to say that these expectations were exceeded in many ways: the opportunity to study at St Mary’s was deeply enriching not only academically but also professionally and personally.

I left St Andrews with much more than a Masters Degree. Through the Bible and the Contemporary World program, I met fascinating people from all over the world, obtained vital resources that continue to enrich my medical practice, and found a deeper passion for theology and for engaging with questions of paramount importance to the world of today. (Quentin was on the full-time version of this programme.

– Quentin (Canada)

Jamie – 2011

I studied for the MLitt in Bible and Contemporary World in 2009–2011, and it was a very special experience for me. I completed the course over two years while working full-time as a church pastor in Glasgow. My course of studies covered the book of Revelation, the Bible and diversity, and the question of suffering. I then wrote my dissertation on the political theology of the book of Revelation, a project which I thoroughly enjoyed. Success in this research component of my MLitt led to an offer of full-time PhD study at St Mary’s. I moved to St Andrews with my family, and after three and a half years, I successfully defended (and subsequently published) my doctoral dissertation on ‘apocalyptic’ theology in Paul’s letters. I now have the great privilege of combining my academic and church experience in my present role as Tutor of New Testament at Trinity College in Bristol, training candidates for ordained and lay ministry in the church and elsewhere.

Staying in beautiful St Andrews twice a year for the Residential Study Weeks was a real highlight, adding an excellent collegial experience to the pattern of largely self-directed distance learning. The shared experiences and stimulating conversations of those weeks extended beyond the classroom, and after several years I still remain in contact with fellow students who came to Fife from all around the world. This September, I had the wonderful experience of returning to St Mary’s College for a Residential Study Week, to deliver a guest lecture on the Book of Revelation — the very same course that kicked it off for me eight years ago (even staying in the same hotel!) As someone who was not in a position to give up a full-time job in order to study, the distance learning format of the MLitt opened doors which would otherwise have remained closed to me. For that I remain very grateful. In around three years time, I hope to be submitting another research project, which will take me back to my first week on the MLitt: my own published commentary on the book of Revelation.

– Jamie (UK)

Daniel – 2016

Headshot of DanielThe MLitt programme was for me, a practicing attorney of 33 years, nothing so much as a kind of ‘homecoming’. It was a chance, after many years away from university, to return to serious study about serious topics at a first-rate institution. The collegiality among students and staff gave a family reunion air to the residential study weeks. St Andrews has a way of making itself a ‘second home’ for all who spend time there. Most importantly, the programme fosters a return to a kind of theocentric life, whether through the daily prayer during residential study week, in reading, reflecting and writing on God’s place in the world (and in our lives) during the individual modules, by chatting about God on the discussion boards (and occasionally in the pub) or in the deep engagement required for the dissertation. My project, on the concept of ‘equity’ as both a theological and a legal principle, changed my view of the law forever. The program as a whole did the same for my life.

– Daniel (USA)

Eamonn – 2012

Eamonn, a 2012 student on the Bible and the Contemporary World programme.As a serving clergyperson in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I felt the need to update my knowledge of theology and biblical studies, and to fill in some of the large gaps in my training. The Distance Learning MLitt exceeded all my expectations, in the level of stimulus and challenge, the excellence of the teaching and the support structures, and, not least, in the experience of fellowship offered by the residential weeks. Sharing the journey with others has forged friendships which will endure forever.

– Eamonn (UK)

Elizabeth – 2016

Headshot of ElizabethI thoroughly enjoyed and enormously gained from my studies at St Andrews which I began whilst living in the UAE and continued whilst in Singapore and New Zealand. The programme has enabled me to tackle important global questions through the lens of faith. As a result, I have a deeper understanding of myself as well as how the Bible and the contemporary world can inform each other. The programme is run with an exceptional level of guidance considering its long distance nature, and I would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to explore Christianity critically and academically while maintaining other life commitments.

– Elizabath (United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and New Zealand)

TC – 2010

TC, a 2010 student on the Bible and the Contemporary World programmeThis course recharged my faith and changed my life. With interesting subjects in a robust curriculum, a first rate teaching faculty who cared about you as individuals, all located in beautiful St Andrews, and you are set for a great educational experience. However, what made it really special was the cohort of students and the community that was formed during the course. The combination of online discussion forums and the onsite weekly sessions at the start of every term made for a truly unique fellowship environment. I would do it all again in a heartbeat if I could!

– TC (Singapore)