Alison (England) – 2020

I heard about this course at St Andrews when my daughter studied there a few years ago.  Retirement afforded me the opportunity to realise one of my long held ambitions as a Christian, to study theology on the distance learning programme.  However, as a very mature student, at first I was daunted at the prospect of mixing with much younger fellow students.  I need not have worried as staff and students were warm and welcoming and some students were even as old as I was! I felt that the programme could have been tailor made for me as the combination of face to face contact followed up with web based course materials, and the opportunity to discuss issues further with colleagues in on line seminars suited my needs perfectly.  The course was extremely well organised, support from the Distance Learning officer was  exemplary and advice and guidance from the library staff was invariably helpful.

The content of the modules was outstanding, a new world was opened up for me in the study of topics such as surveillance and the Bible, theology and the arts, as well as theology and medical ethics. Having always previously studied secular subjects it was a particular delight to engage academically and theologically with current issues while reflecting upon and writing about how these issues impacted upon the contemporary world and my life as a Christian. It was a privilege to study under the guidance of leading scholars in their fields as well as to discuss issues and ideas from each module with fellow students.

Knowledge gained on the programme has prepared me to lead and contribute to church based discussion groups and Bible studies.  Furthermore, the arts module and the study of poetry in the context of theology in my dissertation has changed much of the way in which I view the world.  I have discovered and am continuing to discover Christian and secular poets, artists, writers and musicians and to appreciate ways in which a theological reflection upon poetry and the arts more generally has the capacity to enrich, restore and even renew life.

I am eternally grateful for having had the opportunity to study the MLitt Bible and Contemporary World at St Andrews. I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who is interested in engaging rigorously with contemporary issues in a theological context.