Case study

Masters student — Glen

Glen feels that studying theology and biblical studies at a secular institution will help him gain a breadth of understanding useful when entering the Catholic ministry

How did you get on your course?

Before graduating with a degree in theology from the University of Wales Trinity St David, I had already decided I wanted to study for an MA in Biblical Interpretation at the same institution.

I therefore approached my lecturers in my final year and they advised me about the application process. I was accepted onto the Masters programme and started study the next academic year.

How relevant is your degree to your study?

Very. Studying theology put me into with lecturers who were involved with the Masters programme. They already knew me and felt that I would do well on the course; likewise, I was familiar with the institution and knew it was the right place for me to continue my studies.

Studying theology helped me identify a special interest in biblical studies, and so influenced which Masters programme I applied for.

What does your postgraduate course involve?

I am on a distance taught programme, so I can study from home. As a part-time student I work for an average of two-to-four hours a day and fit my study around a part-time job and home responsibilities.

Most of my study takes the form of directed reading. I log into the university's electronic learning resource to access lectures and written resources. I read and make notes for about an hour at a time, with an eye to using the resulting material in my assignments.

How do you use your degree in your postgraduate course?

I use the knowledge I gained from my theology degree on a regular basis, as obviously the two subjects are very closely related. Studying theology made me familiar with the wider context of biblical interpretation. I frequently look back at notes, books and articles I used when studying theology because they often concern issues that are relevant to my Masters.

What do you enjoy about your postgraduate course?

I enjoy being able to go into a lot more depth about specific issues; essays don't need to be as broad as they did at undergraduate level.

What are the most challenging parts of your postgraduate course?

Organising my time efficiently can be a challenge.

How essential is your subject of study to securing a job?

My career aim is to enter the Catholic priestly ministry. A degree in theology isn't essential as complete training is provided by the Church and your academic background doesn't preclude application.

However, studying theology and biblical studies at a secular institution will greatly add to my breadth of understanding of general areas.

Do you need work experience?

I will need to complete a seminary education, which includes work placements in parishes. Many seminaries send their students on a year-long placement.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to be nearing completion of my seminary education, at the end of which I will be ordained as a priest.

Any advice for someone who wants to get onto this course?

Be aware that the history, purpose and theological orientation of any given institution will affect how the Bible is studied there.

Make sure to pick an institution that suits you and your faith background.

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