Applications are open for January 2024

Our application deadline for online degrees and awards starting in September 2023 has passed. But you can apply now to start in January 2024.

Join our online courses in religion and disability to explore disability studies from a theological perspective.

The experience of disability opens a fresh space for re-thinking and re-narrating what it means to be human.

Our postgraduate diploma (PgDip) in Theology and Disability assumes that the form of human difference some choose to name ‘disability’ is a key to new transformative ways of looking at humanity and the nature of the good life.

PgDip Theology and Disability draws on expertise from:

Join us online to study at your own pace with highly experienced Disability Theology scholars, and students from around the world.

Who is this online Theology course for?

This distance-learning programme is aimed at anyone interested in approaching questions of disability and what it means to be human from a theological perspective. While the dominant religious perspective is Christian, students of all faiths and none are welcome.

  • Ideal CPD (Continuous Professional Development) for leaders of religious communities, and professionals working in faith communities and organisations.
  • The PgDip, or individual courses, can be taken as CPD as part of vocational training, or simply out of interest.
  • You can also join this PgDip as preparation for further postgraduate studies, including transitioning into our Masters in Theology.
1st in the UK for Theology and Religious Studies (Research Excellence Framework 2021)

Outstanding Theology research

We’re rated 1st in the UK for the quality of our research in Theology in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

By the end of this PgDip, you’ll be able to...

  • Reflect theologically on core questions and issues in Disability Theology, such as what it means to be human, and a theological view of healing.
  • Describe and evaluate core ideas of key historical texts that have shaped the context in which Disability Theology is undertaken.
  • Explain and justify your own position regarding influential historical texts, scholars, and developmental trajectories in Disability Theology.
  • Discuss a range of hermeneutical models that bear on the interpretation of the Bible in relation to disability.
  • Analyse how the Bible functions within particular church settings, and how this affects attitudes towards disability and difference.
  • Apply a model of theological reflection to practical experience.

I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated the studies so far; they have already got me thinking about my own work/ministry context in far deeper ways than I have previously.

Justyn Towler, PgDip Theology & Disability student

What you’ll study

You can choose to study for a:

  • Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), or
  • exit early with a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits).

How you’ll study

Online learning

Our distance-learning PgDip in Theology and Disability is delivered flexibly, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere, with no need for a visa, and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • videos and video lectures
  • online small-group tutorials
  • podcasts
  • projects
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors
  • online access to our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library. 


This degree is assessed entirely online via:

  • essays
  • book reviews
  • discussion boards
  • practical assignments
  • creative assessment, eg, poster presentations and creative writing.

Your tutors

Professor Brian Brock

Brian Brock is Professor of Moral and Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen. He has written a wide range of scholarly essays on themes related to disability. He is a Managing Editor of the Journal of Disability and Religion.

View Brian’s profile

Professor Grant Macaskill

Grant Macaskill is the Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen. He previously taught at the University of St Andrews. Grant is co-director of the Centre for Autism and Theology and is himself autistic.

View Grant’s profile

Professor John Swinton

John is Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen. He has published widely within the area of mental health, dementia, disability theology, spirituality and healthcare, qualitative research and pastoral care.

View John’s profile

Dr Léon van Ommen

Léon is a Lecturer in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen. His research centres on liturgy and autism. Much of his work focuses on the pastoral aspects of liturgy and church in general. Léon is co-director of the Centre for Autism and Theology.

View Léon’s profile

Each 30-credit course totals approximately 300 hours of study and assessment time.

  • You’ll study around 15 – 20 hours per week per term, with more time required around assessments.

This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes.

You can largely set your own study hours to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.

Activities at fixed times

There may be some activities scheduled at a fixed time, such as online meetings with your tutor or assessments with deadlines. But otherwise, you can access and work through the course at your convenience.

When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.

But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.

Your most important commitment to your course will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.

Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your course each week:

  • Be realistic
  • Create a weekly schedule as a guide

If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your tutors via MyAberdeen and email. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.

We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.

We’re a member of the Access scheme run by the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL).

Access study spaces, books and journals in your area

The SCONUL Access scheme allows you, as a University of Aberdeen student, to access books and resources at university libraries across the UK and Ireland, or visit them for a quiet place to study.

You’ll be able to use study spaces, books and journals at over 150 university libraries which belong to the scheme.

Find out about the SCONUL Access scheme for libraries.

Your support team

Our friendly team are here to answer any queries you have before, during and after your studies.

Dr Léon van Ommen

Léon is the PgDip coordinator. He’ll be on hand to answer any questions about the PgDip and course content before you start and to help you throughout your studies.

Kate Smith

Kate is part of the School’s support team. She’ll be there throughout your studies to answer any of your non-academic queries.

Get in touch

The online education team is here to answer any questions you have right now about this qualification, or about studying online.

Ask us a question

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 120 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this PgDip. You can use these credits towards further study, including our:

Masters in Theology (180 credits)

  • Available to study on campus in Aberdeen.
  • You can also study to Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) and Postgraduate Diploma level (120 credits).


This PgDip in Theology and Disability will help enhance your practice and leadership.

All of the courses that make up this PgDip in Theology and Disability are ideal CPD courses for those working:

  • in faith communities and organisations, including ministers, priests, volunteers in churches or faith-based organisations
  • as disability advisors
  • in organisations that work with people with disabilities.

Lifelong career support

Our career support doesn’t stop when you graduate.

You have access to our free careers service while you study, and beyond.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

Fees and funding

The fee quoted above is based on you starting your studies with us in the 2023/24 academic year.

We have confirmed that our fees will rise by 5% for the 2024/25 and 2025/26 academic years. Our indicative cost includes a 5% fee rise each year.

Pay as you go

Don’t worry, you do not have to pay the full PgDip fee upfront.

You can pay for your PgDip one term at a time. This gives you a flexible way to spread the cost.

Pay as you go allows you to spread payments over several terms.

When you pay

You make a payment before the start of each term.

How much you pay

You only pay for the credits you want to study in the upcoming term.

It’s up to you how many credits you take each term. This gives you control over your costs and your workload.

  • Taking fewer credits will increase the length of your studies.

We break down the total cost of this qualification into cost per 30 credits.

Costs per 30 credits for this PgDip, starting in academic year 2023/24

  • £1,600 in academic year 2023/24.
  • £1,680 in academic year 2024/25.
  • £1,760 in academic year 2025/26.

Tuition fees typically rise a little each academic year and will rise by 5% for the 2024/25 and 2025/26 academic years.

This is an example payment schedule for tuition fees. It’s based on the typical route through your studies.

Term 1) September – December 2023 | Academic year 2023/24

  • Take one 30-credit course.
  • Fee for term = £1,600.
  • Payment due in September.

Term 2) January – April 2024

  • Take one 30-credit course.
  • Fee for term = £1,600.
  • Payment due in January.

PgCert exit point

With 60 credits earned, you now have the option to exit with a PgCert.

Total fee for this route to your PgCert = £3,200.

Term 3) May – August 2024

  • Summer break. There is no teaching in the summer of your degree.
  • No payment due.

Term 4) September – December 2024 | Academic year 2024/25

  • Take one 30-credit course.
  • Fee for term = £1,680.
  • Payment due in September.

Term 5) January – April 2025

  • Take one 30-credit course.
  • Fee for term = £1,680.
  • Payment due in January.

PgDip complete

On earning 120 credits, you will be awarded a PgDip.

Total fee for this route to your PgDip = £6,560.

Infographic summarising the example payment schedule described above.

Learning resources

All books and resources you need for the first three courses of this PgDip are included in your tuition fee. They will be available online and it is not essential that you buy your own copies.

You may need to purchase an additional textbook for the fourth course of this PgDip, Disability Theology and Scripture. We’ll update this page as soon as the details of this textbook are confirmed.


You may wish to set aside a small budget for printing, depending on how you like to work.

There are several ways you may be able to get help funding your studies:

Find out more about funding options.

Student card

All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.

20% Alumni discount

You’re entitled to 20% off our postgraduate taught degrees and short courses if you have a degree from the University of Aberdeen. View Alumni discount details.

How discounts work

Discounts are applied during your application process. You can only use one discount per application.

Why study religion and disability online with the University of Aberdeen?

Founded in 1495

Divinity has been taught at the University of Aberdeen for more than five centuries.

Top 30 in the world

We’re one of the top 30 universities in the world for Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies (QS World University Rankings 2023).

Study anywhere

On smartphone, desktop and laptop, with no need for a study visa.

Entry requirements


  • 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant discipline, or
  • equivalent qualifications (normally a 3.0 GPA in North America).

You’re also welcome to apply if you have:

  • other relevant qualifications, and
  • professional experience with supportive references.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

See the minimum entry requirements above. If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check equivalent qualifications from your country.

Visa requirements

You do not need a visa to study online with us.

English language requirements

Teaching is delivered in English.

If English is not your first language, use our English requirements checklist to see if you need to provide evidence of your English language skills when you apply.

English language tests and scores

If you do need to provide English language test scores, these are the tests and minimum scores we accept.

These are our Postgraduate Higher requirements.

IELTS Academic and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)

  • 6.5 overall
  • 5.5 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition

  • 90 overall
  • 17 for listening
  • 21 for reading
  • 20 for speaking
  • 21 for writing
  • TOEFL DI code is 0818

Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency

  • 176 overall
  • 162 for listening and speaking
  • 169 for reading and writing

LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken)

  • Overall High Pass
  • 33 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 38 for writing

PTE Academic (online test not accepted)

  • 62 overall
  • 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing

For more information about language qualifications see our English Language Requirements page.

You apply through our online Applicant Portal. It allows you to upload relevant qualifications and documents.

Applying to the University of Aberdeen is always free.

What you need to apply for this degree

  • Degree transcript
  • Personal statement
  • Degree certificate

Apply now

Start with our step-by-step guide. It explains degree transcripts, what to write in your personal statement and how to use our Applicant Portal.

You can apply to start in either September or January.

Apply as early as you can. This is so we have time to review your application and get a decision to you. We also want to ensure you have time to enrol before teaching starts.

September 2023 intake

For our September 2023 intake, the application deadline is 3 September 2023.

You will need to accept your offer and provide any outstanding documents to meet the conditions of your offer by 10 September 2023.

Teaching starts on 18 September 2023.

January 2024 intake

Teaching starts on 22 January 2024.

Application deadlines will be announced in due course.

You will need access to:

A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

Most teaching materials are smartphone- and tablet-friendly. But we recommend a proper laptop or desktop for completing assignments comfortably.

Reliable internet access

We recommend:

  • a wired connection
  • a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps so you can take part fully in live sessions.

Speakers or headphones

  • We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
  • A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one for some interactive sessions.


We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.

If your course requires specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

See our detailed IT requirements for more information.

NEW: Try our degree scheduler

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Choose your courses

See all the courses that are part of this degree and choose what you want to study.

Manage your study schedule

Manage your study schedule

Control the pace and cost of your degree. Decide how much you want to study each term.

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Save to your wishlist

Save your schedule to your wishlist so you can view and edit anytime.

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Postgraduate Diploma

120 credits


This indicative cost is based on 120 credits of study over two years, starting in September 2023.

Apply for this programme

Start month
September or January

This indicative cost is based on 120 credits of study over two years, starting in September 2023.

Apply via our Applicant Portal
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