View content
Jump to:


  • Examine historical and current approaches to death and dying
  • Understand bereavement rituals in different cultural and religious contexts
  • Useful preparation for a range of careers serving the dying and bereaved

Death, Religion and Culture at Winchester is a distance learning course that explores the universal reality of death. You examine the ways in which death and dying are understood differently by various cultures and religious traditions, and how those understandings are played out in rituals of death, dying and bereavement.

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. This dynamic group ensures that your debates and discussions are lively and informed by a breadth of interests and experiences.

Modules include Death and Pastoral Care in Global Religions, The Act and Art of Eulogy, Visiting the Dead: From Graveyards to Dark Tourism, Is Death a Good Thing? You also complete a dissertation of 15,000 to 20,000 words on a relevant topic of your choice.

The programme is taught by a team of highly qualified and enthusiastic staff who include internationally renowned scholars. You take part in structured discussion and debate through electronic forums, and are provided with guided course readings and access to the digital 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 course.

Graduates of the course pursue a range of careers including bereavement counselling, work in funeral homes, teaching and church ministries.


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


Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Learning and teaching

Start date: September

Distance learning available: This course is offered as distance learning only

Teaching takes place: There are e-seminars in the evenings, with full tutorial and study skills support

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.


Our validated courses 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.
We ensure 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 on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our



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.

If English is not your first language: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing or equivalent

Personal computing requirements

Due to the Distance Learning deliverance of the course there are minimum personal computing requirements. Please see the .    

Course enquiries and applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234

International students

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at or calling +44 (0)1962 827023.

Applications need to be submitted before the 15 May 2023. Late applications can be accepted throughout the remainder of the application year, for more information see our  section. 

Visit us

Explore our campus and find out more about studying at Winchester by coming to one of our .


Year 1 (Level 7)

Modules Credits

Study Skills for Distance Learning 10

In addition to developing the particular knowledge relating to given field of investigation, postgraduate students need both to reflect on the nature of that discipline, to identify its place in the range of human areas of intellectual investigation, to identify methods and skills relevant to their disciple from a wide range of methods and skills, to be aware of the ethics parameters of research, to develop those skills, and to begin their implementation in a significant and agreed topic of research. Students also use information technology to create bibliographies, make appropriate use of online resources, and to access research materials; they explore appropriate modes of research-topic identification, hypothesis formation, and methodology selection; they practice techniques for moving from note taking, and data-collection to the outlining, sectioning, writing-up and presentation of research project materials.

Introduction to Studying Death 20

This module will focus on the ways in which societies respond to the problems posed by human mortality. It will apply diverse methodologies to the study of the Death (such as Anthropology, Cultural Studies, History, Religious Studies, and Sociology). It will examine, through the critical analysis of a number of dominant theories, the problems of establishing a credible meta-narrative about human mortality in the face of the diversity of human experiences of death and the complexities that arise within multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multi-cultural world. It will also consider methods of body disposal through burial, cremation and so-called Green approaches.

Research Methods for Independent Study 10

This module is designed to prepare students for their research project and facilitate the development of a research enquiry in the form of a written dissertation. The product of this module will be a research proposal that will reflect the structure, the research context and the methodology the students are going to use in their research project. The students will explore a variety of relevant research methodologies, they will develop a literature review for their chosen subject area and they will engage with the requirements of research ethics. Pg-Dip students who will not move onto producing a research project are also required to complete this module as it allows them to develop a range of important disciplinary skills.

Dissertation 60

This is an Independent Study module. In 15-20,000 words, candidates must argue and discuss with a full critical method a stated proposition which is to be presented and defended by demonstration of appropriate materials and the proper use of evidence. The proposition must be one which relates to the subject matter of the Programme and which permits the demonstration of independent research, study and reflection.

In discussion with the Programme Leader, an appropriate work-related project may contribute to the assessment.

Optional Modules
  • Connecting Death to Professional Practice - 20 Credits
  • Death and Pastoral Care in Global Religions - 20 credits
  • Death in the Christian Tradition - 20 credits
  • The Act and Art of Eulogy - 10 credits
  • Memory, Memorials and Remembrance - 10 credits
  • Visiting the Dead: From Graveyards to Dark Tourism - 10 credits
  • Sensing-Sensual Morality - 10 credits
  • Religion, Ritual and Death - 10 credits
  • Death and the Afterlife in Christianity - 10 credits
  • The Meaning of Death and the Meaning of Life - 10 credits
  • Is Death a Good Thing? - 10 credits
  • Death and Love - 10 credits
  • Death in Cinema - 10 credits
  • Death and Music - 10 credits
  • Images of Death in Art and Literature - 10 credits
  • Death and Animals - 10 credits
  • Ethics, Healthcare and the End of Life - 10 credits
  • The Ethics of Killing - 10 credits
  • Death in the Digital Age - 10 credits
  • Death and Climate Change - 10 credits
  • Death in Dante's Inferno - 10 credits
  • Human and Person-Centred Approaches to Death & Dying - 10 credits


Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Progression from one level of the programme to the next is subject to meeting the University’s academic regulations.

2024 Course Tuition Fees

UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Full-time entry | £9,250
Part-time entry | £4,625 p/a

Total Cost | £9,250

International Students

Full-time entry | £10,725
Part-time entry | £5,362.50 p/a

Total Cost | £10,725


As one of our students, all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:


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. Indicative cost for compulsory modules is £30. Indicative cost for optional modules is £50-£100.

Printing and Binding

The University is pleased to offer our students a free printing allowance of £20 each academic year. This will print around 500 A4 mono pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing. 



We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our

Key course details

Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years
Typical offer
Normally a first or second-class Honours degree
Distance learning only