Occult Studies: UK University Launches Its First Degree in Witchcraft and Magic

The University of Exter has unveiled the UK’s first-ever post-graduate course exploring the impact of witchcraft and magic in societies around the world, amid the soaring interest in folklore, tarot, and crystals.

With the first intake scheduled for September 2024, the innovative MA in Magic and Occult Science will combine the study of the history of magic with a wide range of other subjects, including philosophy, literature, archaeology, psychology, sociology, drama, and religion to show the role of magic on the East and the West.  

The new postgraduate course aims to “build interdisciplinary expertise whilst exploring [students’] specific interests within the long and diverse history of esotericism, witchcraft, ritual magic, occult science, and related topics,” as indicated by the university’s course overview section.

Redefining the ‘Place of Magic’

Prof Emily Selove, the course leader at the University of Exter, stated that the “recent surge in the interest in magic” both inside and outside academia has sparked the most urgent questions within our societies, putting decolonization and the exploration of alternative epistemologies, anti-racism and feminism at the core of the course study.

“This MA will allow people to re-examine the assumption that the West is the place of rationalism and science, while the rest of the world is a place of magic and superstition,” Prof Selove said in a statement reported by the BBC.

According to Prof Selove, introducing the unique master’s course at the university will challenge the tendency of dismissing the study of magic and occult in this decade on the premise that it’s no longer important in modern civilization.

While the belief in magic and the occult is often regarded as a relic of the past, some rituals, such as wearing jewelry associated with luck or considered as a point of attachment with the distant person, and other elements our communities around the world believe in, is a vivid reminder that magic is still part of our daily life.

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The Scope of Study

According to the university, the postgraduate course will help students build interdisciplinary expertise while exploring their specific interests within the long and diverse history of witchcraft, ritual magic, esotericism, occult science, and other related topics.

Scheduled to take one year to complete for full-time students and two years for part-timers, the new course will combine traditional Western academic methodologies with new alternative approaches, and students are expected to complete their dissertations through performance.

The course also aims to equip students with essential skills, including analytical and creative thinking and curiosity.

Course Module Options and Expected Job Markets

Students enrolling for the course can choose to take modules on key subjects such as the legend of King Arthur, dragons in Western literature and art, Islamic thought, paleography, the depiction of women in the Middle Ages, archaeological theory and practice, the book in medieval and early modern Europe, society and culture in early modern Europe, gender, and the philosophy of psychedelics.

Additionally, the course will aim to prepare students for careers in counseling, teaching, mentoring, tourism, heritage and museum work, arts organizations, work in libraries, the publishing industry, and other related fields.

Since the launch of the MA course, the university has reportedly received more than 100 requests, underpinning the rising interest in the field.


This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Source.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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