Portrait of Sam hunter

Sam Hunter

What made you want to apply to your MA course and to Leeds?

I came to Leeds in 2012 to study a BA in Theology and Religious Studies, going straight into an MA in the same subject as soon as I graduated. I’m originally from Oldham, near Manchester, so Leeds was a great location that was close to my family but far enough to be new and unfamiliar. 

I’d always been interested in religion and religious studies, but studying at Leeds allowed me to transfer my interest in witchcraft into an academic study of contemporary Paganism.  I had loved my undergraduate degree; the staff were very supportive and engaging, the course was flexible and allowed a great deal of originality and creativity with research. I saw that this would be the case with the Masters and knew that I would continue to get the amazing support I had through my undergraduate degree. 

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

Religion is something that impacts many facets of life today, so studying this gives you a great insight into current events, as well as the nuanced reasons behind certain actions. My specific area of study has been contemporary Paganism, something I have been interested in since I was young. The fact that it has no set text or central authority gives those who practice it a level of freedom to make it their own. 

I have always been fascinated by lived religion and the distinctive ways in which individuals practice a religion, so it has been very interesting to see the many ways in which contemporary Paganism exists from person to person. After four years of study, I feel like I kept learning more, with this diversity and complexity keeping my interest.

What did you enjoy about studying in Leeds?  

Not only is Leeds an amazing city to live in, but the Philosophy, Religion and History of Science department is one that provides so much variety in terms of topics - one of the best things about the University of Leeds is how supportive the academics are, as well as how flexible the modules can be. I was able to shape MA to my own interests and this is why it was such an incredible experience. The School also offers a great deal of support. The academics are so helpful but also challenge you, pushing you to go further than you imagined. Leeds has helped to shape me as an individual and prepare me for life beyond the university. Choosing this MA was a great decision and would recommend it to anyone.