University of Chester

Programme Specification
Theology GradDip
2017 - 2018

Graduate Diploma


Theology [UST]

University of Chester

Union School of Theology

Anywhere with regular broadband connectivity for distance learners

Undergraduate Modular Programme



2 years part-time

4 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies

Theology & Religious Studies

Wednesday 17th February 2016

The Graduate Diploma is designed to provide a programme of theological study for graduates in another discipline and with some experience of Christian service to prepare for ministry in the Church. Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma allows students to study for an appropriate Master's level programmes.

Aims of the Programme:

  • to facilitate Christian leadership formation by enabling students to acquire an increasingly integrated knowledge of biblical, systematic, historical, and pastoral theology, informed by current developments in scholarship and research
  • to help students develop a wide range of intellectual and pastoral skills which will equip them for Christian ministry in a local church setting
  • to provide, within an evangelical and reformed context, a stimulating environment in which students can reflect on the nature of Christian ministry and mission in contemporary society and develop their potential in preparing for Christian ministry and service

By the end of this programme, students should be able to: 

  • demonstrate a systematic knowledge and critical understanding of subject matter, by making use of a variety of sources of knowledge/evidence which is either at, or informed by, the forefront of defined aspects of the discipline (e.g. TH6836; TH6834). 
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of methodologies, techniques, practices and research methods relevant to their studies (e.g.  TH6838; TH6837, TH6839).
  • integrate information and insights from a variety of sources, with a view to identifying issues and problems as well as drawing conclusions and proposing solutions (e.g. TH6809; TH6838).

By the end of the programme, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate the use of appropriate methods for their studies and demonstrate the exercise of an open and questioning approach to familiar and new material (e.g. TH6836; TH6838)
  • demonstrate the ability to analyse information, texts and methods (e.g. TH6836; TH6837, TH6839).
  • think critically and to undertake self-critical reflection (e.g. TH6809; TH6838).
  • deal with complex issues, demonstrating appropriate analysis (e.g. TH6837; TH6809).

By the end of the programme, students should be able to: 

  • apply their knowledge and understanding to a variety of contexts (e.g. TH6809; TH6838).
  • improve their own learning and performance and in particular to develop new skills appropriate to a professional context (e.g. TH6809; TH6838).

By the end of the programme, students should be able to:

  • communicate clearly and accurately in a variety of formats, observing appropriate conventions. In the case of written work this will include accuracy in spelling and grammar (e.g. TH6831; TH6832; TH6836). In the case of oral work this will include accuracy of content, and clarity, pace, modulation of speech, and sensitivity to audience (e.g. TH6809).
  • use information technology and computer skills for data capture, identifying and retrieving material and supporting research and presentations (e.g. TH6836; TH6838).

The Graduate Diploma consists of 120 credits at level 6, made up of five core modules and one optional module. The core modules together give the student a thorough theological foundation for further study and local church ministry.

The core modules are:

  • TH6836 Studies in the Old and New Testaments
  • TH6837 Turning Points in Church History
  • TH6834 Studies in Systematic Theology or TH6841 Studies in Christology and Redemption
  • TH6809 Studies in Preaching and Pastoral Theology
  • TH6838 Church and Mission

The following modules are optional:

  • TH6831 Hebrew Grammar
  • TH6832 Greek Grammar
  • TH6839 English Exegesis
  • TH6807 Independent Study


Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH6807 6 Independent Study 20 Optional
TH6809 6 Studies in Preaching and Pastoral Theology 20 Comp
TH6831 6 Hebrew Grammar 20 Optional
TH6832 6 Greek Grammar 20 Optional
TH6834 6 Studies in Systematic Theology 20 Comp
TH6836 6 Studies in the Old and New Testaments 20 Comp
TH6837 6 Turning Points in Church History 20 Comp
TH6838 6 Church and Mission 20 Comp
TH6839 6 English Exegesis 20 Optional
TH6841 6 Studies in Christology and Redemption 20 N/A

120 completed credits at Level 6 permit a student to achieve the award of Graduate Diploma.
60 completed credits at Level 6 permit a student to receive the exit award of Graduate Certificate.


Normally, the applicant should have already obtained at least a 2.1 or equivalent in an honours degree in any subject.

An IELTS score of 6.5 is required where English is not the applicant's first language, with a minimum of 6.5 in the categories of reading and writing.

The admissions process requires the completion of an application form and normally attendance at an interview.

The Theology and Religious Studies Benchmark Statement published by the QAA in 2000 and revised in 2007 and 2014 details the range of subject knowledge (TRS Benchmark 3.1), the qualities of mind (3.2), and generic skills (3.4) acquired and developed in TRS degree programmes. These are listed below mapped, illustratively, against modules in the programme.

TRS Benchmark - subject knowledge

  • A broadly based core, together with the wider context required for the subject area covered by the programme in question; and specialised study in depth of some aspects of the discipline or field. This implies not just the mastery of data but also the setting of these data within a theoretical framework which includes critical analysis and debate about how to understand and structure the raw data into a coherent whole. All modules.
  • One or more religions, ancient or modern, including the origin, history and developed or present character of each. E.g. TH6836, TH6837, TH6834.
  • The reading, analysis and interpretation of texts, sometimes in the original languages, particularly texts that have been sacred to one or more practising communities. This study will often focus both on the historical context which generated the text(s) and on hermeneutical questions concerning its meaning and application for the appropriate community of believers in the present, or for other readers today. E.g. TH6831, TH6832, TH6839.
  • Engagement with some of the major religious thinkers, prophets, teachers, ascetics, mystics, healers or leaders through their extant work or subsequent influence. E.g. TH6809; TH6834, TH6837.
  • The application of a variety of critical methods of study, often adapted from those of other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, to the study of texts, practices, religious communities as social or cultural entities, or their diverse art forms. All modules.
  • The history of the particular discipline(s) covered by the programme, including the major theories, movements and thinkers. E.g. TH6834; TH6836, TH6837.
  • Ethics, morality and values. All religions have certain expectations in these areas, and the student will include them in the study along with other aspects of the religion. E.g. TH6809; TH6838.

TRS Benchmark - qualities of mind

  • The ability to understand how people have thought and acted in contexts other than the student's own, how beliefs, doctrines and practices have developed within particular social and cultural contexts and how religious traditions have changed over time. All modules except TH6831, TH6832.
  • The ability to read and use texts both critically and empathetically, whilst addressing such questions as genre, content, context, perspective, purpose, original and potential meaning, and the effect of translation if the text is not read in the original language. E.g. TH6809, TH6831, TH6832, TH6834, TH6836, TH6839.
  • The appreciation of the complexity of different mentalities, social behaviours and aesthetic responses, and of the ways they have been shaped by beliefs and values, and conversely, how beliefs, sacred texts and art forms have been shaped by society and politics. E.g. TH6837, TH6838.
  • Sensitivity to the problems of religious language and experience, and to issues of multiple and conflicting interpretations of language and symbols, texts and traditions. Simplistic, literalising or doctrinaire explanations are less likely to be advanced by a student of Theology and Religious Studies. All Modules
  • Capacity to bring a degree of self-reflectiveness to the study of the subject. E.g TH6809, TH6838.
  • Appreciation of both the interconnectedness of and internal tensions within a system of beliefs and practices. E.g. TH6834, TH6836, TH6838.
  • Basic critical and analytical skills; a recognition that statements should be tested, that evidence and arguments are subject to assessment, that the interpreter's role demands critical evaluation. All modules.
  • The ability to employ a variety of methods of study in analysing material, to think independently, set tasks and solve problems. All modules.
  • The capacity to give a clear and accurate account of a subject, marshal arguments in a mature way and engage in debate and dialogue with respect for the opposite case or different viewpoint. All modules.

TRS Benchmark - generic skills

The Statement also lists these generic (transferable) skills acquired through the study of Theology and Religious Studies:

  • empathy and imaginative insight, with a tolerance of diverse positions
  • self-discipline
  • self-direction
  • independence of mind and initiative
  • capacity for reflexive learning, understanding how they learn
  • commitment to lifelong learning
  • ability to attend to others and have respect for others' views
  • capacity to modify, suspend or otherwise change position when warranted
  • ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information
  • analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
  • writing skills, including clarity of expression, citation of relevant evidence and authorities and accurate referencing
  • presentation skills, both oral and written, supported by appropriate technologies
  • technological and media literacy, including the generation of documents and other resources, electronic communication and interaction in various forms and accessing information from a variety of sources
  • awareness of the importance of contemporary media as both a resource for study and a medium for theological and religious discourse
  • teamwork skills
  • ability to engage critically with the meaning of documents and recognise that meanings may be multiple
  • ability to read texts in a different language, where appropriate.

These are developed through the learning ethos at UST and specifically through formative learning methods such as group discussion, presentations and research. Self-discipline and self-direction are tested in all modules through the use of a learning cycle of formative assessment and feedback (e.g. TH6831, TH6832) and with the Independent Study module (TH6807).

The IT-based course management system (Moodle) forms the platform on which teaching is delivered to distance learners who also have direct access to module tutors and to a personal tutor to guide their learning. The students are also encouraged to meet weekly in learning communities to help one another in their learning. Optional seminars are also provided at the campus.

As this is a level 6 programme, students are encouraged to take significant level of responsibility for their own learning, both independent and collaborative.

Students will already have successfully completed an undergraduate programme in another discipline and will already be familiar with the standard forms of graduate assessment. Nevertheless, they are inducted into the particular requirements for assessment in theological studies at the beginning of the academic year. Formative assessment occurs in a range of contexts via tutor and peer feedback in forums, seminars, workshops, group-work and homework assignments. Summative assessment primarily takes the form of essays, examinations and research projects.

UST encourages Distance Learning students to attend examinations on Campus; however, if necessary, they can be examined at other centres. This normally means an educational establishment which teaches at further education or higher education level, e.g. University, College, Seminary or somewhere which hosts other public examinations where independent invigilation can be guaranteed. This must be arranged by the students in liaison with the Academic Registrar at UST.

All UST's programmes are vocational and are intended to equip the student with the necessary skills, experience, attitudes and characteristics for Christian ministry of various types.

Following the acquisition of this award, students will be equipped to follow, or continue, a number of related vocational pathways, particularly in local church contexts. To this end, many will first wish to complete UST's Master's level programme.

Other possible paths might include work in the voluntary and public sectors, teaching, and social work.

The skills developed in TRS degrees valued by students nationally on such programmes include:

  • Cultural understanding
  • Appreciation of how others live
  • Open-mindedness - less likely to judge others and more likely to listen
  • Confidence in own abilities
  • Academic, intellectual and social development
  • IT skills
  • Writing skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Organising one's own workload and meeting deadlines

Various modules in the programme offer opportunities for addressing questions of gender, sexuality, race and religious identity. Pastoral and ministerial modules and projects may additionally address issues of age and disabilities.

UST offers individual academic support to all its students. Its policies on Equal Opportunities and Disability are appended below.

Equal Opportunities

UST is committed to the teaching of the Bible that each person is made in the image of God and is of equal value and worth in God's sight.

UST is committed to equality of opportunity in employment practice, policies, procedures and provision of courses and services to students, staff and visitors.

UST provides an environment where staff and students from different cultural, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds, both within Wales, the UK and overseas bring a rich and valuable diversity to the UST community.

UST aims to ensure that no one receives preferential treatment on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, religion or belief, ethnic or national origin, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability.

UST is committed to ensuring that the following practices are avoided:

  • Direct Discrimination, which occurs when someone is treated less favourably than others for unlawful reasons.
  • Indirect discrimination, which occurs when a policy, practice or procedure that applies to everyone might disadvantage a particular group of people.
  • Harassment, which is conduct that is unwanted and violates a person's dignity or creates an environment which is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive.
  • Victimisation, which happens when someone is treated less favourably or discriminated against because they have pursued, or intend to pursue their rights in relation to alleged discrimination.
  • Bullying, which occurs when someone tries to intimidate someone else. It includes abuse, physical or verbal violence, humiliation and undermining someone's confidence.

Complaints of discrimination should be raised under grievance procedures.

UST is an evangelical Christian organisation. The Christian ethos of the organisation and context of some positions may mean that a genuine occupational requirement (Employment Equality, Religion and Belief Regulations, 2003) applies to some posts.

All staff and students are required to:

  • Support any measures introduced to ensure equal opportunity
  • Report any suspected acts or practices that are discriminatory
  • Not attempt to induce or induce others to practice discrimination which is unlawful
  • Not victimise anyone who reports or provides evidence of discrimination
  • Not intimidate, harass or abuse other people
  • Seek appropriate advice when issues arise.

Incidents should be reported to Student Welfare Officer

Any alleged acts which breach UST's policy will be fully investigated, and if proven may be treated as gross misconduct. If anyone is victimised as a result of making a complaint, disciplinary action will be taken.

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Senior Administrative Staff.


Disability Statement

UST is committed to promoting good practice in the area of discriminating against people who are disabled.

UST is committed to:

  • Demonstrating and upholding Christian attitudes and behaviours to people who are disabled (Staff, students and visitors)
  • Promoting equality of opportunity between disabled members of the staff team and disabled students and other members of the staff and the student body.
  • Challenging negative and discriminatory attitudes and stereotypes
  • Promoting positive attitudes towards people who are disabled
  • Eliminating discriminatory practices that are unlawful
  • Eliminating harassment of people who are disabled that is related in any way to their disability
  • Encouraging participation in the life of UST by people who are disabled
  • Meeting the needs of members of staff or visitors who are disabled, and treating them more favourably, if that is required.

UST is committed to ensuring that not only are reasonable adjustments made to ensure that disabled people have equality of opportunity but also that measures are taken to ensure that people who are disabled are not put at a "substantial disadvantage" in comparison with non-disabled people.

UST is committed to involving members of staff and students who are disabled in planning accessible and inclusive services.

UST is committed to ensuring that facilities and services are accessible to people who are disabled.

If a student or a member of staff discloses that they have a disability, UST will endeavour to offer reasonable and appropriate support.

UST also has a policy on Ethics in Research, Enquiry-based Learning and Context-based Learning. Students engaged in such activity are made aware of this policy and given a copy of the document as part of the induction process. A copy of this policy is available on demand.


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