University of Chester

Programme Specification
Mission and Ministry MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Mission and Ministry

Mission and Ministry (St John's)

University of Chester

St John's College Nottingham.

St John's College, Nottingham

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

1 year full time or up to 4 years part time

6 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Subject Benchmark Statements for Theology and Religious Studies

The programme has been accredited by the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England as a stage within an ordination training pathway.


Tuesday 1st June 2010

This programme is designed for students who have already studied theology to degree level, to enable them systematically to bring together the resources of Bible and tradition and those of experience and context in creative and critical ways. It is concerned less with the acquisition of a body of knowledge than with the development of skill in linking these sets of resources which they can then use in their involvement in the churches’ mission and ministry. Some ordinands in full-time training in the College take this programme in the final year of their training. The full-time version of this programme is also available to independent students. Clergy and others who have degree or degree-equivalent qualifications in theology take the programme on a part-time basis as part of their professional development. The aims of the programme are:

  1. To provide students with opportunities to deepen their theological understanding through involvement in specialised study units;
  2. To encourage students to integrate theological disciplines, and theology with experience and praxis;
  3. To provide opportunities for students to pursue their particular interests and training needs;
  4. In the case of part-time students, to offer an opportunity for study which will resource their practice in the church and the world.

The programme delivers these in the context of the purpose and values of St John's, and within a distinctive educational and formational ethos.

Knowledge and Understanding
On successful completion of the MA programme, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate the use of theological methodologies in their writing (TH7741, TH7720, TH7742);
  • use theological learning to write critically about praxis and experience in both church and society;
  • analyse and reflect theologically upon their own experience and practice (TH7720, TH7722, TH7738).



Thinking or Cognitive Skills
On successful completion of the MA programme, students will be able to:

  • identify an appropriate subject for a dissertation and elaborate a coherent proposal (TH7723);
  • engage in depth with a particular issue of their choice (TH7723/7722).

Practical Skills
On successful completion of the MA programme, students will be able to:

  • manage their own learning by selecting and researching essay topics (all modules);
  • construct and write a long integrative piece of work (TH7723).

Transferable Professional Skills
The skills which this programme seeks to enable students to develop include the ability to interpret texts (e.g.TH7719), the ability to think critically about theology and religion and about churches and ministry in the world today (e.g. TH7721). Students should also develop general skills appropriate to ministry such as flexibility, adaptability, skills in communication, writing, presentation and organisation, analytical and problem-solving skills and team work and decision making skills (TH7720, 7722/7721/7738/7741/7742).

Key Skills
On successful completion of the MA programme, students will have developed skills in the areas of:

  • Communication (all modules)
  • Information Literacy and Technology (all modules)
  • Improving own learning and performance (all modules)
  • Working with others (TH7722, TH7738, TH7742)
  • Problem solving (all modules).

The PG Certificate, the PG Diploma and the MA are target awards within this programme 

The programme can be taken over one year full time or normally between two and four years part time although students may take up to six years part time. Modules are delivered in an intensive block week in 2017/18 (sometimes called an 'In-Service Study Week') or in other years on a single day a week over four weeks. We have found these patterns are ones which enable part-time access for those with ministry commitments.

There are three compulsory modules in the MA:

  • TH7720 The Mission of the Triune God
  • TH7722 Advanced Mission & Pastoral Studies
  • TH7723 Dissertation

A further four modules are then chosen from a selection which varies from year to year, including one module with a focus on Biblical Studies. In 2017/18 the modules offered are:

  • TH7719 Preaching Joshua as Christian Scripture
  • TH7721 Understanding Church
  • TH7741 Engaging Culture
  • TH7742 The Gospels as a Resource for Practical Theology
  • TH7738 Fresh Expressions of Church
  • TH7750 Death and Dying

Availability of modules is usually published a full term in advance, in order to enable those studying part time to make informed choices about the modules which will best enhance their personal, professional and ministerial development.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH7717 7 Hooker's Legacy and the Question of Christian Identity 20 N/A
TH7718 7 The Bible in a Digital Age 20 N/A
TH7719 7 Preaching Joshua as Christian Scripture 20 Optional
TH7720 7 The Mission of the Triune God 20 Comp
TH7721 7 Understanding Church 20 Optional
TH7722 7 Advanced Mission & Pastoral Studies 20 Comp
TH7723 7 Dissertation 60 Comp
TH7729 7 Acts and Mission 20 N/A
TH7730 7 Biblical Interpretation 20 N/A
TH7731 7 The Holy Spirit and the Charismatic Life 20 N/A
TH7732 7 Pastoral Care and the Human Lifecycle 20 N/A
TH7733 7 Old Testament Theology 20 N/A
TH7736 7 Christian Apologetics in a Post-Modern World 20 N/A
TH7737 7 Pastoral Care and Human Community 20 N/A
TH7738 7 Fresh Expressions of Church: Starting, Developing and Sustaining 20 Optional
TH7741 7 Engaging Culture 20 Optional
TH7742 7 The Gospels as a Resource for Practical Theology 20 Optional
TH7743 7 Islam and Christianity in Dialogue 20 N/A
TH7744 7 Ways of Christian Spirituality 20 N/A
TH7745 7 Witnessing Jesus in the Gospel of John 20 N/A
TH7746 7 Reading Ecclesiastes for Postmodern Mission 20 N/A
TH7747 7 Revelation as Counter-Cultural Protest 20 N/A
TH7748 7 Worship, Theology and Culture 20 N/A
TH7750 7 Death and Dying 20 Optional

The successful completion of TH7720 The Mission of the Triune God plus two other 20-credit modules (total of 60 credits) merits the award of a Postgraduate Certificate.
The successful completion of TH7720 The Mission of the Triune God and TH7722 Advanced Mission and Pastoral Studies plus four other 20-credit modules (total of 120 credits), or one other 20 credit module and the dissertation (120 credits) merits the award of a Postgraduate Diploma.
The successful completion of the three compulsory modules plus four other optional modules (total of 180 credits) merits the award of the MA.


For all ordinands and independent students completing this as stage 3 of their training the compulsory and optional modules are set out as per section 24a.

For students commencing this programme in 2017/18 with a previous degree in a different subject undertaking this programme as stage 2 of their ordination training for the Church of England, in order to meet Ministry Division Learning Outcomes the following modules are also compulsory: 

TH7738 Fresh Expressions and

TH7721 Understanding Church. 

Classroom teaching is also available for these students for the Placement Module TH7722.

Theology graduates, completing this as stage 2 ordination training should review their modules choices with their programme leader to ensure all relevant learning outcomes are met.


Candidates shall normally be graduates of an approved university or other institution of higher education, or holders of an approved professional qualification deemed equivalent to a first degree. MA candidates should normally hold a first or good (2.1) second class degree, which should be in theology or contain a substantial theological element. In the case of Joint Honours degrees, the College’s Admissions Committee will make the judgment as to whether the theological component is substantial enough for the demands of this programme. If their first degree is not in theology and does not contain a substantial theological element, candidates must normally in addition have completed the equivalent of two years’ full-time study of theology to at least Level 5.

All applicants are required to complete the relevant application form, provide names of referees and attend an interview. St John’s is required to seek references to ensure evidence of personal, professional and educational experiences.

An IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) is required for students for whom English is not their first language.

In all programmes we take full account of prior learning (APCL) and prior experiential learning (APEL) in the recruitment and selection of students.

The Theology and Religious Studies Benchmark Statement published by the QAA in 2000, revised for 2007 and republished 2014 can be mapped against these modules.  This benchmark statement details the range of subject knowledge (3.1), the qualities of mind (3.2), and generic skills (3.4) acquired and developed in TRS degree programmes.

The MA  programme is orientated towards future employment needs, being a route for those preparing for ministry in the Church, and those already engaged in ministry who want to build on their prior academic studies. The core modules TH7720, TH7722, TH7723; develop a range of key skills in terms of integrated and applied theological learning.

TRS Benchmark 3.1: subject knowledge

(i) 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 e.g. TH7720, TH7722, TH7723, TH7719, TH7721, TH7738, TH7741, TH7742.

(ii) One or more religions, ancient or modern, including the origin, history and developed or present character of each.  TH6720, TH6721.

(iii) 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.  TH7742, TH7719  MA Students based on campus have the option of attending beginners or continuing Greek and /or Hebrew classes to enable engagement with texts in original language.

(iv) Engagement with some of the major religious thinkers, prophets, teachers, ascetics, mystics, healers or leaders through their extant work or subsequent influence. TH7717, TH7720, TH7721, TH7725.

(v) 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, especially TH7741.

(vi) The history of the particular discipline(s) covered by the programme, including the major theories, movements and thinkers. TH7721, TH7725, TH7741.

(vii) 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. TH7722, TH7741, TH7750.

TRS Benchmark 3.2: qualities of mind

  (i) 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. TH7720, TH7721, TH7725, TH7741.

  (ii) 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. TH7719, TH7733, TH7742.

  (iii) 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. TH7719, TH7741, TH7721, TH7720

  (iv) 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

  (v) Appreciation of both the interconnectedness of and internal tensions within a system of beliefs and practices. TH7720, TH7722, TH7723.

  (vi) 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 e.g. TH7723.

  (vii) The ability to employ a variety of methods of study in analysing material, to think independently, set tasks and solve problems. All modules e.g. TH7723.

  (viii) 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 e.g. TH7741.

TRS Benchmark 3.4: generic skills

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

  • independence of mind and initiative;
  • capacity for reflexive learning;
  • 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;
  • presentation skills, both oral and written;
  • IT skills, including word-processing, communicating by email and using the web, accessing information from electronic as well as non-electronic sources (all students use the Virtual Learnign environemnt for both teaching activities and resources and assessment submission);
  • writing skills, including accurate referencing and clarity of expression;
  • ability to attend closely to the meaning of written documents;
  • ability to read texts in a different language.

  The Statement also lists these as skills:

  • empathy and imaginative insight, with a tolerance of diverse positions;
  • self-discipline;
  • ability to attend to others and have respect for others' views;
  • commitment to lifelong learning;
  • teamwork skills;
  • ability to work with others.  

These are developed through the wider philosophy of learning at St John's and specifically through formative learning methods such as class discussion, small group work, class presentations and research. Self-discipline and self direction are developed in the weekly pattern of study involving formative assessment and feedback and particularly in modules TH7722 and TH7723.

A range of learning and teaching methods is used: lectures, presentations, seminars, group-work activities, guided reading, placement and reflection on placement experience, workshops, and giving presentations and discussing the presentations of other students. Students have direct access to module tutors and to a personal tutor to guide their learning. As this is a level 7 programme, students are encouraged to take a significant level of responsibility for their own learning, both independent and collaborative.

Use of the virtual learning environment in taught modules and distance learning modules allows: sharing of information; opportunities for discussion groups;  links to videos and other online resources; as well as participation in a wider virtual St John's community.
Our approach to assessment includes the following elements:

  • building on skills and knowledge already acquired from previous (experiential) learning;
  • taking account of the diverse range of learning styles;
  • testing for the relevant learning outcomes;
  • seeing assessment as part of the learning process, not simply a test of learning gained elsewhere;
  • orienting assessment activities towards the context of application of knowledge, understanding and skills gained.

Formative assessment occurs in a range of formal and informal contexts, including feedback in class discussion, group work and presentations, and peer-to-peer learning, as well as in one-to-one conversations with tutors.

Summative assessment over the programme primarily takes the form of assignments, but also include a placement report and an integrative dissertation.

The MA in Mission and Ministry is designed to be a significant contributor to professional ministerial development for people in both lay and ordained ministry. Within the Church of England it is recognised as part of an ordination training pathway for graduates, and as in-service training it also contributes to development in preparation for some form of translocal ministry responsibility, for example in a deanery or a diocese. The MA is also suitable preparation for students intending to proceed to doctoral research or other further academic study.

Successful graduates of the programme will be reflective practitioners, who deploy the ministry skills gained, aware of the importance of Scripture as foundational for belief and practice, and seeking to make connections in an appropriate way with the realities of the context they are in. They will be committed to discerning the activity of God in this context, and to following God's lead in the direction of their ministry, seeking to deepen their own spiritual lives as they encourage others to do so. They will be confident in their own theological tradition and personal convictions, but be willing to engage with, contribute to and learn from other traditions and other perspectives. They will be committed to the central importance of holistic mission within Christian ministry.

St John's is committed to promoting equal access to all, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and disability. We are particularly concerned to provide support for those with additional learning needs to allow them to attain a level of academic achievement commensurate with their abilities. Issues arising from the diversity of perspectives are explored in a number of modules in the programme. We believe in the richness of community that is created by welcoming the gifts and perspective from as wide a range of Christian experiences as possible.

Since we are a confessional institution, we ask that students respect the values and commitments of the institution, and commit to respecting the values and commitments of our students.

Students who are candidates training for ordained ministry in the Church of England are expected to abide by the moral and ethical commitments of the Church and its expectations of those in public ministry

We are aware that candidates for ordained ministry do not come from as diverse a cross-section of society as we would like. Whilst encouraging the Church to seek greater diversity, we also seek to work in partnership with other groups, for instance the Black-led churches, to create a more representative and diverse learning community.


DBS checks may be required for  students undertaking placements, and all Church of England Ordinands.

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