University of Chester

Programme Specification
Contemporary Church Leadership MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Contemporary Church Leadership

Contemporary Church Leadership (UST)

University of Chester

Union School of Theology

Union School of Theology, Bridgend

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory, Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

1 year full-time; 3 years part-time

6 Years

Biannual - January - August




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies.



Theology & Religious Studies

Wednesday 1st June 2011

Aims of the Programme:

  • to develop and expand the range of theological knowledge and skills of graduates in theology and/or practitioners in ministry
  • to provide students with a theoretical and practical foundation for contemporary church leadership
  • to reflect on issues impacting the role of church leadership
  • to equip students to undertake original research at doctoral level.

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 their discipline (e.g. TH7827; TH7828; TH7829) 
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of methodologies, techniques, practices and research methods relevant to their studies (e.g. TH7809; TH7821)
  • 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. TH7828; TH7829)





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

  • critically evaluate research which is at the forefront of the discipline as well as methodologies used in a given subject area (e.g. TH7809; TH7828)
  • demonstrate the ability to analyse information, texts and methods (e.g. TH7818; TH7828) 
  • think critically and to undertake self-critical reflection (e.g. TH7817; TH7829)
  • deal with complex issues, demonstrating appropriate analysis (e.g. TH7809; TH7829)

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

  • apply their knowledge and understanding to a variety of contexts (e.g. TH7817; TH7827; TH7829)
  • demonstrate the qualities and professional skills necessary for undertaking Christian ministry, specifically in the realm of leadership, where the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility in complex and unpredictable situations is required (e.g. TH7829)
  • improve their own learning and performance and in particular develop new skills appropriate to a professional context (e.g. TH7829)
  • solve problems, for example, in the context of reflecting on practice in ministry (e.g. TH7829)

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. TH7821; TH7829)
  • make competent use of numerical skills, where appropriate, in aspects of research. (TH7818; TH7822)
  • use information technology and computer skills for data capture, identifying and retrieving material and supporting research and presentations. (TH7818; TH7822)

The programme consists of two parts.

Part One consists of taught modules at Level 7. (All modules are worth 20 credits, except for the TH7829 Reflection on Ministry module which is worth 40 credits and TH7821 Research Methods (1) and TH7822 Research Methods (2) which are both worth 10 credits each.) It is necessary to complete 120 credits in order to progress to Part Two.

There are four compulsory modules in Part One: TH7821 Research Methods (1); TH7822 Research Methods (2); TH7829 Reflection on Ministry; TH7827 The Spiritual Formation of the Leader. With the regard to the Reflection on Ministry module, students judged to have adequate prior ministry experience - at least two years, normally full-time, in a responsible role - may, at UST's discretion, be permitted to substitute two option modules for the Reflection on Ministry module.

Part Two consists of a 60 credit dissertation at Level 7 which is compulsory.

The modules in both Part One and Part Two reflect the qualification descriptors for level 7 as set out in:

  • The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland(August 2008). 
  • The Framework for Qualifications for the European Higher Education Area.

Pathways through the programme can be diverse, but the following are typical examples:

  • One year full time;
  • Two years part time study of Part One, followed by one year of study at Part Two;
  • Three years part time study of Part One, followed by one year of study at Part Two.

The following diagram illustrates a route for completing the programme (with compulsory modules indicated): 

 Part One    

10-credit module (Research Methods(1))



 10-credit module (Research Methods(2))    




40-credit module(Reflection on Ministry)





PGCert (60 credits)





20-credit module(The Spiritual Formation of the Leader)






20-credit module





 20-credit module 



PGDip (120 credits)

Part Two    

Dissertation(60 credits)

15,000 words





MA (180 credits)


Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH7807 7 Aspects of Modern Mission 20 N/A
TH7809 7 Pastoral Response to Trauma 20 N/A
TH7810 7 Church Placement 40 N/A
TH7811 7 Principles of Christian Leadership 20 N/A
TH7812 7 Biblical Exegesis: English Text 20 N/A
TH7813 7 Biblical Exegesis: Greek Text 20 N/A
TH7814 7 Biblical Exegesis: Hebrew Text 20 N/A
TH7816 7 Ministry in an Urban World 20 N/A
TH7817 7 Popular Culture and the Christian Worldview 20 N/A
TH7818 7 Dissertation 60 Comp
TH7821 7 Research Methods(1) 10 N/A
TH7822 7 Research Methods(2) 10 Comp
TH7827 7 The Spiritual Formation of the Leader 20 Comp
TH7828 7 Contemporary Church Issues for Evangelicalism 20 Optional
TH7829 7 Reflection on Ministry 40 Comp

  • 60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate
  • 120 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Diploma
  • 180 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Masters degree (MA)



Normally, applicants should have an upper second class honours degree in a discipline relevant to the subject area.  Applicants may also be admitted who have achieved an aggregate of 50% in the UST Graduate Diploma in Theology.  Alternatively, admission on the basis of experience in a responsible role relevant to the programme may be permitted, if the applicant is deemed capable of meeting the demands of the programme.  This experience must be of at least two years' duration and should normally have been in a full-time position. 

For applicants where English is not the majority language of their home country an IELTS score of 7.0 (or recognised equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 6.5 in any category. IELTS scores will only be accepted within two years of the test result. Exemptions from English language requirements are normally only granted to those who have either been resident in the UK for a long period of time or who have obtained their academic entry qualifications through the medium of English, from a recognised institution in a majority English speaking country.

The admission process requires applicants to submit an application form supported by at least two references. All applicants are interviewed, either in person or using telephone or VOIP.  In the case of applicants applying for entry on the grounds of experience, other appropriate methods may be used in addition.

This programme specification reflects the benchmark standards set out in Appendix A, which specifically relates to Masters degrees, of the latest revision (2014) of the Theology and Religious Studies Benchmark Statement.

The programme equips students with an "expanded range of research and study tools" (A4.3), beginning in the compulsory modules TH7821 Research Methods (1) and TH7822 Research Methods (2) where students learn the research skills needed to engage in advanced independent research. This is then developed in subsequent modules, both compulsory and optional. In module TH7822 Research Methods (2)and the dissertation module (TH7818) students cultivate appropriate knowledge of research methods and ethical research (A4.2, A6.1). Across all modules students are required to demonstrate an advanced ability to use primary and secondary sources. This is seen for example, in the optional biblical exegesis modules (TH7812; TH7813; TH7814), as well as in TH7829. The Reflection on Ministry module (TH7829) enables students to integrate theoretical literature with practice and to critically reflect on their own position. Independence and originality of research is encouraged as students design their own projects and form their own – sometimes original – conclusions. The dissertation (TH7818) allows students to expand their skills in self-directed learning, and to show an advanced ability to source material, think independently, and critically engage with and reflect upon a key area within the study of religion.

The two parts of the programme are supported by a range of learning and teaching methods.

Learning and teaching methods used in the Part One modules include lectures, seminars, workshops, group work and individual work. Examples of individual work would include the writing of essays. In addition, for the Reflection on Ministry module, learning occurs under supervision. Learning for modules is supported by a VLE(MOODLE).

In Part Two, learning is more self-directed than is the case in Part One, given that Part Two requires the preparation of a dissertation. The learning in Part Two is supported by the dissertation supervisor.

A range of assessment methods is employed in the programme.

In the case of Part One modules, in many case, assessment is conducted by a single piece of written work of 5,000 words. Where this method has been adopted, this has been deemed to be an appropriate vehicle for testing the learning outcomes.

However, other assessment patterns are adopted:

Written examination, e.g. TH7813 and TH7814.

Encyclopaedia article, e.g. TH7821.

Book review, e.g. TH7822.

Dissertation proposal, e.g. TH7822.

Reflective learning journal, e.g. TH7829.

Dissertation, e.g. TH6818.

The holder of the award will be:

  • able to demonstrate extensive knowledge and understanding of aspects of academic disciplines relevant to the Christian ministry, and specifically to leadership.
  • able to apply theoretical learning and understanding to practical contexts, in particular those of the Christian pastoral ministry.
  • equipped to develop strategies for continuing professional development.

UST's equality and diversity policy has been drawn up in the light of the Employment Equality, Religion and Beliefs Regulations, 2003, as well as the Equality Act, 2010.

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

UST will seek to ensure that no one receives less favourable treatment or is harassed, bullied or victimised because of a protected characteristic (as defined by the Equality Act 2010), namely: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex or sexual orientations. This is subject to the exceptions in respect of employment and further and higher education which the Equality Act provides in respect of an institution such as UST, having regard to its religious ethos and other relevant institutional characteristics. UST will seek to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff and students.

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 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 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.

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 equality issues arise.

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.


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