University of Chester

Programme Specification
Theological Studies GradDip
2017 - 2018

Graduate Diploma

Theological Studies

Theological Studies (Mattersey Hall College)

University of Chester

Mattersey Hall College

Mattersey Hall College and by Distance Learning

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Distance, Residential and Open,

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

4 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies


Theology and Religious Studies

Wednesday 14th December 2016

Aims of the Programme:

  • To provide students who already have a Bachelor’s Degree in a non-theological area with the knowledge, understanding and critical skills in theological subjects that will prepare them for Masters level study in the areas of Practical Theology and Biblical Studies.
  • To provide an extensive knowledge and critical understanding of selected areas of theological study, articulated in relation to the critical methods practiced at the forefront of the discipline.
  • To develop the ability to handle written sources and empirical data using appropriate critical awareness, methods and controls; to marshal coherent and effective arguments and communicate conclusions in oral and written forms.
  • To enable the student to demonstrate a competent grasp of a range of technical skills arising within the subject and cognate disciplines including a range of approaches to textual, historical, hermeneutical and cultural issues; as well as practical skills.

Students graduating with a Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies should be able to:

  • Engage with and demonstrate critical understanding of the contents of the Bible and other related texts (where appropriate in its original languages), and demonstrate understanding of exegetical and interpretative approaches (e.g., TH6348, TH6350, TH6351, TH6352, TH6354, TH6355, TH6362, TH6374, TH6376, TH6377).
  • Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of key concepts relating to the historical and theological development of Christianity and the Christian Church (e.g. TH6361, TH6362, TH6386, TH6387, TH6393, TH6395). 
  • Engage with and demonstrate critical understanding of political, social, cultural and ethical issues relating to Christian theology and its development, to ecclesiological practice and to Christian mission, at home and abroad (e.g. TH6365, TH6373, TH6362, TH6390, TH6391, TH6392).
  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge and critical understanding of areas of biblical studies and theology, with reference to advanced scholarship and with an appreciation of uncertainty and ambiguity (e.g. TH6350, TH6351, TH6352, TH6362, TH6372).    



Students graduating with a Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the appropriate use of a range of methods of study, including philosophical, historical, linguistic, hermeneutical, practical and pastoral, and the ability to evaluate different methodological approaches (e.g. TH6348, TH6350, TH6351, TH6352, TH6355, TH6362, TH6376, TH6390).
  • Demonstrate a capacity to apply knowledge and understanding of the subject to a variety of practical situations within church and mission contexts (e.g. TH6362, TH6365, TH6391, TH6392, TH6393).
  • Present their own arguments whilst acknowledging and representing, fairly, the views of others (all modules).
  • Apply a range of complementary methods of study, to review and evaluate methods, arguments and assumptions, critically, to consolidate and extend their knowledge and understanding and to devise and sustain critical arguments using ideas and techniques at the forefront of the discipline (e.g. TH6348, TH6350, TH6351, TH6352, TH6362).

Students graduating with a Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies should be able to:

  • Interpret biblical texts critically and with a well-developed knowledge and understanding of current scholarship in the area, and to apply that interpretation to contemporary church and mission contexts (e.g. TH6348, TH6350, TH6351, TH6352, TH6354, TH6355, TH6362, TH6374, TH6376, TH6377)
  • Apply a well-developed knowledge and understanding of theological ideas to contemporary church and mission contexts (e.g. TH6361, TH6362, TH6365, TH6373, TH6390, TH6393)
  • Present and communicate Christian teaching in a range of settings, including in a cross-cultural context (e.g. TH6362, TH6365, TH6373, TH6391, TH6392)
  • Demonstrate a firm grasp of theory and its relation to praxis (e.g. TH6348, TH6350, TH6352, TH6362, TH6365, TH6373, TH6376, TH6390, TH6393, TH6393)
  • Collect and use appropriate primary and secondary to set out and defend an argument (all modules)
  • Undertake self-directed study and show independence of thought and critical awareness of their own outlook, commitment and prejudices, possibly in preparation for further study (e.g.TH6362)
  • Use technology and computer skills to identify appropriate source material and data, support research, and enhance presentations (all modules)
  • Demonstrate an ability to resolve problems and make decisions in contexts involving some complexity and to exercise initiative and personal responsibility (e.g. TH6350, TH6352, TH6362, TH6373, TH6390)    

 Students graduating with a Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies should be able to: 

  • Communicate information, ideas, arguments, principles and theories, to an intended audience by a variety of means, including written and/or oral and visual (all modules).
  • Develop and present the results of research accurately and reliably through coherent and structured argument (all modules).
  • Develop projects and assignments which sustain and evaluate an argument, largely through independent enquiry, and which draw on a range of scholarly resources including research articles and primary sources (e.g. TH6362)     

To be awarded the Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies students must complete 120 credits at Level 6, chosen from the list below (24b).

There is some restriction on language modules, where there is staged progression and students are expected to have successfully completed other modules. GradDip students wishing to take these modules will need to demonstrate that they have proficiency in the relevant language equivalent to those earlier modules.    

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH6347 6 Introductory New Testament Greek 10 Optional
TH6348 6 New Testament Studies (A) 20 Optional
TH6350 6 Old Testament Theology 20 Optional
TH6351 6 The Book of Isaiah (in English) 20 Optional
TH6352 6 New Testament Theology 20 Optional
TH6354 6 Mark’s Gospel in Greek 20 Optional
TH6355 6 John’s Gospel in Greek 20 Optional
TH6356 6 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew (1) 10 Optional
TH6357 6 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew (2) 10 Optional
TH6361 6 Trinity, Incarnation and Atonement 20 Optional
TH6362 6 Dissertation (BST) 40 Optional
TH6363 6 Intermediate New Testament Greek (1) 10 Optional
TH6364 6 Intermediate New Testament Greek (2) 10 Optional
TH6365 6 Contemporary Apostolic & Prophetic Leadership 20 Optional
TH6372 6 Global Pentecostalism: a survey 20 Optional
TH6373 6 Church Planting 20 Optional
TH6374 6 Pauline Studies 20 Optional
TH6376 6 Old Testament Studies 20 Optional
TH6377 6 Old Testament Background 10 Optional
TH6384 6 Introductory Biblical Hebrew (1) 10 Optional
TH6385 6 Introductory Biblical Hebrew (2) 10 Optional
TH6386 6 Early Church History 20 Optional
TH6387 6 Christian Doctrine (2) 10 Optional
TH6390 6 Christian Personal and Social Ethics 10 Optional
TH6391 6 Christian Missions 20 Optional
TH6392 6 Cross-Cultural Ministry 20 Optional
TH6393 6 Biblical Perspectives on the Local Church 10 Optional
TH6394 6 Pentecostal Church History 20 Optional
TH6395 6 Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies (A) 20 Optional

60 credits at Level 6 entitles the student to a Graduate Certificate
120 credits at Level 6 entitles the student to a Graduate Diploma



Students applying for the Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies are required to have a recognised Bachelor's honours degree (as assessed using UK NARIC guidelines).

Admission will normally be subject to satisfactory references and, in the case of on campus students, also a satisfactory interview.

English language requirements:

All students must provide evidence of appropriate competency in written and spoken English. For students whose first language is not English, and whose first degree was not in English, the normal requirement will be IELTS 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in any band) or equivalent.

The Theology and Religious Studies (TRS) Subject Benchmark Statement, published by the QAA in 2000 and revised in 2007 and 2014, details the range of subject knowledge (3.1), the qualities of mind (3.2), and the generic skills (3.4) acquired and developed in TRS degree programmes.

The Subject Benchmark Statement notes the dynamic nature of the subject (1.1), and the need to stimulate curiosity and promote in-depth study in a critical and empathetic manner (1.3).  The Statement also notes the complexity of the relationship between academic study and religious communities and the benefits understanding brings to the development of that relationship and both areas (1.12). These features in particular are foundational to the intention and aims of the Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies. Modules are designed and structured to develop the student's observation and investigative ability, whilst also introducing them to descriptive, analytical and critical thinking about texts, theologies and doctrines and their relationship to their Christian ministry setting.

Subject Knowledge

  • A broadly based core that gives opportunity for more specialised study (e.g. TH5350, TH5361, TH5364, TH5365, TH5373, TH6350, TH6351, TH6355, TH6362, TH6365, TH6372, TH6373).
  • Origins, history and development of one or more religions (e.gTH5360, TH5361, TH5367, TH5368, TH5373, TH6365, TH6372).
  • Reading, analysis and interpretation of sacred texts (in original or translation format), including historical context, close reading and hermeneutical questions concerning current meaning and application (e.g. TH5350, TH53xx, TH5358, TH5359, TH5370, TH5372, TH6350, TH6351, TH6352, TH6354, TH5355)
  • Engagement with some of the major religious thinkers, prophets, teachers, ascetics, mystics, healers or leaders through their extant work or subsequent influence (e.g. TH5350, TH5360, TH5361, TH5370, TH5373, TH6350, TH6351, TH6352, TH6372) 
  • Application of a variety of critical methods of study, to the study of texts, practices and religious communities as social or cultural entities (e.g. TH5350, TH5365, TH5369, TH6350, TH6351, TH6352, TH6362, TH6365, Th6372, TH6373)

Qualities of mind

  • Development of the student's ability to understand contexts and beliefs different to their own tradition and background, whilst developing a sensitivity for and understanding of the breadth and complexity of diverse worldviews (e.g. TH5350, TH5364, TH5365, TH5366, TH5367, TH5368, TH6350, TH6352, TH6372, TH6373)
  • Development of critical and analytical skills, self-awareness and the ability to reflect on and apply a variety of methods of study in order to set out clear accounts and coherent arguments (all modules).

Generic skills

All of the modules have been designed to develop certain generic key skills in keeping with the Benchmark Statement, in particular 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 and ability to work with others.  In addition to this the programme aims to develop the following:

  • Capacity for reflexive learning, ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information, IT skills, including word-processing, communicating by email and using the web, accessing information from electronic as well as non-electronic sources, writing skills, including accurate referencing and clarity of expression.
  • Independence of mind and initiative, capacity to modify, suspend or otherwise change position when warranted, presentation skills, both oral and written and ability to attend closely to the meaning of written documents.
  • Analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems and ability to read texts in a different language.

These are developed through the learning ethos of the department and specifically through formative learning methods such as class discussion, group seminar presentations, assignment proposal development, dissertation research and presentations.

Self-discipline and self-direction are particularly tested/demonstrated with the Dissertation (TH6362).    

For students studying on campus at Mattersey Hall, teaching and learning is normally though classroom-based activity (normally 18 hours for a 10-credit module and 36 hours for a 20-credit module), and will include lectures, seminars, group-work activities, and student-led presentations and feedback. There is also some field work (in the form of Missions Trips). Tasks and other formative exercises may be set, and reading lists and guided learning notes are provided. In addition to scheduled group contact with lecturers, students will also normally spend around 82 hours per 10-credit module and 164 hours per 20-credit module in independent study, including time preparing for assessment and reading material in and around the themes of lectures.

The Dissertation (TH6362) has no formal teaching associated with it, proposals are discussed individually with students, and once a title has been agreed, a tutor will be assigned who will normally meet with the student to give guidance in planning and structuring the dissertation. Continuing guidance and support will be available both by e-mail and in further one-to-one tutorials.

Students studying by distance learning will receive a Study Guide or textbook for each module taken and, where appropriate, additional notes. The material supplied will contain sufficient information to guide the student through the module, and will include self-assessment questions, and points for further reading and research. A consideration for the future is to supplement this material with videos and/or audio files of the corresponding on-campus lectures. In addition to the Personal Tutor assigned to each student, DL students will also be assigned a Module Tutor, for each module taken. The Module Tutor will be available via e-mail or other online communication, to give guidance and ongoing support to students in areas specifically relating to the subject material of the module. The amount of time available will be substantially less than the on-campus lecture contact time (we anticipate around 4-5 hours); but that is made up for in that this is one-to-one interaction. We believe that this additional tutorial support will ensure greater parity with students studying on campus.

Modules will, generally, be assessed by a portfolio of work with a total (equivalent) word count of 2000 per 10 credits (where a one-hour examination has a word-count equivalent of 1000 words).

Written coursework assesses students’ subject knowledge, as well as their ability to conduct independent research, to identify, analyse and evaluate sources, and to present a coherent, well-structured, argument. This provides summative assessment of the students’ ability to study a topic in some depth.

Formative assessment for the guidance of teaching is through classroom observation, interaction, presentation and feedback. In the case of students studying by Distance Learning, it is through regular e-mail and other online exchanges. Because the feedback from assessments contains more general and generic comments, as well as module specific comments, this, too, provides formative information for students.

Students on the Graduate Diploma programme are expected to develop responsibility for their own learning, and to demonstrate critical analysis and evaluation. Assignments for modules at this level may include components of 3000–4000 words, giving scope to develop a sustained argument.    

Through this programme, students develop the abilities to:

  • Conduct independent research into a particular area of study
  • Gather, organise and assess data from primary and secondary sources
  • Critically analyse and evaluate the views and arguments of others
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively by written and verbal means
  • Organise their own workload towards the meeting of deadlines
  • Show critical self-awareness and open-mindedness towards other cultures and viewpoints
  • Present an argument to support their own view
  • Demonstrate improved IT skills.

Successful students will be able to apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects; critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgments, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem; communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Students will also have qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • Self-discipline and time-management
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and
  • The learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature    

A number of modules on this programme offer opportunities for addressing questions of gender, sexuality, age, disability, race and religious identity, whether in the context of biblical backgrounds, church history or contemporary cultural and church contexts.

The Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies programme conforms to the University of Chester’s policies and priorities regarding admissions, widening access and participation, equal opportunities and AP(E)L; and it offers individual academic support to all its students.



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