University of Chester

Programme Specification
Theology and Religious Studies BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Theology and Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies

University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September

V601

V600

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Subject Benchmark Statement for 'Theology and Religious Studies'

Theology and Religious Studies

Wednesday 21st March 2012

  • To offer a degree programme which allows the combination of theology and religious studies.  
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of concepts central to the disciplines of theology, biblical studies and religious studies, along with an appreciation of their interrelationship, complexity and ambiguity. 
  • To develop skills in a number of complementary methods of study, such as, philosophical, historical, systematic, dogmatic, phenomenological, linguistic, hermeneutical, empirical, speculative, and social scientific. 
  • To develop transferable skills such as communication; formulating and evaluating a coherent argument; the appropriate use of data and evidence; the awareness of the implications of divergent views; the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making; resolving problems and making decisions in contexts involving some complexity. 
  • To provide a learning environment which conveys an atmosphere of support and encouragement, sensitive to and catering for the abilities and needs of all learners, and dedicated to enhancing the students’ engagement with theology and religious studies and their confidence in the learning experience.
  • Equip students with various skills for a wide range of careers and professions, thereby enabling them to secure gainful employment after graduation.
  • Provide an engaging and challenging programme which will qualify students for further specialist study at postgraduate level.
  • To offer a worthwhile programme which will be of value to all students in terms of their personal growth—intellectual, cultural, spiritual, moral, psychological, and social.

Level 4: knowledge of key concepts of the disciplines of the programme and an ability to evaluate and interpret them (all modules).

Level 5: an ability to recognise and relate to one another concepts and cultural influences; and evaluate and interpret these with a recognition of their complexity (all modules).

Level 6: detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the subject, with reference to advanced scholarship and with an appreciation of uncertainty and ambiguity (all modules).

This knowledge will include:

  • knowledge of one or more religions; its history and present character, and its varied and central forms (e.g., in TH4043, TH4044, TH4047, TH5054, TH5055, TH6046, TH6055, TH6057);
  • reading, analysis and interpretation of texts, authoritative for, or sacred to, one or more practising communities (e.g., in TH4045, TH4046, TH5048, TH5052, TH5053, TH5054, TH5055, TH5057, TH6046, TH6047, TH6049, TH6052, TH6053, TH6055, TH6056, TH6057);
  • major theories, movements and thinkers (e.g., in TH4042, TH4048, TH5043, TH5045, TH5046, TH5054, TH5055, TH6041, TH6042, TH6046);
  • critical methods applied to the study of practices and religious communities (e.g., in TH4042, TH4043, TH4044, TH4047, TH5045, TH5054, TH5055, TH6046, TH6055);
  • application of themes and debates from theology and religious studies to broader social and disciplinary contexts (e.g., in TH4048, TH5043, TH5046, TH6043, TH6046, TH6057);
  • ethics, morality and values (e.g., in TH4042, TH4048, TH5041, TH5043, TH5054, TH5055, TH6042, TH6043, TH6057).

Level 4: demonstrate the use of appropriate methods for their studies such as, philosophical, historical, phenomenological and empirical; and demonstrate the exercise of an open and questioning approach to familiar and new material (all modules).

Level 5: develop their competence in methods such as, philosophical, historical, systematic, dogmatic, phenomenological, empirical and social scientific; and evaluate the appropriateness of different methods (all modules).

Level 6: apply a number of complementary methods of study, such as, philosophical, historical, systematic, dogmatic, phenomenological, linguistic, hermeneutical, empirical, speculative, and social scientific; apply these methods to review, consolidate and extend their knowledge and understanding (all modules).

These skills will include:

  • critical and analytical skills, with recognition that statements should be tested, that evidence and arguments are subject to assessment, that the interpreter's role demands critical evaluation (e.g., TH4041, TH4042, TH4048, TH5043, TH5045, TH5048, TH6042, TH6043, TH6057);
  • ability to employ a variety of methods of study in analysing material, to think independently, set tasks and solve problems (e.g., TH4042, TH4043, TH4044, TH4047, TH5045, TH5054, TH6042, TH6043, TH6046);
  • 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 (e.g., TH4041, TH4043, TH4044, TH4045, TH4048, TH5041, TH5043, TH5054, TH5055, TH6042, TH6043, TH6046, TH6057);
  • ability to understand how people have thought and acted in contexts other than the student's own (e.g., TH4044, TH4047, TH5045, TH5054, TH6046, TH6057);
  • appreciation of how beliefs, doctrines and practices have developed within particular social and cultural contexts and how religious traditions have changed over time, influencing and responding to society and politics (e.g., TH4041, TH4044, TH4046, TH5041, TH5045, TH5055, TH6042, TH6043, TH6046, TH6057);
  • appreciation of the interconnectedness within a system of beliefs and practices, and also the internal tensions (e.g., in TH4041, TH4042, TH4043, TH4044, TH4047, TH5041, TH5042, TH5054, TH5055, TH5057, TH6041, TH6042, TH6046, TH6047, TH6055, TH6057);
  • ability to read and use texts both critically and empathetically, addressing such questions as genre, context, perspective, purpose and potential meaning (e.g., in TH4043, TH4045, TH5048, TH5052, TH5055, TH6047, TH6049, TH6052, TH6055, TH6056);
  • sensitivity to the problems of religious language and experience (e.g., in TH4042, TH4044, TH4045, TH4047, TH5041, TH5042, TH5045, TH5048, TH5054, TH6046, TH6055, TH6057).

Level 4: evaluate different approaches to solving problems related to the area of study (e.g., in TH4042, TH4047, TH4048).

Level 5: demonstrate qualities and generic skills, such as those requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making, necessary for employment (e.g., in TH5049).

Level 6: demonstrate an ability to resolve problems and make decisions in contexts involving some complexity (e.g., in TH6043, TH6051, TH6057).

At Level 5 there are particular opportunities for the application of learning to personal and/or professional practice:

  • WB5101: Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning;
  • TH5049: Religious Education;
  • TH5005 Independent Experiential Study.

Level 4: communicate accurately and demonstrate appropriate use of primary and secondary sources, with full and accurate references, within a structured and coherent argument; ability to use information technology and computer skills for data capture, to identify and retrieve material and support research and presentations (all modules).

Level 5: formulate a coherent argument, with appropriate use of data and evidence, and with an awareness of the implications of divergent views (all modules).

Level 6: 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 (all modules).

This programme offers students the opportunity to engage in theological and religious enquiry. The disciplines at Level 4 of Religion and Theology explore a variety of methods, concepts and approaches, preparing students for Level 5, where they further develop their knowledge and understanding. At Level 6 there are opportunities to develop these strands further.

At Level 4, students study three core modules worth 60 credits giving them grounding in the main sub-disciplines offered in the programme:

  • TH4041: Introduction to Theology
  • TH4042: The Study of Religion: an Introduction
  • TH4048: Philosophy and Ethics

Students must then choose one Biblical Studies module (20 credits) from:

  • TH4045: The Bible: Contents and Contexts
  • TH4046: The Bible: Readers and Perspectives

Followed by one Religious Studies module (20 credits) from:

  • TH4043: Encountering Religions: Judaism and Buddhism
  • TH4044: Hinduism and Islam
  • TH4047: Global Perspectives on Christianity

 Students then choose a final module (20 credits) from the remaining optional modules above.

 At Level 5 students must choose two modules in Theology/Biblical Studies worth 40 credits from the following:

  • TH5041: Contextual and Practical Theology
  • TH5042: Systematic Theology
  • TH5043: Theological Ethics
  • TH5048: New Testament Studies: Paul’s Practical Theology
  • TH5052: Biblical Hebrew
  • TH5057: The Religion of Ancient Israel

Students then choose two modules in Religious Studies worth 40 credits from the following list:

  • TH5045: Anthropology of Religion 
  • TH5046: Spirituality and Popular Culture
  • TH5054: Judaism and Islam: Philosophy and Hermeneutics
  • TH5055: Asian Philosophy: knowledge, liberation and the self

Students then choose one further module from the two lists above worth 20 credits.  

It is also possible for students studying on a part-time pathway through this programme to opt for modules TH5026 and TH5027 which allow some flexibility in the programme by offering students opportunities to engage in independent study. On occasion, it may be possible for full-time students to follow TH5026 but this must be authorised by their programme leader.

Students finally choose an applied or work-based module worth 20 credits from one of the following:

  • TH5049: Religious Education
  • TH5056: Field Study of Religion
  • WB5101: Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning
  • SP5230: Applied Spanish for Beginners

Students studying on a part-time pathway through this programme can opt instead for TH5005 Independent Experiential Study which enables students to apply theoretical knowledge to their own practical and/or professional experience. In some circumstances students studying full-time will be permitted to study this module, but this must be authorised by their programme leader.

At Level 6 students must choose four modules worth 80 credits from the following list:

  • TH6041: Great Theological Thinkers
  • TH6042: Feminist Perspectives in Christian Theology
  • TH6043: Medical Ethics
  • TH6047: Jews, Christians and Pagans (168BCE-132CE)
  • TH6049: Jesus and The Gospels
  • TH6052: Biblical Hebrew [Barred combination with TH5052]
  • TH6056: Novelistic Texts in the Hebrew Bible
  • TH6046: Religion and Culture: Transformations of British Religious Life (1960-2010)
  • TH6057: Violence and Nationalism: Religious and Philosophical Perspectives

Students finally register for the core module worth 40 credits:

  • TH6051: Dissertation

It is also possible for students studying on a part-time pathway through this programme to opt for modules TH6016, TH6017, TH6018, or TH6019 which allow some flexibility in the programme by offering students opportunities to engage in independent study. Exceptionally, it may be possible for full-time students to follow one of these but this must be authorised by their programme leader.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH4007 4 Introduction to New Testament Greek 20 N/A
TH4008 4 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew 20 N/A
TH4041 4 Introduction to Theology 20 Comp
TH4042 4 The Study of Religion: an Introduction 20 Comp
TH4043 4 Encountering Religions: Judaism and Buddhism 20 Optional
TH4044 4 Hinduism and Islam 20 Optional
TH4045 4 The Bible: Contents and Contexts 20 Optional
TH4046 4 The Bible: Readers and Perspectives 20 Optional
TH4047 4 Global Perspectives on Christianity 20 Optional
TH4048 4 Philosophy and Ethics 20 Comp
SP5230 5 Applied Spanish for Beginners 20 Optional
TH5005 5 Independent Experiential Study 20 Optional
TH5026 5 Independent Study 20 Optional
TH5027 5 Independent Study II 20 Optional
TH5041 5 Contextual and Practical Theology 20 Optional
TH5042 5 Systematic Theology 20 Optional
TH5043 5 Theological Ethics 20 Optional
TH5044 5 Islam: Religion and Philosophy 20 N/A
TH5045 5 Anthropology of Religion 20 Optional
TH5046 5 Spirituality and Popular Culture 20 Optional
TH5047 5 Hebrew Bible: Story and History 20 N/A
TH5048 5 New Testament Studies: Paul's Practical Theology 20 Optional
TH5049 5 Religious Education 20 Optional
TH5050 5 Hindu Philosophy and Theology 20 N/A
TH5052 5 Biblical Hebrew 20 Optional
TH5053 5 New Testament Greek 20 N/A
TH5054 5 Judaism and Islam: Philosophy and Hermeneutics 20 Optional
TH5055 5 Asian Philosophy: knowledge, liberation and the self 20 Optional
TH5056 5 Field Study of Religion 20 Optional
TH5057 5 The Religion of Ancient Israel 20 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
TH6016 6 Independent Theological Study 20 Optional
TH6017 6 Independent Biblical Study 20 Optional
TH6018 6 Independent Religious Study 20 Optional
TH6019 6 Independent Study 20 Optional
TH6041 6 Great Theological Thinkers 20 Optional
TH6042 6 Feminist Perspectives in Christian Theology 20 Optional
TH6043 6 Medical Ethics 20 Optional
TH6044 6 Ritual: Religion in Practice 20 N/A
TH6045 6 Minority Faith Communities in Europe 20 N/A
TH6046 6 Religion and Culture: Transformations of British Religious Life (1960-2010) 20 Optional
TH6047 6 Jews, Christians, and Pagans (168BCE–132CE) 20 Optional
TH6048 6 Religions in India 20 N/A
TH6049 6 Jesus and the Gospels 20 Optional
TH6050 6 Images of the Word: The Bible in Cinema 20 N/A
TH6051 6 Dissertation 40 Comp
TH6052 6 Biblical Hebrew 20 Optional
TH6053 6 New Testament Greek 20 N/A
TH6054 6 Where Can Wisdom Be Found? Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes 20 N/A
TH6055 6 Indian mythology: narrative, ritual and folklore 20 N/A
TH6056 6 Novelistic Texts in the Hebrew Bible 20 Optional
TH6057 6 Violence and Nationalism: Religious and Philosophical Perspectives 20 Optional

Level4 - 120 credits (Certificate of Higher Education)
Level5 - 240 credits (120 @ Level5 + 120 @ Level 4) (Diploma of Higher Education)
Level6 - 360 credits (120 @ Level6 + 120 @ Level5 + 120 @ Level 4) (BA Theology and Religious Studies)

The typical applicant will have a minimum of 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent (such as BTEC National/OCR Diploma). Applicants may also typically have:

  • Access to HE Diploma;
  • International Baccalaureate (26 points);
  • Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects;
  • Open College Units or Open University Credits;
  • The Advanced Diploma.

This is consistent with the entry qualifications for other single honours humanities programmes across the institution. Applicants will not be interviewed, but will be expected to demonstrate a subject-related interest.

The design, structure and content of this programme have been informed by the QAA Theology and Religious Studies Benchmark Statement published in 2000 and revised in 2007 and 2014. 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.

In keeping with the Statement’s view that an honours programme in theology and religious studies would usually have ‘a broadly based core’ while allowing for more specialised study in depth of some aspects of the field, the programme is founded on core modules in several main disciplines, which provide the basis for selection and specialisation in particular disciplines and focused modules at levels 5 and 6.

In keeping with the Statement’s expectation that students demonstrate an intelligent engagement with one or more religions during their degree programme, the programme allows students the opportunity to study a range of faith traditions. It also considers the relationship between religion, culture and secularism, and addresses contemporary questions, such as those to do with violence, sexuality, race and gender. The programme encourages students critically to analyse a range of themes from a number of perspectives and to apply insights from other disciplines.

The programme engages students in the reading, analysis and interpretation of texts, developing in students an ability to engage in the close reading of primary and secondary sources. In keeping with the Statement, the programme encourages students to assess critically and with sensitivity the claims to certainty that arise within religious and theological traditions and to reflect critically on their own positions. Students apply and evaluate a number of methods of study in analysing material and are given opportunities to identify their own independent areas of enquiry.

All modules on this programme cultivate empathy, self-discipline and the ability to respond sensitively to diverse views. All modules develop writing skills, with some developing oral presentation skills and facilitating greater media literacy.

Generic skills are developed through the learning ethos of the department and specifically through formative learning methods such as class discussion, formal seminars, presentations, assignment proposal development and supervised dissertation research. Ability to work with others is assessed in modules with a group oral assignment relating to a field visit, or with an evaluation of seminar experience. Self-discipline and self-direction are particularly tested with the double module dissertation, and in modules with an assessed fieldwork component.

The student learning experience is supported by class-delivered, tutorial-based and fieldwork activities. A range of learning and teaching methods are used: lectures, seminars, workshops, group-work activities, individual and group-centred projects, presentations, tutorials, fieldwork, and tutor-guided private study. At Level 4, learning is predominantly tutor-designed and guided, providing both a groundwork in the core disciplines as well as fostering critical reflection and a range of transferable skills. At Level 5, students experience a wider range of appropriate methods of study, and have the opportunity to apply their learning and skills in placement. Learning at this level also serves to further consolidate and develop appropriate study skills. At Level 6, students develop a greater responsibility for their own learning, both independent and collaborative.

Students are inducted into different forms of assessment at Level 4 in a range which responds to the different learning preferences of students, prepares them for the standard forms of graduate assessment, and offers some opportunities for creative forms of assessment. At Level 4, students are given formative experiences within the module or programme for any type of summative assessment they will encounter at that level. Where new forms of assessment are introduced at Levels 5 or 6, again formative exercises are used. At every level assignment proposal forms are used for all essays and for some other forms of assessment. These are used in initial negotiation of topic and resources, for title agreement, and for supervising the development of the analysis and argument. The underlying pattern is that Level 4 modules are assessed in a number of smaller assignments (e.g., 2,000-word essay, a 1-hour examination, and a portfolio), Level 5 modules tend to extend the length of assignments (typically 2 x 2,000 words), and Level 6 modules are, typically, assessed in a 3,000-word essay (assessing most or all of the learning outcomes holistically) plus a shorter component. However, assessment methods are chosen for fitness of purpose with the modular learning outcomes and so some may vary from this prevailing pattern.

Following the acquisition of this award, students will be equipped to follow a number of related career pathways, including, for example, work in the voluntary and public sectors, teaching, employment related to interfaith work and religious professions, and social work. 

This programme engages with the career agenda by providing opportunities for students to sample professions/ areas of work they are considering as potential career pathways through the option of a Level 5 module in experiential learning. This may be subject specific (i.e., TH5049 Religious Education) or more generic (i.e., WB5001 Work-based Learning for Academic Credit).

The skills developed in TRS degrees valued by students (nationally) on these programmes include:

§       Cultural understanding;

§       Appreciation of how others live;

§       Open-mindedness – less likely to judge others and more likely to listen;

§       Researching and interviewing skills through fieldwork;

§       Confidence in own abilities;

§       Academic, intellectual and social development;

§       IT skills;

§       Writing skills;

§       Presentation;

§       Organising own workload and meeting deadlines.

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 judgements, 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;
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and
  • the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature. Cf. FHEQ guidelines for Level H [http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/FHEQ/EWNI/default.asp].

Modules in the programme offer opportunities for addressing questions of gender, sexuality, disability, race and religious identity. Students may also experience learning alongside students from other faith traditions and none. There are no confessional requirements for entry to or success in the programme. The TRS department actively and successfully addresses the University 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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