University of Chester

Programme Specification
Theology GradDip
2017 - 2018

Graduate Diploma


Theology (IBC)

University of Chester

Irish Baptist College

Irish Baptist College

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

4 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies []

Theology and Religious Studies Module Assessment Board

Thursday 25th February 2016

The Graduate Diploma has been designed to provide a broad education in the major branches of Theology and to encourage independent research skills. It is targeted specifically at

· preparing those who wish to pursue post-graduate study in theology, but do not have a first degree in a related subject;

· providing a qualification in theology for professional purposes for those who hold a first degree in any subject and intend to enter Christian ministry;

· updating the skills and knowledge of those who studied theology at university many years ago and who now wish to continue their studies for personal or professional purposes.

The programme aims to enable students to

  • handle Scripture in a way that is sensitive to both the original and contemporary contexts
  • reflect on issues of ministry, mission, society/culture and personal development
  • develop attitudes and skills for understanding ministry and its demands in the modern world
  • develop attitudes and skills for sustaining long-term ministry
  • develop skills and abilities to enable others to think and live biblically
  • understand the nature and implications of a radical commitment to the authority of Scripture


  • demonstrate detailed knowledge and systematic understanding of key concepts of the disciplines of the programme. There will be an ability to evaluate and interpret them, with reference to advanced scholarship and an appreciation of uncertainty and ambiguity. (TH6501; TH6504; TH6509; TH6511; TH6518)

  • demonstrate an ability to recognise and relate to one another concepts and cultural influences; and evaluate and interpret these with a recognition of their complexity (TH6508; TH6513; TH6517)

  • demonstrate an ability to evaluate and utilise resources relevant to practice (TH6501; TH6518)

  • demonstrate a willingness and ability to develop and manage strategies to improve practice (TH6519; TH6520)

  • demonstrate an ability to assess their performance critically, incorporating an analysis of their own models of service as well as those of others and a willingness to offer and receive constructive criticism (TH6508; TH6513)

  • demonstrate an ability to apply skills required for sustaining long-term ministry in a variety of settings (TH6501; TH6508)
  • demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively and effectively as a member of a team or group being aware of the complexities involved (TH6513; TH6519)

  • demonstrate the skills to reflect and learn in a way which balances and integrates theory and practice (TH6517; TH6520)

  • demonstrate ability in writing skills and the accurate presentation of written material. (TH6501; TH6511)

  • demonstrate an ability in leadership, self-reflection, problem solving, inter-personal and presentation skills. (TH6504; TH6518)

  • demonstrate an ability to both research and process data, from appropriate sources, in an effective manner.  (TH6515; TH6516)

The Graduate Diploma is achieved by taking 120 credits at level 6. There are 4 core modules and 8 optional which give a thorough theological basis for further study or Christian ministry. The core modules are:-

  • TH6501 Biblical Theology 3 (covering the Church, the Holy Spirit and Eschatology)
  • TH6518 OT Prophetical Books
  • TH6504 General Letters (of the New Testament)
  • TH6511 Historical Theology 3 (covering 1800 to the present day)

The balance of the 120 credits is selected from the optional modules, including the independent study module.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH6501 6 Biblical Theology 3 20 Comp
TH6502 6 Proverbs 20 Optional
TH6504 6 General Letters 20 Comp
TH6508 6 Apologetics 10 Optional
TH6509 6 Baptist History and Thought 10 Optional
TH6511 6 Historical Theology 3 10 Comp
TH6513 6 Missionary Studies 2 20 Optional
TH6516 6 Independent Study 20 Optional
TH6517 6 Christian Ethics: Issues and Practice 10 Optional
TH6518 6 OT Prophetical Books 20 Comp
TH6519 6 Pastoral Studies 2: Care and Counselling 20 Optional
TH6520 6 Pastoral Studies 3 : Pastoral Call and Ministry 10 Optional

60 credits at level 6 give the possibility of an exit award, the Graduate Certificate in Theology.
120 credits are required for the Graduate Diploma.

Normally the applicant should have obtained an honours degree at 2:2 level or above in any subject.

An IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent is demanded where English is not the first language.

The design, structure and content of this programme have each 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.

Knowledge and Understanding

The statement indicates that a single 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 (3.1). The Graduate Diploma is a Level 6 award and offers a specialized and detailed engagement of the study area but also ensures that the student has access to the relevant resources to ensure that they have the necessary foundation.

There are focused modules in biblical and historical theology (TH6501, TH6511), ministry (TH6519, TH6520), Old Testament (TH6518), and New Testament (TH6504).

It also considers the relationship between religion and culture (TH6513) and addresses contemporary ethical and apologetic questions (TH6517, TH6508) while exposing the student to other faith traditions.

The GradDip engages students in the reading, analysis and interpretation of texts. Each module has a recommended reading list with ongoing reading during the teaching period. The completion of assignments requires an in-depth engagement with the relevant literature.

Qualities of mind

The GradDip deals with the development of religious concepts in a variety of ways taking into account the use of texts and the impact of worldview and translation on texts. Religious experience, its formulation and development are studied. (TH6501, TH6509, TH6518)

Students are expected to be able to make cogent and clear arguments drawing well substantiated conclusions in class discussion, debate, presentation, critical reviews and written assignments across all modules.

The emphasis on critical and reflective skills is emphasised in modules which include opportunity for practical experience and the sharing of experience. (TH6520, TH6519)

All modules are taught within an overall framework of ‘cross-streaming’. This enables students to appreciate the inter-connections between study areas and the need to critically question any conclusions in the light of the wider body of knowledge and literature to which they are exposed. (demonstrated in, for example, TH6501, TH6504 and TH6518)

Generic skills

Within the GradDip students are given systematic and fulsome feedback in both formative assessment exercises and summative assignments. Opportunities to develop presentation skills are given. (Th6508; TH6513)

The inclusion of small group discussion and consensus forming are a feature of class time and student preparation for class presentation and debate. Students are given the opportunity to be challenged in their prior thinking by exposure to ideas both in written and oral form. (TH6508, TH6517)

The guided self-study module (TH6516) broadens the critical engagement with key sources and develop independent thinking, initiative and analytical ability.

An awareness of the breadth of religious debate and resources available through the internet and also through more specialised avenues is used for personal and group reflection and analysis. The use of a VLE encourages the development of technological and media literacy across all modules.

Students will be enabled to achieve the intended learning outcomes through the following teaching and learning strategies:

  • Lectures and seminars - providing concentrated acquisition of information from a subject specialist in a structured manner
  • Group Work - providing opportunity for students to work collaboratively on a project
  • Guided reading - students will be supplied with indicative bibliographies for each module
  • Placement opportunities 
  • Journaling - in which students will reflect on aspects of their ministry experience

Students will demonstrate achievement of the intended learning outcomes using the following assessment methods:

  • Normally a module will require a written summative assignment on an aspect of each of the topics studied. Each assignment should be equivalent to 4,000 words (at Levels Four to Six) for 20 credit modules and equivalent to 2,000 words for 10 credit modules. These will be marked by the tutor and an appointed second marker.
  • Internally double-marked scripts will be forwarded to the external examiner for moderation.
  • Assessment methods may include reflective writing, reviews of core books, class presentations and placement reports.
  • There will be no examinations

Formative assessment takes place in a number of ways: through tutor feedback and peer discussion in class, seminars, workshops, group-work and through homework assignments.

Graduate Profile

The outcome of this Course should be the production of graduates who will be able to demonstrate:

  • the skills to reflect and learn in a way which balances theoretical, personal and practical aspects of the learning process and integrates and moves between theory and practice
  • an understanding of the attitudes, skills and abilities of what is required for sustained, long-term ministry, and an ability to be able to apply these to themselves and their ministry
  • an ability to critically assess their ministry, being able to analyse and assess their own models and patterns of service as well as those of others. On the basis of this analysis to be able to develop and manage strategies for improvement of ministry practice
  • an ability to evaluate biblical, theological, contextual leadership and pastoral resources and relate them to their ministry
  • an ability to communicate biblical and theological truth in a way that is both relevant and life-changing

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. Students also engage with their own particular careers agenda through opportunities for work based learning or skills for Christian ministry. The dissertation module at level 6, provides student with opportunities to develop their thinking in areas that are likely to be directly related to their chosen careers. For those students who are already retired from paid employment, enhancement and recognition of their experiential and life skills, such as used when contributing to the voluntary sector, for example.

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 skills
  • 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

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. There are no confessional requirements for entry to or success in the programme.

The Irish Baptist College actively 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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