University of Chester

Programme Specification
Practical Theology - Ministry Development PGDip
2017 - 2018

Postgraduate Diploma

Practical Theology - Ministry Development

Practical Theology - Ministry Development (Diocese of Chester)

University of Chester

The Diocese of Chester

Places of employment, Foxhill Conference Centre and Church House, Daresbury.

Postgraduate (Taught)


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

3 years

5 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies Benchmark

Theology and Religious Studies

Tuesday 12th January 2016

  • To offer a level 7 programme in applied, contextual and practical theology in a full or part-time mode with flexible delivery.
  • 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 offer personal and professional development in Christian studies and ministries. 
  • To qualify students for admission to a postgraduate programme in applied theology.

By the end of the programme students will have demonstrated:

  • a systematic understanding, detailed knowledge and critical understanding of theology, biblical studies and areas of applied and contextual theology and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at the forefront of their academic discipline and area of practice (all modules)
  • a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship (all modules)
  • a critical awareness of the ways in which social analysis and qualitative research methods can illuminate the nature of practice and institutions (TH7113, TH7114, TH7115, TH7119)
  • an understanding of the implications of the academic study of theology for their professional practice (TH7115, TH7117)

By the end of the programme students will have demonstrated:

  • interdisciplinary skills appropriate for the academic analysis of key issues and concepts associated with the advanced study of theology (TH7113, TH7114, TH7115, TH7119)
  • research skills, appropriate for this postgraduate level, which could provide a basis for further postgraduate studies and/or professional development (all modules)
  • an ability to critically evaluate one's own perspectives and to stand back from those perspectives to appreciate other beliefs, practices and cultures (all modules)
  • the capacity to deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, and make sound judgements in the absence of complete data and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences (TH7113, TH7114, TH7115, TH7119)
  • self-direction and originality in identifying issues and tackling problems, and the capacity to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level (all modules)

By the end of the programme students will have shown:

  • they can identify and analyse complex issues in the relationship between theology, context and practice in a critical and systematic fashion (all modules)
  • they do differentiate between different research methods and their relevance for the advanced study of theology, religion and society (TH7113, TH7114, TH7115, TH7119)
  • they do articulate through extended and reasoned argument on the basis of a range of evidence (all modules)
  • they do evaluate and differentiate different approaches, disciplinary perspectives and intellectual traditions within the study of theology, religion and society (all modules)
  • they can demonstrate appropriate research skills for the advanced study in theology and religious studies (all modules)
  • they can act autonomously in planning and implementing a negotiated study, demonstrating critical reading of a wide range of scholarly articles and primary sources, with evidence of originality in the application of knowledge and critical awareness (all modules)
  • they use information technology and computer skills for data capture, to identify and retrieve material and support research and presentations (all modules)

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

  • express themselves clearly with accurate spelling and grammar and observing academic form (all modules)
  • communicate conclusions clearly for specialist and non-specialist audiences as appropriate (all modules)

The programme offers students the opportunity to engage in the postgraduate level study of applied, contextual and practical theology.  

The core disciplines are those associated with Christian ministerial practice: Christian Theology and Biblical Studies, and Practical Theology and Ministry.  All modules in this programme are core.  

The core disciplines can be included/demonstrated in a number of ways and studies, research and assignments are negotiated and agreed so that each student fulfils the programme learning outcomes through studies appropriate to their needs and interests.

The pathway offered is for students completing post-ordination training in the Church of England (IME Phase 2) and comprises 6 x 20 credit modules. These modules combine both theological reading related to practice, and analysis and research arising from practice and experience in order to develop critical and theological reflexive skills with a view to improving practice.

Modules (in the sequence in which they would normally be studied):

  • TH7113 Ordained Ministry Audit - Mission and Evangelism in Context
  • TH7115 Theological Reading and Ministry I (Chester Diocese)
  • TH7114 Reflection on Ministerial Practice I (Chester Diocese)
  • TH7117 Theological Reading and Ministry II
  • TH7116 Reflection on Ministerial Practice II
  • TH7118 Theological Reading and Ministry III
  • TH7119 Ministerial Development and Research

All modules are compulsory except TH7118 and TH7119. Students choose between those two modules.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH7113 7 Ordained Ministry Audit - Mission and Evangelism in Context 20 Comp
TH7114 7 Reflection on Ministerial Practice I (Chester Diocese) 20 Comp
TH7115 7 Theological Reading and Ministry 1 (Chester Diocese) 20 Comp
TH7116 7 Reflection on Ministerial Practice II 20 Comp
TH7117 7 Theological Reading and Ministry II 20 Comp
TH7118 7 Theological Reading and Ministry III 20 Optional
TH7119 7 Ministerial Development and Research 20 Optional

Postgraduate Certificate - 60 credits at Level 7

Postgraduate Diploma - 120 credits at Level 7

The academic ability, motivation and potential of a student required for entry to the programme can be established from a number of forms of evidence:

  • a degree (typically 2:1 or higher) in Theology and/or Religious Studies
  • a degree (2:1 or higher)in another subject area with similar key skills e.g. Arts and Humanities, Social Science, or Philosophy. 
  • a portfolio and summary of substantial non-certificated and experiential learning. 

Where applicants present qualifications or experience that are not included in the University’s stated entry criteria, an Admissions Equivalence Form is completed and signed by two members of the programme team, outlining the basis upon which an offer can been made.

The Programme relates to the Subject Benchmark statement for Theology and Religious Studies, October 2014.

  • A range of learning and teaching methods are used including tutorials, group work activities, fieldwork and individual study
  • The programme is part of a wider diocesan training programme which is placement based
  • Students will show:

o   a high degree of independence and self-direction in learning, taking responsibility for their own learning experience (all modules)

o   a high degree of engagement, interaction and independent thinking and ability to find their own source material and literature (all modules)

o   knowledge of appropriate research methods and adoption of adequate research skills (particularly TH7113, 7114 & 7119)

o   an advanced ability to use relevant original/primary sources (all modules)

o   skills necessary for the production of original research with an ability to adopt a critical distance from their source material, to evaluate it critically, and to reach their own conclusions (particularly TH7113, 7114 & 7119)

o   awareness of the complexity of the subject matter (particularly TH7113 & 7114) and the range of sources that are appropriate to their work

o   critical reflection on their own particular standpoint, and a good understanding of the methodological and hermeneutical issues that are raised (particularly TH7113, 7114 & 7119)

o   an ability to be critically reflective, with integration of academic literature relating theory and practice, where students are drawing on practical experience (all modules)

o   an understanding of the ethical issues raised by their research, and compliance with relevant codes of practice (particularly TH7113, 7114 & 7119)

o   skills necessary to make full use of electronic resources, including primary sources and web-based study tools, to evaluate them critically, and where appropriate, to develop their own technological resources (all modules)

At level 7, students develop a greater responsibility for their own learning, both independent and collaborative. There is encouragement to articulate personal engagement and response in the context of respect for views of others; and with appreciation of complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty.

The student learning experience is supported by class-delivered, tutorial-based and fieldwork activities. A range of learning and teaching methods are used: seminars, workshops, group-work activities, individual and group-centred projects, presentations, tutorials, fieldwork/visits to religious communities, and tutor-guided private study. 

Typically holistic assessment by 5,000 word assignment or equivalent project.  

Types of assessment reflect the content and skills of the modules: for example situational analysis, exegetical and hermeneutical analysis, socio-cultural awareness, fieldwork mapping project, and journaling.  Where new forms of assessment are introduced at level 7,  formative exercises are used.

There are no examinations.

Students on these programmes are usually engaged in ministerial practice; the study equips them and the awards signal professional ministerial achievement.

Modules in the programme offer opportunities for addressing questions of gender, sexuality, race and religious identity. Pastoral and ministerial modules and projects may address issues of age and disabilities. 

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.

On successful completion of this programme students may transfer to the MA in Practical and Contextual Theology at the University of Chester.

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