The programme can be represented as having three stages:
Stage 1A. Level 7 - Theological Preparation and Reflection (120 credits)
Stage 1B. Level 8 - Researching the practice of ministry (120 credits)
Stage 2. Level 8 - Thesis (300 credits)
A part-time student with a relevant master's degree and appropriate professional experience, who makes a successful APL claim for Stage 1A (Preparation and reflection), would be eligible for exemption from Level 7 modules. Such students would then be expected to complete Stage 1B in 18 months and to complete the DMin Dissertation within the following three years.
Part-time students commencing the course without exemptions at Level 7 will normally require six years to complete the Doctorate of Ministry programme.
Each stage is completed before the next is begun: theological preparation and reflection (or a credit claim) is a prerequisite for the first designated modules of Stage 1B; the level 8 designated modules are prerequisites for the thesis and trigger the Advisory Review Board.
Pathways through these may typically be part-time six years. A common model of recruitment is a part-time student with relevant master's degree and updated professional experience which enables a successful APL claim for the research preparation: this is shown as a five year pathway. Without such accredited learning, a part-time student can achieve the doctorate in six years with modules (total 120 credits at level 7) of theological preparation and reflection.
Stage 1A. Theological Preparation and Reflection
Where students do not have a relevant master's degree or postgraduate diploma and updated professional experience for an APL claim (of up to 120 credits at level 7) they undertake one compulsory 20 credit module plus a further five optional 20 credit modules. All of the modules taken during Stage 1A require students to engage in critical theological reflection. These modules offer students resources for enhancing their reflection on practice through a critical engagement with a range of theological subjects relevant to preparation for reflection on Christian ministry.
Stage 1A - Level 7
TH7501 - Study Skills (Compulsory - 20 credits)
Study Skills is a compulsory module for all students in this programme, unless exemption has been awarded by the University of Chester, through a credit claim presented at the time of application. The student is required to reach a requisite standard.
TH7515 Women in Ministry (20 credits)
This module seeks to make students aware of various approaches to gender related theological issues, identify and investigate primary biblical texts relating to Christian women, examine the role of women in the Church and society - Western, global and Northern Irish - and prepare students to engage in research in specific and relevant areas of interest.
TH7516 Leadership in the Pastoral Epistles (20 credits)
This module provides a theological and historical examination of the major issues relating to Christian leadership within the Pastoral Epistles, and explores their relevance to the contemporary context.
TH7517 The Theology of Worship (20 credits)
This module is an examination of worship biblically and historically together with reflection on worship in pastoral practice.
TH7518 Biblical Ethics in Contemporary Context (20 credits)
This module provides the student with a biblical framework for engaging in ethical discussion before going on to examine in a critical way a range of contemporary ethical issues.
TH7519 Reformation Studies (20 credits)
This module provides the student with the opportunity to engage more fully with the theology of the Reformation period and to examine its implications for ministry today.
TH7520 Apologetics (20 credits)
This module provides the student with opportunity to examine approaches to Christian apologetics and to relate this to contemporary issues.
TH7521 Christology Yesterday and Today (20 credits)
This module is an examination of the Christology of selected key theologians and historical/contemporary debates.
TH7522 Preaching in the Contemporary World (20 credits)
An examination and study of the practice of preaching as a relevant vehicle of communicating Christian truth in contemporary society.
TH7523 Mission Studies (20 credits)
This module includes an examination of the historical, biblical and theological backgrounds to missions and their implications for contemporary practice.
Stage 1B - designated level 8 components of reflection and research training/researching the practice of ministry
Stage 1B: Level 8 (total 120 credits)
Students with a relevant master's degree or postgraduate diploma and updated professional experience for an APL claim may be allowed to begin at this point. Students undertake 120 credits from Part 1B.
TH8506 - Critical Review and Thesis Proposal (40 credits)
This module presents a critical understanding of research paradigms appropriate to theological research with their constituent research methodologies and methods through a critical analysis of examplar papers drawn from contemporary academic peer reviewed material. A Research Project and a full Research Proposal for the DMin thesis should be end products.
The principal aim of this module is for the student to make a case for their readiness to engage in doctoral level study. It reviews the preparation (or the credit claim for prior learning) and acts as the gatekeeper to level 8 studies. It provides the framework for the student to put forward their case for the areas of major research and to have it tested before being allowed to proceed.
This identifies a clear context, focus and question for the proposed research project, giving a well-supported rationale for the project's value, usefulness and originality. It demonstrates a clear ability to ground this research project in the wider context of issues, debates and methods within the discipline of practical theology. It presents a clear methodology for undertaking this project which is appropriate to the project's research question and which demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of particular research paradigms and the nature and limitations of specific research methods.
TH8502 - Principles and Practice of Pastoral Care (20 credits)
This module requires the student to be able to develop a critical examination of the nature of pastoral care in the 21st century and the challenge facing Christian ministers in particular crisis situations.
TH8503 - Principles and Practice of Christian Mission (20 credits)
This module asks ‘what is mission'? A critical examination of how successive paradigm shifts have affected the understanding of mission is the goal of this course. In-depth reflections on how these reflect upon the biblical/theological basis of mission should result in the written assessment.
TH8504 - The Church - Principles and Practice of Ministry (20 credits)
Aspects of biblical and historical ecclesiology will be examined. The module will combine these two bodies of knowledge and provide opportunity for in-depth reflection on the practical needs of contemporary ministry.
TH8505 - Theological Reflection and Ministry (40 credits)
The module presents an in-depth approach to critical theological reflection including the use of Scripture, tradition, the social sciences and culture as they relate to the practice of theology. The practitioner will be assessed as to personal strengths and weaknesses in the process of critical reflection and will engage with examples drawn from contemporary society.
Stage 2 (the Thesis)
TH8510 DMin Thesis (300 credits)
After an Advisory and Review Board confirming the supervision arrangements, students undertake the final component. On successful completion of stages 1A and 1B a student proceeds to the final submission of a 50,000 word thesis. This will be a substantial piece of theological research, done under the guidance of a supervisor, on a topic arising from their experience and practice of ministry. Appropriate theological and other sources and methods should be used to explore the research topic. A significant contribution to the understanding and practice of ministry in the area under investigation should be made by the thesis. The thesis will be assessed in an oral examination by an internal and an external examiner.