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). This underlies the programme design of the Bachelor of Divinity (BD) as a broad based core at level 4, which provides the foundation for a more specialized and detailed engagement at subsequent levels.
Introductory study of biblical and historical theology (TH4501, TH4512), biblical studies (TH4502, TH4503), original languages (TH4507, TH4508), ethics (TH4517), global Christianity and world religions (TH4516, TH4511) establish the knowledge base.
Levels 5 and 6 are concerned with more focused modules in biblical and historical theology at levels 5 and 6 (TH5501, TH5509, TH6501, TH6511), ministry (TH5512, TH5516, TH6519, TH6520), Old Testament (TH5502; TH5503; TH6518), New Testament (TH5504; TH5517; TH6504) and biblical languages (TH5506; TH5515; TH6506; TH6507).
In keeping with the statement’s expectation that students demonstrate an intelligent engagement with one or more religions during their degree programme, the BD introduces the students to a range of faith traditions, worldviews and approaches to spirituality (TH4511, TH5508).
It also considers the relationship between religion and culture (TH6513) and addresses contemporary ethical and apologetic questions (TH6517, TH6508).
The BD engages students in the reading, analysis and interpretation of texts. Each module has a recommended reading list and ongoing reading during the teaching period. The completion of assignments require an in depth engagement with the relevant literature.
Qualities of mind
The BD 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. (TH5506; TH5515; TH6506; TH6507; TH5510, TH6509)
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. (TH5514, 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 critical question any conclusions in the light of the wider body of knowledge and literature to which they are exposed. (e.g. TH4505, TH4501, TH4515)
Within the BD students are given systematic and fulsome feedback in both formative assessment exercises and summative assignments. Opportunities to develop presentation skills are given both in class (TH4513) and out of class (TH5514).
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. (TH4511, TH5508, TH6508, TH6517)
The guided self-study modules (TH6515 & TH6516) broaden 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.