University of Chester

Programme Specification
Theology MRes
2017 - 2018

Master by Research


Theology (Regents)

University of Chester

Regents Theological College

Regents Theological College

Postgraduate (MRes)

Full-time and Part-time

Residential and Open,

1 year full-time and 2 years part-time

6 Years

Annual - September


17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies

Friday 25th November 2016

The aim of this programme is: 

  1. To provide graduate students with the opportunity to develop an independent and substantial scholarly contribution in their chosen field of research within the discipline of theology.
  2. To ensure research students are informed by, and contribute to, broader academic debates about the methods, approaches and practices that underpin the theological disciplines.
  3. To provide students with advanced theological research training appropriate for Level 7.
  4. To develop students' self-management, planning, and communication skills.
  5. To prepare fully those students with suitable interests for further postgraduate research at MPhil/PhD level.

Knowledge and Understanding  Level 7 students will be assessed on their ability to:

  1. Demonstrate a competent, critical, self-reflexive engagement with the study of theology; (TH7168)
  2. Develop methodological and epistemological frameworks appropriate for the study of theology; (TH7179)
  3. Develop a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights relating to theological contexts and practice; (TH7168)
  4. Demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge, together with an understanding of how methodological assumptions are related to theological content in the study of theology; (TH7168)
  5. Use and evaluate a range of appropriate methods and where appropriate to propose new hypotheses; (TH7168)
  6. Interpret primary and secondary sources, and to develop an appreciation of the complexity of the relationship between texts, institutions, traditions, philosophy, experience and other sources of authority relevant to the discipline of theology. (TH7179, TH7168)

Thinking or Cognitive Skills  Level 7 students will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate:

  1. Skills appropriate for the critical analysis of key issues and concepts associated with the study of theology; (TH7179, TH7168)
  2. The ability to interpret and express balanced and informed independent opinions on significant issues, drawing on appropriate methodological tools; (TH7179, TH7168)
  3. Research skills, appropriate for Master’s level, which could provide a basis for further postgraduate studies and/or professional development; (TH7168)
  4. An ability to understand how people have thought and acted in contexts other than the student’s own, with an awareness of the effects of historical, geographical, philosophical and linguistic contexts on the articulation of theology; (TH7168)
  5. An ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making ; sound judgements based on the evidence available, and communicating their conclusions clearly to a specialist and non-specialist audience; (TH7168)
  6. Self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level. (TH7168)

Practical Skills Christian workers completing this programme should have developed their research and communication skills to the level that their professional competence is significantly enhanced. This will make them more effective in offering religious and social counsel, support and direction, based upon informed decision-making and the ability to think through theological, ecclesiastical and social scenarios analytically and consistently. The theological perspective of the programme material should assist them to consistently assess and respond to the interaction between the theoretical and practical elements of Christian ministry. (TH7168)

Transferable Professional Skills Students will be assessed on their ability to act autonomously in planning and implementing a negotiated study demonstrating critical reading of a wide range of scholarly resources, including refereed research articles and primary sources, with evidence of originality in the application of knowledge and critical awareness. They will demonstrate the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility, decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations and the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development. The ability to relate their research findings into practical situations and contexts of Christian and other work and practice will also be demonstrated. (TH7168)

Level 7 students should be able to:

  1. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to a specialist and non- specialist audiences. (e.g. TH7179, TH7168) 
  2. Express themselves clearly through assessment, observing academic norms and standards, and communicate conclusions clearly for specialist & non-specialist audiences as appropriate. (e.g. TH7179, TH7168)

For the MRes in Theology the structure is:

  1. The module Thinking Theologically: An Introduction to Theology and Its Methodologies (TH7179);
  2. Plus one optional module;
  3. Plus the dissertation (TH7168).

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH7153 7 Pentecostal Spirituality 30 Optional
TH7161 7 Christian Leadership Development 30 Optional
TH7164 7 Christian Leadership and Strategic Organisational Transformation 30 Optional
TH7168 7 Dissertation 120 Comp
TH7169 7 Contemporary Christian Missions 30 Optional
TH7170 7 Christian Ministry in an Institutional Context 30 Optional
TH7171 7 Practical Chaplaincy Development 30 Optional
TH7175 7 Towards a Theology of Whole life Discipleship and Mission. 30 Optional
TH7176 7 God and Israel in Biblical Theology. 30 Optional
TH7177 7 Pentecostal Theology in Transformation 30 Optional
TH7178 7 Spirit and Salvation in Luke-Acts 30 Optional
TH7179 7 Thinking Theologically: An Introduction to Theology and its Methodologies 30 Comp

Master of Research in Applied Theology 180 credits

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:

  1. An initial degree in Theology and/or Religious Studies; OR
  2. An initial degree in another subject, together with evidence of certificated learning in theology and/or religious studies.
  3. Applicants must hold at least a 2.1 honours degree with a dissertation score in the same category or higher. 

Students whose first language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL internet 90.

As the MRes is a Research Degree, all applicants will be interviewed.

Students who wish to be admitted on the basis of non-UK previous qualifications are required to submit a certificate of comparison from NARIC upon which their application will be considered.

The Theology and Religious Studies Benchmark Statement, published by the QAA in 2000 and revised in 2007 and 2014, details the range of subject knowledge (TRS Benchmark 3.1), the qualities of mind (3.2), and generic skills acquired and developed in TRS degree programmes. Appendix A of the subject Benchmark Statement states that a Master’s degree in theology and religious studies is awarded to students who have demonstrated these Graduate standards as well as the more specific standards set out for MA programmes. Level 7 modules on the MRes build on and extend the benchmarks developed in TRS BA degree programmes, and are in line with the current MA draft benchmarks.

The programme equips students with an ‘expanded range of research and study tools’ (A4.3) beginning initially in the core module TH7166 where students learn the research skills needed to engage in advanced independent research, and developed then in a range of optional modules. Students cultivate appropriate knowledge of research methods and ethical research (A4.2, A6.1) and are required to demonstrate an advanced ability to use primary and secondary sources. Field work skills (developed in module TH7168) encourage students to integrate theoretical literature with practice (A6.1) and to critically reflect on their own position. Independence and originality of research is encouraged as students design their own projects and form their own – sometimes original – conclusions (A6.1). The research dissertation (TH7168) also allows students to expand their skills in self-directed learning, and to show an advanced ability to source material, think independently, and critically engage with and reflect upon a key area within the study of religion.

At level 7 a range of learning and teaching methods will be adopted. The course offers an integrated programme of lectures, seminars and tutorials, together with opportunities for individual consultation with the module lecturer. 

Following admission to the programme, a campus orientation will take place at Regents Theological College campus to introduce students to the postgraduate programme. It will incorporate matters relating to library usage, financial administration, campus operations and facilities.

TH7166 is taught at Regents Theological College as the first module each academic year. It is normally assessed by a 5000-word publication-ready journal article and a 1500 word Masters dissertation research proposal. The learning and assessment methods for the second 30 credit module vary according to the module selected by the student. TH7166 and the other optional module will normally be taken within the first year of registration before work on the major research project commences. There will be 30 contact hours for each 30 credit module. Students are expected to dedicate up to 50 hours for directed prior reading as assigned by module leaders. Lectures in the module provide students with a forum for acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills needed for them to develop their own ideas and arguments. It will be the responsibility of the tutor to facilitate discussion and interaction within the group.  During the period of modular instruction, guidance will be offered for the on-site research and development that will occur during non-contact occasions. Students will have access to module leaders and/or tutors via email, telephone, skype or face-to-face interviews as they prepare their research projects.

TH7168 (comprising a research dissertation of 25,000 words worth 120 credits) commences following successful completion of the two 30 credit modules. This will be examined in accordance with the regulations set by the University of Chester for MRes degrees in Handbook Giv. The provisional subject and title of the research dissertation are to be submitted as part of the documentation for the standard PGR application process, during which a provisional supervisory team will also be assigned. Students will be supported by means of one-to-one supervision of the dissertation process.  Students will have access to supervisors via email, telephone, skype or face-to-face interviews. Supervisors will be approved by the University and receive appropriate and regular training.

The presentation of research papers and dissertations is to conform to the current standard arrangements practised at Regents Theological College. All manuscripts are to be typed on one side of the paper only, double spaced, written in English, and conform to the bibliographical guidelines specified in Kate L. Turabian. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations. Revised by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, and the University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. 8th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. (7th rev. ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). The dissertation is to be submitted electronically to the University of Chester in order to be checked for academic malpractice and sent to the examiners. A final corrected hardcover copy is to be submitted to Regents Theological College to be placed in the library.

On completion of this programme, a successful graduate will have acquired a range of communication and transferable skills (as embraced by both the educational aims of the programme and the programme outcomes - see above) valuable to their current or potential employers. The MRes will also prepare students for further research at Master/Doctor of Philosophy level. 

The MRes in Theology may prove especially useful to theological college, Bible School or seminary Bachelors graduates who desire to further their personal study in the realm of theology. It may especially be suitable for those graduates intending to work in the theological education sector.  Christian workers and ministers might also choose this programme for CPD or for personal theological and ministerial development.

Modules in the programme offer opportunities for addressing questions of gender, sexuality, race and religious identity. There are no confessional requirements for entry to or success in the programme.

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