University of Chester

Programme Specification
MRes in Applied Theology MRes
2017 - 2018

Master by Research

MRes in Applied Theology

MRes in Applied Theology (Regents Theological College)

University of Chester

Regents Theological College

West Malvern Campus

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

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

University of Chester

Theology and Religious Studies

Monday 1st October 2012

The aim of this programme is: 

  • To provide graduate students with the opportunity to develop an independent, substantial piece of scholarly research into an aspect of Applied Theology that fits with the College's supervisory expertise.
  • To be informed by, and to contribute to, broader academic debates about the methods, approaches and practices that underpin the modern theological disciplines.
  • To provide students with advanced theological research training appropriate for both Level 7 and doctoral research.
  • To develop students' self-management, planning and communication skills.
  • To prepare fully those students with suitable interests for further postgraduate research at the Master/Doctor of Philosophy level and beyond.

Knowledge and Understanding

 Level 7 Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • demonstrate a competent, critical, self-reflexive engagement with the study of applied theology; (TH7168)
  • develop methodological and epistemological frameworks appropriate for the study of applied theology; (TH7167)
  • develop a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insightsat forefront of the applied theological context and practice; (TH7168)
  • 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)
  • use and evaluate a range of appropriate methods: philosophical, historical, phenomenological, hermeneutical, linguistic, speculative, social scientific etc., and where appropriate to propose new hypotheses; (TH7168)
  • develop the ability to 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 within Theology. (TH7167, TH7168)



Thinking or Cognitive Skills

 Level 7 Students will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate:

  • skills appropriate for the academic analysis of key issues and concepts associated with the study of applied theology;(TH7167, TH6168)
  • the ability to interpret and express balanced and informed independent opinions on significant issues, drawing on appropriate methodological tools; (TH7167, TH7168)
  • research skills, appropriate for Master’s level, which could provide a basis for further postgraduate studies and/or professional development; (TH7168)
  • 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 applied theology; (TH7168)
  • an ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively; make sound judgements based on the evidence available; and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audience; (TH7168)
  • 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 applied 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 apply their insights into practical situations and contexts of Christian and other work and practice will also be demonstrated. (TH7168)

Level 7 students should be able to:

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. TH7167, TH7168) 

express themselves clearly through assessment , observing academic form; (in written work)accuracy in spelling and grammar; communicate conclusions  clearly for specialist & non-specialist audiences as appropriate. (e.g. TH7167, TH7168)

The programme consists of 2 compulsory modules:

  • TH7167 Theological Research Methodologies (40 credits).
  • TH7168 Dissertation (140 credits)

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH7167 7 Theological Research Methodologies 40 Comp
TH7168 7 Dissertation 140 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:

  • an initial degree in Theology and/or Religious Studies; OR
  • an initial degree in another subject, together with evidence of certificated learning in theology and/or religious studies or substantial related experience.
  • Applicants will normally hold at least a 2.1 honours degree.  Consideration will be given to those who hold a lower classification who can demonstrate satisfactorily they are capable of performing at the level required to complete the programme successfully.

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 M Res 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 TH7167 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. 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 wide 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.  There will be 30 contact hours for the module TH7167 Theological Research Methodologies. 

Lectures in the module are intended to give the students knowledge 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, tutors and supervisors via email, telephone, skype or face-to-face interviews as they prepare their research projects.

Students will be supported by means of one-to-one supervision of the dissertation process.  Supervisors will be approved by the University and receive appropriate and regular training.

TH7167 is taught at Regents Theological College as the first module each academic year, enabling students to turn to their major research project at an early stage of the programme.

A half-day campus orientation will take place at Regents Theological campus to introduce the students to the postgraduate programme. It will incorporate matters relating to library usage, financial administration, campus operations and facilities.

The main, substantive piece of assessment is the research dissertation (TH7168) which is assessed by an extended dissertation of 30,000 words.  This will be examined in accordance with the regulations for PGR degrees in Handbook G.

TH7167 (Theological Research Methodologies) is normally assessed by a 5000-word publication-read journal article, a 1500 word Masters dissertation research proposal, and a 1500 word essay on the nature and use of empirical research methods in theological research.

Provisional titles for the dissertation are to be discussed with the Director of Postgraduate Studies after the module TH7167 has been completed.  The working title must be agreed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies who will allocate a supervisor for the project.The eventual title of the dissertation must be decided by the student in consultation with the Director of Postgraduate Studies and/or a faculty specialist in the given subject area.   

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 (7th rev. ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). One copy of the dissertation is to be presented which will be marked and if passed it will be placed in the College 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. 

It may prove especially useful to theological college, Bible School or seminary Bachelors graduates who desire to further their personal study in the realm of Applied Theology. Graduates, particularly in the Global South  may also be 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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