University of Chester

Programme Specification
Theology for Ministry BA (Hons) (Level 6 only)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Level 6 only)

Theology for Ministry

Theology for Ministry (St. John's)

University of Chester

St John's, Nottingham

St John's, Nottingham

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Residential and Open,

1 year full time or up to 3 years part time

3 Years

Biannual - March - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies

The programme has been accredited by the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England as the third stage in an ordination training pathway. It is also widely used as an element of post-ordination training.


Tuesday 1st June 2010

The aim of this programme is to provide a progression route from a Foundation degree and in particular the FdA in Theology for Ministry:

  1. To deepen the preparation for vocational and professional practice in a variety of Christian contexts already achieved in the FdA, as appropriate to the ministry for which they are preparing or in which they are engaged, whether ordained ministry, accredited lay ministry, church-related community work or an unaccredited ministry, in particular by immersion of at least one other context, beyond previous or current placement, in which Christian ministry is being undertaken.
  2. To provide a focused opportunity to building on the introduction to sacred texts encountered in the FdA by extending the range and depth of hermeneutical and critical skills.
  3. To provide models and resources to enable the development of inculturated and indigenizing forms of missional ministry.
  4. In the case of Mixed Mode and post-ordination students, to help prepare for the transition to posts of first responsibility by the acquisition of appropriate skills. To strengthen transferable skills in critical analysis and evaluation, in basic research, in the presentation of an argument and in the appropriate use of information technology.
  5. To qualify students for admission to postgraduate programmes.
  6. To address the subject benchmarks for theology and religious studies.

The programme delivers these in the context of the purpose and values of St John's, and within a distinctive educational and formational ethos.

On successful completion of the programme students will have achieved the following outcomes

Level 6

Knowledge and Understanding

Demonstrate detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the subject, with reference to advanced scholarship and with an appreciation of uncertainty and ambiguity (e.g. TH6723, TH6724, TH6737).


Level 6

Cognitive Skills

Apply a number of complementary methods of study, such as, philosophical, historical, systematic, dogmatic, phenomenological, linguistic, hermeneutical, empirical, speculative, and social scientific; apply these methods to review, consolidate and extend their knowledge and understanding (e.g.TH6722, TH6723, TH6724).


Level 6

Practical and Professional Skills

Demonstrate an ability to resolve problems and make decisions in contexts involving complexity (e.g. TH6723, TH6736, TH6741).

Level 6:

Develop projects and assignments which sustain and evaluate an argument largely through independent enquiry, and which draws on a range of scholarly resources including research articles and primary sources (e.g. TH6723).

The BA Top-up is usually taken over one year full time or two to three years part time. There are two primary routes, college-based taught modules or distance learning, but modules on these routes are interchangeable. The college-based route forms one option for completing the Extended Mixed Mode ordination training pathway; the graduate option is to complete the MA in Mission and Ministry.

The onsite-based route (which is most commonly used as pre- or post-ordination training) has three compulsory modules:

  • TH6720 Mission of the Triune God
  • TH6722 Advanced Mission & Pastoral Studies
  • TH6723 Dissertation

A further five are then chosen from a selection which varies from year to year. In 2017/18 the modules offered are:

  • TH6719 Preaching Joshua as Christian Scripture
  • TH6721 Understanding Church
  • TH6738 Fresh Expressions of Church: Starting, Developing and Sustaining
  • TH6741 Engaging Culture
  • TH6742 The Gospels as a Resource for Practical Theology
  • TH6750 Death and Dying

This module regime is designed to provide the opportunity to cover a breadth of ministry interests as is most appropriate for training for ordained ministry. Modules up to the appropriate level of credits may also be selected from the distance learning route with the agreement of the Programme Leader.

Permission of the programme leader is needed for students to take a language option (TH6705 New Testament Greek or TH6706 Old Testament Hebrew) for 10 credits in place of another optional 10 credits module. Students are able to attend language classes and not submit the work for credit to build on the study of texts in their original language which they may have begun at FdA level.

The distance learning route (which is most commonly used as lay ministry training and also as continuing professional development for ordained students) has three compulsory modules.

  • TH6722 Advanced Mission and Pastoral Studies
  • TH6723 Dissertation
  • TH6724 Modern Thought and Theology

Further distance learning modules are then chosen, by negotiation with the programme leader, to make up the correct number of credits. Other available distance learning modules from 2017/18 are:

  • TH6726 Acts and Mission
  • TH6727 A Christian Response to Islam
  • TH6728 Old Testament Narrative

This module regime is designed to provide the opportunity to deepen study in a range of specialisms as is most appropriate for lay ministry training. Modules up to the appropriate level of credits may also be selected from the college-based route with the agreement of the programme leader.

The programme (by either route) is highly employer engaged, in that the assessment for each module is employer-engagement focused and TH6722 requires a major placement in church or sector ministry appropriate to the student's own ministerial vocation.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH6705 6 New Testament Greek 10 N/A
TH6706 6 Old Testament Hebrew 10 N/A
TH6717 6 Hooker's Legacy and the Question of Christian Identity 10 N/A
TH6718 6 The Bible in a Digital Age 10 N/A
TH6719 6 Preaching Joshua as Christian Scripture 10 Optional
TH6720 6 The Mission of the Triune God 10 Optional
TH6721 6 Understanding Church 10 Optional
TH6722 6 Advanced Mission & Pastoral Studies 20 Comp
TH6723 6 Dissertation 40 Comp
TH6724 6 Modern Thought and Theology 20 Optional
TH6725 6 Understanding Church 20 N/A
TH6726 6 Acts and Mission 20 Optional
TH6727 6 A Christian Response to Islam 20 Optional
TH6728 6 Old Testament Narrative 20 Optional
TH6729 6 Acts and Mission 10 Optional
TH6730 6 Biblical Interpretation 10 N/A
TH6731 6 The Holy Spirit and the Charismatic Life 10 N/A
TH6732 6 Pastoral Care and the Human Lifecycle 10 N/A
TH6733 6 Old Testament Theology 10 N/A
TH6736 6 Christian Apologetics in a Post-Modern World 10 N/A
TH6737 6 Pastoral Care and Human Community 10 N/A
TH6738 6 Fresh Expressions of Church: Starting, Developing and Sustaining 10 Optional
TH6741 6 Engaging Culture 10 Optional
TH6742 6 The Gospels as a Resource for Practical Theology 10 Optional
TH6743 6 Islam and Christianity in Dialogue 10 N/A
TH6744 6 Ways of Christian Spirituality 10 N/A
TH6745 6 Witnessing Jesus in the Gospel of John 10 N/A
TH6746 6 Reading Ecclesiastes for Postmodern Mission 10 N/A
TH6748 6 Worship, Theology and Culture 10 N/A
TH6750 6 Death and Dying 10 Optional

Students need to have accumulated 120 credits each at levels 4 and 5 in the FdA in Theology for Ministry, or the equivalent, prior to enrolling on this programme. 120 credits at level 6 leads to the award of the Honours degree.


Students studying this programme as part of ordination or other sponsored training follow the pathway set out in section 24.a above.

Students will be expected to have completed the FdA in Theology for Ministry or an equivalent qualification within five academic years. A successful APL application to the University of Chester for 240 credits at FdA level is required prior to confirmation of admission to this programme.

An IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) is required for students for whom English is not their first language.

In all programmes we take full account of prior learning (APL) and prior experiential learning (APEL) in the recruitment and selection of students.

The design, structure and content of this programme have 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.

The BA level 6 programme is orientated towards future employment needs, being a route for those preparing for ministry in the Church, and those already engaged in ministry who want to build on their prior academic studies. The core modules (for on-site students TH6720, TH6722, TH6723; for Distance Learning students TH6724, TH6722, TH6723) develop a range of key skills in terms of integrated and applied theological learning. The interchange of flexible pathways, with students offered the possibility of transferring from taught routes to distance learning routes and vice versa, is a particular goal of bringing together these pathways into this award.

TRS Benchmark 3.1: subject knowledge

(i) A broadly based core, together with the wider context required for the subject area covered by the programme in question; and specialised study in depth of some aspects of the discipline or field. This implies not just the mastery of data but also the setting of these data within a theoretical framework which includes critical analysis and debate about how to understand and structure the raw data into a coherent whole. All modules.

(ii) One or more religions, ancient or modern, including the origin, history and developed or present character of each. TH6717, TH6720, TH6721, TH6743.

(iii) The reading, analysis and interpretation of texts, sometimes in the original languages, particularly texts that have been sacred to one or more practising communities. This study will often focus both on the historical context which generated the text(s) and on hermeneutical questions concerning its meaning and application for the appropriate community of believers in the present, or for other readers today. TH6705, TH6706, TH6718, TH6730, TH6733, TH6742, TH6745, TH6719.

(iv) Engagement with some of the major religious thinkers, prophets, teachers, ascetics, mystics, healers or leaders through their extant work or subsequent influence. TH6717, TH6720, TH6721, TH6725.

(v) The application of a variety of critical methods of study, often adapted from those of other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, to the study of texts, practices, religious communities as social or cultural entities, or their diverse art forms. All modules.

(vi) The history of the particular discipline(s) covered by the programme, including the major theories, movements and thinkers. TH6721, TH6724, TH6725, TH6748.

(vii) Ethics, morality and values. All religions have certain expectations in these areas, and the student will include them in the study along with other aspects of the religion. TH6722, TH6732, TH 6737, TH6744, TH6741 TH6750.

TRS Benchmark 3.2: qualities of mind

  (i) The ability to understand how people have thought and acted in contexts other than the student's own, how beliefs, doctrines and practices have developed within particular social and cultural contexts and how religious traditions have changed over time. TH6717, TH6720, TH6721, TH6725, TH6741.

  (ii) The ability to read and use texts both critically and empathetically, whilst addressing such questions as genre, content, context, perspective, purpose, original and potential meaning, and the effect of translation if the text is not read in the original language. TH6705, TH6706, TH6718, TH6719, TH6726, TH6728, TH6729, TH6730, TH6733, TH6742, TH6745, TH6746.

  (iii) The appreciation of the complexity of different mentalities, social behaviours and aesthetic responses, and of the ways they have been shaped by beliefs and values, and conversely, how beliefs, sacred texts and art forms have been shaped by society and politics. TH6718, TH6726, TH6730, TH6719.

  (iv) Sensitivity to the problems of religious language and experience, and to issues of multiple and conflicting interpretations of language and symbols, texts and traditions. Simplistic, literalising or doctrinaire explanations are less likely to be advanced by a student of Theology and Religious Studies. All modules.

  (v) Appreciation of both the interconnectedness of and internal tensions within a system of beliefs and practices. TH6717, TH6720, TH6724, TH6733.

  (vi) Basic critical and analytical skills; a recognition that statements should be tested, that evidence and arguments are subject to assessment, that the interpreter's role demands critical evaluation. All modules.

  (vii) The ability to employ a variety of methods of study in analysing material, to think independently, set tasks and solve problems. All modules.

  (viii) The capacity to give a clear and accurate account of a subject, marshal arguments in a mature way and engage in debate and dialogue with respect for the opposite case or different viewpoint. All modules.

TRS Benchmark 3.4: generic skills

  The Statement also lists these generic (transferable) skills acquired through the study of Theology and Religious Studies:

  • independence of mind and initiative;
  • capacity for reflexive learning;
  • capacity to modify, suspend or otherwise change position when warranted;
  • ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information;
  • analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems;
  • presentation skills, both oral and written;
  • IT skills, including word-processing, communicating by email and using the web, accessing information from electronic as well as non-electronic sources;
  • writing skills, including accurate referencing and clarity of expression;
  • ability to attend closely to the meaning of written documents;
  • ability to read texts in a different language.

  The Statement also lists these as skills:

  • empathy and imaginative insight, with a tolerance of diverse positions;
  • self-discipline;
  • ability to attend to others and have respect for others' views;
  • commitment to lifelong learning;
  • teamwork skills;
  • ability to work with others.  

These are developed through the wider philosophy of learning at St John's and specifically through formative learning methods such as class discussion, small group work, online discussion forums, class presentations and research. Self-discipline and self direction are developed in the pattern of study involving formative assessment and feedback.

A range of learning and teaching methods is used: lectures, presentations, seminars, group-work activities, language classes, guided reading, placement and reflection on placement experience, workshops, and giving presentations and discussing the presentations of other students. Students studying distance learning modules also work with programmed learning materials, including workbooks and interactive DVDs. All students have direct access to module tutors and to a personal tutor to guide their learning. As this is a level 6 programme, students are encouraged to take significant level of responsibility for their own learning, both independent and collaborative.

Use of the virtual learning environment in taught modules and distance learning modules allows: sharing of information; opportunities for discussion groups; links to videos and other online resources; as well as participation in a wider virtual St John's community.

Our approach to assessment includes the following elements:

  • building on skills and knowledge already acquired from previous (experiential) learning;
  • taking account of the diverse range of learning styles;
  • testing for the relevant learning outcomes;
  • seeing assessment as part of the learning process, not simply a test of learning gained elsewhere;
  • orienting assessment activities towards the context of application of knowledge, understanding and skills gained.

Formative assessment occurs in a range of formal and informal contexts, including feedback in class discussion, group work and presentations, and peer-to-peer learning, as well as in one-to-one conversations with tutors. Summative assessment over the programme includes essays, text-based studies, exegesis, reflection on prior experience, class tests, participative debate, assessment of performance and reflection on it, and integrative placement report.

The BA Top Up Degree is designed to provide academic and practical theology appropriate for people preparing for ministry in the Church or for lay people involved in the Church who want to study applied theology in a confessional context. The college-based route, taken either full time, or part time as stage 3 of the Extended Mixed Mode route, form accredited pathways for ordination training in the Church of England. Those training part-time alongside ordained ministry responsibility (which includes both Extended Mixed Mode students and those studying part-time post ordination) would normally be expected to be ready for a post of first responsibility (incumbency in a parish or equivalent) by the end of the programme.

Successful graduates of the programme will be reflective practitioners, who deploy the ministry skills gained, aware of the importance of Scripture as foundational for belief and practice, and seeking to make connections in an appropriate way with the realities of the context they are in. They will be committed to discerning the activity of God in this context, and to following God's lead in the direction of their ministry, seeking to deepen their own spiritual lives as they encourage others to do so. They will be confident in their own theological tradition and personal convictions, but be willing to engage with, contribute to and learn from other traditions and other perspectives. They will be committed to the central importance of holistic mission within Christian ministry.

St John's is committed to promoting equal access to all, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and disability. We are particularly concerned to provide support for those with specific learning needs to allow them to attain a level of academic achievement commensurate with their abilities. Issues arising from the diversity of perspectives are explored in a number of modules in the programme. We believe in the richness of community that is created by welcoming the gifts and perspective from as wide a range of Christian experiences as possible.

Since we are a confessional institution, we ask that students respect the values and commitments of the institution, and commit to respecting the values and commitments of our students.

Students who are candidates training for ordained ministry in the Church of England are expected to abide by the moral and ethical commitments of the Church and its expectations of those in public ministry

We are aware that candidates for ordained ministry do not come from as diverse a cross-section of society as we would like. Whilst encouraging the Church to seek greater diversity, we also seek to work in partnership with other groups, for instance the Black-led churches, to create a more representative and diverse learning community.

This programme has classroom-based full-time and part-time, as well as distance learning pathways. For the college-based route admission is in September only. For distance learning routes, admission is in March or September.


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