The programme can be represented as having two stages:
On entrance into the programme an introduction to/refresher course in study and research skills, with particular emphasis on presentation, is completed in the first semester of study.
a. Stage 1: Modules (5 at 20 credits each) at level 7 (100 credits)
b. Stage 2: Dissertation at level 7 (80 credits)
Each stage is completed before the next is begun: research preparation (or a credit claim) is a prerequisite for Stage 1; and the level 7 designated modules are prerequisites for the dissertation, and trigger the Advisory Review Board.
The structure of the course at Stage 1 reflects the structure of the BD & BTh courses also offered by the Irish Baptist College and marks progression from them. Students are required to complete one module from each of the three streams- Biblical Studies (TH7516, TH7517,TH7518) Christian Thought (TH7519, TH7520, TH7521) and Ministry Studies(TH7515,TH7522,TH7523) - and then one module from any of the three streams.
A common model of recruitment is a student with relevant bachelor's degree and updated professional experience and where there is a previous qualification at master's level which enables a successful APL claim for the research preparation: this may lead to a shorter pathway. Without such accredited learning, a full-time student can achieve the MA in theology in two years, or a part-time student in three years, with modules (total 100 credits at level 7) and dissertation (80 credits).
a. Stage 1: level 7 modules (100 credits)
Where students do not have a relevant bachelor's or master's degree or postgraduate diploma and updated professional experience for an APL claim (of up to 100 credits at level 7) they undertake 100 credits chosen from these modules:
TH7501 Study Skills (Compulsory - 20 credits)
Study Skills is a short course in the Irish Baptist College and is compulsory 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.
b. Stage 2:
TH7513- Dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words (60 credits)
Students who are accepted to complete the MA with 120 credits (e.g. having completed the PGDip) will complete a dissertation of between 12,000-15,000 words (60 credits) on a theme related to one or more of the modules undertaken. This module is only available to students enrolled in this way.
TH7514 - Dissertation of 16,500-22,000 words (80 credits)
After completion of the taught modules (100 credits), students enrolled on the MA programme will complete a dissertation of between 16,500-22,000 words (80 credits) on a theme related to one or more of the modules undertaken.