University of Chester

Programme Specification
Mission & Ministry FDA
2017 - 2018

Foundation Arts Degree

Mission & Ministry

Mission & Ministry (Diocese of Chester)

University of Chester

The Diocese of Chester

Diocese of Chester Church House Training Suite, Daresbury, and other approved training venues as appropriate.

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory, Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

Part-time 3-4 years

5 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Foundation Degree  Benchmarks

Theology and Religious Studies



Readers' pathway accredited by the Readers' Council of the Church of England

Ordinands' pathway accredited by the Quality in Formation Panel on behalf of the Church of England, the Methodist Church in Great Britain and Ireland, the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Church.

Theology and Religious Studies

Tuesday 12th January 2016

The aim is to offer a foundation degree programme to students preparing for licensed ministry in the Church of England which:    

  1. develops an understanding of Scripture, Christian doctrine, worship and mission with a focus on how these inform faith both historically and in today’s world
  2. develops transferable and sustainable skills in working collaboratively, in communication studies and in personal and pastoral relationships as applicable to the exercise of ministry and discipleship within the church today
  3. provides effective structured learning opportunities for both understanding and reflecting theologically on the local church and/or community in the context of a broader understanding of the Church and of the world
  4. develops a pattern of learning, personal spirituality and professional development which will support them in their ongoing ministry and discipleship
  5. to provide an engaging and challenging programme which will qualify students for further study at bachelor's level

Level 4: knowledge of key concepts of the disciplines of the programme and an ability to evaluate and interpret them (all modules).

Level 5: an ability to recognise and relate to one another concepts and cultural influences; and evaluate and interpret these with a recognition of their complexity (all modules).

This knowledge will include:

  • knowledge of Old and New Testaments, their background, context, and understanding of methods interpretation(e.g. TH4254, TH5249)
  • knowledge of the structure, content and skills for leading Anglican worship (e.g. TH5102))
  • understanding of theologies of preaching and skills for communication (TH4106, TH5101)
  • understanding of the church's mission (e.g. TH5250)
  • ministerial skills (e.g. TH4256, TH5261, TH5103)
  • knowledge of research skills and understanding of how to apply them (e.g. TH5210)

Level 4: demonstrate the use of appropriate methods of study such as, historical, phenomenological and empirical; and demonstrate the ability to reflect theologically (all modules).

Level 5: develop competence in methods such as, historical, systematic, dogmatic, phenomenological, empirical and social scientific; and evaluate the appropriateness of different methods (all modules).

These skills will include:

  • critical and analytical skills, with recognition that statements should be tested, that evidence and arguments are subject to assessment, that the interpreter's role demands critical evaluation (e.g. TH4254, TH4256, TH5249);
  • ability to employ a variety of methods of study in analysing material, to think independently, set tasks and solve problems (e.g., TH4256, TH5210);
  • ability to present a subject clearly and accurately, develop arguments in a mature way (e.g., TH4254, TH5249, TH5250);
  • ability to understand the development of Christian thought and belief (e.g. TH4254, TH5249, TH5261));
  • ability to read and use texts both critically and empathetically, addressing such questions as genre, context, perspective, purpose and potential meaning (e.g., TH4254, TH5249)

Level 4: reflect theologically on Scripture and tradition; handle text hermeneutically; demonstrate ministerial skills

Level 5: demonstrate qualities and generic skills appropriate to recognised ministry, such as the interpretation of Scripture or doctrine for particular contexts; pastoral care of those in need

Opportunities for applying learning to a practical context are offered particularly in the following modules:

TH4106 Introduction to Preaching
TH4107 Leading Public Worship
TH4256 Discipleship and the Practice of Ministry
TH5261 Reflecting on Identity, Belief, and Tradition
TH5101 Preaching for the 21st Century
TH5102 Taking Funerals
TH5103 Ministering to Bereavement


Level 4: communicate accurately and demonstrate appropriate use of primary and secondary sources, with full and accurate references, within a structured and coherent argument; ability to use information technology and computer skills for data capture, to identify and retrieve material and support research and presentations (all modules).

Level 5: formulate a coherent argument, with appropriate use of data and evidence, and with an awareness of the implications of divergent views (all modules)


The FdA has two pathways:

a)      For ordinands previously on this FdA with All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry

This is no longer recruiting: it appears here in order to offer completion of assessment for students already on the programme and needing deferred assessment or reassessment.  The module diet is as defined in the programme specification for 2015-16.

b)      For Readers, other lay ministers sponsored by the diocese, and independent learners, having already gained 60 credits at level four through the completion of CUC Ministry (modules TH4111, TH4112 and TH4113):

TH4106            Compulsory      Introduction to Preaching (10 credits)
TH4254            Compulsory      Introduction to the Old Testament (20 credits)
TH4107            Compulsory      Leading Public Worship (10 credits)
TH4256            Compulsory      Discipleship and the Practice of Ministry (20 credits)

and then typically at level five:

TH5249            Compulsory      Writings of the New Testament in Context (20 credits)
TH5101            Optional           Preaching in the 21st Century (20 credits)
TH5261            Optional           Reflecting on Identity, Belief and Tradition (20 credits)
TH5102            Optional           Taking Funerals (10 credits)
TH5250            Optional           Reflecting on Practice of Ministry (20 credits)
TH5103            Optional           Ministering to Bereavement (10 credits)
TH5104            Optional           Understanding Congregations (Placement) (20 credits)
TH5210            Optional           Independent Study on Reflective Practice in Ministry (20 credits)

The Foundation degree in Mission and Ministry builds on the Church Colleges’ Certificate (CUC(M) Foundations for Ministry). It develops the intellectual and practical skills required for authorised lay ministry.

“Readers are called to … lead public worship, to preach and teach the word of God, to assist at the eucharist and to share in pastoral and evangelistic work.”

The degree includes teaching and assessment in leading public worship (Leading Public Worship); preaching and teaching the word of God (Introduction to Preaching); mission (Mission) and academic study of both Old and New Testaments. In order to situate their ministry they also apply congregational studies and develop further preaching skills immediately after licensing.

From September 2016 Readers in the Diocese of Chester will normally take the following programme of study:

Church Universities' Certificate (Foundations for Ministry) (60 credits)

Year 1: Leading Public Worship (10 credits); Introduction to Preaching (10 credits); Introduction to the Old Testament (20 credits); Discipleship and Practice of Ministry (20 credits). They will also undertake a non-assessed placement.

Year 2: Writings of the New Testament in Context (20 credits); Reflection on the Practice of Mission (20 credits); Identity Belief and Tradition (20 credits); Understanding Congregations (Placement Module)(20 credits).

And post-licensing:

Year 3: Preaching in the 21st Century (20 credits) ;Independent Study on Reflective Practice in Ministry or similar (20 credits).

The key themes of the degree (leading worship, preaching and teaching, mission) plus a holistic understanding of authorized ministry are assessed in the following ways:

Preaching and Teaching
TH4106 Introduction to Preaching: reflection on a sermon, prepared for a particular
TH4254 Introduction to the Old Testament: exegesis and sermon
TH5249 Writings of the New Testament in Context: exegesis and sermon
TH5101 Preaching in the 21st Century: sermon (for a specific congregation with a missional
              opportunity) and rationale

Leading Worship
TH4107 Leading Public Worship: Design and Service of the Word and a Reflection on it
TH4256 Discipleship and the Practice of Ministry: write intercessions
TH5261 Reflecting on Identity, Belief, and Tradition: critical magazine article and a theological
             reflection on an aspect of ministry
TH5102 Taking Funerals: funeral service and eulogy with rationale and commentary

Mission and Pastoral
TH4256 Discipleship and the Practice of Ministry: congregational exegesis;
             poster presenting an aspect of ministry
TH5250 Reflecting on the Practice of Mission: evaluation of a church’s missional strategy;
             proposal of a missional plan
TH5101 Preaching for the 21st Century: sermon (for a specific congregational with a
             missional opportunity) and rationale
TH5102 Taking Funerals: funeral service and eulogy with rationale and commentary
TH5103 Ministering to Bereavement: case study (fictional)

Holistic Understanding of Authorized Ministry
TH5104 Understanding Congregations (Placement): fieldwork with supervisor’s
             report and personal reflection
TH5210 Independent Study on Reflective Practice in Ministry: reflection on the role, purpose
             and calling of an authorized minister

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH4106 4 Introduction to Preaching 10 Comp
TH4107 4 Leading Public Worship 10 Comp
TH4254 4 Introduction to the Old Testament 20 Comp
TH4256 4 Discipleship and the Practice of Ministry 20 Comp
TH5101 5 Preaching in the 21st Century 20 Optional
TH5102 5 Taking Funerals 10 Optional
TH5103 5 Ministering to Bereavement 10 Optional
TH5104 5 Understanding Congregations (Placement) 20 Optional
TH5202 5 Service and Leadership 20 Optional
TH5203 5 Selected Biblical Texts and Themes 20 Optional
TH5204 5 Worship, Preaching and Working with Young People 20 Optional
TH5206 5 Theologies and Ethical Thinking in Context: From the Medieval Period to Today 20 Optional
TH5207 5 Guided Study (Communicating the Bible) 20 Optional
TH5210 5 Independent Study on Reflective Practice in Ministry 20 Optional
TH5249 5 Writings of the New Testament in Context 20 Comp
TH5250 5 Reflecting on Practice of Mission 20 Optional
TH5260 5 Human Development and Pastoral Care 20 Optional
TH5261 5 Reflecting on Identity, Belief and Tradition 20 Optional
TH5262 5 Independent Study on an Area of Christian Thought or Practice 20 Optional
TH5264 5 Chaplaincy with the Deaf Community 20 Optional

120 credits at Level 4 entitles the student to a Certificate of Higher Education
240 credits including 120 at Level 5 entitle the student to the award of FdA.

The FdA Ministry and Mission is approved by the ecumenical Quality in Formation Panel and recognised by the Church of England for training candidates for Reader ministry and for ordained ministry. The Panel regularly inspects the Church's training institutions on behalf of the House of Bishops and may require changes to the programme (to be processed through the University's procedures).

The legal requirements of canon law (Canons of the Church of England, 7th edition) and the requirements of the House of Bishops, together with Regulations required by individual Diocesan Bishops apply to mininsterial candidates who are sponsored by a Bishop of the Church of England.  Other denominational regulations will apply to ministerial candidates from other Christian denominations.

The programme is designed to train people for public ministry in the Church of England and candidates must therefore be sponsored by their Diocese.   

For Reader ministry students must first be sponsored by their parish and satisfy a Reader Selection Panel. Other students for authorised ministry will have likewise been through the required diocesan selection process. Independent students will be interviewed by the programme core team. 

Students will normally have gained the CUC(M) (modules TH4111, TH4112, TH4113 proving 60 credits at level four) .

The revised Post-16 Qualification Framework allows a number of academic qualifications, prior learning, experience and skills to be taken into account in assessing students’ suitability for the programme.

  • For ministerial candidates, sponsorship by a participating church or college is taken as evidence of relevant experience and/or interest in the programme.
  • For independent students, evidence of relevant experience and/or interest in the programme will need to be established through their admission interview and securing of a suitable work-based context. 
  • There are no certificated entry requirements for independent students, but potential participants are assessed at interview on their ability to benefit from study on the programme and their enthusiasm and aptitude for higher level study. 

Foundation degrees are designed to combine academic study with practical learning in the workplace, or location of practice (for Readers this will be in the Parish).  Learning equips people with the relevant knowledge, understanding and skills to improve professional performance. 

The FdA in Mission and Ministry provides the opportunity to undertake degree level study related to a ministerial role.

The programme relates to the Subject Benchmark statement for Theology and Religious Studies, October 2014.

Aspects of the Benchmark's description of ‘Subject knowledge and skills’ (3.1): including e.g.

  • the history and present character of Christianity
  • reading, analysis and interpretation of texts, sacred or significant to practising communities.; and hermeneutical questions concerning their meaning and application for the appropriate community of believers in the present
  • critical methods of study, often adapted from those of other subjects in the humanities and social sciences, to the study of texts, practices, religious communities as social and cultural entities, and their art forms.

Aspects of the Benchmark’s description of ‘Qualities of mind’ (3.2): including e.g.

  • ability to understand how people have thought and acted - and continue to think and act - in contexts other than the student's own; how beliefs, doctrines, traditions and practices have developed within particular social and cultural contexts; and how religious traditions have changed over time and continue to evolve in the contemporary world
  • Sensitivity to the problems of religious experience, and to the issues of conflicting interpretations of language and symbols, texts and traditions.
  • capacity to bring a degree of self-reflectiveness to the study of the subject
  • basic critical and analytical skills: recognition that statements should be tested, that evidence and arguments are subject to assessment, and that the interpreter's role demands critical evaluation.
  • ability to employ a variety of methods of study in analysing material, to think independently, identify tasks, set goals and solve problems.
  • 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.

Aspects of the Benchmark’s description of ‘generic skills’ (3.4): including e.g.

  • independence of mind and initiative
  • capacity for reflexive learning, understanding how they learn
  • ability to attend to others and have respect for others' views
  • ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information
  • analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
  • technological and media literacy, including the generation of documents and other resources, electronic communication and interaction in various forms and accessing information from a variety of sources
  • teamwork skills

Aspects of the Benchmark’s description of further ‘generic skills’ (3.4): including e.g.

  • writing skills, including clarity of expression, citation of relevant evidence and authorities and accurate referencing

The main teaching is a balance of tutor-led input, facilitated group discussion, 1:1 tutorial time, and placement.

A range of learning and teaching methods are used: lectures, workshops, group-work activities, individual and group-centred projects, tutor-guided private study; group theological reflection, placement. These activities are supported by directed independent study that feeds into group discussion in the main sessions.

The programme builds on skills already introduced in CUCM such as reflexive practice. 

It introduces Biblical and theological studies, and ministerial skills focussed on Reader ministry.

As with all collaborative partnerships in TRS, tutors on the programme engage in an annual review with the link tutor
and participate in peer observations of teaching as a part of their personal professional development.

A range of assessment methods is used, including essays, placement based preparation for leading worship, visual and oral presentations. 

Students are given formative experiences within the module or programme, and assignment proposal forms are used for some forms of assessment. 

Knowledge and understanding are assessed through, e.g., essay and project-based assignments and reflection-based
exercises, research-based exercises. Cognitive skills are assessed through, e.g., use of theological reflection cycle, set essay or project-based assignments. Developing professional skills are assessed through, e.g., assessment of application in all assignments.

The pathway is designed to lead into licensed ministry in the Church of England. It offers a specific path of training for Reader ministry and is part of preparation for ordination.

The skills developed include:

  • Cultural understanding
  • Researching skills
  • Confidence in own ministerial abilities
  • Academic, intellectual and social development
  • IT skills
  • Writing skills
  • Presentation
  • Organising own workload and meeting deadlines

Successful students will be able to apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects.

They will be able to critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), make judgements, and frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem; communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

And will have qualities and transferable skills necessary for Christian ministry in a variety of contexts.

The programme fully embraces a commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity within the constraints of an institution whose main purpose is to train Christian people for ministry in the Church of England.  The  programme seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); religious, political or personal beliefs or principles; membership or non-membership of a trade union; work or employment status; socio-economic background.  It aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students, tutors or administrative staff.  The programme aims to ensure that all students can participate to the best of their ability. The programme is designed to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for:

  • Admission requirements are sufficiently flexible to admit students from a variety of educational backgrounds - and especially so for mature students who form the largest proportion of the programme's intake. 
  • Modules are designed to encourage students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials, location and delivery of teaching to improve access to the programme.
  • Induction activities are designed to integrate all students academically and socially and to make programme staff aware of students' issues. 
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to students to display their knowledge and skills.
  • Reasonable adjustments will be made where barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and can not be removed - within the professional requirements of the student's sponsor for ministerial training.
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.

Tutors are made aware of diversity issues at induction and staff development events.  Directors of Studies discharge their roles with knowledge and sympathy and students are made aware of the support available should a concern arise.   

The Church of England has specific requirements for those who cannot accept women as priests.  This includes provision of an alternative celebration for those unable to accept the ordination of women if a corporate act of worship at a training event is a Eucharist presided over by a woman priest.  All ministerial students are asked to assent to the House of Bishops' "Five Guiding Principles" on the mutual flourishing of and respect for people of different theological and ecclesial traditions with the Church of England.

The Church of England deems membership of the National Front, the British National Party and the English Defence League to be incompatible with public ministry in the Church, and will not sponsor members of these organisations for ministerial training.

At present the programme has two pathways, one for ordinands and one for Readers. The pathway for ordinands will no longer recruit, and the last students on this pathway should graduate in 2016/17. Through progressive annual renewal the programme will subsequently be enhanced to focus on Reader and other authorised lay ministries. Some students transferring from another partnership (All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry) will be able to be reassessed within this programme and will complete their FdA in this programme.

Some modules are freestanding and recruit students who do not wish to gain the full FdA.

Some delivery is shared with Ordinands from the All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry who are studying either for an award from the University of Durham or for a Certificate from All Saints.



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