University of Chester

Programme Specification
Missional Leadership MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Missional Leadership

Missional Leadership (Mattersey Hall College)

University of Chester

Mattersey Hall College

Mattersey Hall College

Postgraduate (Taught)


Residential and Open,

3 years

6 Years

Annual - October




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Theology & Religious Studies

Theology and Religious Studies


Theology and Religious Studies

Wednesday 14th December 2016

Aims of the Programme are

  • To offer a flexible,part-time postgraduate degree programme in selected areas of Leadership Studies articulated in relation to the critical methods practiced at the forefront of the discipline.
  • To develop the ability to handle written sources and empirical data using appropriate critical awareness, methods and controls; to marshal coherent and effective arguments and communicate conclusions in oral and written forms; and, for those taking the full Masters awards, to integrate these skills in the production of the Master’s dissertation.
  • To enable students to develop and demonstrate a competent grasp of a range of technical skills arising within the subject and cognate disciplines including a range of approaches to textual historical, hermeneutical and cultural issues, and both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the investigation of individual and social experience and behaviour, and respond critically to their use by others.
  • To relate research and learning to key areas of theological and ecclesiological praxis, particularly in areas of Church and organisational leadership.

Following successful completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • Address analytically a range of current questions in Leadership praxis, applying an advanced, systematic and critical understanding, and be able to interpret a range of sources using a variety of tools, critical approaches and methodological idioms from the forefront of the discipline. Knowledge will be further deepened through the development of a 18,000 word dissertation (TH7401, TH7402, TH7431, TH7432, TH7433, TH7434, TH7435).
  • Relate their more specialist knowledge to the wider discourses of Christian Theology and/or within a study specialism and be able to articulate the possible significance of their insights and research findings for the wider Theological and professional communities  (TH7431, TH7432, TH7433, TH7434, TH7435).

Following successful completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • Identify, locate, interpret and analyse primary texts and advanced secondary sources with confidence at a research level, possibly as more particularly required within a study specialism, including articles from major peer-reviewed journals and scholarly monographs, and engage with them critically and creatively  (TH7431, TH7432, TH7433, TH7434).
  • Exercise a critical awareness of their own and contemporary authors’ differing stances, representing them with fairness and integrity and competently placing them within or between traditional outlooks or positions, and justifying both analysis and synthesis in relation to the contextual and developmental nature of intellectual, social, aesthetic and political responses (TH7401, TH7402, TH7434, TH7435).
  • Manipulate, represent, evaluate and explore complex and potentially incomplete knowledge from the forefront of the field and/or any study specialism chosen by constructing sustained and specifically theological arguments, drawing upon a range of sources and data, and routinely applying more than one mode of analysis. These skills will be particularly developed in the independent study module and/or the dissertation  (TH7402, TH7435).

Following successful completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • Apply at a professional level critical, analytical and presentational skills, showing a routine instinct to test evidence, assess arguments, evaluate commitments and detect bias.
  • Employ a variety of methods, including emic and etic approaches, to solve problems, and to present results creatively.
  • Make advanced use of library, IT, computer and internet skills to identify and locate sources, capture, analyse and present data, represent and manipulate knowledge, communicate with others, organise and backup work and operate safely online.  Students must be able to use information technology and computer skills for data capture, to identify and retrieve material and support research and presentations.
  • Exercise personal responsibility and decision-making, necessary for employment and ministerial vocations, and to apply professional ethical standards to the gathering and use of research data.
  • Improve their own learning and performance and develop the self-evaluation and reflective practice required to continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills appropriate to a professional context.
  • Make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources (e.g. refereed research articles and/or original materials appropriate to the discipline such as writings of theologians, historical sources/writings relevant to the study of church history, documents from key Christian conferences etc). 

All of these skills may be related to each of the modules, i.e. TH7401, TH7402, TH7431, TH7432, TH7433, TH7434, TH7435


Following successful completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues systematically, sensitively and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate information, ideas, problems, solutions and conclusions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences (as appropriate).
  • Use clear expressions and observe correct academic form.
  • Formulate a coherent argument, with appropriate use of data and evidence, and with an awareness of the implications of divergent views.
  • Where appropriate, work with others to solve problems and/or reach coherent conclusions.

All of these skills may be related to each of the modules i.e. TH7401, TH7402, TH7431, TH7432, TH7433, TH7434, TH7435

The MA in Missional Leadership is a part-time programme which is delivered by a combination of residential teaching and additional tutorial support. It sits alongside two other MA programmes: MA in Practical Theology and MA in Biblical Studies. Each programme has its own distinctive emphasis.

Classroom teaching is via weekend teaching sessions on five occasions during the year, and opportunities for ongoing contact with module tutors.

The MA in Missional Leadership requires students to have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of current scholarship and research as it relates, particularly to the theory and praxis of church and organisational leadership.

To be awarded the MA in Missional Leadership, students must complete five 20-credit taught modules (from the list below) and an 80-credit dissertation (TH7435). For outline details of individual modules please refer to the module descriptors.

In order to ensure that students have the correct level of theoretical orientation to undertake advanced study, TH7401 Research Methods, Perspectives and Resources is required (unless a closely equivalent module has been completed successfully in the context of previous study at an approved institution and at the same or higher level).

It is expected that all students will submit a dissertation proposal for formative assessment and feedback prior to commencing the dissertation.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
TH7401 7 Research Methods, Perspectives and Resources 20 Optional
TH7402 7 Independent Study Unit 20 Optional
TH7431 7 Leadership Development 20 Comp
TH7432 7 Leadership Strategy 20 Comp
TH7433 7 Organisational Leadership 20 Comp
TH7434 7 Self Leadership 20 Comp
TH7435 7 Dissertation 80 Comp

PG Certificate: 60 credits entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate

PG Diploma: 120 credits entitles the student to a Postgraduate Diploma (this will require students to take a sixth 20-credit module, generally, TH7402 Independent Study Unit

Masters Degree: 180 credits entitles the student to a Masters degree


Evidence of candidates’ academic ability to work in the area of theological and ecclesiological praxis at an appropriate level and their potential to complete the programme may be provided in one of the following ways:

  • A second class (or above) degree in Biblical Studies, Religious Studies, Theology or a cognate subject
  • A second class (or above) degree in another subject area, together with certificated learning (e.g. a Graduate Diploma) in Biblical Studies, Religious Studies, Theology or a cognate subject.
  • At least two years’ professional experience in a senior position in a Church or Mission context. In such cases, where candidates do not have formal academic qualifications, an access module or written assignment may be used to help assess suitability for the programme. A transparent policy will be followed to ensure equity and parity with regard to student admissions.

Accredited Prior Certificated and Experiential Learning will be considered for students wishing to transfer into the scheme with previously obtained part or intermediate qualifications from other UK universities. This will follow the rules and processes for APCL and APEL set out by the University of Chester.

International Admissions

Those applicants offering overseas qualifications in place of the standard academic entrance requirements will be assessed using UK NARIC and UCAS Guides to International Qualifications. Such qualifications would need to be of a standard equivalent to a second class honours degree or above in order to ensure parity. Overseas students might also be admitted on the basis of professional experience.

English language requirements:

All students must provide evidence of appropriate competency in written and spoken English. For students whose first language is not English, and who have not studied in English up to at least Level 3, the normal requirement will be IELTS 6.5, TOEFL 575, and equivalent.    

The Theology and Religious Studies (TRS) Subject Benchmark Statement, published by the QAA in 2000 and revised in 2007 and 2014, details the range of subject knowledge (3.1), the qualities of mind (3.2), and the generic skills (3.4) acquired and developed in TRS degree programmes. Appendix A of the Subject Benchmark Statement sets out additional benchmark standards for a master’s degree in TRS. The MA in Practical Theology builds on the benchmark standards set out in our BA programme, which are in line with those TRS benchmarks.

Students are introduced to a range of research approaches and an expanded range of study tools in TH7401, including electronic resources and web-based tools. They develop, too, the research skills necessary to conduct independent study, to find and engage with appropriate source material, to reflect, critically, on academic practice, conclusions and the ethical implications of particular lines of research, and explore and apply appropriately different methodological approaches methodologies (A4.2, A4.3, A6.1). In other modules these attributes are further developed. In addition to tutorial support, students are required to take responsibility for their own learning and to develop a high degree of independence and self-motivation. This is necessary in all modules, though is evident, particularly, in TH7402 and TH7435. All modules require students to engage with sources (primary and secondary), to evaluate source material critically, and to arrive at, and justify, their own independent conclusions. In TH7402 and especially TH7435 students design their own projects and demonstrate an advanced ability to think independently, to select relevant sources, and to engage critically with, and reflect on, a chosen area of in-depth study.

At level 7 students develop a wide range of advanced study skills. They are also given significant responsibility for their own learning, and, are expected to demonstrate independent study and research skills, albeit with the encouragement and guidance of tutors and within a supportive teaching, learning and research environment.

Students experience a variety of teaching methods. This includes face-to-face teaching, workshops, group work and seminars during residential sessions (over five weekends each year), complemented with lecture notes, additional information via Moodle and email, telephone and Skype support.

Guidance in research methodology is given to all students at the start of the programme in TH7401 (unless they have successfully completed a module with similar Learning Outcomes).    

All 20-credit modules will be assessed by means of a 4,500-word essay, with the exception of TH7401, which comprises 3 shorter assignments totalling 5000 words. The 80-credit dissertation will be assessed by way of an 18,000-word piece of research writing. There will be no examinations. At Masters level, students should be able to write at length, and engage, critically, with specialist literature in their chosen field. A 4500-word written assignment is regarded as an appropriate way to develop these skills and to assess student progress. Ongoing contact with module tutors allows for formative as well as summative assessment of modules.

Students are expected to submit a dissertation proposal ahead of starting an 80-credit dissertation. This is not formally assessed, though students receive feedback, offering formative assessment. Students are assigned to a specialist supervisor for this part of the programme, and will have access to regular supervision – usually via email, telephone or Skype.

Following the acquisition of this award, students will be equipped to

  • Conduct independent research into a particular area of study
  • Gather, organise and assess data from primary and secondary sources
  • Critically analyse and evaluate the views and arguments of others 
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively by written and verbal means
  • Organise their own workload towards the meeting of deadlines
  • Show critical self-awareness and open-mindedness towards other cultures and viewpoints 
  • Present an argument to support their own view
  • Demonstrate improved IT skills.

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; critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to 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.

Students will also have qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring: 

  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and
  • the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

This programme of study may be used for personal and academic development, or to prepare for further research. It is intended, too, as continuing professional development for those in Christian ministry who are seeking to improve their knowledge and understanding. 

A number of modules on this programme offer opportunities for addressing questions of gender, sexuality, age, disability, race and religious identity, whether in the context of biblical backgrounds, church history or contemporary cultural and church contexts.

The MA in Practical Theology conforms to the University of Chester’s policies and priorities regarding admissions, widening access and participation, equal opportunities and AP(E)L; and it offers individual academic support to all its students.



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