This MA is designed for lay and ordained Christians with significant experience of working (paid or volunteer) in churches, mission agencies, or not-for-profit organisations (faith-based or secular), enabling you to engage theologically and strategically with the contemporary world.
The course will provide you with the opportunity to integrate biblical, theological, and empirical studies in the context of Christian spirituality. The aim is to engage faithfully and practically with existing and emerging challenges to Christian ministry and mission in the twenty-first century.
Students on this course become highly learned and educated professionals capable of providing intellectual leadership in, and adapting to the needs of, contemporary churches. You will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the contribution that theological, and biblical studies can make to the effective provision of Christian ministry in the community, and be equipped with the knowledge and critical skills to bring advanced academic expertise to professional work in church and ministerial practice.
The course will provide you with an integrated framework for theology and biblical studies in the context of Christian ministry and mission, which you can use to transform your ministerial practice. You will also develop the critical faculties of analytic and research skills, to enable you to create and interpret new knowledge in theological and ministerial studies, and extend the reach of the discipline in society.
Our networks with other local universities and places of learning will give you regular access to a range of extra-curricular seminars and other educational events relevant to the study of Christian ministry. The University’s proximity to the centre of London with its rich religious history, its diverse religious communities, and its many museums, art galleries, libraries and places of worship, makes it an ideal venue for those who are interested in exploring the histories, interactions and influences of religious communities in contemporary culture as part of their studies.
You will first of all reflect theologically and strategically on the character, nature, purpose, and practice of Christian ministry in church and society. You will be equipped to research the practices of ministry and mission, through study of key Missiological texts.
You will study ministry across a range of denominations and traditions including Pentecostal, Charismatic, Methodist, Anglican, Baptist and Catholic. You will explore and evaluate the language, secular/sacred ideas, rituals and cultural norms that nourish spiritualities, ministerial formation, and ministry practice within different historical and cultural contexts. In particular, you will examine how forms of Christian worship, such as prayer, scriptural readings and sacraments, influence conduct, moral behaviour and patterns of life, in order to develop your ministerial abilities within different political, social and economic environments.
You will also be able to take modules which look at the theological ideas from both classical and modern periods, which are of greatest relevance to church ministry and mission in the contemporary world. Using this theoretical grounding, you can pursue your interest in practical areas of ministry such as marriage and family life, or community work. In these complex and demanding areas, the Christian minister and theologian are faced with new challenges. These modules will give students the historical and academic understanding to be able to offer fresh Christian perspectives, and encourage you to develop your own responses.
There will also be the opportunity for you to reflect deeply on a particular aspect of ministerial practice through the dissertation module.
Students of this course include ordained ministers wanting to pursue continuing ministerial education (CME), and lay Christians seeking careers as practitioners in faith-based or secular organisations. Students may go on to pursue further academic study.
The DTh is a professional doctorate programme in practical, ministry–focused theology. This programme offers strategic leadership training to senior level ministry personnel, seeking to broaden their applied theology in pastoral and missiological areas. The programme focuses on using research to develop theological practice.
There are two entry points for this programme. Stage 1A is for those with a good undergraduate degree and professional experience, and initially take a selection of preparatory taught modules. The second route, Stage 1B is for post-Masters applicants, and is an accelerated form of the course.
Regardless of entry point this programme will help those already engaged in Christian Ministry to develop the advanced research, evaluative and reflective skills necessary to further their professional and career profile. Students will prepare for more senior level, national or international roles, as leaders, advisors or consultants in ministry-related fields. As a practitioner of Practical Theology, this course will encourage you to reflect technically and theologically on your ministerial practice, and on the application of scholarship and research to a range of ministerial contexts.
In order to develop your research skills, the programme will provide you will extensive knowledge and understanding of areas of Practical Theology and the critical methods practiced at the forefront of the discipline. Students will then be able to reflect on these research methods in looking at their own practice, and you will be capable of producing findings that satisfy peer scrutiny and are deemed to be of publishable quality, making an original contribution to knowledge.
There is a wide range of areas in which students will develop their skills on this programme. You will enhance and apply your ability to handle written sources and empirical data, using appropriate advanced critical methods and controls. A further key skill is your ability to marshal coherent and effective arguments and communicate conclusions in oral and written form. The programme will moreover enable you to demonstrate a competent grasp of a range of technical skills arising within the discipline, including a range of approaches to textual historical, hermeneutical and cultural issues. You will also look at quantitative and qualitative approaches to the investigation of individual and social experience and behaviour, and be able to respond critically to their use by others.
Throughout the course, you will develop your knowledge and understanding of practical theology, alongside formal academic and practical skills.
Stage 1A: This introductory stage of the course offers a variety of taught modules on topics in contemporary ministry and religious studies taken from our Masters’ programmes in Christian Ministry and Theology and Religious Studies, respectively. Tutors will assist any student taking this phase of the course to make an appropriate selection of modules.
Stage 1B: In the first year of this stage, you will study advanced methods and approaches to practical theology, as well as undertaking a major literature review relevant to your proposed area of research. During this in–depth investigation, you will identify gaps or problems in the literature and identify one or more research questions around which you can structure your research project.
In the second year, you will conduct an in–depth study of a more focused topic, developed to the level of a publishable article, before going on to draft and present a full project proposal which must be approved before transition to the dissertation phase.
Stage 2: The final phase of the course will allow you to work closely with staff members with particular expertise in your chosen research area, developing an original and substantial investigation of potential significance both to academic inquiry and professional practice. The thesis, which will build upon your work in years one and two, will typically run to 50–60,000 words, and will be defended in a viva voce examination. Departmental research strengths include empirical, pastoral and public theology across a range of UK and global church traditions and mission contexts, including Roman Catholic, Anglican, Baptist and Pentecostal. We also have a particular strength in Black Majority Churches.
Stage 1A: (representative selection)
The DTh is intended to enable existing professionals working in church ministry, mission, education, development or the para–church sector, move into senior or national positions within visionary research–led organisations.