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Parish Church Studies: History, Heritage and Fabric - PGDip

Course content

The postgraduate diploma in Parish Church Studies offers a unique opportunity to gain detailed and practical knowledge of the history, use, care and conservation of parish churches. The online format offers you the opportunity to study in your own home and somewhat at your own pace, extensively supported by an expert in the field, and learning as part of an active online community.

The only course of this type in Britain, the diploma enables those wishing to enhance their understanding of local sites of importance in order to develop new areas of expertise or those involved in the design and implementation of conservation techniques. It is equally valuable for lay staff, volunteers and those simply with a general interest in the parish landscape.

The programme starts in late September/early October, concurrent with each new academic year – places are limited to ensure a constructive atmosphere for discussions.

This is a two-year, part-time, postgraduate-level programme delivered wholly online in a fully-supported learning environment. Students can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate after successful completion of the first year if their circumstances change.

This Diploma is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation for Continuing Professional Development purposes.

Overview

-To provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of the sources on which to draw for the study of parishes and parish churches
-To provide students with knowledge of the issues within parish history and current academic debate
-To provide the students with an understanding of the development of the parish system and its role in everyday life from the early medieval period to the present day
-To provide students with knowledge of how churches and their churchyards developed and changed over time and the current debates around ecology, maintenance and continued use
-To provide students with an understanding of the changing nature of the relationship between a parish church and the community it serves through time
-To demonstrate the complexity and diversity of events in the past, and the range of problems involved in the interpretation of complex, ambiguous, conflicting and often incomplete material
-To equip students with the analytical tools necessary to interrogate effectively the worth of primary and secondary source material pertaining to the history of parish churches
-To encourage students to develop their own views on different historical debates in the academic literature and to think creatively about the topics they are studying
-To provide a supportive and stimulating postgraduate environment enabling students to work independently within a clearly defined structure of regular discussion and supervision
-To underline for students the importance of objectivity in research and to be aware when their own views or feelings are unbalancing and objective argument
-To explore the changing practice of public worship and private devotion and their interaction with art and architecture
-To stimulate students to explore the use, care and changing of church buildings and to understand the complex issues and emotions which surround debates in this field.

Structure

This part-time two-year programme will comprise six 20-credit modules:
1. Sources and Issues
2. Objet D’art, Objects of Faith
3. Worship & Ritual
4. Parish & Community
5. Church & Churchyard
6. Use, Conservation & Change in Church Buildings

Students will be required to complete all these modules in the first instance, though additional modules may be added in the future to accommodate future programme growth and offer a broader learning experience.

Assessments will comprise a balance of short and long critical essays, book reviews, short research projects and other similar tasks.

Online Study

Our approach to e-learning is distinctive and may be different from your general perceptions about online study:
-Flexible, fully supported, modular delivery
-Taught exclusively online
-Two stages: Certificate and Diploma. Each stage typically takes 12 months
-Comprises six distinct modules
-Part-time study (approximately 15 hours per week) allows participants to structure their learning around the other life circumstances

Visit the Parish Church Studies: History, Heritage and Fabric - PGDip page on the University of York website for more details!

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