Pastoral and Social Studies

Why study programmes in Pastoral and Social Studies at Heythrop?

Heythrop College has a unique history and range of teaching in pastoral theology and allied disciplines, with a strong profile both in this country and internationally. The Pastoral and Social Studies Department currently has degree programmes in the following fields: pastoral and practical theology, including sociology of religion; Christian spirituality; ethics; liturgy; canon law; and psychology, including a unique specialism in the psychology of religion.

These academic disciplines provide an opportunity to reflect on our personal, social, political and ecclesial experiences and relationships in the context of faith.

The special quality of the MA Pastoral Theology is in integrating theory and practice, theology and experience, faith and action. For those already in the thick of practical pastoral work, the programme presents a framework for reading and study to bring those elements together. 

The MA in Canon Law focuses on the important aspects of the Church's life and governance.  Canon Law, when properly understood and applied, can fulfill a pastoral, educative and guiding role within the Church. 

The MA in Christian Spirituality examines the spiritual traditions of Christianity, in their historical and contemporary forms, and helps to develop the ability to understand and evaluate the language, ideas and forms of Christian spirituality. The focus is on Christianity in its Western development.

The MA in Contemporary Ethics explores questions such as ‘what is the good life?’; ‘how should we act?’; ‘how do we assess difficult moral situations?’; ‘what does moral living require of us?’. It offers an opportunity to study different schools of ethics, formulate coherent moral arguments, and apply Western Christian insights and ethical values to all aspects of life.

The MA in Psychology of Religion offers a unique specialism not available elsewhere in the psychological study of religion. It involves a critical and reflective investigation of psychological approaches and findings to the understanding of religious beliefs, values and practices. It addresses questions of whether and how psychology can contribute to deeper insight into the nature of religion and more specifically the nature of religious or irreligious states of mind and experience.  Individual modules such a liturgy and special moral theology deal, respectively, with specific aspects of Christian worship and Christian moral life.

Page Updated: Monday, July 07 2014