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MRes Pastoral Theology

Course length
  • 1 year full-time
  • Not available to study part-time
  • An honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent in an appropriate subject
  • PGCert Pastoral Theology
  • PGDip Pastoral Theology

NB: This programme is only available for full-time study in 2016/17.

Please see further details on the maximum period of study.

This degree, specifically for students who wish to continue to MPhil or PhD research, establishes critical and research skills. Whereas the MA aims at breadth, the MRes trains graduate students to specialise in an area of proposed doctoral research.

The timetable for 2016-17 can be found in the Postgraduate Options Handbook at the bottom of the page.

Teaching & Assessment

The programme consists of four taught modules and a dissertation. Students will take three core module and choose one optional module of study. Students are assessed in each module through a combination of coursework and an end of year essay. The final dissertation of 12,000 – 15,000 words is on a research topic agreed by your supervisor.

Core modules

Foundations of Pastoral Theology

Bring together key theological elements with a reflective approach to Christian ministry.

This module aims to establish foundations for pastoral studies by bringing together key theological elements with a reflective approach to Christian ministry. It will introduce a range of issues in methodology for pastoral theology; ecclesiology in pastoral ecclesiology; Christian ministry; theological reflection.

Religion: Context and Crisis

This module will address critical issues of the contemporary context from sociological and theological perspectives.

It will ‘model’ the pastoral theological approach and methodology and deepen understanding of themes of political and liberation theology and the sociology of religion.

Research Skills in Theology

Analyse and critically present the main themes in contemporary theological debate and develop the broad outlines of your research proposal.

As an introduction to research methods and forms of analytic and critical theological writing, this module enables students to reflect creatively upon many of the salient aspects of life in a complex, pluralist and multi-faith society.  It is taught in two parts. The first consists of generic research skills, particularly methods and styles of theological writing in the contemporary world and the various ‘publics’ that theology can be seen as addressing.  The second part considers a number of more detailed questions, such as the relationship between theology and the social sciences, ecclesial practices and contexts, hermeneutics in pastoral situations, and the different ‘voices’ of theology.   

Optional modules

Mission and Ministry

Explore the missionary and ministerial dimensions of the Church and Christian life.

Examine the contemporary call to a ‘new evangelisation’, and ethical issues arising in relation to ministerial practice.

Modern Theologies of Liturgy

Study the approaches of modern liturgical theologians to explore the relationship between liturgy and church.

In this module we discuss contemporary understandings of liturgical and especially eucharistic theology, through an ecumenical range of writers, including Casel, Kilmartin, Schmemann, Chauvet, Kavanagh and Irwin.  We also explore the range of cultural influences on liturgy; and by doing this, our liturgical theology

The Bible in the life of the Church

Examine the Bible as the central religious, spiritual, intellectual and cultural source for faith communities of Judaism and Christianity.

This module examines the Bible as the central religious, spiritual, intellectual and cultural source of communities of faith: Judaism and Christianity in its various denominations. Exegetical analysis of selected Biblical texts will be reflected against the backdrop of their theological, liturgical, artistic and musical reception. Communities of faith will be seen both as the hermeneutical framework for the interpretation of canonical texts as well as inspired and fostered by them. According to specific interests of students, the module will also give an opportunity to improve practical skills regarding the “ministry of the Word”.

Theology of Religious Life

Explore the call to religious life, its mission in the Church and the form its future might take. You will reflect critically on religious life from a broad spectrum of disciplines.

This module explores the theological foundations of life within religious congregations and orders. In an exploration of the Biblical, historical, spiritual and ecclesiological aspects of this life we will examine the concepts of vocation and charism, models of community, prayer and ecclesial life as well as looking at paradigms for the religious life of the future.  Source texts from various traditions and ecclesial documents will be studied together with contemporary writing on the consecrated life from a variety of contexts.  Students will be encouraged to reflect critically on religious life from a broad spectrum of disciplines.