The Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology is the first programme of its kind. Launched in 2006, it is offered by Anglia Ruskin University with the Cambridge Theological Federation, the University of Birmingham, the University of Chester, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Manchester.
- The Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology is a practice-based research degree aimed at participants in a variety of professional and/or voluntary contexts.
- It is particularly designed to be taken on a part-time basis.
- Participants will be encouraged to use their professional, voluntary or ministerial practice as the foundation of a structured process of research in practical theology.
- Candidates will be supported throughout by a regular series of supervisions, seminars and workshops.
- The Professional Doctorate is assessed by means of a portfolio of work, including a literature review, research proposal, publishable articles and dissertation.
What is a Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology?
Professional doctorates are designed to take explicit account of the work or practice-based setting of participating students as a central component (and knowledge-base) of an advanced research project. This reflects the need for structured forms of professional development in many areas of the public, private and voluntary sector.
The programme is therefore designed to introduce you to a range of dynamic and challenging concepts and methods with which to reflect critically and constructively on your current experience and context. Two approaches in particular will be used: firstly, practice-based research and enquiry-based learning methods, in which participants' own professional context becomes a primary research resource.
Secondly, you will be encouraged to keep a research log, or learning journal. This may take the form of a diary, or portfolio or other personal record, and is designed to encourage you to keep a record of your reading and research, cultivate your writing skills and integrate your theoretical work with sustained reflection on your own practical context. Elements of this journal will be submitted for assessment.
The qualification is particularly aimed at participants across a range of contexts and institutions:
- Public sector professions, such as health care, education, social services;
- Those working in the caring professions, such as psychotherapy and counselling, social work and community development;
- Ministers of religion, in parish, congregational or chaplaincy settings
- Those working for charities, non-governmental organizations or in cultural industries or the arts;
- Those in industry or business wishing to deepen their understanding of the ethical and theological dimensions of their professional and/or voluntary practice.
The programme is offered part-time at Anglia Ruskin University and the Cambridge Theological Federation.
Award of the doctoral degree will be via submission of a research portfolio, with structured assignments and deadlines. Participants will be assessed on their ability to generate new perspectives, data, paradigms in the engagement between religious, ethical and spiritual world-views and a range of professional and practical contexts.
In addition to regular supervisions with a tutor, participants will attend a 3 day summer school in mid-July and 4 day conferences per year with a peer group covering all aspects of the discipline of practical Theology. Sessions will include work on research skills and methodology, practical exercises in enquiry-based learning and lectures, seminars and student-led discussions.
The summer school is undertaken jointly with other participating Universities.
Is this programme for me?
- The programme is designed to appeal to those interested in relating theological, ethical and spiritual insights and methods to their own professional and/or voluntary practice.
- Participants are not required to have a personal faith-commitment but they should be interested in the role of religion, theology and ethics in relation to a range of contexts ranging from social policy, management, politics, health care, community work, congregational ministry and institutional chaplaincy.
- In order to satisfy the entry requirements, participants will normally need to hold a Bachelor's degree (1st or 2:1) and a Master's degree in theology or related subject, plus appropriate professional accreditation or experience.
- Participants will need to have ready access to and facility with e-mail and internet communication.
- Candidates will be required to give evidence of the ability to work well with others in a group context.
- Please note that it is the responsibility of individual international candidates to check the status and equivalence of the awards in their home country.
How is the programme structured?
Length of Study: The programme is available over 3-6 years part-time.
Workload and student support:
For part-time students, we will expect you to set aside around 6-8 hours for independent work per week. That will include research and reading, and maintaining a regular research journal.
In addition, you will be assigned a personal supervisor, who will want to see you approximately six times per academic year.
Cambridge Research Seminar Days
Sat 21st Sep 2013 (10am-4pm) Cross-Faculty introductory day with other Anglia Ruskin Professional Doctorate Programmes in Chelmsford
Fri 11th Oct 2013 (11.30am-8pm for both Stage 1 and Stage 2 candidates, including optional evening meal)
Stage 1 candidates - Thurs 14th Nov 2013 (11.30am – 4.30pm), Wed 22nd Jan 2014 (11.30am – 4.30pm), Thurs 6th Mar 2014 (11.30am – 4.30pm), Wed 7th May 2014 (11.30am – 4.30pm)
Stage 2 candidates - Tues 3rd Dec 2013 (11.30am – 4.30pm), Fri 21st and Sat Feb 22nd 2014 (writing day 11.30am – 4.30pm with the option of staying on for a meal and overnight, plus a further writing session on the Saturday), Mon 2nd June 2014 (11.30am – 4.30pm)
Summer School: 17th – 19th July 2014 – probably Edinburgh
Programme Structure and Assessment Schedule
The programme will be taken in two Stages:
- Stage I: ACTION- RESEARCH PORTFOLIO. Up to 2 years part-time
- Paper 1:KEY VOICES: Literature review
The aim of this unit is to offer a foundation in the field of practical theology, by introducing participants to debates, methods and writers in the discipline. You will be expected to:
- Conduct a literature review (totalling 7,000 words) in the field of practical theology in a way that demonstrates an understanding of methodological issues associated with reflection on practice and context
- This should present an informed critique of the methods and assumptions of other scholars in practical theology using appropriate academic skills and conventions of presentation.
- Paper 2: PUBLISHABLE ARTICLE
The overall aim of this unit is to examine the elements and stages involved in publishing aspects of your research. You will be asked to:
- Select a topic of research suitable to the production of a 7,000 word research report or article in a significant area of the academic discipline of practical theology and or/area of professional practice
- Demonstrate through the exploration of that topic a capacity for independent, original and in depth thinking
- Relate that topic to appropriate context(s) of practice
- Select and justify research method(s) appropriate to the investigation of that topic
- Communicate the findings of that research clearly and effectively in verbal form to peers, by means of a seminar paper, subsequently revised for publication
- Paper 3: Establishing advanced research practice in practical theology
- RESEARCH PROPOSAL
In this part of the unit, you will be invited to develop a research proposal (7,000 words) for an advanced piece of research in the field of practical theology that demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the issues, questions and methods that are particularly relevant to the context and performance that you wish to study in Stage II.
- RESEARCH PROPOSAL
- Paper 1:KEY VOICES: Literature review
- Stage II: RESEARCH DISSERTATION
A thesis (59,000 words), which will contain the following elements:
- Presentation of your research, indicating how it may be evaluated as an original contribution to the discipline of Practical Theology
- A critical evaluation of the contribution which this research makes to your context of professional practice
- Further critical account and analysis of your own intellectual and professional development during the course of the research.
How much will the programme cost?
The fee set by Anglia Ruskin University for this programme in 2013-14 for part time UK/EU students will be £2520. For International part time students, the fee will be £5880 per annum (Visa restrictions apply).
It is possible under exceptional circumstances to take Stage I on a full time basis. Enquiries should be made to the Course Director for regulations. The fees for full time study would be £4200 per annum for UK/EU and £9500 per annum for International students.
In addition to course fees, you should budget for attendance at the summer school in July. There are no tuition fees for these events, although you will need to find your own overnight accommodation and pay for some meals.
Supervision and other academic support for the programme will be drawn from staff of the Cambridge Theological Federation and Anglia Ruskin University, with the opportunity to draw on nationally available supervision for Stage II of the research.