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MA Applied Theology

Christian theology applied.
Go deeper into theological thinking with our postgraduate MA. Study in a unique way that encourages both personal and professional development.

Course duration
2 years taught (part-time) plus maximum 2 years for dissertation

Location and mode of study

  • Christchurch
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Course content:

The MA in Applied Theology requires the completion of 180 credits. The course effectively has two main parts: the taught element, which accounts for 120 credits; and the dissertation, worth 60 credits.

The course is designed to be pursued on a part-time basis and is structured to facilitate this. The taught element spans two academic years, and two further years are permitted for completion of the dissertation.

In year one, you’ll be introduced to the concepts of applied and practical theology, exploring the significance and implications of establishing solid theological foundations as a basis for your practice. In the second module, you will then study your specialism in greater detail.

In year two begins with the important area of ethics as it relates to ministry and professional practice. You will then make a choice to study one of two unique modules—each helping you to think theologically about a crucial area of modern-day ministry:

Christian Ministry and Reflective Practice
How can we apply theology—consistently and coherently—to our ministry or professional work? This module examines the art and science of practical theology, enabling you to grow in self-awareness, learn from experience, and respond in theological faithfulness to the situations you encounter throughout your life and ministry.

Effective Communication and Contemporary Media
Digital footprints; avatars; txtspk; web 3.0; hyper-reality; micro-blogging… What does theology have to say to an always-on, partially attentive and increasingly mobile population? This unique module propels you to the forefront of theological reflection on contemporary media and communication.

The fifth and final taught module examines current developments and trends in the twin contexts of Christian practice: the Church and the contemporary world.

From year three, you embark on the final component of the MA: an 18,000 word dissertation. This involves researching and writing on an applied topic of your choice. It offers the option of expanding on your specialised area of study. You will be individually allocated a supervisor, appropriate to your field of research, who provides you with ongoing support and guidance throughout the process of research and writing.

“My friend had been to Moorlands College, and I saw something in them I wanted to emulate. I liked the location and the course, the emphasis on spiritual, applied theology—rather than simply theorizing. This MA offered study which was grounded in reality.”
Michael, MA graduate

For more student testimonials, see here.

Four specialisms

Your choice of specialism is reflected in every module you study—through break-out groups, assessment tasks and your dissertation topic.

Dr Chris Sinkinson

Lead tutor: Dr Chris Sinkinson

From Islamic fundamentalism to naturalistic atheism, the Christian faith is being subjected to more critical scrutiny than ever before. The Apologetics specialism engages with relevant issues for evangelism in your context. You will spend time investigating the history of Christian apologetics and key themes, including philosophical arguments, historical evidence and the use of media, literature and the arts. The study will help you to faithfully defend biblical truth in an ever-changing world and you will also gain tools to help Christians around you to evangelise in their everyday lives.

While studying with like-minded students in various areas of practice, you will integrate biblical study with cutting-edge issues in evangelism today.

The studies in apologetics will be led by Dr Chris Sinkinson, who has developed his own apologetic ministry at university lunch bars with UCCF and as a local church pastor. He is also the author of several books, including Backchat: Answering Christianity’s Critics (Christian Focus, 2014) and Confident Christianity (IVP, 2012).

Chris Jack

The Bible and Preaching
Lead tutor: Chris Jack

Biblical preaching has come under attack in recent years. Some consider it outdated, outmoded, irrelevant—a relic of yesteryear. Others have diluted its substance to such an extent that it becomes little more than a sequence of entertaining stories, loosely woven around a Bible verse or passage. Christians are searching for answers, seeking reassurance, needing to hear the life-changing truths of God’s Word. Sound biblical preaching has never been more needed.

However, the world is no longer as it was. Change has come, bringing with it paradigm shifts, cultural revolution and technological innovation. This sets the stage, not for a return to the golden age of preaching of former generations, but for fresh approaches to faithful biblical preaching, relevant for the 21st century. You will explore preaching in the light of contemporary theories and current homiletical forms. We will be especially concerned with how the Bible functions, and is used, in preaching.

With a ministry spanning more than 40 years in the UK and overseas, lead tutor Chris Jack has taught preaching for over 20 years.

Jonathan Woodhouse CB

Lead tutor: Jonathan Woodhouse CB

Chaplaincy is on the frontline of mission. It’s ministry at the edge of the Church community and at the heart of the Gospel. The explosive growth of all kinds of innovative chaplaincy work in the UK reveals a desire for chaplains to bring spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance into secular spaces of work and play. Large corporations, sports teams, hospitals, schools and a whole host of other work places and social settings are opening their doors to the valued work of chaplains.

The MA explores why chaplaincy is a key leading-edge ministry, providing new opportunities for ministry in all kinds of places. Alongside other students going through similar challenges, you will learn about hands-on approaches to chaplaincy.

A former Chaplain General of the British Army, Jonathan Woodhouse CB is lead tutor of the Chaplaincy specialism and will help you become a more effective practitioner in the context to which God is calling you.

Rev Ian Coffey

Christian Leadership
Lead tutor: Rev Ian Coffey

The specialism of Christian leadership equips people for the unique leadership challenges of today and tomorrow. By critically evaluating leadership models and their usefulness in 21st century contexts, this specialist study allows you to reassess how you’re leading.

Wherever you lead, whether it’s full-time or part-time, ordained or lay, corporate or local church, you will be given a unique opportunity to reflect and assess your effectiveness as a leader and consider how you can make beneficial changes. You’ll explore the biblical, theological and practical considerations of leadership; not to build your own empire, but to be used as a Kingdom builder and to develop leadership skills in others. This includes topics such as emotionally intelligent leadership, styles of leadership, developing teams that work, managing change and conflict, and servant leadership.

You will learn from other leaders and tutors with extensive years of experience in a wide variety of contexts, including Rev Ian Coffey, who draws on more than 40 years of leadership in both the local church and parachurch contexts.

Assessment and feedback

Assessment is exclusively by coursework. Most taught modules are assessed by a single assignment, normally of 6,000 words for 30-credit modules and 4,500 for 15-credit modules. These are marked by the relevant module tutor and are returned, together with written feedback, within four weeks.


Delivery of the taught components of the MA is by means of two-day intensive study blocks at the Christchurch Campus (plus a one-off induction day). Study blocks typically occur in September, December, February and April every year.

Entry requirements

A degree in theology or similar subject or equivalent (see below):

Postgraduate MA course

We realise that some people interested in our courses don’t have a degree in theology, but have developed a sufficient understanding to succeed in and benefit from it through other means. If you think you may be in this category, please talk to us about your situation.

You will need to show evidence of:

  • A capacity to benefit from the study of practice, as part of your continuing professional or vocational development. You will normally have at least two relevant years of experience, and you will be engaged in practice while you undertake the course.
  • Commitment to Christian life and service—not only to gain qualifications, but to continue to strive to go deeper and become more committed in your walk with God.
  • Sufficient academic ability: you are normally expected to have a British degree in a theological field.
  • GCSE in English (Language or Literature) at grade C or above, or equivalent qualifications at level 2, including an IELTS Academic Certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each of reading and writing or nationally-recognised English language-based level 3 award, equivalent to these IELTS scores, from a different testing system.

Our courses are validated by:

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Chris Jack

“It is a real privilege to be involved in a cutting-edge MA course that blends academic rigour with practical relevance.“

Chris Jack,
MA Applied Theology Course Leader

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Myles MacBean

Student profile:
Myles MacBean

Quite quickly I was led to Moorlands College, as I gave up business life and made the time for theology studies. Despite my concern that as a scientist and businessman I had never written a humanities-style academic essay in my life, the Moorlands College approach to the MA in Applied Theology was a perfect match for me.

“The MA in Applied Theology was a perfect match for me. The ‘applied theology’ approach encourages such students to bring all their professional, life and church experience to bare in a very beneficial way.”

The ‘applied theology’ approach encourages such students to bring all their professional, life and church experience to bare in a very beneficial way; and the focus on ‘practice’ allows us to immediately use what we learn at Moorlands in our ministry.

This academically rigorous, practical theological grounding I received at Moorlands College certainly gave my wife and I additional confidence as we stepped out with God anew and—in a move that turned out to be a greater surprise to us than our friends and family—end up on the mission field in Malawi. Acting as Church Development Partners for the last three years, we have been able to deploy all our life-skills for the benefit of the Church in Malawi while also learning so many things about ourselves, about God and about his world.

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Saturday 07 March 2020

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