MA in Applied Theology

The newly revised MA in Applied Theology now offers a wider range of specialist interest areas. Set within a unified framework of theological study designed particularly to equip students for ministry and professional practice, six ‘specialisms’ are offered:

  • Apologetics
  • Chaplaincy
  • Christian Leadership
  • Family, Children and Youth Ministry
  • Mentoring
  • The Bible and Preaching

If you are thinking of postgraduate study in applied theology, are eager to learn and to grow, and like the look of what you see, come along to one of our Postgraduate Open Days at the Christchurch Campus.

Why do the MA in Applied Theology?

Our Principal, Rev Dr Steve Brady, gives three reasons:

  1. For your own benefit. The aim of our Masters is to enable you to work smarter not harder. I have the privilege of knowing hundreds of Christian leaders, many doing outstanding jobs. Some, however, seem exhausted. We structure the course in such a way that you do not need to leave your primary responsibilities, spending just a couple of regular days at College every three months or so.
  1. For the good of the church or organisation for whom you work. How easy it is to get in a rut, to keep repeating the same old patterns of work etc. The Masters will challenge you to reflect on and if necessary adjust your practice, inspired both in the formal settings of teaching, and the informal settings of student interaction.
  1. For the glory of God. At every stage of life, we need to be growing Christians. That includes growth in ‘wisdom’. Our Masters is academically rigorous but practically earthed to help further equip you as you serve the Lord in a fast-paced, fast-changing world.

Course map

This map gives a visual impression of the expected structure of the programmes.

Course Map

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 (60 credits). The course is designed to be pursued on a part-time basis and is structured to facilitate this. However, full-time studies may be possible by special arrangement. The taught element spans two academic years and then there are two further years permitted for completion of the dissertation. Delivery of the taught components of the MA is by means of two-day intensive study blocks. These are run four times during each academic year, allowing completion of 60 credits per year.

Those who have a previous degree in theology, together with experience in ministry or an appropriate professional context, provide the ideal profile for a student undertaking this course. Prospective students who hold a degree from another discipline however, are accepted onto the course, as are individuals who may not have formal academic qualifications but do have appropriate equivalent experience and can demonstrate the ability to study at Master’s level.

Module contents

The course begins with a module that introduces the concepts of applied and practical theology – laying out key theological and methodological foundations for the course as a whole. This is a core module, taken by all students, whatever their specialised study. The module includes several sessions of breakout groups where students explore together the significance and implications for on their specialism. This principle is maintained through all the core modules.

The specialist module, the second normally to be taken, is followed by a shorter (15 credit) core module on ethics—an essential subject for all forms of ministry and professional practice. A further 15 credit module then offers the choice between studying reflective practice or communication. In many cases the choice made is likely to be driven by the specialism being followed. A final core module which focuses on the two primary contexts for all applied theology—the church and contemporary world—rounds off the taught element of the course.

The final component of the MA is the dissertation. This involves research on an applied topic chosen by the student, usually in the area of their specialist study, and the production of an 18,000 word written submission. Each student is allocated a supervisor appropriate to their field of research who provides support and guidance through both stages of research and writing.

Ministry-focused specialisms

Set within the MA in Applied Theology are specialist areas of study designed particularly to equip students for ministry and professional practice. The six specialisms are outlined below.


Dr Chris Sinkinson
Dr Chris Sinkinson, Lead Tutor

From Islamic fundamentalism to Richard Dawkins’ naturalistic atheism, the Christian faith is being subjected to more critical scrutiny than ever before. The MA in Applied Theology offers an opportunity for postgraduate study , with a focus on apologetics, that engages with relevant issues for evangelism in your context.

The MA in Applied Theology offers an opportunity for postgraduate study, with a focus on apologetics, that 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. Not only will the study help you to faithfully defend biblical truth in an ever-changing world, 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 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).


Jonathan Woodhouse CB
Jonathan Woodhouse CB, Lead Tutor

Chaplaincy is on the frontline of mission in our world. It is ministry at the edge of the local 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 in 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 will explore with you why chaplaincy is a key leading edge ministry that is providing new opportunities for ministry in all kinds of places in the world today. Alongside other students going through similar challenges you will learn and reflect on the hands-on approaches to chaplaincy. Our tutors, including the former Chaplain General Jonathan Woodhouse, are looking to help you to become the most effective practitioner you can be in the context God is calling you to.

Christian Leadership

Ian Coffey
Rev Ian Coffey, Lead Tutor

Christian Leadership does exactly what it says on the tin! It equips people for the unique leadership challenges of today and tomorrow. By critically evaluating leadership models and their usefulness for leadership in today’s 21st century contexts the specialist study will allow you to reassess how you are leading.

Wherever you lead, whether it is 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 effective changes.

You will explore the biblical, theological and practical considerations of leadership, not to build your own empire, but to be used as Kingdom builder and develop leadership skills in others too. This will include topics such as emotionally intelligent leadership, styles of leadership, developing teams that work, managing change and conflict, servant leadership and the growing leader.

You will have the opportunity to journey alongside other leaders and learn from tutors with extensive years’ of leadership experience in a wide variety of contexts, including Lead Tutor, Ian Coffey, who was a local church leader for over 30 years.

Family, Children and Youth Ministry

Andy du Feu
Andy du Feu, Lead Tutor

Where the church ministers to families, children and youth there is a responsibility to make more than token links between them. This specialism looks at blending  Applied Theology with family, children and youth ministry, carrying with it a certain potency needed if the church is not only to survive, but emerge stronger, leaner and fitter than before.

Our journey begins in Scripture and hits the road in culture, which is continually changing at a rapid rate. These studies aim to make the future of the Church our present concern.

Alongside other practitioners in different contexts this course is designed to help you reflect on how to make fresh and positive changes to your ministry. We will critique the impact of the cultural and societal contexts in which families, children and young people live and understand themselves, explore key biblical and theological themes, and study relevant topics that help us reflect on best practice.

Specialist study in Family, Children and Youth Work is led by Andy du Feu, a youth and community work specialist with extensive experience as a youth worker and church pastor. He aims to provide you with an opportunity to bring the big picture of your work back into Hi-Def display.


Sharon Prior
Sharon Prior, Lead Tutor

Mentoring is an indispensably powerful tool for developing people in almost any area of life, from corporate organisations and public services to community work and the local church.

It does not need to be a complicated process, but churches and organisations who have incorporated mentoring as an important part of their DNA have helped people to discover who God has created them to be. Mentoring transforms and empowers.

This specialist study will enable you to critically evaluate how mentoring has been used in faith formation in the past and reflect on which aspects of mentoring are relevant for spiritual transformation in your 21st Century context.

Lead Tutor, Sharon Prior, has a wide range of mentoring experience as a church leader of more than 25 years. She is now a Baptist Church Minister in Sheffield, a successful Mentor and Leadership Coach and Senior Tutor at the Moorlands Midlands Centre.

The Bible and Preaching

Chris Jack
Chris Jack, Lead Tutor

Biblical preaching has come under attack in recent years. Some consider it outdated, outmoded, irrelevant—a relic of yesteryear. They have written its epitaph, proposing that it be replaced with more dynamic, open-ended forms of communication. 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.

At the same time, the Church today is under fire. Christians find themselves searching for answers, seeking reassurance, needing to hear the life-changing truths of God’s Word. The necessity for sound biblical preaching has never been greater.

However, the world is no longer as it was. Change has come, and come fast, and it continues unabated, bringing with it paradigm shifts,,cultural revolution, technological innovation: all of which present both a challenge and an opportunity. The stage is set, then, 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 the nature of preaching specifically in the light of contemporary theories and current homiletical forms. Throughout we will be especially concerned with how the Bible functions, and is used, in preaching.


An 18,000 word dissertation is the culmination of the MA student’s learning experience. It is an excellent opportunity for you to choose something that is important to you, and to study it in a rigorous way.

Funding for postgraduate courses

The UK government now provides a loans scheme for master’s courses, including our MA in Applied Theology. You can apply to borrow up to £10,280, which can be used towards tuition fees and expenses. You can borrow this amount even though our MA course actually costs less. For more details, visit our Fees page.

Entrance requirements

Our admissions policy encourages a variety of appropriate entry routes. For admission, you will need to show evidence of:

  • 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, to not only gain qualifications but to continue to strive to go deeper and become more passionate in your walk with God.
  • Sufficient academic ability: you are normally expected to have a British degree in a theological field.

We realise that some people who will be interested in these courses won’t have a degree in theology, perhaps not a degree at all, but will have years of experience of Christian life and service. You will need a basic theological grounding to undertake the course successfully, but that can come from personal study and life experience as well as through formal qualifications. Further details of the entrance requirements are available from the college.

Our MA in Applied Theology course is validated by the University of Gloucestershire.