MA Public Theology

Develop and enhance your skills as a theologian

Develop and enhance your skills as a theologian

3 years part-time
Bishop Otter Campus
  • Develop your public theology expertise
  • Enhance and enrich your understanding of cultural, social and political issues
  • Discover new and exciting insights into contemporary issues
  • Gain confidence in your theological ability and expertise
Outside shot of Chichester cathedral


Explore the central role of theological ideas within public debates

Our MA in Public Theology will develop and enhance your skills as a theologian, as you reflect on and engage with contemporary cultural, social and political issues.

We will support you to build on your current expertise and knowledge so that you can more effectively lead your local community in discipleship, witness and growth.

You will investigate the central role of theological ideas in public debates through an exciting and diverse range of modules that will allow you to explore contemporary issues and questions in depth.

You will be taught through your attendance at three-day schools in August, January and May, which are followed by a series of assessment tasks.

The MA is studied part-time by following a two-year taught module programme followed by a one-year dissertation module


The Course

Explore major questions and concepts around religion

We believe that theological reflection has a fundamental role to play in the life of our churches and our society. and we are committed to developing the skills of practitioners in local churches, be they clergy or laity.

We offer extensive support, especially for those returning to study after a long period.

This list is indicative and subject to change.

Christian Ethics in Contemporary Society

The aim of the module is to analyse the ways in which Christian ethical perspectives can contribute to the formation of contemporary social, economic and political communities.
You will explore critically the most important features of contemporary Christian ethics and evaluate these in light of broader ethical debates and discussions.
You will also consider the contemporary context by exploring classic Enlightenment ethical perspectives and then the postmodern critique of these ideas.

Christian Leadership

This module allows you to critically engage with the notion of leadership in a Christian context and to evaluate its compatibility with Scripture and Christian tradition.
You will consider both ordained and lay leadership, examining how it can best reflect Christ the servant-leader — prophet priest and king.

Christian Spirituality

This module introduces you to key concepts in Christian spirituality and allows you to reflect theologically on the relationship between spirituality, theology and other appropriate disciplines, e.g. insights from education and psychology.
You will draw on a range of sources from the Christian spiritual tradition that continues to provide insights for the contemporary world.


The dissertation represents the culmination of the whole programme and the final stage in assessment. You will undertake a critical enquiry into a particular area of theological interest or professional practice, utilising analytical and methodological skills acquired during the course. the precise nature of this will depend upon the area of interest covered, with some topics calling for skills in the synthesis of material as well as analysis.

Practical Theology Project

This module allows you to reflect theologically on your local context.
You will critically examine different approaches to theological reflection with a focus on their practical deployment within the local context.
The module then explores the ways in which social scientific evidence can be gathered and analysed to inform analysis of your own local context

Public and Practical Theology

This module equips you to engage and reflect theologically on social, political and pastoral issues and questions which arise locally, nationally and globally.
You will critically examine public and practical theological methodologies and perspectives utilised by British and international theologians.
You will explore the strengths and weaknesses of different methodologies primarily by employing them to analyse and reflect on specific issues and questions which emerge from your context.

The Bible and Public Theology

This module examines the role of the Bible in the public sphere.
You will critically engage with the major issues related to the Bible and public theology, from sexuality, morality and anti-Semitism to religious rights, democracy and blasphemy.
By the end of the module, you will have the ability to critically evaluate the role of the Bible in the public sphere and to respond to the uses and abuses of the biblical in relation to the political.

Teaching and Assessment

Feel the support of internationally-recognised research staff

Allocated teaching days

Teaching is delivered in three school blocks a year; each of which lasts for three days.

You may either visit the University of Chichester on a daily basis or, if you live further away, we can help you find suitable accommodation if required.

You will learn by attending our allocated academic days; our three-days schooling programmes. We offer extensive support, especially for those returning to study after a long period, meaning you will the confidence in your academic skills to fully explore your ideas.

Academic year 2022/23

  • Tuesday 23 August – Thursday 25 August 2022
  • Tuesday 3 January – Thursday 5 January 2023
  • Tuesday 9 May – Thursday 11 May 2023

Dissertation Day: Friday 26 August 2022, 10:30am – 3:30pm (for any students completing their second year in this academic year)

Stand alone modules

Some modules can be studied alone, whereby you can study one module and accumulate the credits but are not registered for the full degree.

For more details on our MA Christian Ministry modules, please contact Professor Graeme Smith (

Support for the module ‘Christian Leadership’ is available from the diocese of Chichester. Please contact Rev’d Dr Earl Collins ( or Canon Rebecca Swyer (


Assessment is through a variety of academic and practical tasks, ranging from essays to book reviews, short articles, case studies and practical projects. The assessments are relevant to your local ministerial context.


Discover facilities and research centres that support your learning

Student View

Hear how this course has helped previous students

Former MA Public Theology student Lottie


MA Public Theology
“One of things I really value about the course is that it has helped me to build upon the knowledge gained through my undergraduate study. Particularly by enabling me to see how theology can engage with, and is relevant to public culture, and in this way how it can be a very practical subject. I also like that the course offers a great variety of modules such as biblical studies, ethics and spiritually as well as theology. In terms of particular assignments, I really enjoyed the liturgy and ritual assignment as that enabled me to write an assignment where theology was engaging with secular forms of popular culture."
Former MA Public Theology student Rebekah


“I have found that the MA Public Theology course has provided me with many opportunities to creatively develop my interest in engaging with art and theology in the public sphere. For instance, one of my assignments involved researching the impact of art in hospitals. In doing so I was able to theologically reflect on issues of human wholeness and healing by linking the healthcare environment with Christian sacred space, and the way art in both contexts serves human well-being in physical, psychological and spiritual ways.”

Course Costs

Course fees 2023/24

UK fee
£714 per 20 credit module
Students study 3 x 20 credit modules a year.
Church Authority recommendation fee
£535.50 per 20 credit module

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fee page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

University of Chichester alumni who have completed a full undergraduate degree at the University will receive a 15% discount on their postgraduate fees.

Student loans

You can access support as a University of Chichester applicant from the Student Finance Office ( including how to apply for a loan and what funding models are available.

Entry Requirements


This course is not suitable for international students. The course requires a deep and long-term understanding of the UK context as well as the ability to reflect on the contemporary UK situation from an experiential perspective.

If you wish to apply for a place on our MA Christian Ministry course, please contact Professor Graeme Smith – 

Normally you will be required to:

  • Have experience working in a ministerial or theological context
  • Have a university theological qualification or a good honours degree in a humanities subject together with experience in a church context
  • Attend an interview
  • Submit your application online through the university web site
  • If English is not your first language then English language proficiency required is IELTS 6.5 overall with no element lower than 5.5 (or equivalent qualification)

For those applying from the Diocese of Chichester a fee arrangement is in place which allows students to study with support from the diocese.

For more information please contact either:

For those applying from the Diocese of Portsmouth support may be available.

The Rev’d Dr Anthony Rusttell –

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fee page.

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