Theology for Education BA (Hons)
3 years full-time
4 years part-time (for further information on part-time courses available click here)
|Course type:||Single / combined honours|
A minimum of 280 UCAS points including grades CC or above at A2 level, BTEC National Diploma with an overall grade of Distinction Merit Merit, or an Access Diploma with a minimum of 39 credits with Merit or Distinction. You will also need five GCSEs at grade C or above, including GCSE English Language, or a recognised equivalent. For alternative qualifications please see our entry requirements page.
Contact for admissions enquiriesAdmissions
Tel: 0121 476 1181 (Ext. 2386)
Contact for course content enquiriesDr Susan Docherty (Programme Leader for Combined Honours and Head of Theology and Religious Education)
Tel: 0121 476 1181 (Ext. 2231)
Why study Theology for Education?
This course is designed for people with an interest in Religious Education, whether in the formal sector as primary or secondary school teachers, or informally as catechists, youth workers, or adult Religious Education advisers. The Theology department at Newman enjoys an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and student support.
The subject area engages with issues of great interest and contemporary relevance, such as the nature of human spirituality, modern bio-ethics and the relationship between science and religion. This course offers you the opportunity to study all the key aspects of the wide subject of Theology, including Philosophy of Religion and World Faiths, but the Department’s strengths lie in the fields of Christian Theology and Religious Education. This course is open to all students of any religious background or none who want to study Theology. It provides excellent preparation for the Secondary Religious Education PGCE course or the Primary PGCE Course.
In addition, one quarter of the teaching time in each year will be devoted to modules with a specific focus on Religious Education, such as Pedagogy in Religious Education and Religious Education and Citizenship. Finally, all students study one module from a subject other than Theology in their first year, choosing from a range of options including Classrooms and Learning Environments, Local History, Archaeology or Shakespeare and Society.
What is noteworthy about this course?
This course is distinctive in that it combines extensive study of Theology with a focus on educational practice. The course includes placements in schools or other educational settings, the opportunity to study abroad for a term, visits to places of worship and other important religious sites such as cathedrals and a Holocaust museum. The tutors who will teach you have both excellent academic qualifications and direct experience of working in schools and/or pastoral settings.
How will I be assessed?
All Theology modules are assessed through coursework including presentations, essays, textual commentaries, case studies, practical projects and a dissertation, rather than by means of examinations.
What careers can I consider?
The vocational focus of this course ensures that you are well prepared for employment upon graduation. Most students go on to study for a PGCE and there is currently a national shortage of RE specialists. However opportunities also exist for graduates in a variety of other areas including youth worker, fieldworker for charities, or educators within the Christian churches or other faith communities. An understanding of multi-cultural Britain is recognised as important by organisations such as local government departments and personnel firms, and this course also promotes the skills of logical thinking, clear argument and understanding of complex issues valued by many organisations and companies.
Courses at Newman are constantly evolving to reflect changes in the field of study. Therefore, modules listed here are indicative and may be subject to change for each academic year. Some modules are mandatory and some are optional. Not all modules will be available on all routes through the programme you choose, and modules studied will depend on whether you choose minor, joint, major or single honours routes.
Introduction to Biblical Studies
This module will introduce students to both general issues about reading sacred texts in the modern world (e.g. whether they can be translated and who should interpret them) and to the specific contents of the Jewish and Christian Bible (e.g. the New Testament gospels and the Old Testament creation stories).
Christian Theology: The Classical Tradition
The module will open with an exploration of the students’ own understandings of theology. Then week by week it will map out the nature and range of the theological enterprise through the exploration of the writings of key figures in the Christian tradition. After locating the theologians in their time and context the students will engage with group reading of primary texts. The group will gradually explore the influence of the text’s ideas in the history of Western theology and address the range of that influence today. The different Christian traditions of East and West, pre- and post Reformation, will also be addressed.
Religions, Politics and Philosophy
The module will introduce the student to issues surrounding the study of religions e.g. sources, dogma and texts; beliefs and practices; spiritualities; secularisation and pluralism; the influence of economics and politics on the development of religious and philosophical thought and practice, using case studies drawn from the six major religious traditions represented in the UK.
Methods in Theological and Philosophical Study
The module will introduce students to the skills, knowledge and understanding needed for studies in theology, religious studies, and philosophy of religion. They will work with set texts from a range of theological disciplines.
God and the Philosophers
This module explores key themes in contemporary philosophy of religion and philosophical theology. The intention of the module is to encourage an appreciation of the different attitudes towards the philosophy of religion taken by historical and contemporary philosophers, and to encourage students to develop their own critical response to the philosophers studied. The module will seek to foster an awareness of contemporary reactions to, and critiques of, analytical philosophy of religion.
Learning and Teaching in Religious Education
This double module aims to introduce students to Religious Education and SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural) development to assist students interested in working in a variety of educational and pastoral settings, including primary and secondary schools, adult catechesis and various forms of parish ministry. In addition to studying the historical development of RE and the significance of SMSC there will be practical aspects involving teaching and evaluation of strategies undertaken.
Students also take a Work Placement preparation module and one module from a different subject area from a set list during their first year.
Christian Theology and Modernity
The module will start with a brief survey of the intellectual currents of modernity e.g. the rise of historical consciousness, the turn to the subject, the growth in secularism, and of atheistic materialism. Then the work of a representative group of Christian theologians will be examined critically in the light of this modern framework. Vatican II will act as the concluding point of the module.
Three Monotheistic Faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam
This module focuses on some key themes in the three faiths, including worship, law and ethics and also covers historical and contemporary relationships between the three faiths, including co-operation and conflict.
New Testament Studies: Paul and Acts
This module will provide opportunity for an in-depth study of early Christianity, focusing in particular on the life, missionary strategy, thought and contribution to the Church’s development of Paul, and the ethical and doctrinal difficulties faced by the Christian communities he founded. Students will be encouraged to actively engage in analysis and interpretation of the texts of the major Pauline letters and sections of the Acts of the Apostles.
Issues in Contemporary Ethics
This module is designed to engage the student in the application of the principles of Christian Ethics to a variety of particular issues in social and medical ethics.
Science and the Cosmos: The Search for Meaning
This module is designed to encourage an appreciation of how developments in contemporary science might inform some of the central debates in metaphysics, philosophy and theology. The module will foster an awareness of the way in which scientific discourse is underpinned by philosophical assumptions and it will encourage students to develop a critical analysis of whether empirical science can, on its own terms, respond adequately to key philosophical and theological questions such as 'who are we?', 'why are we here?' and 'how should we live?'
Radical Theologies and Philosophies
The aim of this module is to explore and assess the contribution of radical thought and action to the broader field of contemporary Christian theology. This will entail an examination of a range of movements from the 20th and 21st century, and will be developed in a detailed study of the thought of selected theologians and philosophers.
Religious Education and Citizenship
This module will cover the national requirements for both Religious Education and Citizenship in primary and secondary schools, with reference made to appropriate syllabuses. It will examine how both subjects have developed historically and what the future may hold in store, especially in the light of current debates in society around “citizenship ceremonies” and the nature of citizenship in the twenty-first century.
Jewish Studies: Ancient and Modern
This module will offer an overview of important aspects of Jewish faith, history and literature, including the origins of Israel as recounted in the Hebrew Bible, Jewish law, selected Inter-Testamental and rabbinic texts, and the modern period (with a focus on 20th century Europe). The cultural and political influences on Jewish beliefs and life (e.g. ancient empires, the interaction with Hellenism, Nazi ideology) will be considered.
Philosophy of Truth: Conceptions of the Good, the True and the Beautiful
This module will encourage students to engage with key philosophical thinker in the Western canon and will study how post-modern philosophers have reacted against their 'modern' inheritance. Certain important philosophical themes will be addressed such as the use of myth and language in philosophy, the possibility of philosophical truth and knowledge, the death of God and noncognitivism. Students will be encouraged to explore and develop their own philosophical reaction to developments in post-modern philosophy.
Mysticism East and West
The course will open with a survey of the debate on the nature of mysticism within the western Christian tradition. The shift in this century to more comparative and inclusive models of study will be highlighted and the theories of key practitioners explored. The lectures will adopt three different approaches; theological, philosophical and the more comparative approach of contemporary psychology in the modern study of religions.
Research Project in Religious Education
This module aims to help students prepare for a future role as an RE specialist in a secondary school or RE co-ordinator in a primary school. To this end it covers a range of current issues for RE teaching such as assessment, planning the curriculum, teaching world faiths in voluntary schools and the wider sector, and offers students an opportunity to research one area of interest in great detail. Students will prepare and deliver, through a presentation, an initial research proposal outlining the key features of the area they have chosen to investigate. This will then prepare them for their research project due at the end of the module.
The Cathedrals and the English Spiritual Traditions
The module will be taught in an intensive field study mode, based on a series of visits to regional Cathedrals and Minsters where there will be an opportunity to study the religious culture of past societies at different sites. There will be a briefing session beforehand to introduce the aims of the module to the participants and to deal with practical issues. During the visit there will be lectures, workshops and guided visits to places of importance. Students will plan and carry out practical research related to their chosen topics and will give presentations and prepare final assessment tasks.
Europe Reborn and Divided: Renaissance and Reformation
This module covers a fundamental period – the Renaissance and Reformation - in the development of western religion and culture. The module seeks to develop an understanding of this complex period and to explore its meaning and on-going influence through an examination of primary sources, images, key events and the lives of individuals. It will concentrate on continental Europe with particular focus on Renaissance Florence and Reformation Germany and Switzerland.
Values and Virtues
The intention of this module is to guide students towards developing an appreciation of the relationship between culture and philosophy. It is designed to encourage an appreciation of the ways in which ideas about virtue and 'the good life' have changed over time, influenced by and influencing particular historical contexts. It will explore how ideas current in ancient Greek thought have since been reasserted and recast by twentieth century philosophers.
"I am really enjoying the Theology for Education course, especially debating issues important to me and finding other people’s views on issues which I believe is very important. I have also learnt a lot of things that I normally would take for granted. I have found Newman University College to be a very warm and welcoming place and whenever I have a problem or am struggling the lecturers are always there to help. I can’t wait to complete my degree and try to make RE in schools more popular!"
Theology for Education student