MA/Diploma/Certificate Evangelical and Charismatic Studies (Distance Learning)

The Pentecostal/Charismatic and Evangelical movements are among the largest and fastest-growing traditions within world Christianity, and indeed of any faith.

Birmingham has a long-standing tradition of studying these movements ranging back over 40 years, and is a world leader in this field of research. Our specialisms include: Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic history; missiology; doctrine; biblical interpretation; worship; and liturgy.

This distance learning programme at Birmingham explores the faith, practices, worship and teaching of Pentecostal/Charismatic and Evangelical communities from a critical academic perspective, which emphasises their global and contextual nature. It offers a range of study options – full-time or part-time and at MA, Diploma or Certificate level. The programme provides an excellent preparation for further research in the field, but is also well suited to personal and professional development purposes. You can pursue a range of specialisms and the dissertation provides an ideal opportunity for you to explore your own specific interests.

Professor Allan Anderson

“The University of Birmingham has an international reputation in Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies. We have a centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies which has been in existence for several decades. The University is known for its expertise in this area and was actually the first university in the world to study the subject of Pentecostalism and we are very proud of that heritage. ”

This course provides an excellent preparation for further research in the field but as a standalone course which will be of interest to:

People from within these Christian traditions; those who are fascinated by religious phenomena, growth and development; professionals in social policy, education, politics and economics; and the faith groups who engage regularly with individuals and communities from Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic backgrounds.

To achieve the MA, you will study two core modules and four optional modules, which are assessed by essays. To complete the course, you will also produce a 15,000-word dissertation, which allows plenty of opportunity for you to explore your own specific interests in the field.

To gain a Diploma, you will study six taught modules (as above - two are core, four are optional) and to complete a Certificate-level qualification, you will study three taught modules (two core, one optional).

Why study this course

  1. Taught by experts – you will study alongside some of the finest minds in Theology and Religion. We are ranked second among all Theology departments in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. 

  2. Flexibility – you can study at home, in your own time and at your own pace, so you can combine achieving a qualification with work or family commitments. You also have the benefit of developing your career without having to leave employment. 

  3. Join an active online community - studying by distance learning is not a lonely experience within the Department of Theology and Religion. You will get to meet interact with students – virtually – which will impact on your learning experience. 

  4. Career changing – a qualification from the University of Birmingham can be the springboard to promotion with your current employer, the platform from which to launch a new career or simply a way to become more effective in your current role. Studying at Birmingham is a rewarding and enriching experience that brings about significant personal development. 

  5. Support – there is always support available from tutors at the University. The programme is designed to keep you in touch with fellow students and tutors. Our ‘virtual learning environment’ provides a focal point and help provide a structure for your learning. You will be assigned a personal tutor. Personal tutors are available to answer questions regarding the content of your programme, and also to give advice and provide clarification if you don't understand something, for example what an assignment question demands.


You will study two core modules:

Research Methodology

This module provides an introduction to the study of graduate-level Theology and to research in this field.

History of Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism

This module concentrates on the origins, history and development of Evangelicalism in different parts of the world. There is a particular emphasis on the theological and historical precedents to Pentecostalism in late 19th- and early 20th- century Evangelicalism and the significance of Pentecostalism to global Christianity.

You will also choose four optional modules from a range which typically includes: 

Pentecostal/Charismatic Theology in Context

This module examines key theological issues relating to the global Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Particular attention is given to the subjects of spirituality, mission, culture and society, and globalisation. Contextual and multi-disciplinary approaches to Pentecostal and Charismatic studies will inform the theological reflection.

Contemporary Theology of the Holy Spirit

This module will consider the theological distinctives of contemporary Evangelicalism, tracing their historic roots and practical outworking today.

Evangelical and Pentecostal Approaches to Music and Worship

This module will look at the growth and development of worship in the Evangelical and Pentecostal movements since the 1970s and include consideration of the theology of music and worship and a historical survey, as well as a discussion and analysis of contemporary practice.

Evangelical and Pentecostal Hermeneutics

This module will examine the use of the Bible in the Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions, highlighting similarities and differences between their approaches to and appropriation of the biblical text.

World Christianity in the 20th Century

This module studies the enormous changes in the nature and demography of world Christianity from the time of the missionary movement and the Second Evangelical Awakening in the 19th Century to the end of the 20th Century, with particular focus on schisms and denominational histories, including Roman Catholicism, the Protestant churches, non-conformist and evangelical churches, African and Asian independent churches, and Pentecostalism. Attention will also be given to globalisation and the relationship between Christianity and society.

Sociology of Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism

This module studies Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism from a sociological perspective. Attention will be given to the ways in which sociologists conceptualise Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism. It will then examine how sociologists have studied these movements using empirical research methods and social theory for explanations. The beliefs, practices, attitudes, and demographics of Evangelicals and Pentecostals, and the organisations that support the subculture are discussed. Finally, the relationship between global society and Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism will be a particular focus.

Alternatively, you may select up to two of your optional modules from our other distance learning programmes in the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion – MA Philosophy of Health and Happinessand MA Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. The choice includes:

  • God, Freedom and the Meaning of Life
  • Global Bioethics
  • Philosophy of Health and Happiness
  • Philosophy of Cognitive Science

Related staff

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:


  • £6,570: full-time
  • £3,285: part-time


  • £4,380: full-time 
  • £2,190: part-time


  • £2,190: full-time or part-time

For part-time students studying an MA or Diploma, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two of your programme.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

Entry requirements

The normal entrance requirement is an upper second-class in Theology, Religious Studies or a related discipline, or an upper second-class degree in an unrelated subject with relevant professional experience.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Additional Guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Making your application


When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Programme structure

We offer a flexible range of study options for this programme – full-time or part-time, and at MA, Diploma or Certificate level.

Each module is taught over an eight-week period, following which you will be required to submit an assessment. You can expect to have around three weeks from the end of teaching to the submission deadline, except modules taught in the summer, which have much longer periods.

Teaching takes place throughout the academic year, which runs from September to July. Dissertation supervision sessions (for MA students) will take place between February and August – in Year 1 for full-time students and Year 2 for part-time students – with dissertations to be completed by mid-September. The number of modules you take at any one time, or in any given year, depends on your mode of study:

  • Full-time MA/Diploma students: Two modules at a time, totalling six over approximately eight months. For MA students this is followed by a dissertation, written between June and September.
  • Part-time MA/Diploma students: Year 1 – One module at a time, totalling four over the entire year. Year 2 – Two modules, one at a time, taught over approximately five months. For MA students this is followed by a dissertation, written between March and September.
  • Full-time Certificate students: Two modules at a time, followed by one further module, taught over approximately five months.
  • Part-time Certificate students: Three modules, one at a time, taught over approximately eight months.

Please note - the durations stated above are standard programme lengths, but part-time MA students may also choose to study over three years.

Programme delivery

Although much of the course is delivered through our ‘virtual learning environment,’ support is always available. You will have a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor to guide you and answer any questions, and you have access to a wide range of online resources too.

You also have the opportunity to meet other students and academic staff through online chats and discussion forums.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

University of the Year for employability

Birmingham’s Theology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Over the past five years, over 92% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. For those in further study, teacher training courses remain a popular choice. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including local government, education and charities. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: British Council; Church of England; Institute of Education; International Greek New Testament Project; Quaker Homeless Action; Queens Ecumenical Theological College; and University of Birmingham.