Practical Theology Doctorate (DPT)

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The Doctor of Practical Theology is a practice-based doctoral level degree. It provides a unique opportunity for practitioners in a wide variety of settings to work with peers from similar and different professional and voluntary contexts to gain a practice-based and relevant research degree by staged part-time work.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Combined research and taught, continuing professional development, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 5–6 years part-time

Start date: January, September

Details

The programme is designed particularly for part-time students (though it may be possible to take it full-time) and you will be encouraged to use your professional, voluntary or ministerial practice as the foundation for your structured research in practical theology.

The DPT is suitable for all those actively involved in professional or substantial voluntary work across a range of contexts and institutions, who want to examine the implications of action guiding beliefs, values, and ideologies (‘theologies’) for their practices, and vice versa.  A variety of social science and other methodologies can be used to research practice and contexts.

It consists of three introductory modules and a final dissertation, permitting a staged approach to research. Assessment is by a portfolio of work including a literature review, a publishable article, a research proposal and a final 50,000-word dissertation.

You will be supported throughout by regular supervision, seminars, and workshops with peer and academic engagement. There will also be a summer school drawing together professional doctoral  students in practical theology from other universities offering this programme.

Profiles of our current Theology and Religion doctoral researchers

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Why study this course

At the heart of professional doctorates like the DPT is a dynamic relationship between theory and practice. All doctoral research represents a contribution to knowledge and understanding within a particular academic discipline. The professional doctorate also generates evidence- or practice-based research that informs and enhances understanding and options for action in a particular professional/institutional context.

Throughout the DPT programme you will helped to:

  • Analyse case studies
  • Acquire relevant research methods
  • Identify appropriate research questions
  • Design research strategies
  • Develop communication and dissemination skills
  • Make use of peer/academic support and critique to improve your work

Moreover, the University of Birmingham is an excellent centre for the study of religion and culture.  It has built up good relationships and partnerships with Birmingham's many different communities, and such a rich cultural mix means that it provides an ideal setting to study the relations between Religion and Culture. The city is recognised as one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, with representation from most religious traditions.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £4,090 full-time; £2,045 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,195 full-time; £6,597.50 part-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. 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.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Normally a 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline is required for entry. Candidates will also require a suitable base in practice to be accepted on this course

We welcome applications from:

  • Public sector professionals in health, education and social services
  • Active members of caring professions such as psychotherapy, counselling, nursing, social work, community development
  • Those involved in religious ministry in parish, congregational, or chaplaincy settings
  • People working in charities, non-governmental organizations, in the cultural industries, or in the arts
  • Those involved in industry or business wishing to deepen their understanding of the ethical and theological dimensions of their practice

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

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.

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

Learning and teaching

You will be supported throughout by regular supervision, seminars, and workshops with peer and academic engagement. There will also be a summer school drawing together professional doctoral  students in practical theology from other universities offering this programme.

As a postgraduate on this programme, you’ll 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.

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

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.

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.