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

Start date
MA: 1-2 years, Diploma: 8-16 months, Certificate: 4-8 months.
Course Type
Postgraduate, Distance learning

Annual tuition fees for 2021 entry:
MA: £9,500 full-time
Diploma: £6,333 full-time
Certificate: £3,167 full-time
More detail.

The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements are among the largest and fastest-growing traditions within world Christianity.

Birmingham has a long-standing tradition of studying these movements and is a world leader in this field of research. Our specialisms include Pentecostal and Charismatic history, missiology, theology, biblical interpretation, sociology, worship, and liturgy.

This distance learning programme at Birmingham explores the faith, practices, worship and teaching of Pentecostal and Charismatic and related 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.

This course provides an excellent preparation for further research in the field which will be of interest to: people from within these Christian traditions; those who are fascinated by religious phenomena, growth and development; professionals in religious services, social policy, education, politics and economics; and the faith groups who engage regularly with individuals and communities from Pentecostal and Charismatic backgrounds. Students can pursue a range of specialisms, and the dissertation provides an ideal opportunity for you to explore your own specific interests.

Students can choose to study the programme through a full MA, a Diploma or a Certificate, although there is scope to move between degree awards during your studies.

Please note: This programme is suspended for 2021 entry and we are no longer accepting applications. Alternatively, you may be interested in our MA Theology and Religion programme.



This programme is available distance learning

The College of Arts and Law offers a diverse range of distance learning courses, including taught, research, full-time and part-time options. We have a wealth of expertise in distance learning with over 20 years of delivering exceptional, high quality study.

Learn more...

Why study this course?

  • Research expertise – The Theology and Religion department was ranked 3rd in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework exercise 2021 based on research rated 4*. The University of Birmingham also has an international reputation in Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies, and our dedicated research centre for study in this area, the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies, has been in existence for several decades. The Centre is the oldest research institution on the global Pentecostal movements, going back to the work of Walter Hollenweger, Professor of Mission at the University from 1971 to 1989 and widely considered the father of academic studies on worldwide Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Personal and professional development -the programme provides ideal preparation for further study, as well as helping to develop knowledge for personal interest and/or professional development.


MA/Diploma students will study two core modules, four optional modules and a 15,000 word dissertation.

Certificate students will study one core module and two optional modules.

Core modules

All students will study the following core module:

History of Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism

This module concentrates on the origins, history and development of Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism 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.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay, and participation in online discussion

MA and Diploma students take an additional core module:

Research Methods in Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies

This module focuses on research methods, skills and theories associated with the study of Pentecostal and Charismatic movements from different disciplinary perspectives.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Optional modules

MA and Diploma students will choose four optional modules, while Certificate students will choose two optional modules. You will choose from a range which typically includes:

Contemporary Theology of the Holy Spirit

This module discusses the theology of the Holy Spirit since the twentieth century in contemporary Pentecostal, Charismatic, and related Evangelical movements. Attention is given to the contributions of contemporary pneumatology to other theological concerns. You will engage with the most recent scholarship in the area of pneumatology by reading primary texts, discussing selected passages, and by reading secondary scholarly literature located in journals. 
Assessment: 4,000-word essay, and participation in online discussion

Evangelical and Pentecostal Approaches to Music and Worship

This module looks 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. It considers developments in 'ordinary theology' and the writings of key Evangelical/ Pentecostal/ Charismatic worship leaders and ministers (such as Kendrick, Bowater, Redman, Zschech, Hayford) as well as more obviously 'academic' studies of the relevant issues (including the work of Begbie and Ward) and makes use of the developing methodologies for 'reading' music as a form of biblical interpretation and as a way of doing theology.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay, and participation in online discussion

Evangelical and Pentecostal Hermeneutics

This module examines 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. It examines the fundamental theological conceptualisations which underlie the traditions, considering their doctrine(s) of scripture, exegetical, hermeneutical and homiletic models and the use of the Bible (the latter particularly in terms of ethics, worship and liturgy and culture), considered in the light of recent published research in the field and also of available empirical data. The module will seek to facilitate the origination of distinctively E/P/C readings of biblical texts and ask what makes such readings important or unique.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay, and participation in online discussion

Pentecostal/Charismatic Theology in Context

This module examines key theological issues relating to the global Pentecostal and Charismatic movements under the heading of the so-called full gospel, which proclaims that Jesus Christ is saviour, sanctifier, Spirit baptizer, divine healer, and coming king. Particular attention is given to the concerns of spirituality, mission, culture and society, and globalisation. Contextual and multi-disciplinary approaches to Pentecostal and Charismatic studies will inform the theological reflection.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay, and participation in online discussion

Sociology of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

This module studies Pentecostal and Charismatic movements from a sociological perspective. Attention is given to the ways in which sociologists conceptualise Pentecostalism. We then examine how sociologists have studied these movements using empirical research methods and social theory for explanations. The beliefs, practices, attitudes, and demographics of Pentecostals and Charismatic Christians, and the organisations that support the subculture, are also discussed. Finally, the relationship between global society and Pentecostalism forms a particular focus.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay, and participation in online discussion

World Christianity in the Twentieth 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.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay, and participation in online discussion

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


In addition to the taught modules, MA students will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.

Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.


We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021 entry are as follows:

MA (1 year full-time or 2 years part-time)

  • £9,500 full-time
  • £4,750 part-time

Diploma (8 months full-time or 16 months part-time)

  • £6,333 full-time 
  • £3,167 part-time

Certificate (4 months full-time or 8 months part-time)

  • £3,167 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.

How To Apply

Please note: This programme is suspended for 2021 entry and we are no longer accepting applications.

Application deadlines

The deadline for all students applying to our distance learning courses is Wednesday 31 August 2022.

Late applicants are encouraged to contact the Admissions Tutor for advice.

Making your application

Our Standard 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.

International/EU students

Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements

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.

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.

You can expect to need up to 20 hours a week of study time for each module.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver local support.

In addition to a range of campus-based events and workshops, Careers Network provides extensive online resources, and comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.


“The programme in Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies was immensely helpful and furthered my understanding of the field. Additionally, while enriching my research and writing ability, it provided the confidence, content, and relationships to pursue and complete a PhD. Even though I had a graduate degree from the U.S., I was unprepared for the rigour and approach of the British system. Without the flexibility and quality of instruction I received in the programme, I would not have been able to successfully achieve what I did.” 
Ben Crace, MA and PhD alumnus 

“I enjoyed my studies at Birmingham! I grew in my understanding of history and theology, and I also sharpened my critical thinking skills and writing ability. I would recommend this programme to anyone interested in understanding the evangelical and Pentecostal movements from a global perspective.”
Jonathan Boyd, MA student 2016/17

“My experience in this programme deepened my understanding of Pentecostalism, gave me a global perspective, and allowed me to make my own contribution to Pentecostal scholarship. I highly recommend it!”
Julia Ball, MA student 2014/15

“This MA programme significantly resourced me as a pastor-theologian and I could not recommend it enough! Robust and challenging, the formative academic guidance of the tutors has been invaluable in my life.” 
Luke Geraty, MA student 2013/14

Postgraduate employability: Theology and Religion

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.

Postgraduates in theology and religion go on to a wide variety of industries, including public service, education, law, consulting, and other competitive graduate schemes. Others consider further study and go on to doctoral research, including the Midland4Cities funded scheme. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include Birmingham Council, Frontline, and the NHS.

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