Practical Theology Doctorate (DPT)

Start date
September
Duration
5–6 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Combined research and taught, Continuing professional development, Doctoral research
Fees
Part-time annual tuition fee 2020/21:
UK/EU: £2,190
International: £8,940
More details.

Are you looking to use your professional, voluntary or ministerial practice as the foundation for your research? Our Practical Theology Doctorate (DPT) provides an ideal opportunity for practitioners in a wide variety of settings to work with peers from similar and different contexts to gain a practice-based and relevant research degree.

The DPT is suitable for anyone 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.

College of Arts and Law postgraduate scholarships available

The College of Arts and Law is offering a range of scholarships for our postgraduate taught and research programmes to ensure that the very best talent is nurtured and supported.

Learn more about our scholarships

At Birmingham, you also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your research activity.

My favourite thing about being a postgraduate I think is being able to study something that I really enjoy. The support of the department is great and there’s a really good postgraduate community.

Shannon

Why Study this Course?

  • Dynamic relationship: At the heart of professional doctorates like this programme 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.
  • Part-time study: The staged and part-time nature of this programme make it particularly suitable for people in mid-career who are looking to develop themselves professionally and academically in a sequential way supported by a cohort of fellow learners and day school events.
  • Networking opportunities: Students on the course have the benefit of meeting major national and international scholars at seminars, workshops and a summer school that includes candidates doing similar doctorates at other universities.
  • Long tradition: The modern study of Practical Theology in the UK started in Birmingham in the 1960s and it has spread out to many centres from here, as well as having a long tradition in this institution.
  • Partners and community: We have excellent 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.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.


Fees

 We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21: 

  • UK/EU: £2,190 part-time*

The above fee quoted is for one year only. Tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme. 

* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2020.

Fee status

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

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2019/20 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2019/20 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

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

Funding opportunities

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.

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

How To Apply

Application deadlines

Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 1 July 2020.

Distance learning students will attend a residential visit in September or January, and those students wishing to attend the September residential are also encouraged to apply by 1 July 2020. The visit will take place at the end of September/beginning of October and you will receive further details once you have accepted your offer.

Before you make your application

Full details of our requirements can be found on our Applications page.

As part of the application for admission onto our MJur, MPhil and PhD programmes, you must prepare a research proposal outlining your proposed area of study. For more information, please see our guidance on how to write a research proposal.

Please also see our 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

Our Standard 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 organisations, 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

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, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 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


The programme is designed particularly for part-time students.

It consists of three introductory modules and a final thesis, 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 thesis.

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.

Students will also attend compulsory day schools and a residential event to further support your studies. The day schools usually run for one day between 10am-6pm in November, December, February, April and June. The residential usually takes place in July for three days.

Throughout the programme you will be supported 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

Stage 1: Structured Research Papers

Stage 1 comprises three modules that support you to produce structured research papers in preparation for the longer thesis-based research.

Those modules are:

  • Practical theology: context, practice and performance

This module introduces you to the discipline of practical theology, asking you to produce critical reviews of key thinkers and ideas, helping you to situate your particular area of enquiry in relation to themes, traditions and practices.

  • Presentation and publication of research

As you develop as an independent researcher you will be in a position to contribute a new voice to ongoing debates.  This module supports that development by asking you to produce a publishable article, responsive to current landscapes of thinking and practice.  The topic is driven by your research interests and professional context.

  • Establishing advanced research practice in practical theology

Approaching the longer-term thesis-based project, this module supports you to produce a research proposal, planning the details of fieldwork, and a more reflective piece, giving you the chance to continue to refine your perspective on practical theology in light of your thinking and experience throughout Stage 1.

All these modules are student-driven, but guided by regular one to one supervisions with your supervisor.  In addition attendance at the series of seminar days is expected (five through the course of the year, plus a short two day summer school).  Those seminars bring all Practical Theology Doctorate students together allowing new voices and veteran researchers to come together for peer-to-peer learning, as well as critical discussion of theology and seminars from external national and international speakers.

Stage 2: Independent Research

Students are fully launched into their independent doctoral research work, working regularly through supervision, and continuing to contribute to the Practical Theology Doctorate research community through the seminar series.

 

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

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.

Over the past 5 years, 94% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 - 2017). Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including publishing, education and social work. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include Church of England, Methodist Church, NHS and University of Birmingham.