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.