MPA Faith-Based Leadership

Start date
MPA: 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

Fees for 2024 entry:
UK: £7,000 each year, part-time for two years
International: £9,000 each year, part-time for two years
More detail.

Leading a faith community today is a complex and challenging task. Our MPA  develops effective, equipped and informed leaders who can help their organisations maximise their impact for the good of society.

Today’s faith communities are often sizeable organisations with sophisticated educational, healthcare or social engagement projects and significant financial turnover. However, the initial training of faith leaders understandably focusses on their theological and pastoral skills, leaving many leaders with significant professional responsibilities and management challenges that they sometimes feel ill-equipped to confront.

The Birmingham Master of Public Administration in Faith-Based Leadership offers a globally-unique approach to faith leadership development, combining insight into organisational, administrative, managerial and leadership skills from negotiation to social entrepreneurship, from decision science to ethical purchasing, and from leading volunteers to intercultural engagement with a commitment to faith-sensitive application of these core principles on the ground in faith communities across the world.

The MPA is a two-year, part-time programme designed for senior and emerging senior leaders from across a variety of faiths, from faith-based organisations and from governmental and non-governmental organisations that deal with faith-based issues as part of their everyday life. Our programme is ideal for, for example, chairs of trusts, mosques, temples and gurdwaras, directors of companies and CIOs, bishops, area deans or equivalent, CEOs or COOs from faith-based organisations.

Applicants will ordinarily require a 2:1 or above at undergraduate level (or equivalent), three years’ experience in a leadership role at some level (not necessarily a senior yet), and will need to be employed or presently volunteering extensively in a leadership capacity, with the capacity to dedicate approximately 8 hours a week on average to their studies throughout the two years.

Study as an apprenticeship

In addition to the MPA Faith-Based Leadership, for learners who are currently employed in an appropriate role, we now offer a Faith-Based Leadership Apprenticeship, aligned to the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard. This represents a new and exciting opportunity for learners to gain a Faith-Based Leadership qualification funded by an employer’s apprenticeship levy. This route requires the support of employers and brings together university study and the invaluable on-the-job training typical of an apprenticeship.

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship delivers a professional pathway towards Chartered Manager or Chartered Fellow status, awarded by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). According to the CMI this apprenticeship helps senior leaders to improve their strategic leadership skills, with a focus on working at a higher organisational levels and providing clear and inclusive leadership.  

Our Faith Based Leadership Level 7 Apprenticeship, aligned to the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard, will allow you to gain a PGDip in Faith Based Leadership funded by the Apprenticeship Levy. Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship we offer the opportunity for you to achieve a full Masters level qualification via completion of a 60 credit dissertation. 

Find out what a degree apprenticeship involves and a full breakdown of the eligibility requirements. Please get in touch with our Apprenticeships Team if you think this opportunity might be right for you.

At Birmingham, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your studies.

Why study this course?

  • Interdisciplinary programme offering a unique combination of insight and learning in organisational leadership, professional development and theological reflection upon practice in an interreligious and interdenominational context
  • Collaborative online learning delivery with plenty of opportunities to learn from colleagues as well as leading academic experts with experience in faith community leadership
  • Strong focus on equality, diversity and inclusion in leadership and on professional excellence in organisational management
  • In-person residentials with special practitioner masterclasses led by leading international experts from a variety of religious and professional backgrounds
  • For UK applicants only, the opportunity to complete the programme as a Master’s Level Degree Apprenticeship, which may lead to significant fee subsidies (subject to employment status)
  • A continuing focus on the practical application of learning into your leadership context and its positive outcomes for your organisation

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.


The programme consists of six compulsory modules and a placement-based dissertation. Each of the modules is assessed by two essays – one focussing on the theoretical issues discussed in the module and the other on the practical outworking of the insight gained into your professional context.


Fatih, Leadership and Community Engagement

Covering essential leadership skills such as effective leadership, servant leadership, ethical leadership, theological models of leadership, thought leadership and influence, leadership and sustainability, leadership and public life, building and leading teams, social entrepreneurship and reflective leadership, negotiation.

Faith Community Governance, Management and Administration

Comprising topics such as strategic thinking and implementation, financial management & accounting, performance improvement, operations management, marketing, decision science, ethical purchasing and procurement, project management, non-profit management, planning.

Understanding and Leading People

This module will focus on issues such as strategies for influencing others, communications, ethical leadership, interpersonal relationships, human resources management, social impact and engagement, social innovation, community mobilisation, intergenerational leadership, community organising, mentoring and leadership development, theological anthropology.

Organisational Culture in Faith-Based Organisations

This module will discuss issues such as leading change, intercultural engagement, globalisation and secularisation, corporate social responsibility, entrepreneurship, public ethics, equality, diversity and inclusion, media engagement, conflict resolution, interreligious relations.

Organisational and Personal Development

This module will explore concepts such as organisational behaviour, innovation and creativity, organisational resilience, succession planning and offer theological reflection on organisations and the nature of work.

Theological Reflection on Professional Practice

This module will cover research methods, research management, policy analysis and development, research ethics, reflective practice, critical thinking – one of assignments being research proposal

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 2024 entry are as follows:

  • UK: £7,000 each year, part-time for two years
  • International: £9,000 each year, part-time for two years

If your organisation is based in the UK and pays the degree apprenticeship levy, or is prepared to apply for UK government support, it may be possible to apply for funding which will cover most of the programme fees. Contact us for more information on this.

Fee status

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

Paying your fees

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

Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.

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.

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

How To Apply

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students (requiring a VISA) to apply is 26 July 2024. The deadline for UK students is 30 August 2024.

Making your application

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Applicants will ordinarily require a 2:1 or above at undergraduate level (or equivalent), three years’ experience in a leadership role at some level (not necessarily senior yet), and will need to be employed or presently volunteering extensively in a leadership capacity, with the capacity to dedicate approximately 8 hours a week on average to their studies throughout the two years. Degree apprenticeship applicants are required to commit 20% of their working time to this off-the-job training.

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

As well as the taught modules you take on this programme, the Department of Theology and Religion has a busy programme of research seminars, conferences and workshops which you can attend, so you’ll be able to gain insight from a range of academics and peers from across the department. 

Course delivery 

Each of the six taught modules runs over 15 weeks, comprising:

  •  7 weeks of online content (with weekly live interactive discussion activities and group and individual tutorial meetings)
  • 6 weeks of assessment preparation (including continuing discussion groups, activities and tutorial meetings)
  • A reading and catch-up week
  • A 48-hour residential at Birmingham for your cohort to gather to discuss issues in person, visit key local case study sites and strengthen your peer networks

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation. You should have the capacity to dedicate approximately 8 hours a week on average to your studies throughout the two years.

Teaching Year for the MPA

Please note the MPA programme does not follow the traditional University teaching year cycle. Course delivery begins in early September and continues for a total of 45 weeks of the year, with learners taking one module at a time only. You will typically take three modules across each calendar year, followed by your dissertation in months 24-30 of the programme.

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation.

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 of Birmingham is the top choice for the UK's major employers searching for graduate recruits, according to The Graduate Market 2024 report.

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.

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.