Theology (with Foundation Year)
UCAS Code: Combined Honours only – see combinations tab|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park
UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
Studying our Theology Major provides you with the opportunity to study the core disciplines of the subject in-depth. You will engage with important issues in the contemporary world and major issues from the past that effect how we think and live today. This includes issues such as suffering and evil, sexuality and gender, justice and liberation. Your study will involve the development of critical reading and writing skills encompassing the areas of biblical studies, church history, and constructive, ethical, mystical, and philosophical theology. You will engage with issues concerning what it means to be human and to be divine, what is meant by spirituality and the mystical, including the ways in which the material realm can convey the spiritual. You can acquire expertise in finding your way through the complex and rich Christian tradition, and how it relates to vital historical and contemporary issues. A focus on global Christianity is one of the defining characteristics of the curriculum. You will have an opportunity to explore Christian theology not only as it pertains to the development of Western Christianity, but to the influences and trajectories in other parts of the world.
The international teaching team represent a broad range of Christian traditions, and all of our lecturers are experts in their field and well-published.
To further support your studies, you will have access to our Library’s Special Collections, which houses texts dating back to the 15th century.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars, which are smaller groups of around 15-20 students, and tutorials which are typically no more than 10 students. There will also be the opportunity to meet your tutor on a one-to-one basis each week.
For the Theology part of your Combined Honours degree, you will have approximately 6 teaching hours in your first year of study, which reduces to approximately 5 teaching hours in your second and third years. On top of teaching hours, you are also expected to spend a number of hours studying independently each week, as well as group study to prepare for any group assessments you may have.
Assessment and feedback
During your degree, you will have a number of assessments, including an initial short exercise so that you receive feedback early in your studies, presentations, essays, portfolios and exams. In your final year, you will complete an independent research project or dissertation, using skills you have developed over the first two years of study.
You will receive your feedback via the University’s Virtual Online Learning Environment (Moodle), and you are also welcome to discuss the feedback with your tutors.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
We begin by introducing you to the exciting subject of theology and discuss its scope and importance. How does it relate to profound issues such as life and death, the body and the mind? How do ancient beliefs and the Bible relate to present issues such as culture including art and music, sexuality and gender? Is this life the only one? Are we living at the end of the world? And what can reason and revelation tell us about God and God’s role in all of this?
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is obviously the central figure of the Christian faith but what have and do Christians believe about him? We follow old and new debates about what it means for the faith in terms of beliefs, values and behaviours if we stress his divinity over his humanity or vice-versa.
Introduction to the Bible
The Bible has influenced Western (and not only) culture and civilisation in manifold ways, and thus its significance extends well beyond Christian communities which consider it inspired and authoritative. In this course we first introduce broader issues of canon and interpretation, and then provide an overview of the contents of the Christian Bible as well as the various methods and approaches used by scholars to interpret biblical writings.
Initiation is process by which someone begins a new phase of life, or is admitted to membership of a particular group or association. Christian initiation describes the processes by which an individual becomes a member of the Christian Church. This unit involves a detailed study of the rituals and theology of Baptism, Confirmation and admittance to Holy Communion in the period up to 1453. It covers different aspects of initiation, including historical and theological issues, asking what rites of initiation do for believers and how they fit into the faith experience and the life of the Christian Church.
The mediaeval period was an era rich in expressions of spirituality, from the building of our cathedrals containing huge windows of stained glass art, carved misericords, statues of saints and Mary. This was high point of the spirituality of penitence and its accompanying spirituality including relics, pilgrimage and indulgences. This was an era when heaven and earth, the material and the spiritual, seemed so close. It also gave rise to a flourishing of mystical theology, in which female and male mystics reflected deeply, and controversially, on the mysteries of God and the soul. In so doing, they pushed the frontiers concerning how it may be possible to know and even to become one with the divine.
The Human Person, Authority and the Quest for Truth: Christian Theology 1453-1900
Reformation Theology and Responses
The Reformation was a complex, epoch-making event that even today affects the landscape of Christian thinking across the globe. We focus on central Catholic and Protestant actors, such as Erasmus, Luther, Zwingli, Henry VIII, Calvin, Arminius, among others, who through their thought and actions created an enduring reality of division experienced and engaged differently, then and today, by Christians depending upon their ecclesial, social, and geographic location. By exploring this period we approach a deeper understanding of the dramatic emergence of the modern era and how it has shaped our own.
New Testament Epistolary Literature
Letters written by, or ascribed to, the Apostle Paul, form an important part of the New Testament, and some of the main controversies during the Reformation period centred around theological ideas first attested in the Pauline and other early Christian letters. In this unit we study select New Testament letters, including 1 Thessalonians, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and James. We relate them to the Reformation debates, and thus focus on the themes of particular significance for the reformers and those opposing them, but our aim is primarily to understand the writings and themes under consideration in their first century context.
Theology in an Age of Enlightenment
Exploring the rise of modernity and the dynamic emergence of the Enlightenment, we consider theological responses to important challenges facing Christianity, many of which persist today. In particular, we focus on the radical tensions emerging between Faith and Reason, God and Self, Religion and Truth. We examine such themes as arguments for the existence of God, the turn to Romanticism, the Atheism controversies, the Jesus of History/Christ of Faith debate, and the apparent conflicts between Science, Philosophy, and Religion.
Biblical Perspectives on Marriage, Divorce, and Sexuality
Issues of gender, sexuality, and so-called ‘family values’ remain a matter of controversy among contemporary Christians. While in these debates biblical writings are often referred to, the complexity and diversity of the views that we find in the Bible, and specific presuppositions about gender and sexuality, are rarely acknowledged in popular understanding. In this unit we examine biblical perspectives on marriage, divorce and sexuality, including same-sex relations, by first of all studying them in their ancient contexts, and then asking questions about their reception and use in contemporary controversies.
Ethics and Evil
Among the greatest challenges facing theology is the problem of suffering and evil, an ancient enigma that persists in our contemporary world. Here we will engage with some of the deepest of questions: Is God really good? Is God in control of our world? Is evil the price for freedom? How can one believe in God when faced with the atrocious suffering caused by human and natural evil? We engage with such questions in the context of important events, critically evaluating key theological arguments and their fiercest critics.
Religion and Conflict in Old (and New) England
Differences in religious belief can often boil over into conflict, and even violence. This unit uses contemporary material to look at how the Reformation in England generated centuries of heated dispute in England and in its American colonies. Through a detailed reading of pamphlets published at the time, trial accounts, sermons and newspaper reports the unit brings all this to life. The Northwest of England is repeatedly returned to as a case study - and the three-generation career of the Mather family of Puritan ministers takes us all the way from Liverpool to the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts.
Christian Faith in an Age of Conflict
Post/Modern Theology and the Darkness of God
We explore key thinkers and themes in C20th-C21st theology as they respond to a century of unprecedented conflict. Within this, we examine challenges arising in the wake of evil and suffering (including the Holocaust), the advent of postmodernism and feminism, liberation and black theology, and the revival of the mystical. Here students are encouraged to develop their own theological thinking concerning how ideas about ‘God’ might be (re-)interpreted in both the shadow of conflict and the light of new horizons.
The search for ‘spirituality’ is one of the most striking aspects of contemporary Western cultures, with many younger and older people seeking old and new ways to live out their fundamental beliefs and values while reaching for the mystical side of life. The course examines religious experience as experienced through contemporary religious movements, with a particular focus on the spirituality of land and sacred spaces.
Theological Trends in Eastern Christianity in the Twentieth Century and Beyond
This course surveys major theological trends in Eastern Christianity from the beginning of the 20th century until now. It explores the challenges faced by Eastern Churches, focusing especially on Churches of the Byzantine tradition.
Theology and Disability Studies
In this unit we introduce different discourses and models of disability, and then probe theological assumptions and structures, as well as authoritative writings, from the perspective of disability. We consider questions such as: Why are disability perspectives important within theology? If disability is an integral part of what it means to be human, that it is part of ‘normality,’ as disability theologians suggest, what implications does this have for our understanding of the notion of being made in the image of God? What is ‘disability’ in the Bible? How might a disability lens affect the interpretation of biblical texts? What are the ecclesiastical implications of re-evaluating traditional interpretations of such ideas, as well as texts?
This level also provides students with an opportunity to pursue a theme related to the programme through a substantial independent research project led by the student working with a supervisor.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
As a graduate in Theology, you will have excellent skills in critical thinking and expression, which are highly prized by employers. You will be competent in textual analysis, report writing and have high-level oral communication skills. Your in-depth knowledge of Christianity, a capacity to work with primary texts and an ability to empathise with and understand different points of view prepares you for a range of careers including law, media, education, public administration, social, pastoral and community work.
Many graduates enter the teaching profession. A background in Theology is excellent preparation for teaching religious studies at A Level. You will also be well positioned to pursue postgraduate study in theology and related humanities subjects. More broadly, theology equips you with the intellectual skills and perspectives needed for facing the ethical and ideological challenges of the contemporary world.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2024/25 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
On top of tuition fees, you also need to consider additional costs such as books and fieldtrips. Your books will cost approximately £100 per year and, whilst compulsory fieldtrips are covered by your tuition fees, optional international fieldtrips you would need to cover the cost of yourself. Costs vary depending on the location; you will be given plenty of notice about actual cost.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2024/25 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is only available with Foundation Year as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects: