Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module THEO43130: Spirituality, Religion and Health

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO43130: Spirituality, Religion and Health

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop students’ awareness of in depth conceptual understanding of the key issues, both problems and insights, in R/S and health
  • To develop students’ skills for critically appraising the existing literature on R/S and health
  • To develop skills through which students can plan research on R/S and health and use these as a basis for future research.
  • To encourage students to critically engage with the clinical implications of R/S including an appreciation of the ethical issues.


  • Lectures and seminars will offer a critical overview of contemporary issues in religion, spirituality and health. The relevance of social science and natural science perspectives in researching R/S and health will be discussed. We will explore the positive and negative impacts of R/S on physical and mental health and the role of R/S in the provision of healthcare including the ethical principles underlying this. We will focus on the acquisition of skills for critically appraising the literature, communicating complex issues, planning future studies and for incorporating R/S perspectives in their own healthcare environments. Key areas will include
  • Religion and Spirituality in Health Research
  • Religion , Spirituality and Physical Health
  • Death , Dying and Palliative Care
  • Religion , Spirituality and Mental Health
  • Religion , Spirituality and Mental Health Across the Lifespan: Developmental Approaches
  • Religion and Coping
  • Working with Religion/Spirituality in HealthCare
  • Religious Therapies
  • Religious Experience and Health
  • Religion and Violence

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will have acquired an advanced knowledge of the contemporary literature on R/S and Health and of the main foci of current research
  • By the end of the module students will have developed a conceptual understanding of the main issues in R/S and health;
  • By the end of the module students will have gained an in depth understanding of the role of multiple perspectives (from natural science and from social science) in researching R/S and Health and be able to critically engage with interdisciplinary approaches in research
  • By the end of the module students will have developed critical insight into the application of R/S in healthcare contexts including the ethical principles which underlie these applications.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will have developed the capacity to critique existing knowledge and research methodology
  • By the end of the module students will have developed an ability to communicate complex ideas in a clear and orderly way to a multidisciplinary audience
  • By the end of the module students will have developed an advanced critical evaluation of and reflection on the ethics of incorporating R/S into healthcare
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will have developed an ability to reflect within an interdisciplinary environment and evaluate implications for practice
  • By the end of the module students will have developed the ability to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving complex issues as a basis for the development of further research skills beyond level 4
  • By the end of the module students will have developed the Group analysis and discussion, developing communication of ideas and research outcomes to specialist and non –specialist audiences

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught over 25 hours contact time. Through lectures, student led seminars, discussion groups and essays students will acquire understanding of the complex interactions between R/S and health. The lectures will convey information and exemplify an approach to the subject-matter, enabling students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and to improve their skills in listening and in evaluating information.
  • Students will be expected to lead a 30 minute seminar on any topic related to R/S and health chosen by the student and guided by the course tutor. Seminars will enhance subject-specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation and through interaction with students and staff, promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches. The use of student–led seminars enables students to develop transferable skills in communication and dissemination of ideas to specialist and non-specialist audiences and the development of independent learning strategies.
  • Summative and formative essays will assess subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of information in written form. Specific attention will be given to the acquisition of critical skills through reviewing the existing research literature on R/S and health.
  • The discussion groups will allow students to clarify conceptual issues and to consolidate their knowledge.
  • The topic of the essays and seminar will be decided at a meeting between the module leader and the student. Feedback to students will include dialogue in seminars and written feedback.
  • The mixture of teaching/learning methods will enable students to grasp the breadth of the subject area and to assimilate this into their analysis of the literature and future research.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Seminars 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Group Discussion 10 Weekly 0.5 hour 5
Meeting with module leader 1 Once only 0.5 0.5
Preparation & Reading 274.5

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Seminar Presentation (supported by a brief written seminar proposal)

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University