Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module THEO44330: Method in Practical Theology

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO44330: Method in Practical Theology

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable the building of the skill and habit of theological reflection (including familiarity with a range of methodologies) and the integration of theology and the practice of ministry.
  • To explore contemporary practical theological writing and published research and introduce critical tools for evaluation
  • To develop students’ ability to engage critically with published texts in practical theology


  • The first series of lectures will cover an introduction to the work of key contemporary writers in the field of practical theology and the methods and approaches adopted by these writers. Students have the opportunity to study at least one writer in considerable depth including engagement with primary texts and exposure to extant literature. Seminars will allow students to read and evaluate the author’s texts and research findings. The second series of lectures will introduce students to methodology of theological and practical reflection this will include:1) The history of applied and practical theology 2) The pastoral cycle and other methodologies in practical theology 3) The use of the Bible and tradition in practical theology 4) Practical theology and other disciplines.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the literature of practical theology and the cultivation of critical reading skills
  • Detailed knowledge needed to understand and evaluate research findings in the field of practical theology
  • Knowledge of the literature of practical theology and the cultivation of critical reading skills
  • Detailed knowledge needed to understand and evaluate research findings in the field of practical theology
  • A developed, systematic and critical understanding of methodologies in the discipline of practical theology;
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to apply appropriately a variety of advanced methods of analysis relevant to practical theology
  • Ability to evaluate literature on practical theology and the advantages and disadvantages of competing approaches and contrasting conceptual frameworks
  • Ability to deploy a variety of methodologies in the discipline of practical theology;
  • Skills in using critically a variety of disciplines, particularly the human sciences, to understand and describe a range of situations;
  • Ability both to critique existing practice and plan for the development of ministry in complex and unpredictable contexts.
Key Skills:
  • Communicate complex information and argument in a clear and orderly way;
  • Understanding of a range of complex phenomena;
  • Problem posing and problem solving;
  • Identification of, respect for and appropriate use of empirical data.

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

  • The module functions as the second module in the Doctor of Theology and Ministry degree (DThM). Lectures and related seminars enhance subject specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation and through interaction with students promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches, as well as affording developmental opportunities for skills in theological reflection, critical research, and oral presentation. In the formative student-led discussion students evaluate one author’s text in depth.
  • The module allows students to refine concepts by exposure to a wider range of methodologies and through identifying and constructing a focused topic in practical theology. For this students must give a critical account of their choice of methods and defend robustly their conclusions in the form of seminar on a specific issue, critical incident of their own choice. The seminar is a formative assignment on which written feedback is given. The feedback from the formative presentations and leading a discussion contribute to the critical evaluation necessary for the 5,000 words summative assignment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 90 minutes 15
Tutorials 5 60 minutes 5
Seminars 20 30 minutes 10
E-learning discussion 10 fortnightly 30 minutes 5
Preparation and reading time 65
Preparation and reading in association with formative summative assignments 200
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

A seminar presentation with written feedback. Leading a discussion on chosen practical theology text- with verbal feedback.

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