Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module THEO2461: Research Project and Colloquium in Theology and Religion

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO2461: Research Project and Colloquium in Theology and Religion

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • A pass mark in at least ONE level one module in Theology and Religion


  • 40 credits of Theology and Religion modules concurrently

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To encourage students to develop advanced study skills, including the ability to identify and define their own research questions within the context of a given set of texts and issues.
  • To develop effective strategies for pursuing an independently identified research project, and for writing an extended project.
  • The ability to discuss, explain and defend ideas in a small group context (the ‘Colloquium’), and to answer questions about the research project.
  • To enhance progression from Level 1, and to facilitate progression to Level 3 in Theology and Religion, or Philosophy and Theology. In particular, to prepare for the demands of the research-based Level 3 Dissertation.


  • This module will enable students to develop more advanced study skills through working in a small, intensive seminar requiring extensive reading, discussion, and writing about problems in connection with defined themes in Theology and Religion.
  • It is envisaged that each seminar strand will have a ‘theme’ along the lines of a well-conceived conference/colloquium. Different students/researchers can come at the same theme from a number of perspectives, where all the students/researchers benefit from learning about these alternative approaches.
  • The module will include:
  • An information skills workshop designed to improve students' ability to make best use of library and other learning resources as independent learners.
  • An overview lecture explaining course objectives, methods, and procedures.
  • Staff-directed seminars examining key texts and problems within the areas of the defined themes.
  • Student-directed seminars requiring students to present aspects of their work-in-progress, while they are developing their extended independent project connected with the theme of their seminar strand.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • In-depth understanding of a key aspect of a field of study within the area of the defined themes.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to identify and define a research question within the context of a given set of texts and issues.
  • The ability to develop effective research strategies.
  • The ability to write an extended independent project.
  • The ability to discuss, explain and defend ideas in a small-group context.
Key Skills:
  • Skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of an argument both in written and in oral form.
  • The generation of insight through both individual reflection and group discussion.

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

  • The lecture sets out the aims, method and objectives of the module.
  • The study skills sessions facilitate the independent research of the students.
  • Seminars enhance subject-specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation, and through interaction with students and staff, promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches.
  • The summative seminar presentation assesses the students’ ability to explain and defend ideas in a small-group context.
  • The research proposal and bibliography assesses the students to identify a research question within a given context, and to develop effective strategies for pursuing this research.
  • The one-to-one tutorial provides tailored feedback on the research proposal.
  • The extended independent project assesses the students’ subject-specific knowledge and understanding, and the students’ ability to carry out independent research, and to present the findings of this research in a compelling way.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Introductory talk 1 Once 1 hour 1
Study skills talks 2 Twice 1 hour 2
Seminars 6 3 in Michaelmas Term, 3 in Epiphany Term 2 hours 12
Tutorial 1 Once at the end of Michaelmas Term 15 min 0.25
Preparing and Reading . . . 184.75
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Individual Presentation (including Q&A) Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual Presentation (including supporting materials, circulated at least three working days in advance, plus group Q&A) 40 min 100%
Component: Independent Project Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Independent Project 6,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Research Proposal and Bibliography (1,000 words, excluding bibliography) to be submitted in penultimate week of Michaelmas term, in preparation for end of term Tutorial.

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