MA in Contemporary Church Leadership

The MA in Contemporary Church Leadership is a programme of study which is vocationally orientated, with the needs and concerns of the pastoral ministry in mind. It consists of modules which consider aspects of the pastoral ministry in a scholarly way. The programme is intended to challenge traditional ‘maintenance’ models of ministry with alternative New Testament patterns. Amongst other things, it encourages students to investigate and understand changing contexts, both within church settings and the wider culture. It will be of particular interest to those who are grappling with questions of cultural transition and who wish to explore the concept of ‘missional’ church. The MA would be equally suited to individuals continuing or embarking on serious theological study with a pastoral dimension, or to working pastors wishing to have some intellectual stimulation in the context of ongoing ministry.

Admission requirements

Normally, applicants should have an upper second class honours degree in a discipline relevant to the subject area. Applicants may also be admitted who have achieved an aggregate of 50% in the WEST Graduate Diploma in Theology. Alternatively, admission on the basis of experience in a responsible role relevant to the programme may be permitted, if the applicant is deemed capable of meeting the demands of the programme. This experience must be of at least two years’ duration and should normally have been in a full-time position.

International applicants should also note the English language admission requirements which may found by following this link:

The admission process requires applicants to submit an application form supported by at least two references. All applicants are interviewed, either in person or using telephone or Skype. In the case of applicants applying for entry on the grounds of experience, other appropriate methods may be used in addition.

Start Dates

There are two entry dates for the programme:

The ‘main’ entry date is late August. This is suitable both for those interested in studying on a full-time basis as well as for those interested in study on a part-time basis. Applications for entry on to the programme in late August must be submitted by June 23rd.

An alternative entry point is in early January. However, this is only suitable for those wishing to study on a part-time basis. Applications for the January start must be submitted by November 1st.

Programme structure

Part One

In Part One students take modules totalling 120 credits. All Part One modules are worth 20 credits except for the Reflection on Ministry module which counts for 40 credits and the two Research Methods modules that are worth 10 credits each.

One of the distinctive features of our MA programme is the Reflection on Ministry module which enables reflection on current ministry practice to be treated as a module and contribute to the programme of studies. (Further details about this may be found by following the link below to the overview of the modules on the programme.)

Modules are divided into compulsory and optional categories. Compulsory modules will be delivered every year. However, not all optional modules will be available in each year. The actual modules being delivered in any given year may be found on the teaching schedule by following the link lower on this page.

(Note that each Part One module is delivered in an intensive one-week teaching block. (The Reflection on Ministry only has a two-hour induction in week 1.) Greek Text and Hebrew Text modules require attendance in weeks 2, 4 and 6; see Teaching Dates and Schedule lower on the page.)

Compulsory Modules

  • TH7811 Principles of Christian Leadership
  • TH7829 Reflection on Ministry (40 credits)
  • TH7821 & TH7822 Research Methods 1 & 2 (10 credits each)

Optional Modules

  • TH7809 Pastoral Response to Trauma
  • TH7812 Biblical Exegesis: English Text^
  • TH7813 Biblical Exegesis: Greek Text^*
  • TH7814 Biblical Exegesis: Hebrew Text^*
  • TH7816 Ministry in an Urban World
  • TH7817 Popular Culture and the Christian Worldview
  • TH7827 The Spiritual Formation of the Leader (planned for 2016/17)
  • TH7828 Contemporary Church Issues for Evangelicalism

^ Only one of TH7812, TH7813 and TH7814 may be taken

* A satisfactory prior knowledge of grammar is required for these modules. The currency and level of this knowledge may need to be

established by means of a diagnostic test.

Part Two

15,000 word dissertation, which is worth 60 credits

An overview of the MA in Contemporary Church Leadership modules can be found here.


All modules are written, taught and marked by WEST lecturers. The University of Chester appoints an external examiner, in liaison with WEST, who moderates all assessments. Most modules are assessed by means of coursework, though Greek and Hebrew Exegesis also involve an exam. A 15,000-word dissertation completes the programme. Coursework assessment papers are given to students in the relevant teaching week and are usually submitted 6 – 8 weeks later. The deadlines always fall before the next set of teaching weeks.


The attainment of the award of MA is achieved with 180 credits. However, it is also possible for students to terminate their studies having completed a total of 60 credits from Part One to achieve a Postgraduate Certificate, or, having completed a total of 120 credits (i.e. all of Part One), to achieve a Postgraduate Diploma.


The MA CCL programme may be completed in 12 months on a full-time basis from the late August start date. The programme may also be completed on a part-time basis taking up to 6 years. Part-time students may enrol to start in August or, alternatively, in January.

There are a number of permutations for study on a part-time basis. Here are the two most common permutations taken by students:

Suggestion A

Year 1 – Research Methods 1 and Principles of Christian Leadership module

Year 2 – One option module plus the year-long Reflection on Ministry module.

Year 3 –Research Methods 2 and one option module

Year 4 – The dissertation

Suggestion B

Year 1 – Research Methods 1, Principles of Christian Leadership module, plus one option module

Year 2 – Research Methods 2, one option module plus the year-long Reflection on Ministry module.

Year 3 – The dissertation

Teaching dates and schedule

Six intensive teaching weeks are scheduled each year. Two weeks follow the late August bank holiday, two are held in early January and two are held in March (the dates of the latter vary according to the timing of Easter). A full-time student will need to attend 4 of these teaching weeks, the precise weeks will depend on the choice of modules made. (Note: for the Greek Text and Hebrew Text modules, attendance at additional weeks is required; see Programme Structure for details.)

The schedule and dates of teaching weeks for 2015/16 are available here as a PDF file for you to download.

(The School reserves the right to withdraw modules in certain circumstances.)

Programme cost

Please see tuition fees.

Who to contact

Kerry Orchard (Admission Enquiries Officer)


T: +44 (0)1656 645411

Application process

Apply for the MA programme.


This programme is validated by the University of Chester.

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