Project Description

MA in Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy

(UKBHC Accredited)

Programme Leader:

Carole Irwin

Deputy Programme Leader:

Sue Price

The MA in Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy will give you an in-depth understanding of Pastoral Theology as it relates to the goals of chaplaincy and pastoral care.

Students will learn to:

  • Relate reflectively and reflexively the themes and traditions of Pastoral Care to contemporary personal and vocational contexts
  • Develop a critical understanding of the human condition as it shapes different approaches to models of chaplaincy
  • Undertake a detailed exploration of some issues of significance for an understanding of chaplaincy within the contemporary context

Students can qualify with MAs, PG Diplomas and PG Certificates in chaplaincy.

Outline of the MA

Four taught modules (2 compulsory, 2 optional) and a dissertation (15,000).

Compulsory Modules

The Human Condition

Problematises the ‘human condition’ theologically – through topics such as the self, embodiment, individuality and creation.

  • Introduces methodologies pertinent to Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy, as well as Contemporary Ethics, Contemporary Faith, and Spirituality.
  • Resources students for the demands of theological and philosophical study at level 7.
  • Equips students to access optional modules inside and outside of the Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy Track.

Themes in Pastoral Care

  • Explore the history of pastoral theology and the practices of pastoral care in a variety of Christian traditions.
  • Uncover ways in which these dimensions are now in dialogue with multi-cultural, multi-faith and non-religious settings and insights.
  • See some of the ways in which social science thinking and practice has entered into critical dialogue with established ecclesial practices and understandings.

Participants will be expected to contribute their own experiences, practice and contexts into the emerging and developing conversation surrounding contemporary pastoral theology as a discipline and its outworking in Church, chaplaincy and wider society today.

Optional Modules *

Pastoral Placement

This module runs over two terms to provide students with the opportunity to be supervised working within a particular placement context and to develop skills suitable for pastoral and chaplaincy roles. It will engage students in developing appropriate theologically reflective approach to their own practice, and require them to critically evaluate their own pastoral development.

Models of Chaplaincy

You will reflect theologically and professionally on contemporary chaplaincy, drawing on inherited models and approaches, but considering and evolving models of chaplaincy for today and for the future. The aim of the module is to enable you to consider how chaplaincy practice addresses, and is shaped by: different faith and belief traditions; the context in which chaplaincy is situated (such as the hospital, prison, workplace, etc. where you serve); and contemporary religious, spiritual, pastoral and moral needs.

*Students wishing to receive a formal qualification in Chaplaincy must choose both optional modules

Students not seeking a formal qualification in Chaplaincy can choose to substitute one or both of these optional modules with any other from across our four MAs:

(Nb. not all modules run every year)


For more information please email Dr Louise Nelstrop:

Frequently Asked Questions – MA Courses

About our MAs
All our MAs are ecumenical. They are run jointly by tutors from across the Cambridge Theological Federation from a variety of theological backgrounds (Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Anglican, Jewish etc.).

We have four MA pathways: Spirituality, Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy, Contemporary Ethics, and Contemporary Faith and Belief.

What kind of students take our MAs?
Students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and include: returning learners, career change, professionals seeking development.

What will you learn on our MAs?
You will become a subject specialist but you will also learn about different methodological approaches that underpin each of our theology MAs, meaning that you will be equipped to take options outside of your specific field if you want.

How are the MAs course taught?
The MAs are delivered flexibly, and students can choose between a mixture of classroom and online/directed study (blended learning), and taking the MA through distance learning.

Some modules are delivered weekly, others are taught in intensive blocks.

** COVID-19 update: all our courses will be online until at least Jan 2022.

How are the MAs structured?
Each MA consists of four taught modules (2 compulsory, 2 optional) and a dissertation (15,000). It is normally taken over two years part-time.

What are the entry requirements?
Students normally require a good first degree (minimum 2:1) or equivalent experience. If you are unsure, contact us to find out if you are eligible.

Can I try out one of the modules to see if the MA is for me?
Most of our modules are also available for paying ‘guests’ to audit (numbers limited).
One module can also be taken as an affiliate student – which means the credit can be integrated into the MA when you enrol.

Who validates the MAs and how do I apply?
The course is validated by Anglia Ruskin University and students apply to study with us directly through the Anglia Ruskin website (see links below under each MA).

How much does it cost?
Full details can be found on the Cambridge Theological Federation website:

Who should I contact if I want to talk about this more before I apply?
For more information or to apply for this course please email Dr Louise Nelstrop:

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