THE MA IN PASTORAL THEOLOGY is the course which attracts most of our post-graduate students. The full-time MA is taught over one academic year but it may also be pursued part-time for two or more years, up to a maximum of six. (Please note that overseas students seeking entry visas are advised to enrol for the one-year full-time course). The degree is validated by Anglia Ruskin University
Our MA students take classes and work together with their colleagues from the other houses of the Cambridge Theological Federation, representing the Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic and United Reformed traditions. In this diverse context IOCS students will be expected to articulate and communicate their Orthodox faith and identity. What is the Orthodox understanding of pastoral care and how is it applied today? How different are the concerns of the Western churches from those of the Orthodox churches? These are questions that Orthodox students will be faced with in an environment of dialogue and intellectual debate.
To receive the MA degree a student will have to successfully complete four modules and write a dissertation. The modules include some teaching (usually 2 hours per week) but the main emphasis of the course is on research and essay writing. Assignments are not oral examinations but consist mainly of written essays and class presentations.
Research towards MA Dissertation
The MA dissertation is the goal and the most important part of the MA programme. It is the result of the student's independent research under academic supervision from the Institute. Students choose their topics according to their individual preferences and academic interests. Everyone is expected to connect their personal experience with the faith of the Orthodox Church as expressed in the patristic heritage and in present practice. The Institute is proud of the achievements of its past MA students most of whom have received distinctions for their dissertations. This success has made our Orthodox house highly regarded in the academic community of theological colleges in Cambridge and we trust it will continue in the future.
Orthodox Module (compulsory)
Institute students will attend the module 'An Orthodox Approach to Pastoral Life: Liturgical Theology and the Mission of the Church'. This module, taught by IOCS staff and visiting Orthodox lecturers, encourages students to bring the teachings of the Church and the study of the Fathers to bear upon contemporary issues in Orthodox pastoral life.
Core Module, Pastoral Theology in History and Practice (compulsory)
This module has a special importance for our students since it exposes them to the faith and perspective of other denominations, and most importantly it challenges them to confess their Orthodox identity, faith and traditions to other Christians. The module is taught by the Cambridge Theological Federation of which the Institute is a full member and is followed by all Federation students. It aims to impart the biblical and theological basis for Christian pastoral work - whether that is undertaken formally for a church or informally in everyday life.
Independent Learning Module (recommended)
In preparation of the dissertation, students are recommended to undertake the 'Independent Learning Module' which allows them to specialise in a chosen area within the field of Orthodox pastoral theology. There are no lectures for this module as it consists solely of the student's independent research and supervision sessions with one of the Institute's tutors.
Fourth Module (student's choice)
Students are required to choose a fourth module from the ones offered by the Cambridge Theological Federation: Biblical Hermeneutics; Christian Ethics; Christian Worship and Human Community; Christianity in a Scientific Culture; Health Care Chaplaincy; Inter-faith Dialogue; Literature and Pastoral Theology; Modernity, Postmodernity and the Gospel; Preaching in a Pastoral Context; Psychology, Faith and Church Life; The Visual Arts and Pastoral Theology, and others.
Study weekends and Summer School (recommended)
Students are expected to attend the monthly Study Weekends and the Summer School organized by the Institute as part of its Certificate/Diploma programmes in Orthodox Christian Studies. The Institute invites many prestigious speakers to these courses, and the students have thus the opportunity to listen and meet with renowned Orthodox theologians
In-house courses and regular tutorials
The Institute also offers in-house courses on the History of the Church, Research Methods and Study Skills and on Academic Writing in English which all students are advised to attend. In addition, whenever necessary students will benefit from tutorials, which are one to one sessions with an academic advisor from the Institute.
Services and life in the Orthodox community
It is expected that students will attend the services organized by the Institute, and they are encouraged to take an active part in the Orthodox parishes and in the Orthodox student community in Cambridge. Students also have the opportunity to discuss pastoral, theological and personal matters with the Chaplain of the Institute, whenever necessary.
Students will have access to a unique wealth of resources in Cambridge. IOCS has a very fine library which includes the collection of the late Sir Dimitry Obolensky. Besides students have the possibility to consult practically all libraries in town: the Cambridge University Library, the Faculty of Divinity Library, the libraries of the theological colleges members of the CTF and of Anglia Ruskin University. They will be able to improve their languages in view of their subsequent research by attending courses in Greek, Latin or Hebrew offered by the Faculty of Divinity and CTF. Also they will have the opportunity to attend the frequent open lectures offered by the Faculty of Divinity, by the various theological houses in Cambridge and by other faculties. In many ways the Institute could be seen as the gateway through which one enters the world of theological education in Cambridge.
Admission criteria and procedure
There are three principal criteria for admission to the MA in Pastoral Theology. Candidates will meet these criteria by evidence either of certified learning or of experiential learning.
- Candidates should give evidence of prior learning in Theology or Religious Studies.
- Candidates should give evidence that they could reasonably be expected to work at a level appropriate to a Master's degree (BA or equivalent from a recognised university).
- An English language proficiency test is required for candidates whose mother tongue is not English.
The cost of the degree will be in the region of £3,500 to be paid in advance to the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies. It is also possible to pay on a module by module basis in five instalments. These fees are subject to periodic review. Note should be taken that the same fee will apply both to EU students and to non-EU students.
The fee includes all tuition, supervision, and the use of libraries. The fee does not include any accommodation or meals, nor does it include the costs of travel and accommodation incurred for the Placement module.
For further information please contact us.