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Theology and Religious Studies BA

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					PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION FOR: TRS
Date/Date revised: 9th March 2009

1)        PROSPECTUS INFORMATION

Awarding Institution                                             University of Winchester

Teaching Institution (if different)
                                                                 -
Programme also accredited by (if relevant)
                                                                 -
Title of Final Award/s                                           BA (Hons)/DipHE/Cert HE
                                                                 Theology and Religious Studies
Title of Programme/s                                             Theology and Religious Studies

UCAS code (or other code if relevant)                            V602, TVR6, FVL6, NV26,
                                                                 WV46, WVLQ, VXQ3, XV36,
                                                                 VQP3, VV1P, PVH6, VW63,
                                                                 CV8P, NV2P, VLP3, NVW6
Relevant QAA Subject Benchmarking Group                          Theology and Religious Studies


2)        PROGRAMME AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Distinctive features of the Programme are:
     a)   a combined emphasis on both Theology and Religious Studies throughout the programme
     b) the opportunity to engage with people of a variety of different faiths (and none) through
        visiting speakers and study trips, including a field trip involving a week-long experience at
        Skanda Vale Community of the Many Names of God
     c)   a Level 5/Year 2 Independent Study module which enables students to explore an area of
          interest, with tutor guidance, prior to commencing the Final Year Project in Level 6/Year 3.


The aims of the Programme are:
a) To study and analyse religion as a significant and effective dimension of human history and
    culture.
b) To explore the boundaries between Theology and Religious Studies methodologies and apply a
    range of methodologies to the study of religion
c) To inquire into the nature and interpretations of the sources of religious belief, theologies and
    practice
d) To explore key themes and issues for religion in general and for particular religious traditions
e) To study the influence of contemporary culture and theory on the study of religion and on the
    traditional approaches of Theology and Religious Studies
f) To develop skills of critical analysis and evaluation in relation to the subject
g) To provide opportunities for the acquisition and development of key skills.

The Learning Outcomes of the Programme are:
         UG Level 4/Year 1
a) To introduce students to the key methodologies appropriate to the study of religion.
b) To make students aware of the importance of contexts for the interpretation of religious


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   beliefs and practices.
c) To enable students to identify and distinguish between a range of sources for the study of
   religious belief and practice.
d) To familiarise students with key themes and contemporary issues in Religious Studies and
   Theology.
e) To provide opportunities for students to apply and develop skills of analysis and critical
   judgement in the general study of religion.
f) To enable students to become familiar with a selected range of critical scholarship.
g) To give students a subject vocabulary and an understanding of it to enable them to
   articulate ideas clearly and concisely.

       UG Level 5/Year 2
a) To explore ethical and philosophical approaches to the study of religion.
b) To familiarise students with particular ethical and philosophical views pertinent to the
study of religious beliefs, values and practices.
c) To encourage students to read widely, to engage critically with the material and to use it to
inform written work, discussion and class presentations.
d) To give practice in developing and refining skills of analysis and evaluation.
e) To give students an extensive vocabulary in the subject so that they are able to articulate
ideas precisely and critically.
f) To provide students with a broad range of theoretical models appropriate to Religious
Studies and Theology.
g) To afford students specific opportunities to acquire and develop key transferable skills
useful for graduate employment or continued studies in Religious Studies and Theology at PG
level.
h) To analyse critically the inter-relationship between religion and culture in past and present
contexts, with reference to particular theological/religious beliefs and practices.
i) To explore the importance of contexts for the interpretation of religious beliefs and
practices.
j) To familiarise students with a wide range of sources, especially primary sources,
appropriate for Theology and Religious Studies.
k) To give students a broad and critical understanding of and practice in methodologies
appropriate to the study of contemporary religious beliefs and practices.
l) To familiarise students with key sources, appropriate for the study of religion in
contemporary contexts.
m) To afford students specific opportunities to acquire and develop key skills.
n) To give students opportunities to develop skills essential for independent undergraduate
study.

       UG Level 6/Year 3
a) To deepen the student’s understanding of methodologies appropriate to Religious Studies
and Theology in contemporary contexts, and their critical application.
b) To extend further the student’s comprehension of language and concepts in the subject.
c) To encourage critical engagement with scholarship and to apply it in written work, general
discussion and class presentations.
d) To encourage the complementary use of a comprehensive range of methodologies with the
purpose of formulating in new ways questions fundamental to the study of religion.
e) To develop in students an advanced understanding of Theology and Religious Studies and
their ability to make creative connections between theories, approaches and thinkers in the
subject so as to produce new critical perspectives.
f) To develop students’ comprehension of sources and the subsequent articulations by their
interpreters in different historical, cultural, political or social contexts.
g) To develop students’ ability to read and employ texts competently with due regard to issues
of genre, translation, purpose, context, hermeneutics, reading strategies and theories.


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h) To develop further both subject specific and key transferable skills essential for graduate
employment or for postgraduate study in Religious Studies and Theology
i) To enable students to explore in depth the boundaries between the approaches and
methodologies of Theology and Religious Studies.
j) To develop a reflective understanding of the role of the ‘self’ in Theology and Religious
Studies.
k) To explore the relationships between religions and major cultural and political movements
and ideologies.
l) To develop further both subject specific and key transferable skills.

The Learning outcomes in these areas are:
       In knowledge and understanding:
a) Key methodologies in the study of religion, and their application to the study of religious
    traditions, texts and practices;
b) the typical sources for the study of religious beliefs and practices i.e. general and specific,
   primary and secondary;
c) key themes and issues in the study of religion including the effects of commitment and
   neutrality;
d) the subject’s vocabulary, including such concepts as: tradition and interpretation,
   religious experience, myth and ritual;
e) ethical theories and philosophical views and their relevance for the study of religion;
f) ongoing debates in the areas of ethics, philosophy and religion;
g) problems of religious language and experience and multiple and conflicting
   interpretations of language and symbols;
h) contemporary debates about religion and culture;
i) the effects of contemporary contexts on religious traditions.

       In intellectual and cognitive skills:
a) understanding of and skill in applying critical methodologies to the study of religious
   beliefs, texts and practices;
b) sound understanding of the major themes and issues in the study of theology and religion;
c) understanding of the nature of religious language and the linguistic and interpretative
   issues involved in its use;
d) ability to evaluate the influence of contemporary culture on religious beliefs, texts and
   practices.
e) critical analysis and evaluation of scholarly theory and argument
f) application of textual interpretation to a variety of theological and religious texts;

       In skills and other attributes:
a) skill in the use of the subject's bibliographical and referencing conventions;
b) critical use of theological and religious studies resources including literature, videos, and
   websites;
c) understanding of and terminological accuracy in theological and religious discourse;
d) skills in self and peer assessment.
e) information gathering from a variety of sources (e.g. textual, fieldwork);
f) skills of critical reading, analysis and judgement;
g) formulation of new perspectives through synoptic reflection, selection and synthesis
h) IT skills for presentation, data search/selection (Internet), and communication (email);
i) literary skills for presentation in written and oral form;
j) group collaborative and discussion skills;
k) self-directed study and time management skills



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         LEARNING, TEACHING AND ASSESSMENT

The Programme utilises a range of teaching methods to engage, motivate, and challenge
students throughout their studies. Our strategy is to facilitate learning in a variety of ways,
including: listening to lectures; tutor- and student-led discussion; independent study making
use of books, journals, electronic resources etc and reflecting critically on material
researched; preparation of assignments individually and in groups, including presentations in
class making use of IT. Time and support is invested in helping students to develop their
abilities to think independently and increase skills in communicating their arguments and
ideas.

Means of delivery:
a)   Lectures, student presentations (individual and group) ;
b)   directed reading and independent study;
c)   interactive discussion - whole class, student learning groups, tutorials;
d)   interactive discussion with speakers representative of specific religious traditions;
e)   visits to places of historical or contemporary religious interest;
f)   field trips
g)   interactive use of the LeN
h)   practical workshops e.g commentary;
i)   guest speakers representative of various traditions;
j)   Internet i.e. exploring sites of religious interest
k)   engaging with scholarship through lectures, texts and other media;
l)   application of interpretative methods to different kinds of religious 'texts', including film
     and art;
m)   practical sessions to develop self and peer assessment skills.
n)   training in study skills ;
o)   training in the use of IT;
p)   research methods including online searches


3) ASSESSMENT

Specifics of the Programme’s assessment strategy and criteria
        UG Level 4/Year 1
a) Essays assess the application of appropriate methodologies and critical skills to the study
   of religion in general or to specific religious texts and practices;
b) commentaries assess the application of textual analytical methods to selected religious
   texts;
c) timed examinations test a student's ability to respond to focused questions in a controlled
   way which ensures that the student's work is his or her own;
d) class presentations, individual or group, give opportunity to assess a student's skills of
   communication and engagement with peer group;
e) small scale research projects assess the development of a student's skills of independent
   study

    UG Level 5/Year 2
a) website design and composition provide students with opportunity to engage with
   scholarship in electronic format and to assess the acquisition of IT skills ;
b) small scale research projects assess the development of a student's skills of independent
   study


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c) class presentations, individual or group, give opportunity to assess a student's skills of
   communication and engagement with peer group;
d) timed examinations test a student's ability to respond to focused questions in a controlled
   way which ensures that the student's work is his or her own;
e) Essays assess the application of appropriate methodologies and critical skills to the study
   of religion in general or to specific religious texts and practices;

    UG Level 6/Year 3
a) independent research project (FYP) assesses the development of a student's skills of
   independent study.
b) reviews assess a student's ability to engage with current scholarship and skills of critical
   evaluation;
c) timed examinations test a student's ability to respond to focused questions in a controlled
   way which ensures that the student's work is his or her own;
d) Essays assess the application of appropriate methodologies and critical skills to the study
   of religion in general or to specific religious texts and practices;

Specific forms of assessment employed:
essays; exams; group and individual presentations; commentaries; interviews; wikis;
research projects; extended book reviews; log books.


5)        ENGAGEMENT WITH THE NATIONAL ACADEMIC
          INFRASTRUCTURE AND ACCREDITATION
Agreement with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and the QAA Code of
Practice is assured by the validation process and by annual monitoring process.




6)        PROGRAMME STRUCTURE, LEVELS, CREDIT AND AWARDS
The programme comprises three years full time or part time equivalent study at levels 4, 5 and
6. It is credit rated at 120 credits/60 ECTS per level and, in addition to the full degree award,
incorporates a 2 year full time or part time DipHE (240 credits/120 ECTS) and a 1 year full
time or part time CertHE (120 credits/60 ECTS). Following a foundation year combining
Theology and Religious Studies with a second subject, students choose one of four pathways
in which they can take TRS as a Single, Main, Joint or Subsidiary subject. Each level has core
compulsory modules for all students: four at Level 4 and two each at Levels 5 and 6. Direct
entry to level 5 or 6 may be possible with appropriate accredited prior experience or learning.
Named modules are mandatory
Level 4
RT1001 Approaches to Theology          120 credits/60 ECTS, 60/30 ECTS from TRS modules
RT1004 Themes and Issues in the Study of Religion
RT1002 Approaches to World Religions                          Exit award: Certificate of
RT1003 Introducing Sacred Texts                               Higher Education


Level 5
RT2001 Philosophy of Religion                                240 credits/120 ECTS



                                               5
RT2006 Ethics and Religion                                Exit award: Diploma of
6 out of the following options:                           Higher Education
Sex, Spirituality and the Sacred
Chinese Religions
Field Studies
Judaism After the Holocaust
Religion in Britain Today
Theology in Film
Christianity and Politics
New Religions
Independent Study Module
Indian Relgions
Nature and Religion


Level 6
RT3003 Mapping Mortality                                   360 credits/180 ECTS
RT3004 Integrated Spirituality                             Exit award: BA Single/
Final Year Project (Single, Main; optional for Joint students) Combined Honours
4 out of the following options:
Interfaith Dialogue
Imagining Islam
Re-reading the Bible
Buddhism
Critical Moments in English Christianity
Contemporary Christian Theology
Theology and Identity
Indigenous Religions
Christian Mysticism


As of Academic Year 2009-10 the TRS Dept will be awarding ‘Church Colleges'
Certificates in Religious Studies’ to all students who successfully complete the four
Core Level 4 modules in TRS alone - Approaches to Theology, Themes and Issues in
the Study of Religion, Introducing Sacred Texts, and Approaches to World Religions.
This is in addition to making this Certificate available to an external market. Details
of this programme are available in the Church Colleges' Certificate definitive
document. This addition to the programme was approved by an Interim Review
conducted in June-July 2009.




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7)      SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS
The University provides the following support: personal tutors, counsellors, Chaplaincy;
Careers Service; Job Shop; Equal Opportunities Officer; Disabled student support; Study
Skills Programme; Pre-Entry Study Skills Programme; Child Care Nursery; Welfare Advice;
Bursaries; Financial Advice, the Learning Network, IT support, Student Exchanges.
Support will be provided by the Faculty and Programme for Open Days and Induction,
Student Handbooks; Module Guides; Library and Study Skills Programmes, Tutorials,
Assignment Feedback; PDP.


8)      CRITERIA FOR ADMISSION
Undergraduate degree programmes
The University specifies a General Admission Requirement which must normally be satisfied
by candidates aged 21 or over. This requirement is the equivalent of passes in two subjects at
Advanced Level supported by passes in three other subjects at GCSE Level, but may also be
satisfied by a specified level of achievement in a wide range of qualifications. The admission
requirements for a year of entry are detailed in the University’s Undergraduate Prospectus for
that year.
Candidates who do not satisfy the General Admission Requirements may be admitted to a
programme or field of study provided that they can submit evidence of previous serious study
and demonstrate the capacity and attainments to pursue successfully the proposed course.
Specific programme criteria:
An A Level points score of 260; a pass in the subject (e.g. ‘Religious Studies’, ‘Theology’) is
not essential. Entry may also be by non-standard qualifications, e.g. Access or other
continuing education qualification. Applicants with appropriate credit from previous learning
and/or experience (APEL) are also considered for entry and may be eligible for exemption
from parts of the programme.


9)      QUALITY ASSURANCE AND ENHANCEMENT
a) Mechanisms for review and evaluation:

Quality assurance and enhancement at Module Level
Students provide feedback to module tutors through Module Evaluation Forms, seminar
discussion and written response. The tutor collates the forms and produces a response for
discussion at Programme Committee. The response identifies good practice and proposes
remedies for any points of concern.

Quality assurance and enhancement at Programme Level
The Programme Committee evaluates the success of the programme, using student feedback
and representation. Minutes from the Programme Committee and the External Examiners
report will inform the Programme’s annual Action Plan and Evaluation which is submitted for
approval to the Faculty Quality Committee. Issues for attention are identified and included in
the plan for the following year.

Quality assurance and enhancement at Department Level
The Action Plan and Evaluation is submitted to the Head of Department for discussion and
inclusion in the Department Report.

Quality assurance and enhancement at Faculty Level



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The Action Plan and Evaluation are submitted to the Faculty Quality Committee for
discussion; the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee has oversight of development in
the Faculty, including via the Collaborative Enhancement of Teaching and Peer Observation
of Teaching.

Quality assurance and enhancement at University Level
The quality of the programme is monitored by an External Examiner appointed by the
University’s Senate. The External Examiner’s Report is distributed to the Vice-Chancellor,
Pro Vice Chancellor, Director of Quality, and to the Faculty Dean, Associate Dean, Chair of
Quality Committee, A summary of all external examiner reports is received at Senate
Academic Standards Committee. Academic Standards Committee audits a selection of
Departments regularly.

Quality assurance and enhancement for Staff
The quality of learning and teaching is supported by the Collaborative Enhancement of
Teaching and Staff Development, by Staff Development and Review, by attendance at
conferences and curriculum focused staff development, by external involvement such as
external examining and by involvement in research and knowledge exchange activities.

b) Indicators of Quality and Standards
External Examiner Report
Annual Monitoring process
Student feedback including the University Student Satisfaction Survey and the National
Student Survey
Programme Re-approval
QAA Institutional Audit

Note: As of Academic Year 2009-10 the TRS AP&E and the TRS/ETS PCM will incorporate
the Church Colleges' Certificate in Religious Studies.



Reference points applied to the design of the Programme:
Internal:
Internal consultation with students; Student Satisfaction Survey; an annual Action Plan and
Evaluation; annual Department Report; self-evaluation document; Common Academic
Regulations; University and Faculty Learning & Teaching Strategies; University Strategic
Plan 2006-2011.

External:
External Examiners reports; FHEQ; QAA Code of Practice; QAA Subject Review report;
Subject Benchmarking Statement


10)     THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK


The University’s Academic Regulations apply to all undergraduate and Post Graduate Taught
programmes (MA/MSc.) Programme teams are also advised to follow the ‘QAA Code of
Practice on Assessment’. Further regulation is through Programme Committee. In this section
indicate whether:
(a) The programme conforms fully with the Common Academic Regulations for:



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Undergraduate Programmes of Study          Yes


(b) Exemptions
c) External PSRB Accreditation


11)    RESOURCES FOR THE PROGRAMME
Library resources are enhanced annually.


12)    STAFF DEVELOPMENT, RESEARCH AND THE PROGRAMME
The department currently has 6 members of academic staff:

Professor Lisa Isherwood (Head of Department)
Dr Jo Pearson (TRS Programme Leader)
Dr Anna King (ETS Programme Leader)
Dr Paul Hedges
Dr Angus Paddison
Dr Christina Welch

All members of the department are active contributors to the research and consultancy
activity of the department. All colleagues gave papers at international conferences in
2007-08. Professor Isherwood acts as a consultant for the following: Caritas
Theological Committee, Spiritual England, Bishop of Dorchester’s RTP Steering
Group. Professor Isherwood and Dr King are also consultants for the Animal Ethics
Centre, Oxford. Dr King acted as a consultant to a film about ISCKON, Dr Hedges
hosted an international Interfaith Symposium and Dr Welch launched an on-line
journal in the area of Faith, Spirituality and Social Change. Professor Isherwood
hosted an international conference for the British and Irish School of Feminist
Theology and is serving as Vice President of the European Society of Women in
Theological Research. Members of the department are often called upon to examine
PhDs at other institutions.

At levels 5 and 6, research informed teaching contributes to the Programme in
modules such as Chinese Religions, Christian Mysticism, Indian Religions, Interfaith
Dialogue Imagining Islam, Indigenous Religions, Paganism, and Sex, Spirituality and
the Sacred.

Teaching is enhanced through collaborative work both internal and external. A
number of modules (particularly core modules) are team taught, peer observation
provides the opportunity to reflect on best practice, and two members of the
department act as External Examiners at other institutions: Dr Pearson for BA
Religious Studies programmes at Wolverhampton University and the University of
Wales, Lampeter, and for the MA Religious Experience at the University of Wales,
Lampeter; Dr Hedges for the MA Religion and the Body at the University of Wales,
Lampeter.




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