Course code: TAM350
Course name: Master Thesis
Academic year: 2020–2021
Credits: 30 ECTS Credits
Single subject: No
Required prerequisite knowledge
The basic educational pathway is an obtained bachelor–s degree with 80 ECTS specialization in theology and with a grade average of C or higher (ECTS). Language requirements apply as for the entire Master program. For details and alternative pathways, see the curriculum for Master in Theology and Ministry. Additional prerequisites: TAM301, TAM302, TAM303, and TAM304.
Recommended prerequisite knowledge
Experience from ministry practice
Relevance within study programme
Course in Master in Theology and Ministry
In the TAM350 students are expected to carry out a small-scale research project within the limits of half a year of full time study. The thesis is expected to build on the methodological basis obtained in the first year of study, and have the form of either an empirical (TAM301), text-based (TAM302), reflexive (TAM303), or literary (TAM304) study. Further, the topic of the thesis is expected to be materially situated in the field of theology and ministry.
Learning outcomes descriptors
- has a deep understanding and advanced knowledge of one specific problem in the academic field of Theology and Ministry
- has thorough knowledge of the development of theory and method in practical theological research
- can apply acquired knowledge in academic debates related to Theology and Ministry
- can analyze practical theological problems on a broad basis
- can analyze established theories, methods and interpretations from practical theology and work independently with theoretical problems and problems in the practice field relevant for future ministry
- can discern between, and appropriately use methods in a small scale research project under supervision
- can analyze and deal critically with various types of sources and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments
- can carry out an independent, limited practical theological research project under supervision and in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics
- can analyze, relate to, and reflect on research ethical problems in relation to Theology and Ministry
- can use his/her knowledge and skills critically and constructively in a new area in order to carry out a limited research projects in a responsible, independent, and appropriate manner
- can communicate extensive scholarly work and master language and terminology of the academic fields of Theology and Ministry
- can participate in a scholarly discourse about Theology and Ministry in academia
- can contribute to creative thinking and innovation processes in church and in society
The course is organized on an individual basis according to the strategy for the chosen research project.
The thesis is an independent and individual project. Independent because it is the result of autonomous efforts where the student takes responsibility for all choices made during the work. Group submissions are not permitted.
The process of writing a Master Thesis starts already in the first year of study. Every course in the Theology and Ministry program is designed to prepare both materially and methodologically for writing the thesis. Already in the first year, the student is introduced and brought to the process of clarifying topic, research question, data, theory, method, progress plan etc.
A personal supervisor is appointed early in the second year of study. The supervisors are recruited from a group of professors, senior lecturers, and assistant professors representing a variety of special competences and scholarly interests. The person responsible for the TAM350-course is responsible for the selection of supervisors to students/projects, but only in dialogue with both supervisor and student. The student meets with the supervisor throughout the project, and is expected to keep in touch electronically when on fieldwork etc.
There are two mandatory weeklong learning intensives held at NLA University College in Bergen in the actual semester: One in the beginning of the semester, and one towards the end of the semester. Both learning intensives are organized as paper-presentations followed by plenary discussion. On both learning intensives each student is expected to present their project as it is at the present time, and articulate some problems they are facing. Students participate both as paper-presenters and as discussion-partners together with the supervisors.
The topic of the thesis must be chosen from the fields of theology and ministry and with a practical theological approach. In most cases this will entail both theoretical and practical elements: In many cases it will be appropriated as a theoretical discussion related to an empirical phenomena or practice or as an empirical investigation of a theoretical problem.
Teaching and learning methods
Two weeklong learning sessions each semester, comprised of lectures, paper presentations, and plenary response and discussion.
The lectures relate to the writing of a Master Thesis (on topics such as library recourses, research ethics, references etc.). Further, all students present their papers related to their thesis in plenary sessions. These are directly followed by response from supervisor and a wider plenary discussion.
All students will also have a supervisor appointed for personal tutoring through the process of writing a Master Thesis, and they are expected to keep in touch throughout the semester through e-mail etc.
- 80% attendance at the learning session is a requirement. (Alternative assignments will be provided for students prohibited from attending).
- Two oral paper presentations:
- One in the beginning of the term, presenting the research design (including research question, methodology, material, theoretical framework, and research ethics).
- The other paper is presented towards the end of the semester, describing findings and preliminary conclusions.
Grading, coursework requirements
Assessment in TAM350 is the subject of one written Thesis. The thesis must follow the requirements outlined in Mastergradsforskriften at NLA University college.
The thesis is comprised of 20000 words (+/- 25%). The word count includes all text, introductory pages, footnotes, reference list etc., but excludes appendices. The thesis should be written in English or Norwegian. Other languages may be accepted on the basis of application.
An examination committee composed of two members, one internal and one external, assess the thesis. The committee decides on a grade for the thesis, after which the candidate is required to defend the thesis orally before the examination committee. The performance in the defence may confirm the grade, alternatively adjust the grade. This in turn constitutes the final grade for the thesis.
Permitted aids under examination
For the thesis: all
For the oral exam: none
The thesis is assessed according to standard grading system (ECTS), A-F.
Alternatively, one of the Scandinavian languages.
Other languages may be accepted on application.
Other Master level theses
Students will be encouraged to evaluate the course module online (itslearning)upon completion. Supervisors will evaluate the course module through mutual conversation, and based on student evaluations.
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