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MASTER IN THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY
Place of study
NLA
Language of instruction
English
Accreditation
NOKUT, 20160707
Valid from
August 2016

Admission requirements

Admission to the Master program in Theology and Ministry is organized according to Regulations concerning Requirements for the master’s degrees (forskrift 1. desember 2005 nr. 1392 om krav til mastergrad) and the official regulations concerning admission at NLA University College (Cf. Forskrift om studier ved NLA Høgskolen), with further details explained in this section.

The Master program in Theology and Ministry is based on one of the following educational pathways:

  • a bachelor’s degree
  • a cand.mag. degree (first cycle degree which was awarded until 2005)
  • other degree or vocational education with a scope of minimum 3 years’ duration
  • an education which has been accredited as the equivalent of the above-mentioned degrees or educational pathways pursuant to section 3-4 of the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges.

Any educational pathway must include specialization in the theological disciplines biblical theology, church history, systematic theology, and practical theology, with a scope of at least 80 credits. (In special cases, the institution may recognize other documented qualifications as completely or partly equivalent to the educational pathways mentioned above.)

Candidates must document an average grade of C or higher (ECTS) in the undergraduate study. Candidates applying on the basis of undergraduate study from the former Norwegian degree system are required to possess a grade of 2.7 or higher as average score for the undergraduate cand.mag degree.

Grade records from foreign applicants will be converted either in agreement with ECTS regulations, in agreement with common conversion scales; or, if none of these options are available, by individual assessment.

English language requirements:

Applicants must document English language proficiency by one of the following:

  • English basic course (140 hours) from Norwegian upper secondary school, general studies, minimum grade of 2 in both written and oral English.
  • TOEFL with a minimum score of 500 points on the paper-based test (PBT) and 60 points on the internet-based test (IBT). TOEFL results must be sent directly from ETS (code # 1886) and the test must not be older than 2 years. 
  • IELTS (academic) with a score of 5.0 or better. IELTS must be verifiable online. 
  • University of Cambridge exams: First Certificate in English, Certificate in Advanced English or Certificate of Proficiency in English.

Exemptions: Applicants from some countries will have an adequate command of English and satisfy this requirement with the English they have taken at secondary school in their home country, see NOKUT's GSU-list.

Applicants do not have to meet the criteria for proficiency in the Norwegian language, as English is the working language of the study program. (The elective course KU321 is however only offered in Norwegian).

In the admission process, applicants are assessed competitively according to credits converted on the basis of their grade transcript of grades and other documented qualifications. Admission takes place once a year, and the academic year starts in the autumn semester (August). Additional points in the admission-process:

  • relevant education exceeding the requirements for admission is awarded 0,25 additional points per 30 credits (0,5 additional points maximum)
  • relevant work experience is awarded 0,25 additional points for every half a year (0,5 additional points maximum). 50% position in a full year or a full position in half a year is a minimum. Relevance is assessed by NLA University College.

Admission prerequisites for single courses are identical to the Master Program as such. TAM301, TAM302, TAM303, and TAM304 are additional prerequisites for admission to TAM350

Learning outcomes

A candidate who has completed his or her qualification will have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

Knowledge

The candidate:

  • has advanced knowledge within the academic field of theology and ministry (and on developments within practical theology, biblical interpretation, spirituality, and missional ecclesiology in particular)
  • has specialized insights in the academic field of ministry
  • has thorough knowledge of theory formulation and method development in the field of practical theological research
  • can apply theological and interdisciplinary knowledge in an innovative manner within the field of theology and ministry
  • can analyze practical theological problems on the basis of the Church's history, traditions, distinctive character and place in society

Skills

The candidate:

  • can analyze established theories, methods and interpretations in practical theology and work independently with theoretical problems and problems in the practice field relevant for future ministry
  • can use and assess various practical theological research methods in an independent and apt manner
  • can analyze and deal critically with various types of sources relevant for theology and ministry, and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments
  • can carry out an independent, limited research project within the field of practical theology under supervision and in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics

General competence

The candidate:

  • can assess relevant academic, professional, and research ethical problems
  • can apply his/her knowledge and skills in new areas in order to carry out advanced assignments
  • can communicate extensive scholarly work and master language and terminology of the academic field of theology and ministry
  • can participate in scholarly discourses in academia, the church, and in wider society
  • can contribute to new thinking and innovation processes in church and in society

Target group

Master in Theology and Ministry addresses four primary target groups of students:

  • Graduate-students seeking education and qualification for positions in churches or Christian organizations
  • Graduate-students seeking to fulfill the admission requirements of PhD-programs in practical theology
  • Employees in churches or Christian organizations desiring supplementary training at master level
  • Postgraduates aiming at a second career in Churches or Christian organizations

Description

The condition for organized religion has changed fundamentally in secularized European societies. Both new and more traditional Churches and organizations engage in different, yet related, challenges: They identify a need for change. Innovative initiatives are taken. Old, long forgotten practices are rediscovered, redesigned and brought back to life. Faith practices are up for negation, both in the life of the gathering community and at the intersection with larger society. The Master in Theology and Ministry seeks to equip future church leaders and employees in organizations with the competences needed to engage in these challenges in a constructive and critical manner.

The academic field of theology is also in progress. Throughout the Master of Theology and Ministry, students will be brought to the forefront of practical theological research: Whereas some speak of an empirical turn, and are dedicated to the contextual and experiential side of theology, others advocate more of a theological turn interested in the distinct spiritual and revelatory nature of theology. A radical willingness to listen to the empirical reality as it is and a radical willingness to search for theological significance and response is a mark of Master in Theology and Ministry.

Master in Theology and Ministry is rooted in a discipline-oriented understanding of theology. For this reason 80 credits in theological disciplines from undergraduate studies are required for admission. Historical, systematic, and critical perspectives will run through the curriculum. This said, Master in Theology and Ministry represents an expansion from a traditional Master in Theology by including practice to a greater degree in its very subject matter.

TAM301 Thinking theologically about practice gives focus to the intersection between theological reflection and empirical research in developing modes of critical and creative theological thinking about practice.

TAM302 Encountering God through Scripture: Hermeneutical Reflections and Exegetical Explorations explores a broad range of ways to interpret Biblical texts (spiritual, critical, and missional), rediscovered from church history and recently developed in biblical scholarship.

TAM303 Spiritual formation: Traditions and Transformation offers understanding of spirituality as a phenomenon in wider society and highlights the necessity of spiritual formation for future leaders.

TAM304 Missional Ecclesiology in light of Trinitarian Faith and Contemporary Culture aims at bridging perspectives from systematic theology and cultural studies in a critical and constructive dialogue with ecclesiology.

The second year offers a specialization in ministry through the following elective courses:

TAM321Youth Ministry as Theory and Practice draws on research in the academic field of Youth Ministry to reflect on church for today’s youth and to envision a church for next generation.

TAM322 Leading Ecclesial Change and growth in contexts seeks to understand processes of change and growth in contexts in the church, and how to initiate, evaluate and lead such processes.

TAM323 Kirkelig Undervisning aims to educate future holders of the Catechist office in the Church of Norway. (MATAM does however only fulfill the requirements of catechists in a combination with Bachelor in PTL or other degrees containing a minimum of 60 ECTS supervised church internship.)

TAM350 Master Thesis is an individual small-scale research project carried out under supervision, equivalent to 30 ECTS

Organization

             

 

 Autumn   1. year

 Spring   1. year

 Autumn   2. year

 Spring   2. year

 Compulsory  courses   (60 ECTS)

 TAM301(15)  Thinking   theologically  about practice

 TAM303 (15)  Spirituality and  Spiritual  formation

   

 TAM302 (15)  Encountering  God through  Scripture

 TAM304 (15)  Missional  Ecclesiology (…)

   

 Elective courses  (30 ECTS)

   

 30 credits   from  the following:

 TAM321(15)  Youth ministry  as theory and  practice

 TAM322 (15)  Leading  ecclesial change  and growth in  contexts

 TAM323 (15)     Kirkelig    undervisning

Or: Credits   from other courses accepted by application

Or: Credits   from international exchange accepted by application

 

Master’s Thesis  (30 ECTS)

     

TAM350 (30)Master’s thesis

Assessment

Coursework requirements:

For courses in the first three semesters:

  • 80% attendance at the two on campus learning sessions. (Alternative assignments will be provided for students prohibited from attending)
  • Submitting eight minor coursework requirements online in every course.

For the course in fourth semester:

  • 80% attendance at the two on campus learning sessions. (Alternative assignments will be provided for students prohibited from attending)
  • Presenting two papers connected to the Master Thesis.

All coursework requirements are graded “Approved” or “Not approved”.

All coursework requirements must be approved for the student to be eligible for final assessment in a course.

Assessment: All modules in the Master program in Theology and Ministry is assessed by one compulsory item: a Term Paper, a Home Exam, a Term Project, or a thesis.

  • Assessment in TAM302 and TAM303 is the subject of one Term Paper.
  • Assessment in TAM301, TAM304 and TAM321 is the subject of one Home Exam.
  • Assessment in TAM322 and TAM323 is the subject of one Term Project
  • Assessment in TAM350 is the subject of one written Thesis and oral examination

All items are assessed according to the standard ECTS grading scale. See course descriptions for further details.

Further education

Master in Theology and Ministry is at an academic level that on completion is sufficient for application to relevant third cycle degree.

Employment possibilities

Master in Theology and Ministry prepares for a wide variety of jobs in the church, including the Church of Norway, Christian organizations, Christian institutions, and in the free churches. In particular it is relevant for those who lead, supervise or take part in some sort of ecclesial innovation and for those who want to lead and supervise processes of change in the church.

The target group includes: Church planters, employees in Christian organizations, Christian communicators, organizational leadership, faith educators, teachers at Bible colleges, pastors, youth ministers etc.

The elective course TAM323 is relevant for students pursuing qualification for the office of Catechist in the Church of Norway. (MATAM does however only fulfill the requirements of catechists in a combination with Bachelor in PTL or other degrees containing a minimum of 60 ECTS supervised church internship.)

The Master in Theology and Ministry does not fulfill or replace the requirements of Master in Theology or Master in Diakonia.

Exchange and Internationalization

The Master in Theology and Ministry is designed to be accessible for students living in Bergen, but also other places in Scandinavia and abroad. The student group will most likely represent a blended and international environment of inter-cultural learning.

In the third semester, students are encouraged to take part in optional international exchange. Students are required to have their exchange initiatives approved through an application process. One example is the 30 ECTS Master-level course in Ecclesiology and Ethnography offered at the University of Durham (UK).

TAM322 is designed and partly carried out in a joint effort with dioceses of Bjørgvin (NO) and Sothwark (UK).