MA in Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy

The Postgraduate Certificate in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care is accredited by the UK Board of Healthcare Chaplaincy for  registration and CPD purposes. This course provides the study credits essential to practice as a Chaplain in a hospital or other healthcare environment.

Programme Leader:

Dr Medi Volpe

Deputy Programme Leader:

Dr Sue Price

Hands creating a circleThe 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.

This course will:

  • enable practitioners to develop in-depth understanding of different approaches to chaplaincy and pastoral care over time and in response to contemporary issues and contexts;
  • enable students to reflect critically on their own and others’ professional practice in chaplaincy and pastoral settings;
  • equip students to understand, evaluate and situate their own practice in relation to broader theological themes and commitments;
  • familiarise students with diverse cultural, philosophical and religious sources for reflective engagement with pastoral practice;
  • enable students to develop specific skills relevant to their own professional practice and progression;
  • provide training for students to develop as independent researchers in a specialist area.

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

Outline of the MA

Three taught modules (1 compulsory, 2 optional), Pastoral placement and a dissertation (15,000).

Compulsory Modules

Models of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care

This module will enable students to explore the history of pastoral theology and the practices of pastoral care in a variety of Christian traditions. It will uncover ways in which these dimensions are now in dialogue with multi-cultural, multi-faith and non-religious settings and insights. It will seek 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.

The aim of this module is to enable participants to discover and draw upon the variety of traditions and lines of thinking that have influenced the practices of pastoral care within the wider Christian community. Using literature, case studies and personal experiences, the variety of ways in which different traditions engage in contemporary contexts of care will be explored. It is not assumed that all students will be currently working within chaplaincy settings or holding formal pastoral care roles. However, the experiences of giving and receiving care by all participants will be essential elements in the discussions that develop throughout the module.

It is envisaged that students will engage with preparatory material provided through the Cambridge Theological Federation’s Virtual Learning Environment. They will attend a week’s ‘block teaching’ in Cambridge (20 contact hours) including lectures and seminar discussions or this course can be delivered asynchronously. Learning will continue to be supported by material uploaded to the VLE and through contact with peers and tutors.

Assessment will be by one 6000-word assignment.

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 an appropriate theologically reflective approach to their own practice, and require them to critically evaluate their own pastoral development.

Optional Modules *

  • Themes in Pastoral Theology 30
  • Children’s Spirituality 30

+PG Major Project: Dissertation 60

*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 co-validated modules.

Co-Validated Modules

  • Christian Spirituality in the Contemporary World 30
  • Spirituality, Materiality and the Body 30
  • Wesleyan Theology and Spirituality 30
  • Ethics in the Professional context 30
  • Interfaith Relations from Theory to encounter 30
  • Moral Development, Reasoning and Decision Making 30
  • Theology & Practice of Mission 30 (World Christianity)
  • Theology and Science 30 (Faith and Belief)

Co-validated modules are optional modules available to students taking a particular programme but are run by one of the other ARU MA programmes: Christian Spirituality East and West, Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, Contemporary Faith and Belief in the Global Context.

(Nb. not all modules run every year)

Apply for a course starting in September 2024

For more information about this course please visit the Cambridge Theological Federation  or contact the programme leader Dr Sean Ryan

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 Adele Angel: