Degree Pathway

MTh and PGDip in New Testament

Earn a Master of Theology or a Postgraduate Diploma in New Testament from Union Theological College

This MTh is a specialised, advanced study master’s degree that is designed to enhance prior exegetical and theological training by providing a rigorous grounding in all core aspects of New Testament Studies. The Diploma is available for those who complete the teaching modules without the dissertation.

Whether you’re studying online or on site, all of Union Theological College’s degrees are marked by strict academic standards approved by the Faculty and regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Online study is subject to the same entry requirements as our on–campus degrees: there is no difference in the overall workload, and the qualification you get is of equal value.

The difference is simply in the way in which the course is delivered. As well as all the conventional benefits of taking your theological education to a new level, our new online programme has some particular benefits associated with it:

  • Earn a recognised UK master’s degree (or postgraduate diploma) from almost anywhere in the world (there are no residential requirements)
  • Have access to the teaching of leading theologians such as Mark Strauss, Bruce Longenecker, Todd Still and Karen Jobes
  • Flexibility to study at a time and a pace that best suits your own needs
  • Participate in a rich and diverse community of collaborative digital learning

The platform that will deliver content and allow you to interact with faculty and students is BibleMesh. For taught modules this virtual learning environment provides video lectures, discussion forums, quizzes for self–assessment, a digital copy of the textbook and extensive additional e-resources. You will be able to benefit from the Cerego app, an online tool for your desktop, tablet or mobile device that builds on the latest in cognitive science to help you learn faster and remember longer.

Aims of the programme:

  • To enable students to build upon prior theological study through a programme focused on advanced engagement with the New Testament, particularly as competent and confident interpreters of Biblical texts for the contemporary context.
  • To provide opportunity for students to reflect upon and integrate their prior theological study (and usually their experience of Christian ministry) with new learning that is informed by research-led and research-focused scholarship.
  • To foster a digital community in which students may engage in informed and respectful dialogue, recognising the strengths and weaknesses of other points of view.
  • To provide the knowledge and skills necessary to produce original research through sustained interaction with New Testament texts and their interpreters and reflection on their reception and impact both within and beyond the Church.
  • To develop an appreciation of the vocation of a Christian exegete and theologian and to strengthen and sharpen the intellectual habits and practical skills necessary for such a calling.

Which programme is right for you?

Applicants should normally have completed at least one full year of academic study of Koine Greek at the undergraduate level for entry into the MTh. For prospective applicants with a strong profile in Biblical Studies but less or no study of Greek, flexible accelerated provision prepares them for entry into the MTh programme.

Masters in New Testament

Union Theological College

This flexible distance postgraduate programme is research–orientated, delivered using a combination of online lectures, interactive learning materials, supervised peer–to–peer discussion and independent research.

Duration

12 months full-time or part-time equivalent of 4 years

Program Fee (UK & EU)

£ 5,500 total programme fee

Overview
  • 5 required modules and 1 dissertation (180 credits total)
  • Program delivered fully online
  • 1-on-1 academic tutor
  • Master of Theology awarded

Postgraduate Diploma

Union Theological College​

Suitable for those who complete the teaching modules without the dissertation, successful candidates are awarded a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in New Testament upon completion of the first part of the programme (the five taught modules). 

Duration

12 months full-time or part-time equivalent of 2-3 years

Program Fee (UK & EU)

£ 4,000 total programme fee

Overview
  • 5 required modules (120 credits total)
  • Program delivered fully online
  • 1-on-1 academic tutor
  • Postgraduate Diploma awarded

Modules in this Programme

module
1

Synoptic Gospels and Acts

Videos by Mark Strauss and others will lead you through the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and Acts, incorporating exegesis of selected passages and topical study of key interpretative issues. Close reading of the primary and secondary texts in conversation with tutors and peers will prepare you for a seminar presentation and written exegetical work.

  • 30 credits
  • 3-4 months
module
2

Greek Texts

This module will build on your proficiency in reading Koine Greek. You will develop and consolidate your skills and tools for textual criticism, translation, analysis and exegesis of Greek, using a range of resources including BibleArc. Through language seminars and written exegetical work, you will study several texts in original Greek, with selected passages chosen from the New Testament, Septuagint, and Apostolic Fathers or Hellenistic authors.

  • 30 credits
  • 3-4 months
Module
3

Pauline Theology

Video lectures by Bruce Longenecker and Todd Still will help equip you for academic study of Pauline Theology and for principled practical use of Paul’s letters in ministry. The course incorporates exegesis of a range of texts from Paul’s correspondence (incorporating Greek as appropriate), topical study of core aspects of Paul’s life, theology and mission and reflection on appropriate ministry outcomes. You will write four exegetical essays for this module.

  • 20 credits
  • 3-4 months
Module
4

New Testament Texts

This module gives you an opportunity to develop and enhance your existing exegetical and hermeneutical skills, through close engagement with selected New Testament texts representing different genres within the New Testament Canon. Video lectures by Karen Jobes will guide you through the General Epistles to explore various exegetical approaches in common use, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses while applying them to the selected texts. This module entails a written exegetical assignment and a methodological one.

  • 20 credits
  • 3-4 months
Module
5

New Testament Theology

This module offers you an opportunity to develop an advanced appreciation of the theological richness of the NT canon. You’ll engage with major integrative accounts of New Testament Theology and evaluate the success of their methodologies in doing justice to “the one and the many”, within New Testament Theology, bearing in mind both the diversity of documents in the New Testament and the unity which together they form. This will prepare you for the written assignments on NT theology and inner-canonical themes.

  • 20 credits
  • 3-4 months
Capstone

Capstone Dissertation

The feedback received on your written work will have helped you to nurture your critical research and writing skills in preparation for the 15,000–word capstone dissertation. In this thesis you will choose to specialise in an area of advanced New Testament studies and exercise your research skills and integrate your knowledge from the rest of the course to hone your scholarship.

  • 60 credits
  • 4-12 months

Schedule & Fees

Students may enter the programme in September or January. Students may also study full-time or part-time.

Schedule for full-time students

Autumn SemesterSpring SemesterSummer Semester
Sept – JanJan – AprilMay – August
Synoptic Gospels and ActsPauline TheologyDissertation writing
Greek TextsNew Testament Texts 
 New Testament Theology 

One potential pathway for part-time study

Spring SemesterAutumn SemesterSpring SemesterAutumn SemesterSpring SemesterFinal Year
Jan – AprilSept – JanJan – AprSept – JanJan – AprilJan – Jan
Pauline TheologySynoptic Gospels and ActsNew Testament TextsGreek TextsNew Testament TheologyDissertation Writing

Fees information

Tuition fees are subject to annual revision and are typically increased by approximately 4% per annum for programmes longer than one year. For part–time intermittent study, the schedule for the payment of fees is arranged by the College office.

The Faculty of Union Theological College will consider all applications from ministers and teachers in Christian churches (or those training for such service) for postgraduate faculty scholarships. The faculty will consider all applications for financial help after the closing date for applications.

Master of Theology in New Testament:

  • UK and EU
    • Per 30 CATS module (x 2): £950
    • Per 20 CATS module (x 3): £700
    • For Dissertation: £1,500
    • Programme Total: £5,500
  • International
    • Per 30 CATS module (x 2): £2,850
    • Per 20 CATS module (x 3): £2,100
    • For Dissertation: £3,500
    • Programme Total: £15,500
  • Fee information is subject to change and is for guidance only.

Postgraduate Diploma in New Testament:

  • UK and EU
    • Per 30 CATS module (x 20): £950
    • Per 20 CATS module (x 30): £700
    • Programme Total: £4,000
  • International
    • Per 20 CATS module (x 2): £2,850
    • Per 30 CATS module (x 3): £2,100
    • Programme Total: £12,000
  • Fee information is subject to change and is for guidance only.

Admissions Requirements

Please check that you meet the entry requirement for this programme before you submit an application.

Typically, a 2.1 honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to PTFI where Theology and/or Divinity is the main subject area OR where it is one of the joint subjects in an honours degree. In the case of the latter, the modules in Theology and/or Divinity must be of 2.1 level or above, OR a 2.1 honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to PTFI in a subject other than Theology/Divinity, and a Graduate Diploma in Theology with normally at least 5 out of the 6 modules with a mark of 60% or above.

Note: For overseas students a 2.1 honours degree is normally equivalent to a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.3 or higher from an accredited institution.

Normally we require all applicants whose first language is not English to have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • An undergraduate or master’s degree that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English-speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (this includes the Union GradDip and GradCert)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training): overall score of 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each category (this is our preferred test)
  • Pearson Test of English, (PTE Academic): 69 overall with a minimum of 62 in each communicative skill
  • Cambridge English Scale (CAE or CPE): 185 overall, with a minimum of 176 in each skill
  • TOEFL iBT: 100 overall with a minimum of 24 in writing and 23 in each of the other skills

For those whose first language is not English please note the following:

  • Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme.
  • Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

The application deadline is 31 days prior to the course start date but we recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.

To complete the application process, prospective students are required to upload the following portfolio as proof that they meet the entrance requirements for this programme:
  • This must include your name and date of birth exactly as they appear on your passport and your correspondence address during the application process
  • This should take the form of a document of one or two pages highlighting your academic achievements and any relevant experience.
  • Ideally an essay submitted for assessment in your most recent qualification
  • The piece should be around 2,000 words in length (excluding references and bibliography)
  • It will be used to assess your ability to engage in critical thinking and to construct and defend an argument.
  • (300-400 words) in which you provide a personal statement explaining your motivation for applying for this particular programme as either a full-time or part-time student
  • At least one of which must be an academic reference
  • Professional (institutional or organisational) email addresses should be used whenever possible
  • In the ‘role’ field of the application form you should enter the referee’s position – that may be their job title (e.g. Director of Studies, Personal Tutor, or Head of Department) or their position relative to you (e.g. Line Manager or Minister)
  • Your references should outline your intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and ability to engage in self-motivated study.
  • These must be verified official transcripts that provide your full academic history of courses taken and grades achieved (a degree certificate is not equivalent to a transcript)
  • If you are currently a student who has not yet completed your degree please provide an interim transcript of your degree progress and achievement to date (in this case we will consider your application on a conditional basis)
  • If these documents are not in English an official English translation must be supplied with full contact details either the professional translator, the institution that issued the transcript or the authorised notary.

Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of the degree programme. You must submit evidence that you meet the College’s English language requirement for your course, if:

  • your first language is not English, or
  • your first language is English but you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) i.e.: 
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Australia
    • The Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Belize
    • Canada
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Guyana
    • Ireland
    • Jamaica
    • New Zealand
    • St Kitts and Nevis
    • St Lucia
    • St. Lucia and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • United States of America
  • You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you have completed a qualification degree qualification in the UK of a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in:
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Australia
    • The Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Belize
    • Canada
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Guyana
    • Ireland
    • Jamaica
    • New Zealand
    • St Kitts and Nevis
    • St Lucia
    • St. Lucia and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • United States of America
  • For further details please see https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/knowledge-of-english
  • One of the following documents to confirm your identity, name and date of birth:
    • A copy of the photo page of your valid passport (this is our preferred option)
    • A copy of a national identification card or driving licence
  • If you have changed your name you must supply evidence e.g. a marriage certificate
  • Upon submission of your application you will be supplied with details of how to pay a non-returnable application fee of $75.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants should normally have completed at least one full year of academic study of Koine Greek at the undergraduate level for entry into the MTh. For prospective applicants with a strong profile in Biblical Studies but less or no study of Greek, flexible accelerated provision prepares them for entry into the MTh programme.

As an alternative to traditional residential study, online learning offers flexibility and utilises the best in digital learning resources.

Our online MTh and PGDip offer the same high standards of teaching, assessment and award as its campus-based equivalents.

Your degree certificate will be identical to the degree certificates received by students who have completed their study on campus in Belfast.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has had a theological training institution in Belfast since 1853. Initially called Assembly’s College, it was later renamed Union Theological College by Act of Parliament. In 1881 the college was awarded a Royal Charter empowering it to grant its own degrees in theology. This authority resides in the theological professors of the college who together constitute the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland (PTFI). Union Theological College programmes are awarded by this body.

The PTFI is recognised as a university under UK law and the work of the college is regulated by the independent body that maintains standards within UK higher education sector and by the Council for Training in Ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

The BibleMesh platform will provide you with digital copies of each module’s resources. You will also have access to the e-book collection of Union College’s Gamble Library. Some other resources may have to be purchased.

In UK higher education a full-time postgraduate course is designed to involve the same time commitment as full-time employment, so taking on a part-time degree is like taking on a part-time job. All of this is calculated by way of CATS points (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme). The taught modules in our Masters programme are weighted at 30 CATS points and 20 CATS points, which equate to roughly 300 notional hours of study and 200 notional hours of study respectively. Our programme is designed to offer real flexibility with teaching occurring over a 12-week semester and students having a further three weeks to submit written work. Students work at different rates, but you would technically need to allow for 20 notional hours of work per week during any given semester for a 30 CATS module and 13-14 notional hours per week for a 20 CATS module.

There are five compulsory modules to the programme.

For the taught modules students can expect to watch a number of video lectures and engage in directed reading assignments. There will be online tests or quizzes, discussion forums, the Cerego learning app and written assignments. You will also have access to a number of books through the BibleMesh e-book reader and the e-books of the Gamble Library at Union.

The full-time course lasts twelve months. The part-time course may be completed in a period of time between two to four years.

While you study with us, you will be well supported by the programme team with a wide variety of additional one-to-one support.

Every student is assigned a personal tutor who will:

  • Guide you through the matriculation process and the course schedule
  • Help you become a confident, active member of the online learning community
  • Help you with any concerns or problems that might affect your studies

Students access materials, discussion forums and a range of learning tools via the Virtual Learning Environment. Our platform is designed to be easy to use and we incorporate familiarisation training into the programme induction. Tech support will be via BibleMesh.

You will also be able to take advantage of digital library access to the e-books in Union’s Gamble Library.

In consultation with an appointed supervisor, students prepare a dissertation of 15,000 words on a research topic in New Testament or on any of its cross-disciplinary interfaces. Within set parameters for its timing, nature, and degree, formative feedback will be given by the supervisor on elements of the developing project, covering both the research topic and the dissertation itself.

Please email our programme administrator at research@union.ac.uk who will be happy to try to help you.

About Union Theological College

Union Theological College in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has a history of providing theological education that stretches back to the founding of the original Presbyterian College there in 1853. The College’s primary task is to prepare students for ministry in contemporary Ireland. Union also welcomes students from all backgrounds and perspectives to study Christian theology at undergraduate and postgraduate level in a community of faith and scholarship.

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