MA Taster Term – ‘Texts and Traditions in Christian Spirituality’

In this exciting postgraduate-level taster term, you will engage with a range of voices from the Christian spiritual tradition and explore both their context and impact.

Key info

  • Duration: Autumn term (September to November)

  • Location: West Malling campus, in Kent

  • Entry requirements: Typically a degree in theology/ministry, or degree in another subject plus a qualification in theology/ministry
  • Qualification level: Worth 20 credits
  • Cost: £500 (payable on application)

Christian Spirituality tutor Chris Chapman chats about the content and scope of this engaging MA-level taster term.

About the taster term

The MA taster term ‘Texts and Traditions in Christian Spirituality’ dives into the exploration of a range of voices from the Christian spiritual tradition, including how they relate to disciplines of academic study and non-theological subject areas.

Together with your fellow students, you’ll be introduced to a range of texts from the writings of great figures within the tradition of Christian spirituality. From the Rule of St. Benedict to Julian of Norwich’s Showings, and from the Cloud of Unknowing to the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.

Each text opens a fresh window on the development of a relationship with God, the practice of prayer and our experience of life.

You will:

  • gain a handle on key present-day approaches to discerning key forms and foundations at work in spiritual texts of this classic and tradition-forming portion of Mediterranean and Western European Christian history;
  • learn rich ways to encounter and read key influential texts that have shaped and reshaped those trajectories and traditions;
  • learn ways to appropriate these texts and histories for living and thoughtful Christian practice today.

The ‘Texts and Traditions in Christian Spirituality’ taster term is taught by Barnabas Palfrey.

“What does ‘Christian spirituality’ consist in, in Western historical perspective? What main shapes and directions of travel can we discern in this history? And what can this tradition’s classic ancient, medieval and early modern texts offer to Christian readers and the wider world today?”

Barney Palfrey,
Taster Term tutor

Discover what it’s like to study at St Augustine’s

Come along to one of our open-day style taster events. Meet the staff, chat with fellow students, sit in on classes, and join us in worshipping together.

Frequently asked questions

At St Augustine’s, we believe we should make theological learning as accessible as possible. If you’re intrigued by theological study at postgraduate level but you’re not yet ready to commit to a full MA programme, the taster term might be for you.

Taster terms give you an opportunity to test your appetite and aptitude for postgraduate academic study. It allows you to take a single 20-credit term from our MA programme in Theology, Ministry and Mission.

Completing the taster term alone doesn’t give you an academic qualification. However, if you pass the assignments for the term and decide to continue your studies, the credits that you achieve can be counted towards the MA, accredited by Durham University.

Classes occur over the following dates:

  • Friday 4th October
  • Friday 8th November
  • Friday 22nd November
  • Friday 18th October

You should expect to devote at least 10 hours of independent study time per week. In order to complete the Taster Term, you will be expected to complete two assignments:

A 15-minute class presentation, followed by a 1,000-word written commentary on the presentation and discussion (due 22nd October 2024).

A 3,000-word essay (due 7th January 2025).

In order to complete the term, you will be expected to do:

  • A 15-minute class presentation, followed by a 1,000-word written commentary on the presentation and discussion (due 22nd October 2024).
  • A 3,000-word essay (due 7th January 2025).
Because this taster module is taught at MA-level, we require applicants to have academic experience of studying theology (or a relevant subject) at undergraduate level. Specifically, we ask for qualifications that include:

  • either a 2:1 degree or other equivalent level 6 qualification (e.g. a Graduate Diploma) including a substantial element of theology and/or ministry
  • or a 2:2 degree in any subject and an additional qualification at level 5 or above in theology and/or ministry at 2:1 standard or equivalent
  • or a 2:1 degree in any subject and an additional qualification at level 4 or above in theology and/or ministry.

The fee for the Taster Term is £500, payable before you begin your studies. While the college does have a bursary fund, we are not able to offer financial support to those undertaking a Taster Term at this time.

If you choose to engage in further study at degree level after completing your Taster Term, you’d be most welcome to apply for financial support through our college bursary.

Yes. This Taster Term option is often used by people who are considering ordained or licenced ministry. If you are going through the discernment process, but are not yet on a church-sponsored ministerial programme, it is an ideal way to familiarise yourself with theological study at undergraduate level. Sometimes, your DDO may recommend it.

We have two libraries that you can use and borrow from: one at our Southwark campus and one at West Malling campus. If you’d like to borrow a book from our library, you will have to do so in person.

If you are not intending to use our libraries, it is vital you find other sources to get the books you need.

You can chat to our admissions team about any concerns you might have and they may be able to help you identify appropriate resources.

It’s up to you! You can choose to stop there, or, subject to passing the Taster Term assignments, you can enrol into our MA programme. If you enrol, your completed Taster Term will count towards that programme.

Please note: If taking the MA Taster Term in order to demonstrate your potential for studying theology at postgraduate level, you cannot enrol on the MA programme at the end of the Taster Term. Provided you have successfully completed all elements of the Taster Term, including the assignments, you will be able to enrol on the MA at the beginning of the following academic year. (It is possible to do a Taster Term later in the year, i.e., nearer to the beginning of the next academic year, if that suited you better. Please ask the office for further information.)

Theology books on the shelves St Augustine's Trinity House library

Next steps

Take the next step on your journey into studying theology.

Need help or have a question? Contact our admissions team for further assistance.