Professional Doctorate in Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) in Practical Theology

    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    This innovative professional doctorate programme offers you the opportunity to pursue a programme of advanced research while remaining rooted in your professional or organisational context.

    Course overview

    The DProf is designed to enable you to deepen your understanding of the ethical and theological dimensions of your own professional or organisational context.

    This is a practice-based research degree aimed at candidates from a range of backgrounds, including:

    • Ministers of religion in parish, congregational or chaplaincy settings
    • Public sector organisations such as education, health care and social services
    • Police and legal professions
    • Those in the caring professions, such as psychotherapy and counselling or social work
    • Sport, media and cultural industries or the arts
    • Charities, campaign groups and other non-governmental organisations
    • Leaders of faith communities
    • Those in business, enterprise or industry.

    Why study this course with us?

    Theology and Religious Studies at Chester is an internationally renowned centre of excellence for Practical and Contextual Theology, with a longstanding track record of expertise in teaching, research and supervision at the interface of higher education and the faith communities.

    From its foundation as a teacher training college in 1839, the University of Chester has placed a premium on work-related study and vocational training. With the establishment of professional doctorates across the University, beginning with the DProf in Practical Theology in 2009, we continue to be committed to supporting students undertaking practice- and work-based research.


    One of the unique features of a professional doctorate is that candidates are assessed via submission of a series of module-based assignments that make up a research portfolio. This is designed to introduce you to different stages of the doctoral journey and to build up the necessary skills and understanding to undertake a programme of advanced research. It will also enable you to pass through the programme according to manageable deadlines.


    • Advanced Research Methods in Practical Theology
    • Literature Review
    • Reflection on Practice
    • Research Proposal
    • Thesis in Practical Theology
    • Writing for Publication

    The modules given above are the latest example of the curriculum available on this degree programme. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to change from time to time for reasons which include curriculum enhancement, staff changes, student numbers, improvements in technology, changes to placements or regulatory or external body requirements.

    Teaching methods

    Our DProf course is delivered via a mixture of independent study, one-to-one supervision and three (24-hour) residential research training events per year, plus an annual 48-hour summer school.

    You will also have access to specially-designed resources on Moodle, our comprehensive online learning environment.


    Assessment takes place via submission of a modular research portfolio, with structured written assignments and deadlines.

    We recommend that candidates should commit to a minimum of eight to ten hours’ study per week on a regular basis throughout the academic year.

    Careers service

    The University has an award winning Careers and Employability service which provides a variety of employability-enhancing experiences; through the curriculum; through employer contact and through tailored group sessions and individual information, advice and guidance.

    Careers and Employability - Student Futures aims to deliver a service which is inclusive, impartial, welcoming, informed and tailored to your personal goals and aspirations, to enable you to develop as an individual and contribute to the business and community in which you will live and work.

    We are here to help you plan your future, make the most of your time at University and to enhance your employability. We provide access to part-time jobs, extra-curricular employability-enhancing workshops and offer practical one-to-one help with career planning, including help with CVs, applications and mock interviews. We also deliver group sessions on career planning within each taught programme and we have a wide range of extensive information covering graduate jobs and postgraduate study.

    Students and graduates of the University of Chester can use our services free of charge for up to two years after graduating.

    Visit the Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) in Practical Theology page on the University of Chester website for more details!

    Entry Requirements

    A Master’s degree in Theology and Religious Studies or related discipline is required. Candidates not possessing a Master’s degree should have a 1st class or 2:1 honours Bachelor’s degree and give evidence of prior learning or experience equivalent to Master’s-level study. Applicants not meeting these requirements are considered on a case-by-case basis.

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