About Theology

Registration

If you are a new entrant into the BA in Theology you register during the introductory week, i.e. the week before the beginning of Autumn term. You will first meet staff and have an introduction to the Department at the Departmental Induction Day. Details of the programme for the Departmental Induction Day will have been sent to you when your place was confirmed.

Combined Honours students register in the home Department for their programme.

MA students will have opportunity to register in the week before full term, following a meeting advertised by the Department.

Work commitment

The total amount of time which full-time undergraduates are expected to commit to their work in any given week is 40 hours (reduced proportionately for part-timers).

A student taking four 15-credit modules in a week (the norm for first-years on the BA, for instance) will therefore expect to do on average 10 hours a week per module.

Of course, some weeks one module will take a larger slice of time, especially when an essay is due; in other weeks other modules. But your overall commitment to each module should be the same, i.e. roughly proportional to its credit value. Within this overall limit some time will be spent attending module classes, some devoted to preparing for specific assignments (seminars, essays,etc.), and some to general reading for modules.

Vacations should also be planned: they are partly, and necessarily, for holiday, and for many students they also have to be used to earn some much needed money. But academic work must also enter into your planning of these weeks away from Exeter, or away from your part-time classes. If you have no essay commitment, vacations provide opportunity often lacking in term time for reading around the subjects you have studied, and preparing for studies to come.

Modes of teaching

Most students will encounter three main modes of teaching in the Department, namely lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Students are expected to attend all scheduled sessions for each module they are taking and the scheduled session for 'Exploring Reserach in Theology & Religion' at Level 1.  All students are expected to attend other scheduled sessions in their timetable, eg Employability events or other activities scheduled by the College in Opportunities Week and Term 3.

Lectures

Lectures are sessions led by a tutor, who will guide you through some topic. As well as talking to you, the tutor may make use of various audio and visual materials, and give out notes and other handouts. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion. You may be set tasks or given problems to solve.

Seminars

Normally, seminars take place in smaller groups of students than the whole lecture class. The emphasis will be on student discussion of a prepared topic. You will be expected to prepare short presentations that are intended to develop or supplement the material covered in lectures, and to defend your viewpoint in discussion with your fellow-students and the module teacher(s). You may be asked to chair a session or take part in a role-play.

Academic Tutorials

(Not to be confused with meetings with your personal tutor.)

Conducted on a one-to-one or small group basis in your module teacher's room. Tutorials are sometimes offered when your written assignments are returned; they can also provide you with the opportunity to discuss with the tutor individually issues which may not have been satisfactorily covered in lecturers or seminars. There are also sometimes group tutorials in advance of assessed essays.

Progression

Programmes are designed so that there is clear progression in skills attained from Stage to Stage:

Level 1 modules are intended to give you a basic knowledge of the key areas of Theology & Religion and develop basic key skills such as reading, gathering and selecting information, accurately reproducing others’ ideas, developing arguments, word-processing, writing to a deadline.

Level 2 modules are meant to deepen your knowledge and skills of analysis, synthesis and critical evaluation, and develop key skills involving communication and sensitivity to other points of view.

Level 3 modules are designed to give you detailed knowledge of particular topics while synthesizing them into an overall view, and to foster your critical and self-critical awareness and capacity for independent study, while developing key skills such as teamwork, the confident delivery of presentations and ability to lead seminar sessions.

Level M modules seek to further develop the skills and capacities of Level 3, such that the candidate is adequately equipped to embark on a research degree.

For practical reasons students taking an option module at Level 2 go to the same classes as those taking the same option at Level 3, but different learning outcomes are specified for each Level (which are set out in the module descriptor sheets), with corresponding differences in assessment.

Academic progress review

The academic progress of students is a standing item on the reserved agenda of Departmental Meetings (the reserved agenda is seen and discussed only by University staff). The progress of every student is reviewed regularly, and discussed with the student at meetings with personal tutors. Students giving earlier cause for concern are considered at the first available Departmental Meeting, and will be asked to discuss problems with their personal tutors and/or the Director of Education.

Every effort is thus made to identify difficulties at an early stage, and then to advise the student to seek the necessary help and support from his/her personal tutor, University agencies, or other appropriate source of assistance.

A student who is persistently absent, fails to submit work or otherwise to fulfil academic requirements will be subject to appropriate discipline (see information in the College Student Handbook).

Prizes

The Department is able to reward academic excellence and outstanding contributions to the Department in three ways:

Boundy Memorial Prizes: awarded for outstanding academic achievement in any Stage of the BA
St Luke’s College Foundation Prize: awarded for the best performance in Stage 2 of the BA
Dean’s Commendation: students who pass a stage despite severe exceptional circumstances, and/or students who, in a stage, perform exceptionally at the top of the first class range.
College Commendation: awarded for improvement in academic performance or contribution to the life of the Department, School, or University.