The programme aims to prepare students to become well rounded professional pastoral carers, capable of working within diverse settings and able to critically evaluate their own work:


  • To provide students with a thorough grounding in existential philosophy and its application to pastoral care.
  • To provide an overview of the different approaches and theories of pastoral care and develop students’ ability to critically evaluate both these and the existential approach and achieve an integrated approach.
  • To provide students with a comprehensive understanding of how these theoretical concepts can be applied to pastoral care practice.
  • To develop students’ individual way of effectively working sensitively and effectively with individuals to high professional standards.
  • To enable students to design and conduct funerals, weddings and naming ceremonies from an existential and humanist perspective.
  • To sustain a culture of research and learning, while encouraging students to question their previous assumptions and develop an open and enquiring attitude.
  • To enable students to use insights from their personal lives in their professional work.
  • To help students become capable of articulating and exploring professional and theoretical issues in a critical manner.
  • To enable students to produce written work of a publishable standard and to embark on independent research and originality of thought.
  • To equip students with the skills that will prepare them for employment as pastoral carers.
  • To enhance ethical awareness of pastoral care and ceremonies work.


Candidates for the MA should be able to:

  • Achieve an advanced level of conceptualisation and practice that allows them to design and implement a project which makes a contribution to the field of pastoral care which shows an ability to respond to the challenges of unforeseen problems or opportunities encountered in the process.
  • Independently evaluate/argue a complex position concerning alternative approaches, accurately assess/report on own and others work, and critique and justify different strategies to improve practice.
  • Candidates will be able to take into account complex, unpredictable, specialised work contexts through their placements, requiring innovative approaches, which will involve exploring current limits of knowledge and, in particular, interdisciplinary approaches and understanding.
  • They will be able to translate and disseminate theoretical knowledge into workable frameworks and/or models for practice.
  • They will show ability to be self-reflective practitioners and researchers who work with integrity along evidence based and innovative lines.