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Study information

Theology, Ethics and Public Issues

Module titleTheology, Ethics and Public Issues
Module codeTHEM128
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Esther Reed (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will focus on the interaction between theology and matters of current social and political importance. Attention will initially be given to introducing students to the range of approaches to this subject currently reflected in research taking place in Exeter. Focus will then be given to developing an in-depth project supervised by one member of staff. Such projects may include examinations of theology’s relationships with criminal justice, international law, sexuality and gender, scientific developments and changing modes of mass-communication.  

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to examine the place of religion in the public square and the interface between theology and issues of contemporary social and political importance. During the first part of the module the aim is to introduce students to the diverse work related to this topic currently being developed in Exeter. Subsequently, students will be advised on exploring one case study issue that they will focus on in-depth. This project will be supervised one-on-one and will offer the opportunity to look in detail at one aspect of religion’s evolving interactions with modern societies.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. engage with recent scholarship concerned with interconnections between theology, ethics and public issues
  • 2. critically assess, in depth, one case study example related to the study of theology, ethics and public issues

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. critically assess the relationship between theology and matters of current social and political importance
  • 4. weigh up the place of theological discourse in the public square

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. develop a project that engages contemporary scholarship
  • 6. shape detailed information into a clear written account
  • 7. show significant originality and rigour in argument
  • 8. demonstrate independent and critical research skills
  • 9. convey ideas to your peers through oral presentation

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • introduction
  • research specialisms at Exeter
  • discussion of project proposals
  • oral presentation of project focus
  • directed research with supervisor

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities5Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching activities1Oral presentations
Scheduled learning and teaching activities3Supervision meeting
Guided independent study 291Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Annotated bibliography1000 words1, 8Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation1015 minutes1-5, 7-9Written
Essay906000 words1-8Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Oral presentation101-5, 7-9Refer/Defer period
Essay901-8Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Esther D. Reed, Theology for International Law (T & T Clark, 2013)
  • Susannah Cornwall, Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology (Acumen, 2010); Christopher Southgate (ed.)
  • God, Humanity and the Cosmos , 3rd ed. (T&T Clark, 2011).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE –

Key words search

Theology, religion, ethics, public issues

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date