Masters, Advanced Diploma, Advanced Certificate

The MA programme is currently being revised with the possibility of a distance learning MA in Spirituality Studies. Therefore, the programme is not offered in the current form at the moment. If you are interested in doing your MA in Spirituality Studies at the University of Hull, please get in touch and we can keep you up to date:

Spirituality studies is a rapidly growing field. In the UK , the professional disciplines of nursing, education and social work/social care are increasingly engaged in developing the subject of spirituality within their curricula. The University of Hull has established a distinctive identity in the research environment through its Centre for Spirituality Studies, focusing on the interdisciplinary complexity of spirituality and the development of corresponding generic methodologies and theories.

The taught MA in Spirituality Studies provides an opportunity for those wishing to specialise in spirituality or to use the growing understanding of spirituality within their own discipline. The MA is designed to meet the needs of professionals working in areas such as health, education, and social work who wish to extend their knowledge and understanding of spirituality. The programme also offers the opportunity for further research into areas of professional interest.

The programme will provide students with a solid foundation in the theoretical concepts and research methodologies applicable to the study of spirituality. These are concepts which have a wider application to the development of transferable skills for interdisciplinary research and to the challenge of undertaking empirical research in subjects of this nature.

This degree will appeal to a broad range of practitioners and researchers in medicine, health, nursing, social work/social care, sociology of religion, palliative care, and education. This is a programme which will enable the student to develop skills in recognising spiritual needs in the context of professional services.

Contact: Paul Dearey,


The programme can be studied on either a full-time basis in one year or as part-time over two years. The part-time route enables students to integrate their studies with their employment and career development.

The programme structure enables students to obtain a 60 credit Advanced Certificate in Spirituality Studies, a 120 credit Advanced Diploma in Spirituality Studies, or a 180 credit MA in Spirituality Studies.



Semester 1 (September-January)

Core modules
Theorising Spirituality Researching Spirituality

Optional modules
Introduction to Research Methods and Project Planning
Advanced Health and Social Research
Indian Philosophy
Buddhist Ethics
Loss, Bereavement, and Palliative Care
The Nature of School Chaplaincy

Semester 2 (February-June)

Optional modules
Spirituality in Health Care
Spiritual Assessment in Health Care Practice
Spirituality in Social Work
Spirituality in Education
Research Methods
Empirical Studies in Educational Research
Developing Professional and Interpersonal Skills
Christian Leadership in Education
School Chaplaincy in Action
Applied Christian Ethics

Semester 1 & 2 (September-June)

Core module
Research Seminar in Spirituality

Optional module
Interpreting Religious Practice

Period 3 (June-August)
Student wishing to obtain a Masters degree must also complete, under supervision, a


Candidates are assessed by means of coursework assignments, seminar presentations and a dissertation. Coursework is assessed during the semester in which the module is delivered.


Some of the modules included in the programme are listed below. Not all modules may be available in any one year. The following is therefore an indicative outline.

Theorising Spirituality

This module introduces students from a range of professional disciplines to the academic study of spirituality. It presents a consistent approach to spirituality as it appears in the context of secular welfare services. Phenomena pertaining to different spiritualities, such as desire, faith, disclosure, revelation, and prayer, are examined. The module explains the principles and methodologies which may be applied in analysing these phenomena. It takes an approach that stands at a distance from religious and theological explanations of spirituality. The module draws extensively upon the growing body of research from a number of professional disciplines.

Researching Spirituality

This module introduces students to the research methods and resources necessary for the study of spirituality. The multi-faceted nature of spirituality means that it does not fit neatly into one subject area. Rather, it can be investigated from different perspectives, including the sociological, psychological, anthropological, hermeneutical, philosophical and theological. The module introduces students to these different methodologies, and associated research instruments such as research databases and qualitative software.

Spirituality in Education

Spiritual development is a statutory requirement in education, and has been since the 1944 Education Act. Despite its statutory status, strong evidence suggests that spiritual development in educational settings is constrained by many issues, including its ambiguous – and for some – controversial nature, particularly in relation to religious education issues. This module examines the educational literature on spirituality, including theory, philosophy, research, and policy documentation and guidelines. Particular attention is given to Every Child Matters, and to holistic, inclusive frameworks such as SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning). Beyond the local and national policy levels, the global context is increasingly relevant, as are human rights issues concerning inclusion, respect, poverty, and the environment.

Spiritual Assessment in Health Care Practice

There is a political and professional expectation that health care professionals should be able to undertake a holistic health care assessment of their patients or clients needs, including their spiritual needs. This module provides an overview of how spiritual assessment can be incorporated into health care practice. Through examples and critiques of different assessment methods, students develop their understanding of the practical and ethical implications of undertaking spiritual assessment.

Spirituality in Health Care Practice

The spiritual dimension is an emergent field within health care practice. Almost every professional discipline is now contributing to this area of practice through publication or research. This module introduces students to the emerging debates surrounding the concept of spirituality and the delivery of ‘spiritual care.’ It provides an overview of the historical and contemporary developments of spirituality in health care practice, examines different concepts of spirituality and spiritual care, and explains the relationship between spiritual care and fundamental health care practice.

Spirituality and Social Work

This module aims to apply the concept of spirituality and understanding of spiritual practices to the core themes, issues, values and skills pertaining to social work. The links with culture and culturally competent practice are key features. There will be extensive use of case study material to assist with this process. The module further aims to explore the specific research agenda and the skills and methods appropriate to this field of enquiry.

Research seminar in spirituality

This module runs alongside other modules, providing an interdisciplinary forum in which students may explore course content. The module facilitates students’ exploration of their own ideas as well as contrasting approaches. It develops practical and transferable skills in making presentations on spirituality.

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