Theological Ethics MTh

Theological Ethics, MTh


Our MTh in Theological Ethics provides an intensive introduction to the rich tradition of Christian moral thought as a basis for engaging and contributing to contemporary ethical debates in Church and society.

Key Facts

1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time / Part Time
Start Month
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

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The MTh in Theological Ethics concentrates on the Christian tradition of theological ethics with a view to contemporary ethical issues and developments. The one-year programme consists of four courses followed by a dissertation. The programme has a particular focus on the work of classical theologians such as Augustine, Aquinas and Luther and more modern thinkers such as Barth, Bonhoeffer, Niebuhr, Hauerwas and O’Donovan. This focus upon in-depth engagement with major theologians and texts serves the overall purpose of increasing your analytic rigour and depth of thinking about contemporary issues and debates.

Staff members in Theological Ethics—Dr Brian Brock and Dr Michael Mawson—all cooperate closely and on the basis of a shared theological-pedagogical vision. You will also benefit from a culture of cooperation with staff members in both Systematic and Practical Theology—Dr Chris Brittain, Prof Tom Greggs, Prof Paul Nimmo, Prof John Swinton, Dr Don Wood, Dr Philip Ziegler—and with other disciplines in the department and university.

The programme is a standalone degree, but also provides a strong foundation for you if you are planning to continue into doctoral studies. It is also available as a part-time degree over two years.

In addition to our taught programme, we also offer the MTh in Theological Ethics as a research degree. For more information about this option, please click here.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MTh programme which runs in September.

Degree Structure


Two courses in Theological Ethics. Options may include

  • Great Thinkers in Theological Ethics
  • Creation and Christian Ethics
  • Bioethics: Theological Reflections
  • One course consisting of assessment based on the Theological Ethics seminar
    • All staff, doctoral students and MTh students in the Theological Ethics area participate in a weekly seminar that covers fundamental texts in moral theology in the Christian tradition.
  • Exploring Spirituality, Health and Healing

Compulsory Courses

Creation in Christian Ethics (DR502T)

This course examines the account of creation in the biblical book of Genesis in order to explore the theological account of human moral action it offers. By exploring different movements of the creation story, the course lays out the basic structure of Christian moral theology. The aim is to develop a theological approach to the fundamentals of Christian ethics, clarifying its relevance for issues of sexuality and procreation, economics, work, governance, health, animals and the environment. The course offers a broad theoretical framework for thinking about the whole scope of ethical questions in contemporary society. Download course guide.

Great Thinkers in Theological Ethics (DR551Q)

This course will introduce students to a number of major thinkers in the area of Theological Ethics. Its focus will be on reading and discussing texts by prominent figures who are of ongoing significance. Moreover, this course will include figures from different theological and confessional backgrounds (Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran, non-Conformist, etc.), and explore whether and how their theological commitments connect with practical stances and approaches (i.e. on issues of war and peace, sexual ethics, bioethics, etc.)

Dissertation (DR552G)

20,000 word dissertation written on a topic related to the student's taught Master's programme and agreed to by the supervisor and the programme co-ordinator.

Special Subject (DR502X)

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in Divinity or Religious Studies agreed upon with his or her supervisor and approved by the Head of School. It may be offered in conjunction with the student sitting in on level 4 lectures relating to the subject material.

Special Subject (DR552X)

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in Divnity or Religious Studies agreed upon with his or her supervisor and approved by the Head of School. It may be offered in conjunction with the student sitting in on level 4 lectures relating to the subject material

Optional Courses

One of the following: DR553N, DR503N, DR502X, or DR552X
One substitute from other courses with approval by Programme Co-ordinator

Dissertation (DR552G)

20,000 word dissertation written on a topic related to the student's taught Master's programme and agreed to by the supervisor and the programme co-ordinator.

Special Subject (DR502X)

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in Divinity or Religious Studies agreed upon with his or her supervisor and approved by the Head of School. It may be offered in conjunction with the student sitting in on level 4 lectures relating to the subject material.

Dissertation Colloquium (DR502H)

For the first four sessions we will meet as a group to take an overview of the process of finding a suitable dissertation topic and embarking on research in Divinity and Religious Studies. Then students will develop their own dissertation topics in consultation with their supervisors. Download course guide.

The Emergence of Christology (DR503F)

How did the Jesus of history become the proclaimed Christ of faith? At the heart of the earliest Christian Christology is the variously expressed association of the pre-Easter Jesus and his message with the post-Easter proclamation of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God, as testified in the New Testament. This course explores some of the early expressions and trajectories of the early Christian conviction to this effect, how these related to contemporary messianic expectations as well as other relevant Early Jewish and Graeco-Roman concepts and beliefs, and, of course to the focal point of early Christianity: the Christ-event itself. Download course guide.

Preaching to Change the World: Exploring the Theology and Practice of Christian Witness (DR503M)

This course engages students in a sustained exploration of the theology and practice of preaching in the context of Christian worship with a view to the wider horizon of public communication. Initial investigation of traditional and contemporary theologies of the Word prepares us to focus upon the theological and rhetorical analysis of actual sermons considered in video, audio and textual forms. We will critically examine the theological frameworks within which preaching is understood, various possibilities for understanding the relation of biblical text, contemporary context, and preached sermon, as well questions concerning the interplay of form and content in the act of preaching. Download course guide.

The Life of Muhammad: Religion, History, Literature (DR552K)

We will discuss the biography of Prophet Muhammad, the main figure in Islam, through whom the Qur’an was revealed. We will look at existing sources for this biography and the problems that they present to modern scholars. We will examine various research approaches to this topic and discuss the advantages and shortcomings of each. Through a discussion of main episodes in the life of the Prophet we will learn of various ways for understanding these episodes. We will also discuss the status of Muhammad against other prophets in Islam and against the Qur’an.

Jewish History and Culture (DR552V)

Key topics in Jewish history in the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Mediaeval and modern periods. Selected aspects of Jewish culture through the ages, concentrating on religion and ritual.

Christian Practices (DR553M)

Christian practices are not activities as such, and neither are they religious duties. They are, rather, patterns of communal life within the Christian tradition that address fundamental human needs by revealing the presence and power of God. Practices point beyond the individualism of our present culture and disclose the social qualities of the Christian life. This course will explore the role and the effect which a number of Christian practices have played in the lives of local congregations. Students will have the opportunity to reflect upon the potential role of these practices in their own areas of ministry

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars


  • A weekly timetable consists of an average of 6 teaching hours per week. Teaching includes a range of interactive methods and approaches to learning in order to enhance students’ critical thinking, presentation and interpersonal skills.
  • Courses are assessed through essays and presentations. The variety of assessment in the programme ensures that students apply theory to practice and become expert communicators and team players.

Why Study Theological Ethics?

  • The University of Aberdeen has historic and contemporary strengths in the area of Theology.
  • This programme is one of only two Master’s programmes within the UK that focuses specifically on theological ethics.
  • With two full-time and one part-time staff members, the programme has one of the largest concentration of scholars working specifically in theological ethics within the UK.
  • There is a large and vibrant postgraduate community in Theological Ethics, consisting of doctoral and Master’s students from the United Kingdom, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fees and Funding Table for HOME, EU, RUK and International Students
Nationality Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition fee for main award £6,000
International Students Tuition fee for main award £14,300
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trip courses. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Theologicaly Draws on Learning Since 1495

Theological Ethics explores how a Christian ethos leads to political and ethical engagement, building on subject heritage since 1495

Entry Requirements

For more information about the application process, including details about which supporting documents you will be asked to provide, please click here.


Candidates must normally have an Honours degree to at least 2.1 standard in an appropriate discipline or equivalent qualifications and experience.

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

  • Degree Transcripta full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
  • Personal Statementa detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Degree Certificatea degree certificate showing your qualifications


Our students come from all over the British Isles and from overseas and go on to a wide range of professions after they graduate. These include ministry, teaching, nursing, social work, the armed forces, journalism, and law. Theological Ethics also provides a strong foundation for doctoral studies at the University of Aberdeen or elsewhere.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Dr Brian Brock
Programme Coordinator
Dr Micheal Mawson

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
University of Aberdeen
50-52 College Bounds


AB24 3DS
+44 (0)1224 272890
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