MA in Catholic Applied Theology (Apologetics)


Program Description

MA in Catholic Applied Theology (Apologetics)

This pathway is for anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of the rational foundations of the Catholic worldview in order to be able to engage effectively with the intellectual challenges posed by the secular culture of our time. It is of particular relevance to all involved in preaching and teaching the faith in schools, colleges and parishes.

Aims of the Programme

This pathway aims to foster knowledge and critical understanding of the rational grounds for the Catholic faith, intellectual objections to it, and the range of possible responses, enabling students to expound and defend the faith in the modern world.

Programme Structure

This MA is a 30-month, distance-learning course with short residential schools commencing each January. For the first 24 months, students work from home following specially designed module course books, and associated reading, and submitting assignments based upon this reading. The final 6 months of the course focus on the writing of a 20,000-word dissertation.

It is possible, within the structure of the MA Programme, to terminate with the award of a Postgraduate Certificate (after Year 1) or Postgraduate Diploma (after Year 2).

Programme Content

The areas covered include:

  • Introduction to Apologetics
  • Christian Anthropology
  • Philosophy, God and Science
  • The Historical Jesus and the Church
  • Catholic Sexual Ethics
  • Controversial Issues from Church History
  • Controversial Issues in Modern Apologetics
  • Research Methods


If you have a disability or any long-term condition that impacts on your day-to-day life, please download the Accessibility Form, open and edit it in Acrobat Reader, and email or post the completed document to the Accessibility Coordinator (address included on the form), to ensure we can give you the best possible support during your course of study. Disclosing a disability will not be a factor in the Institute’s decision as to whether or not to offer you a place on the course. However, it is important that the Institute knows if you have any special needs in order to provide you with appropriate support and facilities. This information will remain strictly confidential.

Admission to the Programme

  1. Students conform to the formal admissions requirements of the Institute, which have been approved by the Open University.
  2. Candidates are normally expected to have an honours degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent academic or professional qualifications. Applicants who can show that they have covered the material of specific modules, and who have gained academic credit for this work elsewhere at a postgraduate level, may be allowed the exemption for up to four modules at the Institute’s discretion.
  3. Apart from these academic qualifications, candidates are asked to submit in writing a 500-word statement making clear the ways in which the content and processes integral to their chosen course relate to their intellectual and apostolic aspirations. The intention here is to ensure that candidates have an understanding of the contribution that higher studies might make to their personal and professional/vocational life, and an acceptable attitude regarding the demands, intellectually and personally, that the course could be expected to make on them.
  4. The Institute, with the approval of the Open University, participates in the University's credit transfer arrangements. Those interested in further information concerning these arrangements should write to the Programme Director.

Policy on the Admission and Support of Students with English as a Second Language

  1. All higher education programmes offered by Maryvale Institute are written, delivered and assessed exclusively in English. On application the Institute requires evidence of proficiency in written and spoken English; the evidence of proficiency required for entry into courses is as follows:
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Minimum average of 6.5 overall, with no sub-test below 6.0.
    • Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (MTELP): Minimum equated score of 90.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Minimum paper-based total of 550, computer-based total of 213, or Internet-based total of 79.
    • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): Minimum grade of B.
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Minimum grade of C.
  2. Students who cannot demonstrate proficiency in English to the satisfaction of the Institute are required to take a short written examination which tests reading level and understanding, and facility in written English. This is designed, provided and assessed by the Institute. Dictionaries are allowed for the purposes of the exam.
  3. As a standard procedure, all students for whom English is not their first language are identified at the relevant Assessment and Examinations Board. Students who are deemed not to have passed may retake the exam, having demonstrated that they have undergone further instruction in English.
  4. Students who demonstrate a minimal level of proficiency may be accepted onto the course at the discretion of the Institute provided they give clear evidence of their plans for further improving their English.

Application and Registration

An Application Form is enclosed with this brochure (an electronic version is available on request, or may be downloaded from the Institute website). A non-returnable application fee of £50.00 is required when making an application for the course. Full fees for Year 1 are required once you have been registered for the course and must be paid before the first weekend of the course.

Admissions Process

When you have sent back your application form, an application fee to cover the administrative costs associated with the admissions process, a statement of why you would like to take this course, and once the references which you will have arranged to have sent to us have arrived, your application will be considered by the person at Maryvale Institute responsible for admissions to this course. (Note: These references are treated as confidential between the referee and the Institute).

We will then write to you telling you whether you have been admitted to the course. (You may be asked to come to the Institute for an interview, or we may phone you in order to clarify any details in your application. On the whole, however, we prefer to avoid face-to-face interviews because of the distances that may be involved.)

Assuming that your application is successful, you will be sent an ‘acceptance pack’, including further information about Maryvale Institute and the course. This includes details of how to apply for a student card. An invoice for your fees will be sent to you in November, prior to your beginning the course. Once we have received your fees for the first year you are formally enrolled as a student of the Institute.

If for any reason your application for a place on the course is not successful, the Institute reserves the right, because of the elements of confidentiality involved in the admissions process and the collection of references, not to give you the reasons for this decision. If at any stage you are dissatisfied with the admissions process we would advise you to follow the complaints procedure of the Institute: a copy of this can be found on the Institute’s website under ‘About’, or you can order a copy from the Institute’s library. We will endeavour to ensure that your questions are dealt with promptly and professionally.

Last updated May 2019

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About the School

Maryvale lies at the centre of the ancient settlement of Oscott, about five miles from Birmingham City Centre. With its charming buildings, in which Christian values and prayer are almost tangible, it ... Read More

Maryvale lies at the centre of the ancient settlement of Oscott, about five miles from Birmingham City Centre. With its charming buildings, in which Christian values and prayer are almost tangible, its long and interesting history and peaceful grounds, Maryvale is spiritual ‘home’ to many. Read less