The MTh scholarship programme is a unique opportunity not only to develop your own skills and qualifications, but also to carry out research on issues vital to the Church's work with young people. Youthscape will support you to publish and disseminate your work so you can see it begin to make a difference to young people.
Although proposal on any subject will be considered, each year Youthscape will also suggest a broad theme. This will be based on an identified need for research on a particular topic - because of the lack of research in that area, or changes in youth culture and practice that would benefit from new insights. Applicants submit a simple proposal form on their chosen subject, and one will be selected annually to receive the scholarship.
A research-based Masters degree can take different forms. It could involve carrying out primary research, perhaps directly with young people or churches. Alternatively, it could take the form of what is called secondary research, using existing research data as the basis for the work. Unlike taught Masters programme, there are no lectures: you carry out the research project yourself, guided by your Supervisors.
Moving into post-graduate studies can seem like a big step for many people, but it can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It allows you to explore a subject that interests you in more detail, perhaps investigating an idea or issue that you have come across through your work with young people or applying what you’ve learned in theology studies to the world of youth work.
Youthscape and LST are partnering together to offer this programme because we are convinced about the need for the Church to have greater insight and understanding about young people. There are signs that in many places the Church is unsure about how to respond to the changes in our society. There is a growing sense that old ways of doing things won’t cut it, and a lack of confidence and clarity about the alternatives. Change is needed, but it doesn’t happen by chance. It will require resources, prayer, innovation, impetus and the pooling of knowledge and experience. And it should be informed by theologically reflective research. This programme is one response to that need.
THE 2020 THEME
A theological response to young people’s engagement with social media platforms and smart phones
Note that we are interested to hear proposals on all topics and offer this theme as an area that we think is of special interest or importance to youth ministry.
Children moving up to secondary school this year were born after the launch of the iPhone, so it’s little wonder the post-Millennial cohort has been called ‘iGen’. They are digital natives - their worlds mediated by screens and their relationships increasingly conducted online. Alongside emerging sociological and psychological studies concerning young people’s relationship to social media, a holistic understanding and response requires us to also consider these issues theologically.
The specific research topic will be established in consultation between the student and the supervisors, but here are some ideas.
- How do social media platforms (e.g. the use of avatars of multiple identities) affect how young people construct and understand their self- identity?
- How do different forms of communication shape relationships, for example how individual or group conversations and messaging apps create a ‘fear of missing out’.
- What is the role of images, instead of text, in young people’s sense of self, others and community?
- What does it mean to rest in a digitally saturated world?
Alongside your application form, you need to submit a research proposal of no more than four pages. It needs to outline how you would interpret the topic and what kind of research you would undertake. More information on the proposal can be found in the ‘Research Proposal Guidelines’, which you can download from the sidebar.
HOW THE SCHOLARSHIP IS AWARDED
A panel of faculty members from The London School of Theology and The Youthscape Centre for Research will consider outline proposals and make a decision based on:
- the relevance of the proposal to the theme set by Youthscape
- the potential of the proposal to make a meaningful contribution to Christian youth ministry
- the strength of the proposal as a realistic and achievable programme of study
The panel will short-list applications and successful candidates will be invited to give a 10-minute presentation and participate in an interview.
HOW THE SCHOLARSHIP WORKS IN PRACTICE
The MTh can be completed full-time over twelve months or part-time over two years. The starting date is expected to be in February 2020, though there is some flexibility.
The student will be registered as a member of the academic community at the London School of Theology and the degree is awarded by Middlesex University. Supervision is undertaken jointly by Dr Chloe Lynch (Lecturer in Practical Theology at LST), and the Director of The Youthscape Centre for Research, Dr Lucie Shuker. It is expected that full-time students commit around 40 hours per week to study whilst part-time students will be expected to commit around 20 hours per week to study. On completion, the student will submit a thesis of up to 40,000 words, which is assessed by viva or oral examination.
The MTh programme is based at Youthscape in Luton, Bedfordshire, and the successful student will be welcomed as part of the Youthscape team, to take advantage of our facilities at Bute Mills, our activities, including our staff retreats, and to draw on the wider team and the young people we work with as needed. The student will have free access to Youthscape's training programmes and will also receive a free pass to The National Youth Ministry Weekend. They will be expected to be present at Bute Mills for at least one day a fortnight. Students will also need to spend the equivalent of two weeks on the LST campus over the course of the year (full-time) or one week (part-time).
The scholarship will meet the costs of the MTh fees of up to £7,080. Students living costs and other expenses will need to be met by the student. Maintenance grants from Student Finance England may be available. Youthscape will support the successful candidate to organise these practical requirements, including appropriate accommodation in the Luton area if required.
WHAT ARE THE ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS?
- Those who have completed an undergraduate degree at a minimum level of a 2:1.
- Those with a sufficient grasp of theology and theological reflection to work at Masters level, either through their degree studies or some other source.
- Those wishing to research a specific topic rather than a taught programme.
- Those with sufficient funds to cover living expenses and other expenses.
- Those demonstrating a passion for Christian youth work and an awareness of the need for theologically informed responses to the challenges facing young people.
If you are unsure about whether you meet these criteria, please contact us to discuss your situation. We are keen to make the scholarship programme available to as wide a group as possible.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2020 PROGRAMME
September 30th 2019.
HOW TO APPLY
- Complete a Research Proposal form, together with an application form, and send it to [email protected], copying in [email protected].
- The deadline for applications for the 2019/2020 is September 30th 2019.
- For further information please contact either Doreen Rosser, the administrator of postgraduate admission at LST at [email protected] or Dr Lucie Shuker using the contact information on this page.
- If you would like to have an informal discussion about applying for the programme, or the development of your proposal, you are welcome to contact Dr Lucie Shuker.