Master of Transformational Development

Passionate about justice for the poor? Committed to a faith-based, Biblically-informed response to the needs of those who continue to be violated by poverty? Yearning for the opportunity for thoughtful reflection and learning relevant to your calling and vocation as an aid and development practitioner?

This course is designed for Christians working either directly in community development initiatives, or on the staff of development non-government organisations (DNGOs).

The small international MTD learning community provides a demanding yet supportive space in which transformational development practitioners can examine and deepen their understanding of their calling and current practice. In essence it explores: WHAT WE DO, WHY WE DO IT AND HOW WE DO IT through a facilitated and vigorous exploration of the interface between theology, development theory and the practitioners’ experience. The MTD creates both a “safe place” in which to grapple with the complexities and challenges of integral mission, and a rigorous academic framework in which to learn and innovate.

On successful completion of the course, students will have a well-developed understanding and theology of integral mission, a sound grasp of the complexities of pursuing an effective development program in the midst of oppressive socio-economic-political circumstances, and a well-developed understanding of the role and strategies of DNGOs working in development.

The Master of Transformational Development builds on the Aid and Development specialisation of the Master of Arts in Vocational Practice which utilised the Openseminary methodology and was the product of a rich collaboration between Eastern College Australia and TEAR Australia. Senior staff from CBM, Interserve, World Vision, TEAR, Malaysian Care, and the Asian Graduate School of Theology (Alliance) contributed their expertise and wisdom to the new course.

Steve Bradbury, the course coordinator, served 25 years as the National Director of TEAR Australia, was the inaugural Chair of the Micah Network and Micah Challenge International, and in 2009 received the Australian Council For Overseas Aid’s annual award for Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Aid & Development Sector.

MTD Scholarship Programme

Scholarship support is essential for most nationals working in development in Asia, Africa and the Middle East who wish to study in the MTD. They simply don’t have the financial resources to cover both the course fees and the additional costs associated with the residential week-long intensives. This is also true of many “Western” expats supported to work in those locations by their friends and church.

Eastern College Australia has responded to this situation by offering full or part scholarships.

Criteria for a scholarship

The provision of a full or partial scholarship to cover the cost of fees is determined according to:

  1. Successful admission into the Course
  2. Any guidelines provided by scholarship funders with respect to regional location of students.
  3. The quality of the student’s “readiness assessment” essay (part of the application process).
  4. The depth and breadth of the student’s relevant vocational experience.
  5. The need to maintain a rich diversity within the student cohort

Note: The cost of attending the residential intensives (travel and accommodation) is borne by the students and not covered by MTD scholarships.

Frequently Asked Questions

Description

The Master of Transformational Development is designed to facilitate and encourage effective contextual learning, carefully creating the space to wrestle with student-identified vocational issues and questions. The utilisation of web-based delivery together with 5-day face-to-face intensives in each unit enables students to study while remaining in their vocational contexts.

Their placement in small groups of 3-5 fellow students each semester, using internet-based communication, further enhances the opportunity for contextual learning.

In addition a wide range of “reflective practitioners” are employed to engage with students during the intensives as together they seek to address key vocational questions and issues identified by students during the 8-week reading phase that begins each unit.

Six units are offered on a 3-year cycle:

  • Doing Theology in the Context of Poverty and Injustice;
  • Economics, Development and Human Flourishing;
  • Community Development;
  • Biblical Justice, Human Rights and Advocacy;
  • Climate Change, Justice and Sustainability;
  • Leadership and Organisational Development.

Entry to the programme can be at any point in the cycle.

In addition, students are required to participate in a journaling activity that will run throughout the entirety of the programme. The focus of this activity is spiritual resilience and longevity. While of considerable importance, the very nature of this activity determines that it will be a non-assessed component in the programme.

Students will complete 5 coursework units and the last unit students will complete is a Research Paper in Transformational Development. Guidance for a research topic is provided in the sixth unit the student undertakes.

Course Outcomes

  • Graduates will have a critical understanding of the theology and practice of integral mission.
  • Graduates will have an integrated theologically-shaped knowledge of complexities involved in creating effective interventions in development contexts.
  • Graduates will have a specialised understanding of the role and strategies of Christian Non Government Organisations and churches working for sustainable development and justice for poor and vulnerable communities.
  • Graduates will have an enhanced ability to work creatively and effectively with vulnerable communities in development contexts.

Delivery locations

  • Mulgrave (Full)
  • AGST (Full)
  • MENA (Full)

Admission Criteria

Normal Entry

To obtain entry under this category an applicant must meet Eastern College Australia’s General Entry Requirements plus:

  • hold a relevant undergraduate degree from a recognised University or institution under section 10 or Section 11 of the Tertiary Education Act 1993 (certified transcripts are to be provided);
  • have had appropriate experience or hold a position in the relevant field of study, as demonstrated by the submission of a CV detailing professional experience/position, and the submission of 250 word statement outlining reasons for the application with the application;
  • demonstrate suitability for the course in an interview with an Academic staff member (new student interview), including a response to the Readiness Assessment (see below for further details on this aspect of the application).
  • supply references from a supervisor/ employer/ senior colleague in the area of specialisation for which the applicant is applying (written on a Confidential Reference Form supplied by the college, endorsing the applicant)

Professional Entry

To obtain entry under this category an applicant must meet Eastern College Australia’s General Entry Requirements plus:

  • demonstrate a minimum of 5 years relevant work experience in the area of specialisation. This may be evidenced by the submission of a CV detailing professional experience and the submission of a 250 word statement outlining the reason for application.
  • demonstrate suitability for the course in an interview with an Academic staff member (new student interview), including a response to the Readiness Assessment (see below for further details of this aspect of the application process).
  • supply references from a supervisor/ employer/ senior colleague in the area of specialisation for which the applicant is applying (written on a Confidential Reference Form supplied by the college, endorsing the applicant).

If the above conditions are satisfied the applicant may enrol in a single Masters level unit. If this unit is successfully completed at credit level (65) or above the applicant will be granted normal entry into the Master of Transformational Development. The unit completed is accepted into the student’s academic record.

Readiness Assessment

After applying, applicants will be provided with a topic and are required to write a no more than a 2000 word response identifying biblical ideas and how these biblical ideas should shape a Christian response to the topic. The applicant’s capacity will be assessed with regard to the following:

  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of a variety of theological terms and appreciate the differences in meaning of these terms;
  • Demonstrate a willingness and ability to take a position on a relevant theological question and to argue the position effectively;
  • Structure an argument in a logical way and formulate the issue clearly using correct grammar and a logical and clear expression of thoughts;
  • Evidence of appropriate use of academic sources and the provision of an appropriate bibliography; and
  • Respond to questions in an integrated and self-reflective manner.

Students will not be assessed on their theological or developmental emphasis as there are many positions for both of these.

The applicant will have two weeks to complete and submit the Readiness Assessment and this will be followed by a New Student Interview with a Course Advisor. The Readiness Assessment will form part of the basis of the interview.

Determination of a Research Pathway

At the outset of the course, candidates require the endorsement of their current employer or ministry director. The basic growth areas of the candidate are determined at this time so as to map out both a provisional learning pathway and potential area of research. Access to one or more sites for analysis or action research are also negotiated at this time particularly with reference to the focus of the research project. Research may also be conducted within sites unrelated to the candidates current role and responsibility.

While all research proposals require ethical clearance from the HREC which Eastern College Australia uses, candidates will negotiate access to an organisational or community context as part of gaining approval for their research proposal prior to the commencement of the research.

This course is only available to domestic students (those not requiring a student visa).

English Language Requirement

An applicant for studies in the above courses will be deemed to have sufficient English proficiency if:

  • They were born in one of the following countries and have completed at least one qualification (secondary or tertiary) in one of those countries and the language in which the qualification was undertaken was English
    • American Samoa; Australia; Botswana; Canada; Fiji; Ghana; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; Kenya; Lesotho; Liberia; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Singapore; Solomon Islands; South Africa; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; United Kingdom; USA; Zambia; Zimbabwe.
  • They were not born in one of the following countries but have completed senior secondary study or at least one year of full-time university study in one of these countries and the language in which the qualification was undertaken was English:
    • American Samoa; Australia; Botswana; Canada; Fiji; Ghana; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; Kenya; Lesotho; Liberia; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Singapore; Solomon Islands; South Africa; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; United Kingdom; USA; Zambia; Zimbabwe.
  • They have successfully completed a senior secondary qualification, a post secondary Diploma qualification of at least two years, an undergraduate program of three years or more, or a postgraduate program of two years or more FT or more, undertaken in a non-English speaking country provided the study:
    • was completed in an institution which is listed in the International Handbook of Universities, World Higher Education Database, UK Naric Database or AEI NOOSR guides or an institution accredited through one of ICETE’s registered accrediting bodies and is confirmed by the institution as having been conducted and examined solely in the English language.
  • They have attained results as listed in one of the following qualifications:

    Test Minimum Results
    IELTS Academic 6.5 (no band less than 6.0)
    TOEFL (Paper based) 575+ Test of Writing English 4
    TOEFL (Internet) 85+ Writing 21, Speaking 20, Reading 20, Listening 20
    Pearson Test of English (Academic) 64 No communicative score below 58
    Cambridge English Advanced 62 No less than Borderline in writing

Course Structure

There are six units offered on a rotating 3-year cycle. In addition, students are required to maintain an on-line journal in which they record reflections relevant to issues of spiritual resilience for practitioners of integral mission in contexts of poverty and injustice. The last unit students will complete is a Research Paper in Transformational Development.

One-sixth of the course is research based using relevant methodologies for the area chosen.

Pathways

There are no pathways into the Master of Transformational Development other than the entry requirements.

Specialisations

Master of Transformational Development Research Core Core

Units attached to this course

Unit Code Unit Name
AD910.512 Community Development
AD911.512 Biblical Justice, Human Rights and Advocacy
AD912.512 Economics, Development and Human Flourishing
AD920.512 Leadership and Organisational Development
AD930.512 Climate Change, Justice and Sustainability
RP992.512 Research Paper in Transformational Development
TH910.512 Doing Theology in the Context of Poverty and Injustice