DipHE, BA (Hons), GDip and MA in Theology, Ministry and Mission
About the course
All Ordained Ministry students study for a qualification in Theology, Mission, and Ministry, accredited by the University of Durham as part of the Church of England’s Common Awards. The particular qualification awarded depends on the length of your programme and whether you have recently undertaken accredited study in Theology or a related subject.
Our programmes for ordained ministry involve you in theological learning that:
- unites biblical witness and the traditions of faith with contemporary life;
- insists on contextual reflection, enabling us to discern God’s call in the times and places of our work;
- fosters a personal formation that engages your prayer and deepens your trust in God’s love, strengthening you to minister that love to others.
Who is it for?
The Ordained Ministry pathway is for those who have received a bishop’s recommendation to train for ordination. This pathway is also taken by those recommended for ministerial training through the equivalent process of another denomination.
- Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) in Theology, Ministry, and Mission
- BA (Hons) in Theology, Ministry, and Mission
- Graduate Diploma (GDip) in Theology, Ministry and Mission
- MA in Theology, Ministry, and Mission
How long will it take?
The length of your programme depends on a number of factors, such as previous theological learning and/or ministerial experience. The following are the most common scenarios:
- Part-time study for three years
- Full-time study for two or three years
- Full-time mixed-mode study for two or three years (In additional to their academic studies, mixed-mode students work part-time as lay ministers in settings that contribute significant experience to their ministerial education.)
I have felt wholeheartedly supported by every single member of staff and found the course content diverse, eye opening and relevant.The more I learn, the more my faith is opened up to me – and that has been a real blessing. Personally this has been life changing.”
Jeanette Kennett – Part-time Ordained Ministry Student
Where can I study?
You have a choice of locations and study modes to suit you.
Ordained Ministry students study either part or full-time at our Malling Abbey and/or Southwark Cathedral teaching centres. Each year, they also attend six residential weekends in various locations around the South East, and a week-long residential school in Canterbury.
Most modules are taken with students on other pathways. You will follow these ‘shared modules’ either through weekly evening classes each term (Mondays at Southwark Cathedral, Wednesdays at Malling Abbey), plus a one-day Saturday School; and/or weekly or fortnightly teaching days (Fridays at Malling Abbey).
How much study time is involved?
Full-time students attend both evening classes and teaching days, typically taking two modules each term in Biblical Studies, Christian Doctrine, Church History, Ethics, Worship and Liturgy and Pastoral Theology.
Part-time students attend either evening classes or teaching days, taking only one module per term in the above subject areas.
Ordinands, both full and part-time, also take one pathway specific module each year. Each of these involved a placement and one or two assignments. The teaching for these modules takes place at residential teaching events.
The placements are as follows:
- a mission placement, undertaken as a group project
- a placement in a hospital, prison or similar setting
- a parish placement, generally in a church context significantly different from your ‘home’ parish
A module typically involves two written assignments. Full-time study requires at least twenty hours of study per week, outside class time. Part-time study requires at least ten hours of study per week, outside class time.
What will I study?
Your course will comprise modules such as the ones detailed below. When you take them will depend on your particular pathway.
Introduction to Biblical Studies
This module introduces you to the contemporary study of Scripture. You learn how to use the major critical tools that scholars employ to interpret the Bible. You shall study how these critical techniques have developed and so understand the story of modern biblical criticism. In this way, this module introduces you to the most important issues raised for Christian life and worship by the study of Scripture.
Spirituality and Discipleship
This module puts spirituality at the heart of your study of theology, integrating that study with the life of discipleship. You shall examine the place of prayer and repentance, of contemplation and ‘bearing the cross’, of ‘detachment’ and pilgrimage, both literal and metaphorical. The module also looks in detail at some of the most important scriptural and doctrinal sources for Christian prayer and spirituality. Along with all this, you shall choose and undertake a set of spiritual practices that will help stretch your soul.
Introduction to Christian Doctrine
This module examines central Christian theological affirmations about the person and work of Jesus Christ (Christology and soteriology) and considers what follows for Christian life and practice. It introduces you to theological debates about the person and work of Jesus Christ down the centuries and explores some of the implications of these for Christian life and practice.
Foundations in Christian Worship
In this module, you shall consider daily, weekly and yearly patterns of worship in the Christian churches today. By way of a local history project, historical study will complement your exploration of the contemporary diversity of these patterns. You shall also visit a variety of churches to grasp something of this variety at first hand. Examining the way Christians shape and mark time through their worship, this module concentrates on the vital relationship between past traditions and present realities.
Old Testament Studies
This module gives you a broad overview of salvation history, that is, the history of the covenant people in its relationship with God, as portrayed in the narrative of the Old Testament. It will also extend and develop the range of critical skills you use to interpret Scripture and link these skills to the roles of scripture within the Christian community. As the vehicle for achieving this, you shall analyse specific biblical texts related to the themes of creation and covenant.
New Testament Studies
In this module you shall study the mission and ministry of Jesus in the Gospels, as well as the early Christians’ experience of the risen Christ and of the Holy Spirit. You shall pay particular attention to Luke-Acts and to Paul’s epistles, especially Romans. You shall examine how Jesus drew on the theology of contemporary Judaism and reshaped it. The module explores the experiences and concerns of the earliest Christian communities and discusses how the beginnings of Christian faith and practice continue to shape the ministry and mission of the church today.
Christian Faith and Ethical Living
This module addresses the foundations of Christian ethical reasoning, offering a theological account of core Christian moral concepts. You shall discuss their application to issues currently subject to sharp controversy within and outside the Church: sexual ethics, family, distributive justice and poverty, and Christian participation in public life.
Christian Doctrine in Focus
This module focuses on the Christian doctrines of Trinity, creation, and the person and work of Jesus Christ. You shall study modern and post-modern critiques of these doctrines and examine constructive and influential responses, including Radical Orthodoxy and postliberal approaches.
Texts and Traditions in Christian Spirituality
In this module you shall study a range of voices from the Christian spiritual tradition, entering into a conversation with influential texts using both theological and secular disciplines. You will learn academic approaches to spirituality as well as reflecting on the formative challenges and inspirations found in some of the classics of reflection upon Christian prayer and mysticism.
Dissertation in Theology, Ministry and Mission
This provides you with the opportunity to research a topic of particular interest to you and, under tutorial supervision, present your work in the form of a long essay.
Click here for postgraduate shared modules.
At residential weekends, you undertake the following pathway specific modules:
Ministry and Mission in Context
This module explores the relationship between mission and the diversity of contexts within which the contemporary Church serves and witnesses. You shall reflect upon the theology of the mission of God as well as contemporary practices of outreach in the Christian churches, including Fresh Expressions of Church. The placement element of this module involves an extended team mission project.
In this module, you shall learn the theory and develop some of the skills for effective Christian pastoral ministry. You will reflect on the various settings for pastoral ministry and also upon the discernment and sensitivities they require. The module also examines the relationship between pastoral care and mission.
(Ordained Ministry students shall also study pastoral theology and practice in relation to sexuality and marriage, as well as to bereavement ministry and funerals.)
The placement element of this module is an extended placement in pastoral ministry.
Ministry and Worship in Context
You shall examine three core areas of congregational ministry: leading worship, preaching, and Christian nurture and education. The module emphasises developing your facility in reflective practice as crucial to leading and enabling worship and discipleship in local churches.
The placement element of this module enlarges your experience of ministry in these areas by work in a church that differs in some key respects from those with which you are most familiar.
“I crossed the Thames to train at St Augustine’s because it has always been a place where ideas and action meet. As someone training for self-supporting ministry whilst working full time the ability to integrate study with my professional and personal life is essential. I expected to find a diverse student body but I’ve been delighted to find even more variety than I imagined. Amidst the differences there is a common commitment of staff and students alike to grapple with thorny issues and grow in the knowledge and love of God.”
“When I speak to clergy and talk about training, I am so glad that I chose to study here. The standard of teaching is second to none and the staff are very accessible, approachable and supportive. So too are fellow students who share the same demands and pressures, both in their studies and in daily life. It was a big step for me, giving up much that I was comfortable with in order to study. Would I do it again? Without a moment’s hesitation I would.”