1. About the course

    St Augustine’s offers this pathway for people new to the study of theology, as well as students training for various types of Licensed Lay Ministry (LLM) in the Dioceses of Canterbury, Chichester and Southwark. For these LLM students, the pathway includes teaching and placements relating to the specific types of lay ministry for which they are preparing.

    You will take most modules together with students on other programmes, in particular ordinands. With these students you will take ‘Shared Modules’, in addition to the modules specific to your programme. These Shared Modules  cover the traditional theological disciplines: Biblical Studies, Christian Doctrine, Church History, and Worship and Liturgy, and so on.

  2. Who is it for?

    The Certificate is for anyone interested in theology and without previous experience of studying theology at Higher Education level. To enter the programme, you’ll need to be a regular member of a church, but need not have any particular role or experience within that church. We welcome students from any denomination.

    You will also follow this pathway if you’re part of the Dioceses of Canterbury, Chichester or Southwark and have been approved for Licensed Lay Ministry training – for example Reader Ministry, or Licensed Lay Pioneer Ministry (Diocese of Southwark).

  3. Qualifications

    Completion of this pathway leads to the award of the Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) in Theology, Ministry and Mission, a qualification awarded by the University of Durham. Often, students who have completed the CertHE continue their undergraduate studies, proceeding to Levels 5 and 6 in order to complete the Diploma or the BA (Hons) respectively.

    If you wish to enrol for independent study but have studied theology previously, it may be possible to enter our undergraduate programme at a higher level – or indeed start on one of our graduate or postgraduate programmes.

    Similarly, LLM students who have studied theology before may follow a bespoke academic programme that takes their previous learning into account. This is to be agreed in consultation with the Diocese. And after completing their initial training pathway, LLM students, too, can continue their studies independently to gain a higher qualification (e.g., DipHE, BA, MA).

  4. How long will it take?

    Students following this pathway independently (i.e., not preparing for Licensed Lay Ministry) have the choice of studying either full- or part-time. Full-time students complete the programme in one year, part-time students in two years.

    LLM students follow the pathway on a part-time basis. The initial two years of study at St Augustine’s will be followed by further post-licensing training provided by the relevant Diocese.

  5. Where can I study?

    You have a choice of locations and study modes to suit you.

    If you are a part-time or LLM student, you can take our Shared Modules by attending either our weekly Evening Classes (Mondays at Trinity House, Southwark, or Wednesdays at Malling Abbey, West Malling) or our fortnightly Teaching Days (Fridays at Malling Abbey, West Malling). If you are a full-time student, you will take a double amount of Shared Modules and will therefore attend a combination of these options: two sets of Evening Classes; one set of Evening Classes plus a set of Teaching Days; or two sets of Teaching Days (i.e., weekly Fridays).

    In addition, each year you will attend a one-day ‘Saturday School’ in either mid-December or early January – or both if you are are a full-time student. Please Contact Us for next year’s Academic Calendar.

    Furthermore, all students attend our annual Theological Symposium at Canterbury (coinciding with the Residential Week for ordinands).

  6. How much study time is involved?

    Part-time and LLM students are expected to undertake at least ten hours of private study per week and normally to complete two assignments per module. Full-time students should expect to need at least double that amount of time each week.

    You will also attend a number of pathway-specific teaching events. The teaching during these events focuses on  basic skills in theological reflection and reflective practice for lay ministry, with attention to your personal formation as a Christian disciple and lay minister. For Licensed Lay Ministry students, the teaching will also focus on the practical aspects of the various forms of ministry they prepare for, as encountered and explored in their placements).

    Those studying independently will attend one residential weekend and three Saturday study days over the course of the programme (one year full-time, or two years part-time). LLM students will attend the same amount of teaching events in each year of the programme.

    All students engage in some form of lay ministry in their local context during their first year, and write a reflective assignment in relation to their experience. LLM students undertake a more extensive placement and related coursework in their second year. All these components provide opportunities to develop your practical skills and integrate your core learning with ministerial practice.

  7. Academic Calendar 2020-21 here.

  8. What will I study?

    The following modules are shared with students on other pathways:

    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.

    Introduction to Church History

    This module provides a broad overview of church history focusing on the historical development of the doctrine of the Trinity. Key stages in the development of Trinitarian thinking are related to the church’s social, cultural and political context and to the historical roots of specific denominational identities.

    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 Worship

    In this module, you will 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 the contemporary diversity of these patterns. You will also visit a variety of churches to grasp something of this at first hand. Examining the way Christians mark time through their worship, this module concentrates on the vital relationship between past traditions and present realities.

    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.

    Using the Bible Today

    In this module, you will study various understandings of biblical authority, selected hermeneutical approaches to biblical texts, and consider how the biblical text may be used appropriately. The module will introduce you to some different approaches to using Scripture in Christian communication and ministry, to begin to help you develop your own communication skills.


    All students also take the following practice-oriented related module:

    Foundations for Reflective Practice in Context (Short)

    The focus of this module, and corresponding practical experience, is your existing church involvement and (in the case of LLM students) your current ministry as a trainee lay minister. It is mainly a practical module and allows you to engage in a structured way with your ministerial activities, in dialogue with your theological learning in other areas.


    As a candidate for Licensed Lay Ministry you will also take one of the following placement-related modules

    Reader Ministry students:

    Ministry and Worship in Context

    You shall examine core areas of congregational ministry: leading worship and preaching. 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.

    Licensed Lay Pioneer students:

    Mission and Ministry in a Specific Context


    Creating New Christian Communities