BA (Hons) Degree in Theology

It’s good to remember that the goal of theological study is wisdom, not the mere heaping of knowledge, not impressing your friends with erudition, and certainly not the cleverness that wins quiz shows. Wisdom, rather, is sharp-eyed for the ways of God in the world, discerns our hidden longings and needs, judges justly, speaks words of help and hope, and is more at home on the street than in the classroom, given that the latter is the way to, not from, the world. Wisdom, too, is joyful, not sombre and overborn by all the difficulties of life, but able to spot the way of Jesus, even in deep shadow.

At St Augustine’s, the various students not training for a licensed ministry (lay or ordained) are a stimulating and diverse crowd. Some pursue the programme in order to enrich their understanding of Christian faith, some understand their studies as informing their service of Christ in their daily lives, still others undertake study as part of their vocational discernment. Whatever the reason, these students form a distinct and valued community, sharing their classes with students training for licensed and ordained ministry, but also enjoying their own programme with its particular objectives and special activities.

As well as covering all the traditional theological disciplines, the programme provides opportunities to develop skills in theological reflection able to ground a faith based perspective on every aspect of daily life. There is also a significant practical component, which connects your ongoing classroom learning with practical activities in church, in your workplace, in the public arena, and elsewhere.

Who can apply?

Anyone can apply who wishes to increase their knowledge of Christian faith and practice but isn’t preparing for ordination or licensed lay ministry. 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. Sometimes students undergoing discernment are recommended to start theological study, sometimes taking just a module or two in the first instance, to explore their motivation and aptitude for degree-level study.

If you haven’t studied theology at Higher Education level before, you will enter our undergraduate programme at Certificate level and join our Licensed Lay Ministry students.

Once you have completed the Certificate stage, you can proceed to Levels 5 and 6 in order to complete the Diploma and BA (Hons) respectively.

Qualifications available

Successful completion of a stage qualification (e.g., CertHE or DipHE) allows you to move on to the next stage.

Diploma in Higher Education – starting from Certificate:

  • Two years of full-time study
  • Four years of part-time study

BA (Hons) – starting from Certificate:

  • Three years of full-time study
  • Six years of part-time study


Full-time students attend both weekly Evening Classes and fortnightly Teaching Days (or weekly Teaching Days), typically taking two modules each term in Biblical Studies, Christian Doctrine, Church History, Ethics, Worship and Liturgy, and so on.


Part-time students attend either weekly Evening Classes or fortnightly Teaching Days, taking only one module per term in the above subject areas.

You will also undertake a placement during the DipHE (Level 5) stage of the programme).

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.

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

If you are a part-time student, you can attend either our weekly Evening Classes (Mondays at Trinity House, Southwark, or Wednesdays online, 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 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). Note, however, that the teaching for the reflective practice placement module (DipHE) may involve Saturday teaching instead of the usual Evening Class or Friday Teaching Day pattern.

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).

Please Contact Us for next year’s Academic Calendar.

What will I study?

What follows is a sample of the modules you will study at each level, together with students on other pathways. For the modules that are part of the Certificate programme, see the Certificate page.

At degree level (Level 6) it is compulsory to undertake either an Independent Learning Project or a Dissertation or an Extended Project. In either case, the opportunity is for you to explore a particular topic or context that is of interest to you and which has not appeared elsewhere in the pathway.

The Diploma in Higher Education (Level 5) typically contains six of the following modules:

  • Christian Faith and Ethical Living
  • Biblical Studies
  • Reflective Practice in Context
  • Texts and Traditions in Christian Spirituality
  • Mission and Evangelism
  • Sacramental Theology and Ministry
  • Independent Learning Project

You can find more detailed descriptions of these (and other) Level 5 modules here.

During the final stage of the programme leading to the BA (Level 6), you will take modules from the following list, depending on your interest and/or availability (not all modules are offered each year):

  • Christian Doctrine in Focus
  • The Bible and Christian Faith
  • Church History in Focus
  • Further Reflective Practice in Context
  • Independent Learning Project
  • Dissertation in Theology, Ministry and Mission
  • Extended Project in Theology, Ministry and Mission

You can find more detailed descriptions of these (and other) Level 6 modules here.

“Returning to formal education following a 30-year break was a scary prospect. However, here I found a challenging but supportive environment in which I was able to flourish and achieve more than I ever thought possible.”
Sue Shortman Part-time BA student, Southwark
“This experience has already changed me. My vicar has noticed and commented on the many ways it has affected me and strengthened my thinking and ability in practical situations and how the course and study has helped to inform practical ministerial application and personal reflection. It is good to have undertaken such relevant and constructive study and training!”
Sally Nicholas Part-time BA student, Southwark