Training for Everyone: New Encounters in Theology

Theological education is one of the best ways of discovering more about the Christian faith, its relationship to our contemporary world, and what makes us the people we are. It helps us to explore and to cultivate adventurous faith, missional hope and grounded love, which are at the heart of our College life. New Encounters in Theology will help you learn about the Bible and the many ways Christian thinkers have tried to understand God’s ways. It will deepen your knowledge of Christianity so that you can better serve as a Christ-follower. This Durham University-accredited course would be a suitable way to go deeper with studies begun on the Foundations in Christian Ministry course.

New Encounters in Theology is a two-year programme of study that allows independent students to study part-time towards a Certificate in Theology, Mission and Ministry (120 Credits). It may be possible to continue studies for a Diploma (240 credits over four years in total) or a BA (over six years). It is also possible, in some circumstances, to transfer credits gained to continue studies elsewhere alternatively, you can simply attend and listen (as a sitter-in or audit student). Independent students and those training for ministry in the Church of England study and learn alongside each other.

The Programme

Study topics include introductions to the Bible, Christian doctrine and history, and aspects of worship and other ministries in Christian service.  Our teachers are experienced theologians from the region, including our staff, visiting academics and church leaders.

This programme is delivered through seven study days on Saturdays, held at the University of St Mark & St John in Plymouth. The dates for 2019-20 are: September 7, October 12, November 23, January 11, March 7, May 2, & May 30.

These are supported by online sessions and resources and interspersed with smaller local group meetings, (dates and locations for 2019-20 to be confirmed). These Reflective Practice Seminars gather twice in between each Saturday and are designed to develop, follow up and apply the teaching. Recordings and other online activities are delivered through Moodle, our virtual learning environment.

How to Apply

Enquiries: We welcome enquiries at any time. Please contact the Academic Registrar at or the Academic Administrator ( if you are interested in studying with us or would like more information.

Registration: This should normally be complete before the end of August. You must have at least expressed an interest and attended the first Saturday study day of the course. Please contact Chris Halls at who will send you a registration form to complete. There are no interviews. 

Entry requirements:

  • Certificate level: The basic entry level requirement is one A-level or equivalent but please contact the Academic Registrar ( if you do not meet this requirement as we are able to accept some alternative experiences or qualifications.
  • Diploma level: Previous award of Certificate
  • Sitting in: Open to all

Fees: The fees for studying on this course are £100 registration (non-refundable) + (3 x £360) =  £1,180 including lunch on the Saturdays.

If a student is in the process of discernment and is recommended to study by the DDO they will be entitled to a bursary and the total will be £850

Those wishing to attend as sitters-in pay £45 per Saturday. Alternatively, up to the date of the first weekend, sitters-in may pay £300 for all the Saturdays.


Reflections from a ‘sitting-in’ student…

“Perhaps because I missed out on higher education until I was in my 40s, it has always seemed a privilege to me to be in a higher education classroom. Somehow this sense of privilege is magnified when 99% of the class are required to succeed in theological and pastoral assessments to further pursue their vocation in the many and varied manifestations of church ministry. For a fee no more than an evening class, it is possible to sit alongside these inspiring students of all ages in the classroom, without the inevitable pressure of writing essays. ‘Sitting in’ students like me are welcomed as one of the group, and invited to share not only what they are learning from the texts and the lecturers but also to participate in their theological and ethical debates. For me it gives a theological frame to my work as a voluntary member of a hospital chaplaincy team, but even without that motivation I would want to ‘be there’ as, like all good higher education, this course causes me to question that which I had previously taken for granted.”