Training for Everyone: New Encounters in Theology

Training for Everyone: New Encounters in Theology

Theological education is one of the best ways of discovering more about Christian faith, its relationship to our contemporary world, and what makes us the people we are. 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 in the church.

New Encounters in Theology is a rolling two-year programme of evening classes. The programme allows independent students to study part-time towards a Certificate (120 credits over two years) or a Diploma (240 credits over four years) in Theology, Ministry and Mission. 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

Modules include: introductions to the Old Testament and the New Testament; Christian doctrine, based upon the Apostles’ Creed; Christian ethics and moral philosophy; sacraments, ecotheology and ecojustice; 20th century theology; and the history of Christianity.

Each module carries 10 or 20 credits, and typically entails commitment to six or twelve two-hour evening classes, a day class run on a Saturday, and private study to complete the assignments.

The evening classes are taught in Exeter, Plymouth (Certificate only) and Truro. The Exeter, and sometimes the Truro, evening classes are recorded for the use of distance learning students. Recordings and other course materials are available in Moodle, our virtual learning environment.

Our teachers are experienced theologians from the region, including SWMTC staff, visiting academics and church leaders.

Download the Course leaflet 2018-19 (pdf)

How to Apply

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

Registration: There is no deadline for applying for New Encounters in Theology or for joining the course. New students can join at any time, on payment of the full fees for the term. The Academic Registrar 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
  • Diploma level: Previous award of Certificate
  • Sitting in: Open to all

Fees: Please see the Course leaflet for the latest information. Course costs are met by the student or a sponsoring church.

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.”