If you’re new to theological education, and particularly if you don’t have an undergraduate qualification, then the Diploma of Theology is a great way to dip your toe in the water.
It will give you an overview of both the Old and New Testaments, showing you the big-picture story of the Bible and giving you the basic skills to better understand and explain it. You’ll also be able to choose one key book or area of the Bible to explore more deeply, like Paul’s letters, the Gospels, or the Psalms. The broad range of optional units means you can then choose to uncover a bit of church history, get to grips with the doctrine of grace, learn some practical ministry skills like pastoral care or preaching, or even study some Hebrew or Greek.
The DipTh is a good jumping-off point if you’re not yet sure what the future holds for you. It will give you a well-rounded biblical base so you can start testing out which areas of theology interest you most and where God might be wanting to put your skills to work.
To be able to study the course at BST you need to have a minimum OP score of 16 or equivalent. (If you don’t have an OP score, you will have to demonstrate your academic suitability for the course via an English writing exercise or an interview.)
If you get to the end of the DipTh and decide you want to keep on studying, then you can put your credits towards a higher award. You could either do an extra four units and receive an Advanced Diploma of Theology (see below), or continue studying for a further two years (full-time) and work towards a Bachelor of Theology.
If you’re an international student, and English is not your first language, you need to have taken the IELTS test and achieved an average score of 6.5. (The exception to this is if you are a Mandarin-speaker, in which case you can study the Diploma of Theology through our Chinese program without taking the IELTS test.) The restrictions of a student visa also mean that international students must study full-time.
If you study the DipTh full-time it will take two semesters (one year), as you’ll do an average of four units each semester and you need eight units to complete the course. You can study part-time if it suits you better, as long as you finish the course within four years. Of your eight units, four must be from Biblical Introduction, two from Christian Thought and one from Exegesis, Languages or Christian Thought. You also have one elective unit which you can choose from any of the sections below.
N.B. Core units are generally offered every year, while elective units are offered in alternative semesters. Please refer to the college timetable to find out what’s being offered.
Pastor (Australia and Hong Kong)
“BST equipped me with a sound knowledge of the Bible, but the lecturers also helped me discover that knowledge alone is not enough. We need to take our knowledge out into the world to bring others to God with true humility and a servant heart. I grew so much in my own spiritual life and in my understanding of the Bible, and also learned how to help others grow into spiritual maturity. The Lord was really moulding me during my time at college and that has prepared me so well for my pastoral work now.”
Former missionary (various countries in South America)
“At BST I was formed by the people of God and the word of God. What a privilege it was to get to know the people – staff and students, each with their unique gifts, abilities and idiosyncrasies, but each one a part of my life through the input they had into it. And what a privilege to study and be changed by the word – the strong emphasis on the authority of the Bible helped prepare me to preach it with conviction, affection and dedication; to apply it in defense of my faith when in confrontation; and to stand upon its unfailing promises in times of doubt and difficulty.”
The Advanced Diploma of Theology involves all the components of the regular Diploma, but you need a total of 48 credit points (12 units) to complete it – that means you get to choose four additional units and will probably be studying for one semester longer than if you just do the Diploma.
You don’t need to decide whether or not you want to work towards the Advanced Diploma before you enrol; you can just get started with the program and see how you get on. Most organisations consider the AdvDipTh to be a good preparation for many aspects of mission, so if that’s your goal then it’s worth the extra few months to achieve the higher award.
This is a course of the Australian College of Theology.