Divinity (BD) and Theology (Dip HE and Cert HE)

Overview

A highly recognised award from one of the greatest universities in the world

Religious beliefs provide a sense of purpose, a source of values and a way of life for many people. The University of London Bachelor of Divinity (BD), is one of the oldest and most highly respected Theology courses in the world. It will enable you to wrestle with complex issues which go to the heart of who we are as human beings. Christianity will be your main focus, with options to study other religions and/or specialise in areas such as the philosophy of religion and ethics, church history or science and religion.

This programme will enable you to:

  • study questions which are of fundamental human concern, e.g. the purpose of human life, or what happens to us when we die.
  • gain a deeper understanding of individuals and communities who have been influenced by religious belief and understand how these beliefs have shaped societies
  • develop your skills in understanding, analysing and constructing different types of argument, and to present a clear written account of your findings.
Key dates
Application deadline 1 October in the year before you intend to sit your first examinations
Registration deadline 30 November
Start studying Study materials are usually available from mid-August
Examinations take place May

Study options

You can choose to study for a full BD, a Diploma of Higher Education in Theology or a Certificate of Higher Education in Theology. The Diploma and Certificate enable you to gain a University of London award in theology, without committing to a full degree. Also, if you do not meet the entrance requirements for admission to the degree, you may still be eligible for the Certificate. If you obtain the Diploma or Certificate in Theology you may transfer your registration to the BD and automatically be credited with the courses passed.

You will be able to produce clear written accounts of your knowledge and arguments, analyse texts, and study questions which are of fundamental human concern.

Prestige and career progression

The programmes have been developed by Heythrop College, a specialist College of Theology and Philosophy within the University of London. The skills you will gain are valuable in many walks of life. The ability to understand and analyse complex ideas and to produce a coherent written account is essential in many contexts. Theology is particularly useful not only for those working with one of the churches, but also for those in the teaching profession, the social services, or other occupations that are concerned with people and their values. The managerial and organisational levels of the voluntary sector are also particularly interested in those with theological expertise.

Flexible study at a reasonable cost

You have 3-8 years to complete the BD degree, 2-5 years to complete the Dip HE, and 1-5 years to complete the Cert HE. Fees are payable as you progress rather than as a single lump sum. The following are examples of University fees for the whole programme of study: £4,531 for the BD, £3,046 for the Dip HE, and £1,716 for the Cert HE. Please note that these examples are calculated using current fees for 2014-15, do not reflect any annual change to fees and assume completion in the minimum time permitted.

Structure

Structure and syllabus

Bachelor of Divinity
The BD comprises twelve courses. Take the five compulsory courses, choose six courses from the options and complete the dissertation.

Diploma of Higher Education in Theology
The Dip HE in Theology comprise eight courses. Take the five compulsory courses and choose three courses from the list of options.

Certificate of Higher Education in Theology
The Cert HE in Theology comprises four courses.

Bachelor of Divinity (BD) structure

Plus the following course

Dissertation - Theology (level 6)
Diploma of Higher Education in Theology
Certificate of Higher Education in Theology

All four of the following courses

Introduction to the Old Testament (level 4)
Introduction to the New Testament (level 4)
Christian doctrine (level 4)
Philosophy of religion (level 4)
Study materials

How you study

Distance and flexible learning is an alternative way of obtaining a prestigious qualification at a reasonable cost. You can study at a time and place to suit yourself using the introductory study materials we provide to guide you through the syllabus. When you first register we will provide you with:

  • Subject guides for each module studied
  • Access to online resources and reference materials, including a virtual learning environment (VLE) and the University of London Online Library
  • The Arts Good Study Guide by Ellie Chambers and Andrew Northedge
  • Programme handbook, Student guide and Regulations
  • Past examination papers and Examiners' guidelines
  • Student registration card

Each year you continue to register, you will receive updated study materials.

Textbooks

In addition to the materials we provide you will be advised to buy some books, and you may also need to refer to others in a library. These will form an important part of your study. As far as possible, you should consider the facilities available locally to you, and how accessible books are likely to be before registering as an International Programmes student.

Virtual learning environment

The VLE allows you to:

  • access subject guides
  • access the Online Library
  • receive notices and other programme-related information
  • take part in discussions with fellow students in the online forums.

Study support

Heythrop offers an Essay Marking Scheme for certain level 4 modules. For an extra fee you can send essays to Heythrop and receive advisory marks and feedback from academic staff.

You can also choose, where available, to pay for additional educational support at a local teaching institution to benefit from face-to-face tutorial support.

Fees

Fees

The fees below relate to the 2014-2015 session and are subject to annual review.

2014-2015
Application handling fee£ 76
Initial registration fee£ 720
Examination fee per course£ 230
Continuing registration fee £ 410
Dissertation fee (BD only)£ 385
TOTAL Certificate of Higher Education in Theology£ 1,716
TOTAL Diploma of Higher Education in Theology£ 3,046
TOTAL Bachelor of Divinity£ 4,531
ConvertGBP x 1

Disclaimer: the currency conversion tool is provided to you for convenience only and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the University of London; the exchange rates are provided dynamically via a third-party source, consequently, the University of London International Programmes is not responsible for their accuracy.

The total provided above is an example of the total amount of fees payable to the University for the whole programme of study. This example use the current fees, does not reflect any annual change to fees and assumes completion in the minimum time permitted.

When to pay

The application handling fee is payable when you make your application. The closing date for applications is 1 October. If you meet the entrance requirements you will be invited to register.

The initial registration fee is payable when you register with the University. The closing date for registrations is 30 November.

The examination fee is payable when you choose to enter an examination. Examination entries are accepted from mid-December to the closing date of 1 February. Examinations take place in May or June each year.

The continuing registration fee is payable in the second and subsequent years of registration at the time when you confirm the courses that you will be registered for during that year. The closing date for continuing registration is 1 November.

How to pay

All University fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP). The University accepts:

  • Western Union - Quick Pay.
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB)2013-2014.
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque.
  • International money/postal order.

Further details are given in payment methods.

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for:

  • textbooks (a maximum of £150 per module)
  • tuition costs (if studying at a teaching institution)
  • the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.

Note

Fees are subject to annual review and the University reserves the right to amend previously announced fees, if necessary. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.

Assessment

Assessment

Each course of the BD and Diploma and Certificate of Higher Education in Theology (except for the Dissertation) is examined by one three-hour unseen written paper. The Dissertation course is assessed by an 8,000-10,000 word dissertation for a student registered from the 2011-12 academic year.

Examinations are held once a year, usually in May. You do not have to come to London to take your examinations as we have exam centres around the world as well as in London. Examinations overseas are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. You will be charged a fee by your local examination centre (this fee will vary).

For further information please see the Exams section of our website.

Requirements

Academic Requirements

Bachelor of Divinity degree and Diploma of Higher Education in Theology

To be eligible for the BD degree or Dip HE in Theology you must

Certificate of Higher Education in Theology

To be eligible for the Certificate of Higher Education with Philosophy as the major you must:

  • normally* be aged 18 or above by the 1 September at the time of registration
  • have passed the equivalent of at least three separate subjects at UK GCSE/GCE O level (at not less than grade C).

UK GCSE equivalents, including grade requirements can be found at: Entrance Qualifications [pdf, 52pgs, 465KB].

* Applications will be considered from applicants who do not meet the normal minimum age requirement for admission. Each application will be considered on an individual basis, and the decision taken at the discretion of the University of London.

If you are not automatically eligible then you will be individually considered by the University of London’s Special Admissions Panel. The Special Admissions Panel will consider qualifications which are not published under the Qualifications for Entrance Schedule, incomplete qualifications (e.g. diplomas / degrees) and substantial relevant work experience. If we cannot accept you with your current qualifications and experience, we will advise you what qualifications you could take in order to become eligible in the future.

Language Requirements

The language of instruction, reading and assessment is English. To succeed on our programmes you need a good level of competence in English. If you doubt your ability in written or spoken English we advise you take a course and test in English language before enrolling on the programme.

Required standard of English

You will usually meet the English language requirement for undergraduate programmes if you:

  • hold a UK GCSE / GCE O level in English at grade C or above
  • have five years secondary schooling taught solely in English or have passed GCE A levels or IB in essay-based subjects
  • have passed an International Foundation programme that permits entry onto a recognised UK bachelor degree
  • hold a full Postgraduate award, or a full first degree or Associate degree taught and examined in English from an institute that is acceptable to the University
  • have passed, within the past three years, an Associate degree, Diploma or Higher Diploma awarded by an acceptable institute / polytechnic / university in Hong Kong, Malaysia or Singapore, or
  • have passed, within the past three years, a test of proficiency in English language from an organisation acceptable to the University.

Where an applicant does not meet the required English language level but believes they can demonstrate the required level for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Please note if an applicant satisfies one of the above conditions yet provides evidence of a test of proficiency in English language, awarded within the past three years, which is below the University’s minimum requirements then they will be required to retake such a test before being offered admission.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme’s study resources are located. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and use your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides you with electronic learning materials, access to the University of London Online Library, networking opportunities, and other resources.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification: 

  • a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer). This must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents of at least 2 MB

and the following applications installed:

  • a word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc)
  • Adobe, or other pdf reader.

* Full mobile access is not available for all programmes.

Academic leaders

Heythrop College

Heythrop was established in 1614 in Louvain by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) for the study of philosophy and theology. Since 1970, it has been a College of the University of London, while retaining a modern Catholic ethos, and offers an educational experience that respects all faiths and perspectives.

College staff have a wide range of expertise, with particular strengths in Abrahamic religions, interfaith relations, ethics, philosophy of religion and psychology of religion. Research is an increasingly important part of the College's academic life and Heythrop participated for the first time in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, gaining recognition for its work at an international level.

Academic leaders

Dr Elizabeth Burns

Elizabeth Burns is Director of the University of London International Programmes in Theology and teaches Philosophy of Religion. From 2003-2008 she was the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Elizabeth has a BD (specialising in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics) from King’s College London, a PhD from Queens’ College, Cambridge, a PGCE in Post Compulsory Education from Suffolk College, Ipswich, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

 

Apply online

Read our student blog posts  from a Bachelor of Divinity student.

Student Inspiration: Bachelor of Divinity - Rob Beadnell (UK)

Rob Beadnell talks about his experiences studying for a Bachelor of Divinity degree by distance learning while working in the Navy and raising a family.

Divinity & Theology Lecture taster: How to do Christology

 Dr John McDade provides a lecture in " How to do Christology". This lecture was filmed at the 'Thinking about Theology' conference held at Heythrop College in September 2011.