Divinity (BD) and Theology (DipHE and CertHE)


Gain a prestigious University of London Bachelor of Divinity qualification by distance learning

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 programmes 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 31 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 modules you have completed.

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

From 1 August 2017, the academic direction for this programme will be provided by the University of London. It was previously provided by Heythrop College, 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 DipHE, and 1-5 years to complete the CertHE. Fees are payable as you progress rather than as a single lump sum.

As a guide, the total amount you can expect to pay to the University for the whole programme of study is approximately £5,510 for the BD, £3,610 for the DipHE, and £1,990 for the CertHE.

These totals take into account expected annual increases and assume completion within the minimum time permitted, without resits.


Structure and syllabus

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

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

Certificate of Higher Education in Theology
The CertHE in Theology comprises four modules.

Individual courses in Theology
You may also register for individual courses from the programme on a stand-alone basis. 

Bachelor of Divinity (BD) structure

Plus the following module

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

All four of the following modules

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
  • Programme handbook, Student guide and Regulations
  • Past examination papers and Examiners' guidelines
  • Student registration card


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.


The fees below relate to the 2017-2018 session and are subject to annual review.

Application fee (non-refundable)£ 88
Initial registration fee£ 834
Examination fee per module£ 267
Continuing registration fee £ 476
Dissertation fee (BD only)£ 446
Other fees (as applicable)
Application fee for consideration of accreditation of prior learning (per course, BD only)£ 93
Individual courses taken on a stand-alone basis2017-2018
Application fee (non-refundable)£ 88
Composite fee (registration and one examination attempt) per course£ 476
Resit examination fee per course£ 267
Fee for extension of registration, per annum, per Individual course£ 238
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For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.

Fees are payable as you progress rather than as a single lump sum. As a guide, the total amount you can expect to pay to the University for the whole programme of study is approximately £5,510 for the BD, £3,610 for the DipHE, and £1,990 for the CertHE. These totals take into account expected annual increases and assume completion within the minimum time permitted, without resits.

Fees are subject to annual revision and typically may be increased by up to 5% per annum. 

When to pay

The application fee is payable when you make your application. The closing date for applications is 1 October. If your application is successful, you will receive an offer inviting you to register.

The initial registration fee is payable when you register with the University. The closing date for initial 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 complete the continuing registration task each 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.


Fees are subject to annual revision and typically may be increased by up to 5% per annum. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.



Each module 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 module is assessed by an 8,000-10,000 word dissertation.

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.


Academic Requirements

Bachelor of Divinity degree or Diploma of Higher Education in Theology

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

Certificate of Higher Education in Theology or Individual Courses in Theology

To be eligible for the Certificate of Higher Education or to register for Individual Courses on a stand-alone basis 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.

* 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 Admissions Panel. The 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.

Certain courses may have addtional requirements, such as:

  • Microphone and speakers
  • software to manage spreadsheets and run macros
  • software for playing mp3 and mp4 files.

* Full mobile access is not available for all programmes.

Academic leaders

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.