The UST Graduate Diploma in Theology is a highly flexible and innovative course, accessible off-campus in Learning Communities around the world. It brings a robust theological education within reach geographically, financially, and in terms of time commitment. Embedding students in a spiritually formative community within a local church context, it offers an exciting and valid alternative for those for whom three years of full-time campus study is simply not an option.


Global quality, local access

Accessed exclusively through church-centred Learning Communities, our GDip students enjoy the best of both worlds: the quality of theological teaching, monitoring and resourcing worthy of the very best seminary (utilising Union’s learning management system and digital library), together with the convenience and added value of sharing and growing together in vibrant local settings under the care and guidance of an experienced Lead Mentor.

The GDip is designed for those who already have a basic theological knowledge (either through a ministry training course or from private study) as well as some ministry experience. Whether you are just starting out, or are an established church leader who has simply missed out on a formal theological education, the GDip could well be your ideal solution.

The course covers all foundational aspects of theology, while offering various options (including biblical languages) to meet differing needs. Union’s Values of Delighting in God, Growing in Christ, Serving the Church and Blessing the World inform every module, and both personal spiritual formation and development of practical skills are a priority.

Essential Information

Programme structure

Union School of Theology is approved by the Open University as an appropriate organisation to offer higher education programmes leading to Open University validated awards.

The Graduate Diploma programme has been developed and will be delivered by Union School of Theology. It has been validated through a process of external peer review by the Open University as being of an appropriate standard and quality to lead to the Open University validated award of Graduate Diploma in Theology.

UST’s Graduate Diploma programme is an innovative way of accessing theological education, in that students undertake their studies in fellowship with others in a Learning Community. All the teaching and assessment is delivered by UST’s lecturers, with a local Lead Mentor facilitating the work of each Learning Community.

The Teaching team includes Mike Reeves, Bob Letham, Peter Mead and Lee Gatiss

Biblical Studies Theological and Historical Studies Ministerial Practice

Studies in the Old & New Testaments

One of:

Hebrew Grammar (option 1)

Greek Grammar
(option 2)

Biblical Texts: English Exegesis (option 3)

Studies in Systematic Theology

Turning Points in Church History

Studies in Preaching & Pastoral Theology

Church & Mission

Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry*

Module Descriptors Overview

*This module is delivered in a one week residential teaching block.

The schedule of modules being delivered in learning communities in any given year is available by contacting UST or the relevant Learning Community.

The UST Graduate Diploma corresponds to Level 6 in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (equivalent to the final year of a BA (Hons) degree), and is designed to be completed in two years part-time study.

Prospective students should already have a degree in any subject. Other qualifications and experience which demonstrate an applicant’s suitability may also be acceptable. The regular entry point for study is September of each year. Applications for a September start should be submitted by 26th June. We will accept applications after this date, however we cannot guarantee that they will be processed in time for the beginning of the academic year.

Six 20 credit modules are made available in alternate years (3 modules one year and three the next) so that new students study the same modules as students in their second year. Successful completion of the six modules (totalling 120 credits(60 ECTS)) will lead to the award of the Graduate Diploma in Theology.

The GDip can be taken as a standalone programme or as the foundation for a Masters degree. An average mark of 50% in the GDip is required for consideration for entry to the MTh.

Students will typically need to study around 20-25 hours per week over the 22 teaching weeks [two semesters] of each academic year. This includes one study day a week spent in the Learning Community. Students join the Learning Community nearest their place of residence, to allow ease of access.

Regulations for Open University Awards at Union School of Theology

2019-20 Graduate Diploma in Theology Student Handbook: Union School of Theology - Open University Validated Programme

Click here to view student fees

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Next Steps

If you have any questions about this course or the application process, please get in touch.