Initial Ministerial Education

If you are interested in studying theology in a Christian context, this page has details of a range of part-time programmes that offer exciting opportunities for exploring Christian theology, ministry and mission.

Independent Students

Are you interested in studying theology in a Christian context?

The programmes offered by Cumbria Christian Learning, which trains Anglican Readers and Ordinands, are open to anyone who would like to learn alongside them and engage with some formal theological study.

Part-time courses in theology, ministry and mission

Cumbria Christian Learning offers part-time programmes in theology, ministry and mission, which can lead to a range of awards, such as:

  • Certificate of Higher Education
  • Diploma of Higher Education
  • BA
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma

The Diploma and Certificate of Higher Education routes

One example of a possible course of study is the Diploma of Higher Education programme, which is a three year part-time course. On this course, you would be studying three modules each year, i.e. one per term. The modules are normally delivered through seven local two-hour tutorials and a Saturday Day School. The programme looks as follows:

Year 1

  • Introduction to the Old Testament
  • Introduction to the New Testament
  • Preaching in the Contemporary World

Year 2

  • Introduction to Christian Doctrine
  • Foundations for Ministry and Worship in Context
  • Introduction to Pastoral Care

Year 3

  • Christian Faith and Ethical Living
  • Bible in Context
  • Mission and Apologetics in Contemporary Culture

For a shorter course, you could take the Certificate of Higher Education route, which is two years of part-time study and includes the modules of the first two years of the Diploma programme. However, other pathways, such as listed above, may be available as well to suit your specific requirements, and it is also possible to study modules on an individual basis.

Time Commitment

Learning takes time, and studying is hard work. But it is also stimulating, inspiring and highly rewarding.

You can expect to learn to read the Bible with new eyes and gain fresh perspectives on the art of preaching. You will be able to explore the tenets of our Christian faith, find out fascinating things about liturgy and worship, and gain better insights into pastoral care, especially as it relates to loss and bereavement. And there will be an opportunity to reflect on what it means to live as Christians today, and on how we might share our faith with the people who live around us.

Normally, we think that you would need to allow on average between eight and twelve hours per week for personal study. However, this will vary from week to week and depend on how fast and how widely you read.

Resources and other help

For each module, there is a site on Moodle, our Virtual Learning Environment. This has the full details of the content of the module, including information about the aims, content and readings for each of the tutorial sessions.

The Moodle site also provides resources such as scanned articles or extracts from books to help you with your studies, and you will find details about the work you will be required to do and how the module is assessed. This may include essays, magazine articles, recordings of sermons, Bible studies etc.

Cumbria Christian Learning also provides book boxes, which will be available at all tutorials, as well as access to our substantial collection of books at Rydal Hall library.

To help you get started, there is an induction day offering some general information as well as a study skills day, on which we explore how to write assignments, become a critical reader, undertake research etc.


All our courses are validated by Durham University, so regardless of which programme you enrol on, the final award will be conferred by them.