Why a theological college?

Choosing between a theological college and a university theology department depends on your personal, academic, and spiritual goals. Both paths offer unique benefits and can lead to fulfilling career in theology and related fields.

We have outlined a summary of the two approaches below

Theological College

Spiritual Formation:

  • Integrated Faith and Learning: Theological colleges often emphasize a holistic approach, integrating faith with academic study.
  • Community Focus: These institutions typically foster a close-knit community, offering spiritual guidance and fostering personal relationships with faculty and peers.

Curriculum and Approach:

  • Academically comparable: degrees are often validated by high ranking universities who ensure academic quality and recognition in the workplace [at Westminster our degrees are validated by Durham University who often rank first or second for theology in university lists]
  • Practical Faith Application: Our courses emphasize integrating faith into everyday life. Whether you are preparing for a specific role within the church or planning to serve God alongside a ‘secular’ career, our programs are designed to support your journey and commitment to lifelong Christian service.
    • Hands-on Experience: Students often engage in placements in churches or faith-based organizations and charities, providing real-world experience of Christian service.
    • Skill Development: Training options include pastoral care, counselling, and other skills necessary for effective Christian service.
    • Mentorship and Supervision: Experienced ministry leaders provide supervision and mentorship, guiding students through practical challenges, personal and spiritual development.
    • Contextual Learning: Programs emphasize learning within diverse contexts, preparing students to serve in various cultural and social settings.

Faculty and Teaching:

  • Experienced Academic-Practitioners: Many instructors at theological colleges are experienced clergy and practitioners, as well as recognised academics, bringing real-world insights into the classroom.
  • Mentorship Opportunities: Smaller class sizes often allow for more personalized mentorship and guidance from faculty members.


  • Faith-Centred Atmosphere: The environment is typically more reflective of a religious community, with regular worship services and opportunities for spiritual growth.

University Theological Department

Academic Rigour:

  • Diverse Perspectives: University theology departments often offer a wider range of perspectives, including critical and comparative studies across different religions [although here at Westminster we work with the Wolff Institute promoting inter-faith dialogue].
  • Research Opportunities: Universities typically provide greater resources for academic research, access to extensive libraries, and opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary studies [however here at Westminster students can access the extensive academic resource through our relationship with Cambridge University].

Curriculum and Approach:

  • Broad Scope: Theological studies at universities can be more varied, covering historical, philosophical, and cultural aspects of religion alongside theological concepts.
  • Theoretical Focus: The emphasis is often on theoretical and analytical aspects of theology, preparing students for academic, teaching, or research careers [although here at Westminster students do also progress to postgraduate and doctorial study].

Faculty and Teaching:

  • Academic Scholars: Faculty members are often leading scholars in their fields, contributing to cutting-edge research and publishing extensively [although here at Westminster we also have and partner with, leading scholars in their field].
  • Diverse Student Body: Students come from various backgrounds and belief systems, enriching discussions and broadening perspectives.


  • Secular Setting: University departments operate within a secular framework, which might appeal to those interested in an academic rather than a confessional approach to theology