Undergraduate awards validated by the University of Durham

Durham’s Common Awards have been designed primarily to provide training and formation for ordination candidates and accredited ministers. But, as students increasingly recognise, they are equally suitable for lay people from all denominations who are engaged in preaching, leading worship, and/or working with children and young people. They are also appropriate for those who simply wish to earn a first undergraduate degree, regardless of age, as well as those who wish to deepen their learning and understanding of Christian discipleship, even if they have already earned an undergraduate degree.

The Common Awards programmes at undergraduate level are available on a part-time or full-time (with the exception of the foundation award) basis, both of which can be pursued through intensive block-week modules or modules taught over the course of an academic term.

The full-time option enables students to complete their coursework in term-times running from September through May or in up to six intensive block weeks spread throughout the calendar year.

The part-time option can also be completed via term-time coursework. But it also enables those who are unable to move to Cambridge for an entire academic year to complete a degree course at a distance, by being present here only during block weeks.

The Common Awards offer a series of programmes in Theology, Ministry and Mission:

Foundation award: one or two years part-time
Certificate (HE): one year’s study full-time, or two to three years part-time
Diploma (HE): two years’ study full-time, or three to four years part-time
Bachelor of Arts (Honours): three years’ study full-time, or four to six years part-time

One of the many strengths of the Common Awards is their modular structure. It enables students who feel so led to progress from Foundation award to Certificate to Diploma and even to Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in stages. Because the three programmes build upon each other, a student can start with the Certificate and then decide whether to proceed to the Diploma and so forth.

Who are these awards for?
The Common Awards programmes at undergraduate level are particularly suited to anyone who might be:

  • thinking about your faith and would like to explore the theological disciplines, particularly ministry and mission, in more depth
  • considering what God is calling you to do and would like the opportunity to study
  • a Lay Preacher, Worship Leader, Children and Youth Development Officer (CYDO), Church Related Community Worker (CRCW), or Minister of Word and Sacraments, looking to develop new knowledge and fresh skills for your particular ministry

What are the classes and sessions like?
Class sizes vary between 5-25! There is always a wide range of age, backgrounds, and experience in the room, which makes for a very rich learning experience. Face-to-face sessions are a mixture of lecture-style content, seminar-style discussions and small group work. Independent study sessions usually involve watching a video or reading an article and then having the chance to reflect on it.

Do I need to have studied any theology before?
No! All of these courses are suitable for those who have not studied theology before. In the course descriptions below, we have indicated the level of the course (1-4). If you have not accessed degree level material before, you might find it most accessible to start with the lower level courses first.

I have more questions. What should I do?
Please contact the Tutorial Office (or on 01223 33 06 49), who will then connect you with the Director of Studies if necessary.