Studying Theology FAQ
One of our goals at ETS is to ensure equality of opportunity to access higher education at degree level to groups of people who rarely form part of the degree graduation statistics of institutes of higher education. In particular, the following groups are in mind:
- Life-long learners
- Those lacking initial academic qualifications
- Those who are facing disability challenges
- Those who have to balance family or work commitments and part-time study
- Those who are financially unable to sustain full-time study
Contact the Admissions Office for more information.
The courses do assume that you have some understanding of the Bible, and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. However, it does not assume that you are a great theologian at all. By the time you leave, however, you will certainly have gained more theological knowledge than you had when you began your course of studies.
Classes involve a mixture of learning methods. Learning God’s truth is exciting and thrilling, but it is also awesome and holy. There can be much laughter in the classes as we learn together, and there are also times when we want to bow before God there and then in worship. The learning process will undoubtedly stretch your mind, and the pressure of work is definitely intense at times, but the results are hugely beneficial in the long run.
Some subjects will make use of tutorials and presentations – perhaps once a semester (it depends on the class), but it does not generally form a big part of the overall course. However, there is usually some time allocated to discussion at the end of lecture topics. All classes are 50 minutes long.
It depends on the year group, but in most years there can be anything from 10-25 people. We are only a small institution, which is a great benefit when it comes to getting to know and learn from one another.
The Bible was given to ordinary people and they can understand it, though sometimes it may take a while for it to make sense. The lectures in ETS are like that; they are intended to bring us to understand God and his ways better than ever by explaining the Bible. A good lecturer will try to make profound things simple, and that’s what we try to do here at ETS.
Reading is a core part of theological study; it is always necessary to help us understand subjects in greater depth.
At ETS, we can even teach you to read the Bible in Greek and Hebrew so that you can understand it better. But you will also have to read books that have been written by others so that you can benefit from their research.
While you will definitely be given guided reading, it will not be overwhelming.
Yes, we have a Disability Officer who can meet with you as often as you need. She will let the teaching staff know of any support that you can be given after a Needs Assessment has been carried out. e.g. extra time for exams or assessments, handouts made available prior to classes etc.
Students are given a course on study skills and material on essay-writing at the beginning of their studies. This is then supplemented by the lecturer explaining how to approach assignments that are specific to their courses. As we are a relatively small seminary, lecturers are generally very happy to provide students with some personal academic guidance.
The best things in God’s purposes are often associated with challenges and it is not uncommon for students to find aspects of the course difficult. However, due to the accessibility of the teaching staff, students usually find that they can be helped through stressful times. In addition, the student body – most of whom are preparing from some form of Christian service – are very good at looking out for one another.
All students are assigned a Director of Studies who will meet with them on a regular basis. In some circumstances, it may be advisable to extend your length of study by a year or two to make studying more manageable.
Yes, all students are assigned a Director of Studies who will meet with them on a regular basis.
ETS has excellent facilities for a theological seminary of its size. This includes a variety of study spaces, ample computing provision, Smartboards in each classroom, excellent wireless connection to the internet throughout the campus, a digitally catalogued library, online research resources, distance learning technology and Moodle (an Online Virtual Learning Environment).
The doctrinal standard of Edinburgh Theological Seminary is the Westminster Confession of Faith. This sets the Seminary firmly in the main-line Christian tradition, particularly with regard to such doctrines as the Trinity and the Incarnation. More specifically, the theological position of Edinburgh Theological Seminary is: Protestant, Presbyterian, Calvinist, Conservative and Evangelical.
However, the Seminary consciously provides a clear welcome to students who may hold different views on and come from other traditions. Indeed, although the various courses are taught from the standpoint of deep personal commitment to Confessional theology, students are expected to think on the basis of Scripture and interact creatively with other theological traditions, familiarising themselves with current trends in theology and biblical studies.
Most of the learning is classroom-based. However, there are online courses – such as the Diploma in Christian Youth Work – which incorporates workshops and placements and Access to Theology, which is now offered exclusively online.
In addition, students can also be allocated summer placements if they are preparing for a specific field of Christian service.
We also have a number of students who choose to study part-time, combining their studies with practical ministry experience and apprenticeships.