The Saturday Courses

Open to anyone, the Saturday Courses are an excellent way of gaining more than would normally be offered in church on Sunday whilst being less demanding than a full-time theological course.

Saturday Courses Login

This area is where registered Saturday Course users can access all lectures and content. If you'd like to sign up, find out more and register below.

One Saturday a month, from September through to April, three lectures are delivered by visiting speakers. These lectures, which are also available to access online, are specially designed to stretch the Christian mind and deepen an understanding of God’s word. The course content covers Biblical Studies, Practical Theology, Christian Discipleship and Christian Doctrine.

Who is the Saturday Course for?

The Saturday Courses, which may be completed with or without essays, are of great benefit to anyone who has a longing to dig deeper into the gospel. 

They are also intended for office-bearers – to encourage them to learn how to approach theological, biblical, historical and pastoral issues and thus to develop a greater study of the word of God.

No prior qualifications are necessary – everyone is welcome.

The following awards are available in these courses:

Certificate in Theology

To qualify for a Certificate in Theology, the student is required to submit six essays (normally up to three essays each year).

Diploma in Christian Studies

This is a further course for those who have already gained their Certificate in Theology. To qualify for the Diploma in Christian Studies, the student is required to submit a further six essays (normally up to three essays each year).

And it does not stop there: for every six essays thereafter, a Diploma in Further Christian Studies will be awarded. Indeed, we have people who have been doing the course for 19 years!

When will the lectures take place?

In 2023/2024, the lectures will be delivered one Saturday a month on the following dates:

2023: 16 September, 7 October, 4 November, 9 December
2024: 13 January, 10 February, 16 March, 20 April

The lectures will be delivered from the Chalmers Hall at ETS from 10am to 3.15pm.

Classes at venues other than Edinburgh and Stornoway will make their own arrangements for meeting.

Play Video

Watch this video, where John Angus MacLeod and Saturday Course student Megan Gray explain to prospective students what the Saturday courses involve.

Further Information

The Saturday lectures for each session are available online for enrolled students.

This facility allows students to watch the lectures live. It also makes it possible to keep the lectures on the website after delivery, so that you can access them as often as you wish until they are removed at the end of the course.

If you are a registered student on the Saturday Courses, you can access the lectures here using the login details that you have been provided with.

For those who are working towards course awards, here are the essay deadlines:

  • Biblical Studies: 9 December 2023
  • Christian Doctrine: 13 January 2024
  • Church History: 10 February 2024

Those who wish to qualify for the award of either the Certificate in Theology or the Diploma in Christian Studies will normally be required to submit three essays each year. Essay titles will be announced early in the course and students will receive guidance on the art of preparing and submitting written assignments.  Successful completion of 6 essays will lead to the Certificate in Theology award.  On successful completion of a further 6 essays, the Diploma in Christian Studies is awarded.  

Students who obtain Distinctions in at least 3 out of the 6 essays will receive a Certificate in Theology with Distinction. Similarly, students who obtain Distinctions in at least 6 out of the 12 essays will receive a Diploma in Christian Studies with Distinction.

And it does not stop there: for every six essays thereafter, a Diploma in Further Christian Studies will be awarded.  Indeed, we have people who have been doing the course for over 18 years!

If essays are submitted by email or post please send them to Ruth Smith – [email protected] – or post them to Edinburgh Theological Seminary, The Mound, Edinburgh, EH1 2LS.

Students who wish to attend without submitting the essays are welcome (and will pay a much lower fee).

However, essays offer more than a means of assessment; they are an important educational tool, stimulating students to think through important issues and to express themselves clearly.

Everyone is encouraged to rise to the challenge and every effort will be made to ensure that essay-marks are confidential.

In normal circumstances, groups meet to do the course at the venues below:

  • Edinburgh Theological Seminary
  • Stornoway Free Church

Classes at venues other than Edinburgh and Stornoway will make their own arrangements for meeting.

Mound Books is the official book supplier for all our ETS reading lists.

Their opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 5pm and books may be ordered by telephone (07863 905900), e-mail ([email protected]), or through their website (

Each book has been heavily discounted and postage is free to any UK address. When ordering through the website, shipping costs for Europe and the rest of the world will appear automatically at the checkout.

Mound Books is situated on the ground floor next to the Seminary Building (beside the cafe) and is open Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 5pm. 

Books may also be ordered by phone, by e-mail or online from the bookshop.

On successful completion of the course, all students will be awarded a Completion of Studies certificate at the Seminary’s Annual Awards Ceremony in May.

  • Standard: £281 a year
  • Concessions: £82
  • Veterans (four or more years’
    faithful attendance): £46
  • Full-time Students: £41
  • Auditors (no essays): £46
  • 18 and under: Free!

The Saturday Course Admissions Policy can be found here.

For further enquiries, please email the ETS Offices ([email protected]) or phone +44(0)131 376 3148.

Registration for 2024/2025 lectures will be available from June 2024.

Lectures in 2023/2024

Biblical Studies

Interpreting Scripture: How to Read, Understand, and Apply the Bible

Lecturer: Ben Castaneda

Christians are people of the Book. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are ‘living and active’ (Heb 4:12), able to make us ‘wise unto salvation’ (2 Tim 3:15), and teach us ‘what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man’ (WSC 3). As a result, nothing matters more than knowing how to read the Bible well. Becoming a better interpreter of Scripture will not only help our personal Bible study, but will also benefit our small groups and churches as we grow in our ability to build up one another with the Word.

Christian Doctrine

Bored at Church? What Happens When God Calls His People to Worship

Lecturer: Zachary Purvis

Why are we bored at church? Do we get out of it what we put in? Do we have to settle for either dull routine or perpetual innovation? This lecture series examine biblical and theological foundations of worship to better understand who we are, what happens when we gather together, and how God draws us in as participants in the drama of redemption.

Church History

“Dour Presbyterians?” What you need to know about the church in Scotland

Lecturer: Iver Martin

The church in Scotland has a particularly fascinating history involving equally fascinating people. Who was John Knox and why was the Reformation in Scotland so momentous? How did the fledgling Protestant church develop? What were the influences and who were the people that shaped the church, creating what we know as Scottish Presbyterianism? Who were the Covenanters and how do we best understand the conflict that cost so many their lives? Who were the missionaries sent to other countries in the 18th century? What was the Disruption in 1843 all about? Why are there so many denominations in Scotland today? 

This course will trace the history of the church from the Reformation up to the present time. We’ll explore the various events, people and issues that make the Scottish church what it is today.