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?

The lectures will be delivered one Saturday a month on the following dates:

2020 (online only):
12 September, 10 October, 7 November, 12 December
2021 (online only): 16 January, 13 February, 20 March, 17 April

Lectures normally take place in the Chalmers Hall at ETS from 10am (coffee at 9.30) to 3.15pm.

In 2020-21, interactive lectures will be delivered online due to the ongoing pandemic.
Play Video

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

Further Information

The Saturday Course Admissions Policy can be found here.

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 with your login details.

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

  • Biblical Studies: 12 December 2020
  • Christian Doctrine: 16 January 2021
  • Practical Theology: 13 February 2021

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
  • Ayr Free Church
  • Partick Free Church
  • Knockbain Free Church

Please note that in 2020/2021 group venues may not be possible due to social distancing restrictions – please check with your venue.

Mound Books / Evangelical Bookshop is now 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: £252 a year
  • Concessions: £74
  • Veterans (four or more years’
    faithful attendance): £42
  • Full-time Students: £37
  • Auditors (no essays): £42
  • 18 and under: Free!

For further enquiries, please email the ETS Offices ([email protected]) or phone +44(0)131 718 4130.

Lectures in 2020/2021

Biblical Studies

Shadows and Reality: Old Testament Themes Shaping New Testament Worship

Lecturer: Will Traub

The Book of Hebrews calls us to enter the Holy of Holies, where Christ, our Faithful High Priest stands, leading us in worship, pleading before the Father on the basis of His finished sacrifice. That worship begins NOW, in this life, as every aspect of our lives is turned into an act of thankful praise and worship. But, why does he mention angels, Moses, Joshua, rest, Aaron, Melchizedek, High Priests, the Covenant, sacrifices, the Heavenly Sanctuary, Sinai and Mt. Zion? These questions raise the larger, and often perplexing issue for Christians today, namely the relationship between the Old and the New Testaments. What bearing does the OT have on our worship and how we live as Christians today? This course will help you understand the relationship between the Old and New Testaments as we look at various Biblical-Theological Themes in the Book of Hebrews.

Practical Theology

Why You’ll Never Walk Alone: Exploring Church Membership

Lecturer: John Angus Macleod

The books of the Kings can, like much of the narrative parts of the Old Testament, be tragically closed books to us today as believers. We know about Solomon, Elijah and Elisha, but can struggle to see the significance of large chunks of God’s word as it applies to the church and the world today. Why is so much made of the Temple? Why does the person and work of the King of Israel have significance to 21st Century Scotland? What exactly is a prophet? As we work together through the book of 1 Kings, we will see that the answers to these questions find their full expression in the context of God’s unfolding story of redemptive love for his world, and are wonderfully enriching for our understanding and following of God’s true King, Jesus Christ.

Christian Doctrine

One of the Boys or One of a Kind? Why the God of the Bible is Nothing Like Us

Lecturer: Nick Mackison

Experimentation in worship forms is, in large part, an answer to the question ‘How can we make worship less boring?’ Yet, how we worship is of little consequence if we cannot accurately define the ‘what’ or, indeed, the ‘whom’ to which our worship is directed. All too often, modern evangelical statements on the nature and character of God have deviated wildly from those assumed by past generations of believers. If you find theology and worship boring, maybe it’s because you worship a boring God. This set of lectures (part of the Theology in Thimbles series) will present the case for recapturing the attributes of God as an antidote to stale, lifeless worship that misses the wood for the teakwood guitar!