Since September 2014, the Church of England has required most students in its colleges in full-time, part-time and mixed-mode training for Christian ministry and mission to study academic programmes validated by Durham University. The aim of this has been to provide a shared national framework of ‘Common Awards’ that will join up training throughout Initial Ministerial Education (IME) years 1-7, in which a period of training at college (1-3) will provide the basis for further diocesan training (4-7).
Common Awards programmes are taught at Cuddesdon, each assessed at different Higher Education levels, with each successfully completed programme awarded with a different level and amount of academic credit. There are undergraduate programmes: Certificate (level 4), Diploma (5) and Bachelor of Arts (6). There are also postgraduate programmes for theology graduates: Graduate Certificate (6), Postgraduate Certificate (7), Graduate Diploma (6), Postgraduate Diploma (7), and Master of Arts (7).
All students take courses that will equip them for Church of England ministry and mission, and they all share in the life of the college community to assist their formation. The academic assessment for the Common Awards in particular – in various formats (e.g. essay, presentation) – is enabled through a series of taught modules in each of the programme pathways. The undergraduate programmes contain modules required of most students; and some of the postgraduate programmes contain a research component.
A wide range of modules are available under the Common Awards scheme. At Cuddesdon they are grouped, so as to provide a rich and rounded curriculum, into the following three areas: (1) Biblical Studies, (2) Doctrine, History, Liturgy and Ethics, and (3) Pastoral Studies. To give examples from each, there are modules in ‘Introduction to the Bible’, in ‘Sacramental Theology and Ministry’ and in ‘Leadership, Theology, Ministry and Mission’.
As with all Church of England training for Christian ministry and mission, admittance onto one of these programmes will depend on your prior qualifications – including whether or not you have studied theology formally before – and your age when you begin training. It will be possible to make a claim for Accredited Prior Learning (APL) on a case by case basis for undergraduate programmes. The credits gained in the successful completion of a Common Award programme will provide a foundation for further study as well.
For more details please see Durham University Common Awards Programmes.