Master of Arts
Postgraduate Courses

Master of Arts

In partnership with ACCS, PBC offers ACCS awards (CRICOS Provider Code PRV12047).

The Master of Arts course is designed for those who hold a tertiary qualification in a theological discipline who wish to pursue a further qualification in theology as part of their continuing education for ministry.

Students will gain specialised knowledge and skills for research,  professional practice, and for further learning through completing the Master of Arts program. The course will enable students to acquire an integrated understanding of an advanced field and equip students with the ability to apply such knowledge and skills in a theologically-related area.


Course details

Study Load

Full-time or part-time

Study Mode



Full-time: 1.5Part-time: 4.5

Students wishing to apply for admission into the Master of Arts shall hold either a three-year AQF Level 7 or AQF Level 8 award in the discipline of Theology or Ministry. The Master of Arts is classified into one of two categories:

Category 1: For candidates holding an AQF Level 8 award in Theology or Ministry (e.g. Graduate Diploma of Ministry).

Category 2: For candidates with an AQF Level 7 award in Theology or Ministry.

Applicants who hold a Vocational Graduate Diploma (VET accredited) or Vocational Graduate Certificate (VET accredited) may be granted provisional admission into Category 2.

English Proficiency

Applicants whose entry qualifications were obtained in an institution where English is not the language of instruction normally require a minimum IELTS (or equivalent) score of 7.0 in all bands of the test.

The Master of Arts degree requires candidates to complete course units taken from the Sydney College of Divinity Schedule of Units of Study in the 8100 and 9200 series. The Master of Arts requires candidates to complete credit points as follows:

Category 1:  72 credit points in units whose content is not similar to those covered in their previous studies.

Category 2: 108 credit points in units whose content is not similar to those covered in their previous studies. The course may be taken with or without a specialisation.

SCD units that are approved to be offered at PBC are added each year, so this list may not be exhaustive. For information on more units that may be offered at PBC, please see SCD’s units.

Elective Units

Biblical Hebrew (A8560)

Biblical Hebrew is the language in which most of the Old Testament was originally written and which the ancient Israelites spoke. Understanding and being equipped to use Biblical Hebrew opens up a new world into a deeper understanding of the Old Testament. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew will introduce students to the basic principles of Biblical Hebrew. It will give students an overview of the Hebrew language, its grammar and structure, and its use in interpretation. Students will also be introduced to different Hebrew language tools they can use to help them exegete the Hebrew text. In this first level course, students will learn the fundamental grammatical structure of Biblical Hebrew and its vocabulary. Students are introduced to Hebrew language tools that are available to help them analyse the text more quickly. This is important, as time constraints often force ministers to by-pass analysis of the Hebrew text in their sermon preparation, resulting in poorer exegesis. This course culminates in application of Biblical Hebrew knowledge to critically read Old Testament exegetical commentaries. Biblical Hebrew is very important for an in-depth analysis and understanding of the Old Testament. Therefore, it is foundational for students wishing to continue their studies of the Old Testament on a post-graduate level.

Christology and Soteriology (T9210)

To think about Christ and the Holy Spirit is to come to a place of awe and worship. It is here that we can catch a glimpse into the very depths of God’s being, and it is here that we are brought to a deeper understanding of ourselves. Here, we see the relationship between the Holy God of love and sinful humanity brought to its surprising climax. This unit is of supreme importance for everybody wishing to be in the gospel service. Unless we understand who Jesus is and the full significance of what he has done for us, we will never experience the full richness of the gospel of Christ. And unless we understand the relationship between Christ and the Spirit, we will not discern God’s continuing work in the church and our lives. This unit will provide foundational knowledge on which to practically build our lives and the church in worshipful service to God.

Cross-Cultural Missions (M9685)

This unit is designed to help students minister within a cross-cultural context, communicate cross-culturally and to analyse, evaluate and propose changes to a variety of contexts. This units adds value to the knowledge, skills and application acquired in other theological, practical and mission units.

Ecclesiology (T8517)

Ecclesiology is theology in the service of the Church. Ecclesiology answers the question “What is the church?” In answering this question this course asks “What are the essence, expression and goal characteristics of the church within God’s kingdom?” Through considering historical and contemporary approaches to ecclesiology we uncover what it is that is essential to the life and practice of the church. We examine the contextual forces that are influencing the shape of the contemporary church, and then consider how we can work toward ensuring that the church is in reality what it should be by nature.

Evangelising Missions Today (M8510)

The Bible gives us a clear understanding of God’s Mission (mission Dei) and His calling to the Church to take the Good News into the world, to every nation, tribe, tongue and language group. Throughout history we see the Church and believers adapting to their contexts in the way they communicated the Gospel and the methods they used. Today we are continuing on that tradition with new contexts and challenges, but with the same old message. This unit will give us an introduction in understand the biblical, historical, cultural and strategic aspects of missions as a foundation for other units and perspectives in missions.

Faith, Mission and Culture (M9625)

Contextualisation or inculturation “happens everywhere the church exists. And by church, I’m referring to the people of God rather than to buildings. Contextualisation refers to how those people live out their faith in light of the values of their societies. It is not limited to theology, architecture, church polity, ritual, training, art or spiritual experience: it includes them all and more” (Moreau 2018:2). Contextualizing the Gospel in any specific context is crucial for relevant cross-cultural communication as well as effective evangelization and discipleship. This unit will give the biblical, historical, theological and theoretical framework to understand and employ contextualisation.

Foundations of Preaching (L8520)

Preaching is the task of conveying the message of the heart of God in such a way that people today hear God’s message as if it was meant for them. All church ministries involve communicating God’s word into one context or another. The skill to share God’s word effectively is essential to anyone entering any form of Christian ministry. In this unit, we study the Word of God to understand what it means to us today and then consider how we should communicate it into today’s culture for maximum impact. We will consider the content, delivery, and style needed to construct a faithful message to God’s Word and communicate effectively with our target audience. Developing your preaching skills will significantly improve your effectiveness in serving God and increase your ministry opportunities. Preaching also affects you. The process of preaching – moving from exegesis to interpreting the text, contemplating the delivery and communication context, serves to promote spiritual growth in the life of the servant of the gospel. The message first needs to touch your heart before you can touch others with the good news.

Independent Guided Study (X9693)

This unit gives the student the freedom to choose a topic of interest and to do limited research under supervision.

Introduction to Pastoral and Practical Theology (P8501)

Pastoral Theology belongs at the heart of the church. In and through it the church shapes its life and practices and engages with the life experiences of its members. Practical Theology is the process by which the church objectifies these experiences, critically evaluates them in the light of theological theories, and moves the church forward. In this subject students consider the biblical, theological, and human science basis for Pastoral Ministry, the actions of Pastoral Ministry, and develop an approach to evaluating pastoral ministry.

Israel’s Beginnings: The Books of Genesis and Exodus (B9213)

More than a third of the Old Testament consists of stories told around the family fire to be remembered for generations to come. They were fashioned to make the children sit up and listen, knowing that these stories about their ancestor’s journey with God are also their story –that these stories and this journey continue in and through them. These stories became part of our canon – God’s Word to us. It seems logical then – should we wish to understand God and his Word better – to take narratives, how they function, and how they are to be interpreted very seriously. According to Long (1994, p. 43): “an increased appreciation of the literary mechanisms of a text—how a story is told—often becomes the avenue of greater insight into the theological, religious and even historical significance of the text—what the story means.” Knowing how stories work, what they wish to achieve and how they wish to achieve it will bring us to a better understanding of God and his dealings with his creation.

Issues in 1 Corinthians (B9695)

First Corinthians is one of the most practical, and yet, often misunderstood letters of the New Testament. And while Romans is a longer letter, taken together with 2 Corinthians and other letters to which Paul refers (see 1 Cor 5:9-10; 2 Cor 2:4-9), it is clear that Paul wrote more to the Corinthian church than he did to any other. The letter itself discusses life in the church in all its various facets and tackles many of the questions that the Corinthian members raise themselves. In response, Paul goes to great lengths to discuss how the church ought to reflect the character of God in terms of her unity, holiness, and love. To that end, Paul deals with practical matters such as church unity, the role of leaders, church discipline, marriage, food laws, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection, among many others. It is for these reasons that 1 Corinthians remains so relevant today. The Corinthians had many of the same questions we still ask today, and Paul’s responses are equally applicable. This course will dive headlong into the background and culture of the Corinthian church as we wrestle with the whole text over thirteen weeks.

Issues in Church History and Theology (H9695)

This graduate course unit focuses on key changes in the Church throughout the past 2,000 years. Focusing on ideas, theology and societal change, this course provides insight into the Early, Medieval, Reformation and Modern Church eras. Included are such important developments and events as: doctrinal formation in the first few centuries; the primacy of Rome; the rise of Islam and the crusades; the theological revolution of the Reformation; the impact of the Enlightenment; the rise of denominations; and the emergence of modernity.

Issues in the History of Christian Missions (M9695)

This graduate course unit focuses on the history of Christian Missions and the expansion of Christianity over 2000 years. It will look at the various mission movements during different eras, mission methods used and important persons involved.

Issues in the Local Church and Missions (M8595)

The Bible, and especially the New Testament, gives us a good understanding of the principles of what the Church is, what her role is in reaching the world, as well as some principles in missionary methods. This course will seek to integrate current missiological discussions while simultaneously staying grounded in Scripture, particularly the letter of 1 Peter. Over the course of the semester we shall move towards a missionary theology for the local church by looking at some of the relevant issues that concern the church both today, and will be on the agenda in the not-too-distant future.

Issues in Theological Ethics (E9695)

This unit provides students with a broad orientation to the field of ethics and the metatheoretical foundations for ethical decision making. It also sets Christian ethics over against morality. The unit will allow students to draw on the uniqueness of salvation-historical eschatological and trinitarian -covenantal Christological perspectives to develop a Christian response to the brokenness of reality.

Minor Independent Guided Study (X9293)

This is a self-study unit. The assessment items are to help you structure your studies over this period.

New Testament Greek 1 (A8122)

The old expression: “That is all Greek to me,” has convinced a lot of people that Greek must be a tough language to master. Greek grammar, however, has a very logical and exact structure, allowing the reader to analyse the text with amazing precision. It is precisely this which makes the study of Greek so exciting and worthwhile. In this first level unit students are taught the fundamental grammatical structure of Koine Greek and its vocabulary. Along with this, students are also introduced to Greek language tools that are available to help them analyse the text more quickly. This is important as time constraints often force ministers to by-pass the analysis of the Greek text in their sermon preparation, resulting in poorer exegesis. Greek is essential for an in-depth analysis and understanding of the New Testament. It, thus, is foundational for students wishing to continue their studies of the New Testament on a post-graduate level.

New Testament Theology (B9608)

New Testament Theology provides an opportunity to seriously engage with the biblical text and its theology. Students will cover major New Testament themes, learn from a variety of New Testament theologians and the means by which they approach the text, and how New Testament theology can benefit the church in its present context.

Old Testament Theology (B9605)

Old Testament Theology forms the framework within which the Old Testament is interpreted and understood. In this unit, we will ask what Old Testament Theology is and how it is practiced. Students will be introduced to the major themes of the theology of the Old Testament. We will also look at the approaches of key scholars in the field and consider the relevance of their work for the modern-day church. Engaging with these topics and questions will not only put our understanding of God and the Old Testament under the spotlight but will also help us to re-evaluate our views. Hopefully, it will bring us to a better understanding of the Old Testament as well as the God of the Old Testament.

Pastoral Counselling – Marriage and Family (C8554)

This unit deals with human sexuality, marriage and family life. Human sexuality, marriage and family sets us apart from the animals. It is exactly in the domain of sexuality and relationships that the dignity of humanity is the most clearly expressed. Our sexuality calls us beyond ourselves to a whole, secure, healthy and intimate relationship with another human being who is ‘other’ than us. Marriage and family issues present an ideal opportunity for us to show how the gospel can affect lives for the good. Our marriages and family relationships can become showcases of the grace of God. It does not mean that we have to present ourselves as ‘getting it right’ in our marriages and families. But we can meet the world as people who have tasted something very good and thus cannot settle for anything less. The hope that we can offer people in the light of our understanding of God’s vision for our marriages and families can transform lives and relationships.

Readings in Selected Theologians (SCD) (T9251)

This is a self-study unit. The assessment items are to help you structure your studies over this period.

Research Essay (18) (X9696)

The Research Essay utilises the knowledge and skills acquired through the X8500 Research Methodology unit to research and write a 10,000 to 12,000 word essay. A research proposal needs to be approved by the SCD Research Committee before the research can commence.

Research Essay (36) (X9690)

The Research Essay utilises the knowledge and skills acquired through the X8500 Research Methodology unit to research and write a 23,000 to 25,000 word essay. A research proposal needs to be approved by the SCD Research Committee before the research can commence.

Research Methodology (X8500)

This course focusses on the nature and character of research. What is research? The student will be facilitated to approach a specific modus operandi to be equipped to construct, and in the end, to write a research proposal or research article. For students that give their best in this course, it is not only going to assist them to write a good proposal, or research article, but also will change their life. It will dynamically influence their reasoning, judgments, how they are going to read any kind of literature (articles, books, newspapers, etc), and how they approach life.

Studies in… (X8596)

This graduate course unit provides students with an opportunity to focus at an intermediate level on an area of study within a discipline or subdiscipline that is not available elsewhere in the curriculum. The particular topic might include: an examination of contemporary themes or current issues in the discipline; exploration of developments in research and theory; a consideration of the implications of developments in research and theory to a broad range of issues of current concern to Christian life, ministry or theology; an opportunity to learn new theories and skills and to apply them in practical or simulated circumstances.

World Religions in Christian Perspective (M9240)

Australia has become highly multicultural at all levels of society. It is essential for students seeking to minister, both in Australia and overseas, to gain an awareness of other people’s worldview, religions and cultures in order to develop principles and strategies for relating them and engaging them in dialogue. The aim of this unit is to broaden the student’s understanding of the beliefs and practices of several of the major world religions and the way they are expressed in culture. This unit will explore the differences and similarities between these religions and Christianity and ways in which Christians can relate, communicate and witness to people of other faiths in a multicultural, pluralistic society. And as Christians – do we know how to engage in dialogue with a person from another religion? Do we know what they believe in order to share our faith in an honest and purposeful way?

Students must complete all requirements of their relative category to be awarded the Master of Arts.

CRICOS Code: 063708J

CRICOS Provider: Sydney College of Divinity

CRICOS Provider Code: 02948J

Category 1: A candidate may seek credit up to a maximum of 36 credit points in the 8 unit Master of Arts (1 year).

Category 2: A candidate may seek credit up to a maximum of 54 credit points in the 12 unit Master of Arts (1.5 years).

Credit can only be granted for units at the graduate level, that are from an equivalent award or institution and have outcomes, content, demand hours, and assessment equivalent to that of units in the SCD award. For more information, please see SCD’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.

More Information

For more information on the Master of Arts, head to the ACCS website.

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