The Academic Studies in Theology Certificate (ASTC)
(ASTC) is a course that enables every Christian everywhere to be better equipped to read and understand the Bible. You’ll cover the material through a combination of audio panel discussions, accessible study guides and engagement in an online learning community. The ASTC combines the flexibility of distance learning with the quality of an award that is issued by the Australian College of Theology. It is important training, equipping all Christians wherever they are, and can be completed in as little as 12 months.
The Academic Studies in Theology Certificate is also approved by Centrelink for AUSTUDY/Youth Allowance, as a foundational and preparatory course for further theological study. In order to be eligible for AUSTUDY/Youth Allowance, a student must undertake at least 75% of a full time load to qualify, and these allowances are means-tested. The ASTC is being used for example, by MTS and Generate for their scholarship programs.
How it works
The course will take you through eight units; five are core units (Old Testament, New Testament, Christian Belief, Introducing Study Skills and Developing Study Skills), and the remaining three units are electives of your choice. If two of these electives include the Pastoral Care units, your Academic Studies in Theology Certificate could help qualify you to work as a chaplain in schools. Or, if you are an SRE teacher, then you could include electives like Religious Education, Teaching Faith in the Classroom.
Each unit only requires 35 hours of your time over a whole semester (around two hours a week), so it’s easy to fit your study in around other commitments. The ASTC is carefully designed to be as manageable, interesting and as helpful as possible, so it’s a great option for anyone looking for a flexible, practical and engaging way to study the Bible and prepare themselves for further theological study at diploma and/or degree level.
- Award of the Academic Studies in Theology Certificate requires the completion of 8 units
- To be qualified as a school chaplain, you need to take the 2 pastoral care units as part of your elective choices
- Units require approximately 35 hours of work – or around 2 hours a week – per unit
The online, flexible delivery means no wasted travel time and you can study when and where it suits you. The full Academic Studies in Theology Certificate can also be credited as two units towards a Diploma of Theology or Diploma of Ministry if you choose to continue your studies. Here’s a brief description of the units:
- New Testament – a study of New Testament writings in their original context with a view to discovering their meaning in the life of today’s Church. The unit includes a review of New Testament geo-political history, an overview of the gospel of Mark and a consideration of the emerging church.
- Old Testament – introducing students to Old Testament literature, deepening your understanding and strengthening your faith. The unit provides an historical outline of the Old Testament with a review of the interplay between history and prophecy.
- Christian Belief – an introductory study of the Christian faith, aimed at producing sound knowledge and an increase in faith and commitment. A review of the doctrines of God as Creator, the nature of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, the Trinity and the nature of the Church are some of the strands explored.
- Introducing Study Skills – this unit will introduce students to the essential skills needed to study theology at a tertiary level. It covers both basic study skills such as methodical reading, note taking and an introduction in how to approach assessments. Other skills learnt will include how to approach the Bible as an academic text, which can be subject to different interpretations and scholarly approaches to the Word.
- Developing Study Skills – this unit will increase students’ skills for studying theology at a tertiary level. Students will learn about the value of various study skills, and will also learn to progress through a hierarchy of study skills, in order to develop higher-order learning skills. You will learn about basic research techniques, how to organize and present assessments with academic integrity. Along the way you will also learn about different approaches to understanding theology, and how to apply theology to your everyday life as a Christian. Practical elements will be explored, like writing a Bible study, or preparing a sermon for example.
- Religious Education – an introduction to the way people learn and methods of teaching. The unit looks at the psychology of learning and methods of teaching – particularly as they apply to the education of persons in the Christian faith.
- Teaching Faith in the Classroom – this is a specialised unit that considers more closely the implications and skills for teaching Christian material in contemporary secular classrooms. The unit examines the context in which the Christian faith is taught in government schools, the differences in approaches to learning, and preparing and delivering a lesson.
- Lay Ministries Field Education – a unit designed to enable experiential based supervised learning through observation, participation and reflection with a mentor and using a journaling process.
- Introduction to Pastoral Care – Establishes a biblical basis and characteristics of pastoral care, enables students to develop an understanding of people in social relationships, discusses the pastoral opportunities and approaches in crisis situations and enables students to begin to develop skills in pastoral care. This is a core unit for Chaplains.
- Advanced Pastoral Care – Deals with specialist issues in relation to mental health and referral. The unit introduces students to the major factors and contexts relating to mental health issues, the relevant standards and practices that inform and regulate provision of care, the needs of people facing mental health issues and the key steps in assessing when and where to refer. This is a core unit for Chaplains.
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