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Advanced Diploma in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion

Course Description

The Advanced Diploma in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion is a one-year postgraduate degree offered by the University of Cambridge. It allows students to explore the core areas of Biblical Studies, Christian Doctrine and Church History in considerable depth. The course is specially designed for those who already have a degree, but in another subject area. It is occasionally used as a first step towards doing an MPhil or PhD.  The course is delivered within the Faculty of Divinity.

Further information about this award is available from the Divinity Faculty.

Entrance Requirements

A candidate for the Advanced Diploma must be matriculated as a member of one of the Cambridge Colleges. Those studying for the Diploma remain resident at Westcott during the course of their degree programme. To gain admission as an affiliated student, the candidate must be a graduate with a first class or a 2:1 honours degree with marks of at least 67% (or GPA of at least 3.7). Candidates for whom English is a second language must be able to meet English language requirements as set by the Cambridge University Graduate Admissions Office. Where a student is sponsored for ordained ministry, to secure funding from Ministry, the candidate would need to secure a discretionary award from the Research Degrees Panel as a Potential Theological Educator.

Teaching and Learning

Candidates for the Advanced Diploma must complete three or four Tripos papers and a 10,000 word dissertation. They will be offered intensive individual supervision: much of the work will involve the preparation of weekly essays which the student will discuss one-to-one with a specialist. There are also lectures and seminars which provide the broad framework for your learning in each subject. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to undertake independent reading and study in order to consolidate what is being taught.


Assessment, which takes place at the end of the academic year, is typically by three-hour examination, and submission of a dissertation. Formative assessment is provided through the supervision system where feedback is given in oral and written form.

Integration with Training for Ministry

In addition to examined subjects, candidates for licensed ministry are required by the House to participate fully in the formational life of Westcott House, attend Ministry for Life and Short Intensive Courses, and complete contextual training through attachments and placements. Candidates for licensed ministry sponsored for two or three years would complete another academic course as part of their training, to be agreed with their Diocese and Ministry.