Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Theology

LEVEL 8   |   120 CREDITS   |   1 YEAR FULL-TIME (part-time available)

STUDY OPTIONS: Onsite, Online, Distance


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Programme Outline

Have you already started your theological journey with an undergraduate degree in Bible, theology or a related subject? Are you looking for an advanced theological qualification to continue your development in ministry or mission leadership? Or are you looking for an academic pathway to Masters or Doctoral study? Enrol in our Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Theology. Climb higher, see further, resource the church.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Theology aims to support professional development for pastors and other Christian ministry and missional practitioners who have high levels of curriculum knowledge, research skills, and leadership capacity. Once you complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Theology with the appropriate GPA score, you are able to undertake the thesis course to complete the Master of Applied Theology.

“Consider joining us for a Postgraduate Diploma at Carey. Choose from a wide range of topics with incredible lecturers who will walk alongside you in doing research that matters.”

Dr Christa McKirland, Lecturer, Carey Graduate School

Programme Structure

This programme is equivalent to one year full-time study of 120 credits at level 8, comprising:

MA801 Research Methods in Applied Theology

This course guides participants through a process of surveying an area of interest, identifying, and refining a specific question that they want to answer, and considering which of a range of research approaches and methods would best serve their purpose. By the conclusion of the course each student will have designed a research project and presented it in the form of a full Research Proposal. The participants support each other through the course as they develop as researchers and discover both the excitement and the challenges of research as discipleship and service.

(30 credits)

and a further 90 credits at Level 8 (3 courses) from the following options:

MA805 Human Flourishing: Looking Back, Looking Forward

God is flourishing in itself and shares that flourishing life with creation–not because God needs to create, but in some sense, God wants to create. In creating, God ordered all creation toward its full flourishing. While, that flourishing has also been thwarted, God has still provided means for this to be restored and even deepened. This course will focus especially on human flourishing, assuming this is what God intends for humankind. To inform what is meant by flourishing, we will look at biblical, theological, and psychological perspectives on the flourishing life. This will entail looking back to understand that which impedes us from flourishing and looking forward as we envisage what flourishing may look like in the future.

(30 credits)

MA810 Leading in the Footsteps of Jesus

This course asks why various models of leadership found in the biblical text may have been helpful to the church in their ancient socio-historical contexts and how they may provide insights into contemporary ministry leadership. Students will engage the writings of Luke-Acts and the letter to the Philippians and the models of leadership they present. These models of leadership will be explored in the socio-historical milieu of the New Testament and interpreted in the crowded marketplace of classical ideas about leadership. The course will exegete New Testament texts and classical Graeco-Roman sources to critically compare their various approaches to leadership. The insights gained from studying biblical approaches to leadership in their ancient setting will enable students to critically reflect on competing modern ideas about leadership and recalibrate their approaches to leadership in Aotearoa.

(30 credits)

MA821 Research Essay

The Research Essay provides students with an opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of a topic or issue in Applied Theology under the guidance of a supervisor. The topic will normally be in an area that the student wishes to explore but is outside the scope of available courses in the academic programme. The student will acquire specialist knowledge of a specific field of Applied Theological study and develop skills in research, the evaluation of evidence and the articulation of ideas.

The Research Essay is a maximum length of 12,000 words including footnotes and excluding bibliography.

(30 credits)

MA826 Kingdom Economics

The full impact of COVID-19 upon global and local economies is not yet known, but we do know it will have a significant financial impact upon churches, organisations and nations. This course will provide a rigorous exploration of Old and New Testament biblical texts that address theological economics, and explore a selection of contemporary economic theories, in order to shape our imaginations for economic decision making. We will also sit at the table with Christian leaders and entrepreneurs to learn from those who lead creatively and courageously. The aim is to resource you and your church to form creative and courageous responses to the current crisis.

(30 credits)

MA827 Theology, Race and Church

The rise of the #blacklivesmatter movement and protests about racism around the world raise important issues for theology and the church, not least because of the church’s entanglement in the construction of the modern racial condition. This course examines historical and contemporary misappropriations of theology in the development of current racial issues, and explores the biblical and theological possibilities for a gospel-centred account of the church’s anti-racial witness to God’s kingdom. The aim is to understand contemporary global and national issues, and examine possibilities for the church’s faithful witness to God in the face of racism.

(30 credits)

MA828 Discipleship and Gospel Transformation

It is often said that if you get the gospel wrong, you get everything wrong. In conversation with N.T. Wright we will ask: What, then, is the gospel? Likewise, in conversation with Dietrich Bonhoeffer we will be asking: What are the measures of discipleship? And in conversation with John Wesley we will ask: How then can we design churches to produce people who embody kingdom holiness, where holiness is in part love of neighbour and neighbourhood? The aim is to retool Christian leaders, churches and their wider communities for the revolution that Jesus began.

(30 credits)

MA829 Public Theology and the Church

Public theology is “the church reflectively engaging with those within and outside its institutions on issues of common interest and for the common good” (Day and Kim). This course explores the church’s biblical, theological, and historical resources for the task of public theology and public witness to the gospel. We will critically examine models of public theology and a range of cases studies that will equip us to engage theologically with contemporary issues in society. Students will examine current social issues such as climate change, extremism and terrorism, sexual abuse, racism, modern slavery, and COVID-19 and produce theological responses that serve the church and the public good.

(30 credits)

To see which courses are currently available, check this year’s timetable.

Graduate Outcomes

Upon completion graduates will be able to demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Ability to critique scholarly publications in Applied Theology
  • Demonstrate critical skills in the interpretation of Biblical texts, demonstrating sound theological evaluations.
  • Critically reflect on current societal issues from informed Biblical and theological perspectives.
  • Critically evaluate contexts and identify strengths, weaknesses and suggest possible ways forward to better meet the needs of communities.
  • Work collaboratively with (and within) communities to achieve learning and research outcomes.

Entry Requirements

Admission to the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Theology is open to full-time and part-time New Zealand students and full-time International students.

General Admission
An applicant will normally have completed one of the following:

  • a recognised undergraduate degree in theology or Christian ministry with a grade point average of B in courses of the undergraduate programme at levels 6 and 7 (or equivalent).
  • a professional or other qualification which, in the judgement of the Academic Director, can be recognised as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in theology or Christian ministry.

An applicant who does not meet these requirements but who has completed a recognised undergraduate degree in a discipline other than theology or Christian ministry may be admitted as a candidate following successful completion of a bridging programme of study as determined by the Academic Director.

For special admission and International student admission requirements (including English language) view the Academic Regulations and Calendar.

Transfer from other Programmes

Students who have completed courses at other institutions may be eligible for cross-credits or recognition of current competency.


Fees are inclusive of 15% GST, but do not include the Student Services Fee, course books, travel and health insurance, or living costs. In addition to the tuition fees, there is a Student Services Fee of $100 per 30 credit course.

Domestic Student $2040.00 per 30 credit course
International Student $5376.00 per 30 credit course
Audit (interest only, not for credit) $640.00 per 30 credit course

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Key Information for Students

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Sarah Buckwell, student

“Pursuing postgraduate study has given me the opportunity to research theology in areas of my particular interest. The paper I have done has curated space for me to study my interest in what a more holistic flourishing could be for Christian adolescents in Aotearoa. The course invites the integration of psychology and theology which has grown my understanding and heart for the Kingdom of God.”

– Sarah Buckwell, Student, Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Theology

Ready to make a difference?