The Master of Arts is a high-quality programme of professional development designed for students who want to update their leadership capacities, missional orientation and ability to relate to emerging postmodern cultures.
The flexible nature of this degree allows students to sample a range of topics within the theological and leadership sphere or to focus on a particular area of study. Concentrations in a number of disciplines are available, for example, Bible, Theology, Christian Life and Ministry, Chaplaincy, Spirituality, Mission, Leadership, Governance and Strategy.
Course: Master of Arts (MA)
Accrediting Body: Sydney College of Divinity
Australian Quality Framework Level: AQF 9
School: School of Bible Theology and Ministry
Number of Units: 8 units/72 credit points OR 12 units/ 108 credit points depending on entry
Study Mode: Online (with facilitated learning opportunities)
Course Duration: 1 years full-time or up to 3 years part-time OR 1.5 years full-time or up to 4.5 years part-time depending on entry
2 core units
/ Spiritual Formation 4 (Personal Transformation)
/ Any Research unit OR Independent Guided Study
10 Elective units
/ Christian Life and Ministry
/ Christian Spirituality
/ Pastoral Theology
/ Biblical Studies
/ Pastoral Counselling
Student may gain entry via two categories:
- Students who have previously completed an AQF 8 level award in the discipline of Theology or Ministry may gain entry to a 8 unit Master of Arts program. Note a variety of ACOM's Graduate Certificate programs can satisfy this entry.
- Students who have previous completed an AQF 7 undergraduate award in Theology or Ministry may gain entry to a 12 unit Master of Arts program.
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.
Graduates will have:
- an integrated understanding of an advanced body of knowledge in one or more theologically-related disciplines or areas of practice, including recent developments in the theological disciplines and/or their practice,
- understanding research principles and methods applicable to these theological disciplines and their practice
Graduates will have expert cognitive and technical skills in a theologically-related body of knowledge, so that they are able independently to:
- analyse critically, reflect on and synthesize complex information, problems, concepts and theories associated with a theologically-related body of knowledge,
- research and apply established theories to a theologically-related body of knowledge or practice,
- interpret and transmit knowledge, skills and ideas through coherent and sustained argument to specialist and non-specialist audiences in relation to a theologically-related body of knowledge.
Applications of Knowledge and Skills
Graduates will have the ability to:
- apply knowledge and skills in a way that demonstrates autonomy, expert judgment, adaptability, and accountability as a practitioner and/or learner in relation to the inter-dependent building up of the church and good of the wider community,
- plan and execute a research-based project, and/or piece of scholarship in an area of theology.
Find expanded acacemic outcomes and regulations in the SCD Handbook.
The MA has nested within it the Graduate Certificate in Arts and the Graduate Diploma of Arts:
- Graduate Certificate in Arts requires 36 credit points
- Graduate Diploma of Arts requires 72 credit points
Credit will be granted for units that are from an equivalent award or institution and have outcomes, content, demand hours, and assessment equivalent to that of units in the course.
A candidate may seek credit for up to a maximum of 72 credit points in the 8 unit course, or 108 credit points in the 12 unit course.
|For more information and applications see Credit Transfer.|
|We want our students to be doers, not just hearers. Most ACOM units have 30 hours of placement built into the requirements (noted in unit demand hour tally). Student vocational placement provides an opportunity to link academic work into practice through a process of instruction (online readings, facilitations and other learning activities), action (localised ministry) and reflection (thinking about your practice to understand how to improve it). The process of instruction-action-reflection continues across all of our units.|
Vocational placement requires students to engage with a supervisor. This helps you integrate what you are learning into your place of practice. Students will be required to identify a local supervisor in their environment (e.g. a church, school, chaplaincy or welfare organisation). The supervisor will assist you as you reflect on your learning.
If you are uncertain if your unit of interests will require placement, please discuss with your SEM.
|Spiritual Formation is foundational to who we are. For ACOM, the learning process is not simply intellectual - it is about spiritual transformation. We care about the individual you are becoming and here’s why: we know that healthy, sustainable and effective graduates will be well grounded spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, physically and socially.|
Each ACOM course gives students the opportunity to study our Spiritual Formation units either as core or electives. Refer to your course plan to discover how our formation units can be incorporated into your study, or read more about the Spiritual Formation process.
Students can pay their fees upfront or access the Australian Government’s Fee-HELP system.
2023 Graduate Level Fees
Applicable to courses studied at the Australian Quality Framework level 8-9 (AQF8-9 Graduate Level). This includes ACOM courses; all Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas, and Masters Degree. Note that the Supervised Ministry unit is a considered to be a standard unit. Students registering into Supervised Ministry will incur the standard unit fee as listed above.
|2023||Audit for Future Credit|
|Standard Unit |
(9 Credit Points)
(18 Credit Points)
|Spiritual Formation Unit||$800||$3290||N/A|
|Students holding a pension card and paying their fees upfront may be eligible for a $200 pension discount per standard 9CP unit at the relevant level of study.|
To apply for a pension discount simply contact ACOM and provide a current copy of your pension card. Once your eligibility has been confirmed by staff, register for units making a note of your pension discount.
Note the following definitions:
Census Date: Last date to withdraw from a unit without financial penalty.
Academic Penalty Date: Last date to withdraw from a unit without academic penalty. If a student withdraws from a unit between the Census Date and the Academic Penalty Date, the unit will appear on their transcript with a withdrawn grade.
Check below for the key dates associated with your trimester of study. Note that registering or withdrawing outside of the key dates could incur incidental fees.
|2023||Trimester 1||Trimester 2||Trimester 3||Spiritual Formation|
|Unit Registration Deadline||30/4/2023||6/8/2023||29/1/2023||5/11/2023|
|Academic Penalty Date||2/4/2023||9/7/2023||15/10/2023||9/7/2023||7/1/2024|
Studying with ACOM
|Students can choose to study part-time or full-time. ACOM operates on a trimester basis, with formation and other select units, being taken over the course of the full year. A full-time load is considered six to nine units, which is usually two to three units per trimester, with one year-long unit. A part-time load is usually three to four units per year.|
Each 9 credit point unit requires 143 demand hours of study. The demand hours represents the number of hours needed to meet all the requirements of the unit, including reading, researching and writing assignments and essays, and supervised fieldwork (see Student Handbook for hour breakdown).
For each unit we recommend that you allocate approximately 10-12 hours for study per week (with more required during peak assessment periods).
|To study with ACOM, you will need access to a computer with internet connection. You will also require an email address that we can use to contact you. For assessment writing, we require the use of a word-processing programme such as Microsoft Word. For a full list of hardware and software requirements please see the Student Handbook.|
Students Apply and are admitted to their course, which are made up of both core and elective units. All new students are required to complete Student Orientation, which involves both signing up for a Student Orientation Session, and taking part in a Student Orientation module through the online learning platform.
All students have access to personalised support through a dedicated Student Engagement Manager (or SEM). Our awesome team of SEMs bring a personal connection and listening ear to students who are spread the length and breadth of the country. SEMs work closely with each student to provide tailored academic and pastoral support, cheering them on every step of their learning journey. Read more about our Personalised Support.
A variety of units will be on offer each trimester for students to view on the unit schedules, and register in for study. All of our courses are flexible for students to choose their units and load according to their time commitments, interests and courseplans.
All students study 'online' through our online Learning Platform: Moodle. This is where all study materials, unit information, assessments and learning activities can be found. However, each unit may have a variety of study options available that are found on the schedules, and selected at the point of registration. These include Facilitated or not Facilitated options.
Run by experienced leaders, educators, and practitioners in their fields of study, facilitations are an opportunity for students to learn alongside others in a dynamic environment of enquiry and exploration. Facilitations can be scheduled in regular classes, or events run over individual or consecutive days.
The following will be found scheduled next to units to advise what options you can choose:
|In Person: Facilitation||Learning with Others||In Person facilitations provide a physical space to strengthen skills by gathering like-minded local individuals together to learn and network together. These events can be run in a variety of locations across Australia and are run according to local time-zones.|
|Online: Facilitation||Learning with Others||Online facilitations provide flexible learning options for students nationwide, by giving them the ability to interact with facilitators and learners from across Australia from their devices. These events are run digitally on Zoom in AEST time-zone (or AEDT during daylight savings).|
|Online: No Facilitation||Integrated Learning Activities||ACOM is committed to ensuring students have the greatest flexibility to study at their own pace in their own place. To enable this all units scheduled in a trimester can be studied online via our digital learning platform. Students who choose this option will be provided with a series of Integrated Learning Activities designed to help them integrate what they are learning into life and ministry practice. These Integrated Learning Activities are available to all students to engage with, however only students who have selected the online Integrated Learning Activities study option are required to complete all activities to successfully pass the unit.|
For more student information see:
|ACOM assessments are essay based and do not usually involve exams. Units may include online quizzes and practical assessments that are completed in your ministry setting. Assessment dates are clearly published on our Learning Platform (Moodle) and all tasks must be submitted to pass the unit.|
Required readings are provided for students with online library access for further research. ACOM is continuously improving its digital library of learning resources. We have thousands of specialist books, articles and journals available to our students through our copyright licensing arrangements. Useful for both research and personal study, our students have access to over 100,000 e-books and journals on the Bible, leadership, pastoral care, theology and more. To read more go to our Digital Learning Systems.
Some units may require the student to purchase textbook(s), so please check the textbook lists on the schedules or at the point of registration.