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Study Theology at Otago

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma in Theology (DipTheol) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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It is often said that the age in which we live is characterised by a "crisis of meaning". Many people sense the lack of clearly defined frameworks of beliefs and practices which would help to make sense of their work, relationships, and leisure. Traditionally, the religions of the world have offered people such frameworks, to which they can relate their everyday activities. For many people religion continues to perform this function. 

Theology studies the origins, the history, and the present significance of one religion, namely, Christianity, while Religious Studies is the academic discipline which studies the religions of the world as facts of human history and culture.

The University offers a specialised degree in Theology, Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), but students can also take theological papers as part of their Arts, Science, Commerce, Education, or Law degrees.

Papers in Theology will be of particular interest to students completing degrees in subjects such as History, Philosophy, Political Studies, Classical Studies, Education, Psychology, Anthropology, and Art History.

Theology courses are also offered by Distance Learning. Studying Theology through distance Learning is also an option for people who live in Dunedin; it is particularly useful for those whose work commitments prevent them from attending lectures during the day.

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Subject areas

Within the general area of Theology there are a number of subject areas:

Biblical Studies (BIBS) is devoted to the study of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, looking at the origins of the biblical writings and the history of their interpretation. Biblical Studies papers cover both the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament. Students can also study the biblical languages, namely classical Hebrew and New Testament Greek, to an advanced level. Some study of these languages is required for those who are accepted for the BTheol(Hons) degree

Christian Thought and History (CHTH) is a subject area which includes both Church History and Systematic Theology. Church History is concerned with the growth and development of the Church from the first century to modern times. It includes the study of major Christian controversies and their effect on the Christian and world communities.

Systematic Theology offers a critical exposition and analysis of Christian thought from both a historical and a philosophical perspective. Some papers in Systematic Theology deal with the history and nature of Christian ethical thought and with current ethical controversies.

Pastoral Studies (PAST) is particularly designed for students entering some form of church ministry. Papers in Pastoral Theology offer a multidisciplinary study of church life, offering students the opportunity to reflect on the practice of Christian ministry.

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Contact details

For general queries, please contact 

For queries about studying Theology on campus, please contact The Revd Dr James Harding.

For queries about studying Theology by Distance Learning, please contact Dr Chris Holmes.

For further information, see the department’s home page at

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Qualifications and programme requirements

See the qualification pages for the programme requirements:

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See the full list of Biblical Studies (BIBS) papers.
See the full list of Christian Thought and History (CHTH) papers.
See the full list of Hebrew (HEBR) papers.
See the full list of Ministry (MINS) papers.
See the full list of Pastoral Studies (PAST) papers.
See the full list of Religious Studies (RELS) papers.

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Minor subject requirements

Theology as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Arts and Science (BComSc) degree

Papers Points

Five BIBS, CHTH or HEBR papers, at least three of which must be above 100-level, including at least one above 200-level.


Note: This minor subject is not available for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Theology (BTheol).

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