General Study Questions

Who is the Australian College of Theology and what is its relationship with SMBC??

The Australian College of Theology (ACT) is a self-accrediting national higher education provider. It is an Australian University College which operates as a consortium of independent affiliated colleges. SMBC is one of these affiliated colleges. All ACT awards at SMBC are taught by the SMBC teaching team and lectures are held at our SMBC campuses.

I’m not sure how or where to start – what do I do?

One of the best ways to start is to chat with one of our approachable and experienced registrars (study advisors). They’ve walked the Bible College road before you so they really know what it’s like! Start an online conversation with our registrars or, if you live nearby, simply drop by our main campus for a chat. Also, reading through these FAQs and other parts of this website will be helpful.

Which course is best for me?

This question is usually best answered as part of a conversation. Each course has its own merits and value. Here are some basic considerations to help determine the most appropriate course for you:

  • Do you know what you would like to do after your study?
  • What level of education have you already achieved?
  • How many years are you prepared to study? Each course has a minimum and maximum length in which to be completed (except for Diploma P1 which has unlimited time).
  • If you are thinking of studying full-time, will you require Centrelink allowances?
  • Do you want to study biblical languages - Greek and/or Hebrew?

In the end, it’s not so critical to get your choice perfectly right at the start – our courses are flexible and allow you to, for example, move to a higher level course or exit early with a shorter course. And we’re always here to help guide you throughout your study. Learn more at Courses

Can I change course part way through my study?

Yes, there is scope to change your academic level of study by either extending your study, or by completing it early with, for example, a certificate or diploma rather than a bachelor, master or doctorate award. There are a variety of pathways to choose, and you can start with just one unit (subject). However, it is important to note there are some ACT rules and restrictions that need to be considered, but generally there is scope to change course. We recommend you chat with our registrars about what is possible to avoid any disappointment.

What study modes do you offer?

We offer both full-time and part-time study. Within these two main study options, you can study on-campus or off-campus (live online), during the day or evening, via intensive mode, audit mode or online. There is also the flexibility to move between and combine different study modes. Whichever options you choose, we seek to get alongside you as you study and learn in community with us. Learn more at Study Modes.

What do SMBC students do after college?

At SMBC our prayer is that whatever you do after college, we will have helped prepare you to bring the light of Christ to a dark and needy world.

For some people this means cross-cultural mission here in Australia or overseas, local church pastoral leadership, para-church roles, chaplaincy, schools and university ministries, discipleship roles paid and unpaid, Bible translation work, and working among the least reached peoples of the world. For others it means returning to their profession better equipped to serve Jesus in their workplace, church and home.

We aim to help nurture you for wherever God leads you. Your time at SMBC will offer you opportunities to learn about the many needs of the church and mission field and where you might fit. Our courses are highly regarded by most ministry and mission organisations.

I’m worried about failing. Do many students at SMBC fail?

No. We seek to offer every support we can – academically and pastorally – to ensure all our students are able to perform to the best of their ability. We also work hard at guiding you to the most appropriate level of academic study, plus there is flexibility to change courses if the level of study becomes too challenging for you. Learn more at Student Support Services

There are occasionally some students who need to pull out of their studies for various reasons, for example illness or changed family circumstances. In these cases, we do our best to either see them return at a later date to complete their studies or graduate with a shorter award.

It’s important to note that when you study at SMBC you are part of a learning community that works together to grow you not just academically but also spiritually. Your academic performance is important, but it is your growth in Christlike character, godly obedience, and courageous faith that we see as the utmost importance for life and ministry.

What does it cost to study?

It really depends on what you want to study and at what level. Our study costs are adjusted each year and are largely set by the Australian College of Theology (ACT). Another cost to consider is accommodation. If you’d also like to live on-campus, SMBC has various types of accommodation (with meals) available for our full-time students. Learn more at Costs

How can I finance my studies?

There are many ways this can happen, including:

  1. Using Government support programs (eg FEE-HELP and Centrelink)
  2. Savings
  3. Work
  4. Partnership support
  5. Simplifying lifestyle
  6. Scholarships

Please chat with our registrars or head to Costs for more details.

Can I get FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is available for eligible students studying ACT degrees and diplomas. Visit studyassist.gov.au for more details.

Does SMBC have any prerequisites to study?

Yes. All SMBC students need to provide a NSW (or equivalent) Working With Children Check number. In addition, if you enrol in a ‘DM’ coded unit, you will also need to supply evidence of Safe Ministry Training.

Additionally, depending on what course or unit (subject) you’re thinking about studying, you may need to show evidence of a prior degree.

Can I study for a certificate from SMBC?

You can enrol in units (subjects) that can be studied at certificate level and credited toward an SMBC Introductory Certificate in Christian Studies. Please note that because this is not an ACT award FEE-HELP is not available for this certificate course.

Can I just come along and participate in the classes without doing exams or assessments?

Yes. You may decide to study simply for personal interest and without being formally assessed. This is called auditing and means you can participate in the classroom like the other students but avoid exams, essays and other assessments. Credit points are not awarded and a lesser cost applies for each unit (subject). FEE-HELP is not available for audit study. Learn more about Audit Mode

Is accommodation at SMBC available to part-time students?

Our on-campus student accommodation is only available to our full-time students. However, overnight accommodation in the SMBC Wallace Suites may be available for part-time students with evening classes. A week of accommodation in the SMBC Wallace Suites may be available for intensive students. Please contact us for more information here

Can I get credits at SMBC for prior learning/previous studies elsewhere?

It is possible to gain recognition of prior learning credits – either from previous theological study or other tertiary studies – towards an SMBC course. When enquiring or enrolling please have available details of your previous studies – when and where you studied, plus what study level. You may be granted credits or exemptions from some units at SMBC.

If I’m studying at university can I cross credit a unit (subject) from SMBC to my degree?

Possibly. If you’re studying an undergraduate degree at university, it may be possible for you to complete some degree level units at SMBC as electives towards your degree. Chat with us and your university if you’re interested.

Is there parking available?

There is very limited parking spaces available on the main Croydon Campus. Please see this map for suggested (and plenty of) street parking. Our Roberts-Dale Campus has onsite parking.

How can I get to SMBC by public transport?

SMBC is in the inner west of Sydney. Both our Croydon and Roberts-Dale (Croydon Park) campuses are a short walk from Burwood or Croydon train stations. There are bus stops nearby as well. Find helpful maps at our Contact Page or visit Transport NSW

Full-Time Study FAQs

What is full-time study?

Full-time study at SMBC is defined by the Government as being enrolled in an Australian College of Theology (ACT) course and completing three to four units per semester. At SMBC, full-time students are also enrolled in the Certificate of Bible and Ministry (CBM) – this is an internal certificate program which seeks to add value to the educational and spiritual/character development and supplement your ACT studies. Learn more about the CBM

As a full-time student, what is covered in the SMBC Certificate of Bible and Ministry I will concurrently complete as part of my full-time study?

This Certificate ranges from two semesters to six semesters in length, depending on your ACT course and length of full-time study. It involves some extra lectures, for example in introductory theology, missions, preaching and biblical studies, plus, involvement at chapel and prayer groups, participation in College Mission, fellowship groups and enjoying lunchtime meals together. The reality is, the CBM really does supplement and enhance your other units. It is recognised by many churches, mission agencies and parachurch organisations as an excellent distinctive feature of SMBC’s training for ministry. Learn more about the CBM

Can I be full-time but not do the SMBC Certificate of Bible and Mission(CBM) at SMBC??

Studying three to four units at SMBC, means you will need to be enrolled in the CBM as well - this is the unique structure for full-time study at SMBC and our graduates often comment on just how valuable it is once they have left college.

Do I have to live on campus to study full-time at SMBC?

The short answer is no. You can study full-time at SMBC as a residential student or a non-residential student. However, we encourage you to prayerfully consider full-time residential study for some of your time at SMBC as we believe theological education in the context of living in community is invaluable for your spiritual formation and for whatever ministry God has in store for you.

Can I complete my studies combining full-time and part-time study?

Yes, and some students will start their ACT course as part-time students and then apply to complete their course as a full-time/CBM student. Note: you do need to have at least six units left in your course to be eligible to become a full-time student for two semesters and be eligible to enter the CBM. Other students start their course as a full-time student (in the CBM program) and then finish their studies as a part-time student. There is flexibility, but also restrictions on that flexibility – especially when it comes to pre-requisites and in which semester certain units are offered. Chat with our registrars for course advice

How many hours will I need to be at college as a full-time student?

Unlike university, full-time students (including the Certificate in Bible and Mission [CBM]) will have eight to 12 hours of lectures per week for Australian College of Theology (ACT) units and then between 12 to 15 hours for the CBM program. Depending on how effectively you study and write and reflect, you’ll also need to allow time for library use, research and reading, fellowship group, chapel, Principal’s Hour, community duties, prayer and other optional recreational activities. The rich fellowship of belonging to the full-time community will indeed shape your character and often results in the formation of life-long friends.

Lectures range from 8:30am through to 9:30pm, so it will depend on your timetable, but as a full-time (including CBM) student, it will mean that you’ll be at college from Monday to Friday, especially in your first year of the CBM program.

When can I start studying full-time?

As a full-time (ACT+CBM program) student we recommend starting in semester 1 (late Jan/early Feb), when most people start, however, you can also commence your full-time study at the start of Semester 2 in July. View the latest College Calendar

Do I have to do all my full-time study at SMBC?

While our preference is for you to complete your study through SMBC, you may have completed part of your course at another ACT accredited College. Therefore, you can usually cross credit your previous units toward your award. However, we prefer you to do at least 75% of your studies with SMBC, once you start at college. To that end, we do try to be as flexible as possible and offer students a variety of options so they can complete their studies at SMBC.

What are the costs for full-time study at SMBC?

There are four general components to this:

  • Australian College of Theology (ACT) tuition.
  • Certificate of Bible and Ministry (CBM) program: This is for full-time students in the CBM program and isn’t included in FEE-HELP. This fee includes CBM tuition costs + SMBC service fee + lunch Monday-Friday during semester time.
  • Accommodation (if choosing our residential option): Residential accommodation includes most meals, utility costs, Wi-Fi, etc. When making the comparison with living off-campus, ensure to include the cost and time it takes to travel to and from college!
  • General living: Allow for mobile phone, clothes, toiletries, extra food, local travel and maybe holidays, money for books and computer costs. If you have a car, then costs of the vehicle need to be included.

Learn more at Costs

Does it cost to park my car at SMBC?

If you’re a full-time residential student you will have an allocated free on-campus parking spot. Additionally, there is ample free on street parking for day-time students. However, we do ask you not to park in Badminton Road or on the corner of Arthur and Beaufort street in consideration of our neighbours please.

When do I need to apply for full-time (including the CBM program) study?

The earlier the better for the following year is the simple answer. Learn more about the full-time study application process

As residential study is quite popular, if you’re seeking to live on campus, we recommend you apply as early as you can secure a spot!

There is no ‘official’ cut-off date for you to apply for full-time study, but the application process normally takes several weeks. Therefore, it’s very helpful to apply before December (noting that the College closes between Christmas and New Year and many staff are away) for first semester the following year. It’s worth noting that the application process can actually provide you with more clarity about your study plans, and you can, at the end of the process, decline the offer SMBC makes to you re full-time study. Be assured of our prayers for you in this process.

Part-Time Study FAQs

What is part-time study?

Part-time study is defined as being enrolled in one to two units (subjects) per semester.

If you’re studying part-time you can join in the weekly Chapel, Principal’s Hour and Ministry Matters - and enjoy morning tea and supper, full access to the library and to the lecturers and staff.

When do I have to enrol?

Ideally, we’d like you to enrol for your part-time unit (subject) well before the first week of lectures in the semester. The date for the start of Semester 1 is usually early February and mid July for Semester 2 (View the latest College Calendar). However, it is possible to enrol after these dates – just check with us for details, to avoid a late fee.

Note: Intensive enrolment dates are generally one month prior to lecture week because of the pre-course reading and assessment.

How many hours will I need to be at college as a part-time student?

You’ll need to allow time for the two to three hours per unit enrolled plus time in the library, chatting with other students and lecturers, and if you’re able, you can attend optional activities like chapel, Principal’s Hour and other community events.

How many units (subjects) can I study and still be a part-time student?

Part-time study at SMBC is generally defined as being one or two units (subjects) per semester or up to six lecture hours per week.

Is it possible to complete an entire course through part-time study?

Yes. While it is preferable to have a full-time component in your study program at SMBC, you can complete our courses on a part-time basis. If you’re thinking of full-time study ‘down the track’, consider studying one or two units (subjects) part-time first, as this can reduce your full-time study load. Please contact our registrars for more information

When and how can I study part-time?

There is a range of study modes open to you – daytime or evening, intensive or audit, on-campus or off-campus. Learn more at Study Modes

What does ‘intensive mode’ mean?

Effectively it is study at home, with one week of lectures (on-campus or off-campus). During the intensive lecture week, you’ll complete a whole semester of lectures for one unit (subject). So, it’s ideal if you’re in full-time employment or live a distance from Sydney.

Intensive mode is popular because during the lecture week you can focus completely on your studies, enjoy discussion and fellowship with your lecturers and fellow students.

All the reading and assignments are completed at home in your own time (with e-library access) and with ongoing online contact with your lecturers. Learn more about Intensive Mode Study

Do you have any short-term accommodation if I study via Intensive Mode?

Yes, we have some basic short-term accommodation for a reasonable cost, but we do recommend you book in early to secure a room. Should you choose this option, you’re also able to purchase dinner meals for the week. Contact our Service Centre for more info

I’m retired. Is it possible for me to study part-time?

Yes, very much so! And you can also apply to study full-time too! Another option to consider is our over 50s Associates Program

I’ve just left school. Can I study part-time?

Yes. We also strongly recommend you check out SMBC’s one year program called The Bridge

Is there an Orientation for part-time students?

Yes. We very much recommend you attend the evening Zoom Orientation for part-time students that takes place at start of each semester. Please contact our registrars for more information

SMBC, PO Box 83
43 Badminton Road, Croydon NSW 2132
T +61 2 9747 4780
E admin@smbc.edu.au
Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC) is an Affiliated College of the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS: 02650E
ABN: 11 000 047 950