Postgraduate Study

SMBC Postgraduate Program

The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once said:
“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.”
This is both a comforting and a challenging truth. Continued growth in understanding of the breadth and depth of Scripture is vital to sustaining a life-long service of our Lord Jesus. The completion of a theological degree is not the end; it’s just the beginning!

As part of the SMBC Postgraduate Program you can pursue a coursework Master of Arts (MA) that will give you exposure to a rich diversity of topics offered in intensive mode. Or you may be interested in the more specialised experience of sustained investigation of the intersection of Bible, theology and practice through a higher degree by research. Whether it’s coursework or research, postgraduate study allows you to engage with the richness of other academic disciplines and the practical questions that arise in the experience of ministry. We hope it will help you to arrive at new insights and develop ministry strategies that are, at once, faithful to the ageless truths of the gospel and creatively contemporary.

Please open up a conversation with us about how postgraduate study may be part of how God is shaping and sustaining you.

Rev Dr Alan Mugridge
Coordinator of Higher Degrees by Research

Rev Dr Malcolm Gill
Coordinator of Master of Arts Program

For further details about the SMBC Postgraduate Program please contact, via email, Deputy Academic Registrar Darlene Evans  or Alan Mugridge or Malcolm Gill or call the Admin Centre on +61 2 9747 4780.



Download 2017 brochure PDF (453KB)

Download SMBC Course Overview PDF (74KB)

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts (MA) coursework program is designed to provide you with opportunities to develop your ministry skills and facilitate further theological contemplation. A feature of the MA is the opportunity to do assessments that have direct relevance to your current ministry involvement.

Most MA units are completed in intensive study mode. This includes a week of face-to-face lectures and discussions at SMBC, with pre-reading beforehand and assignments completed afterwards at home. A majority of MA students are active in ministry, whether in Australia or overseas, providing an ideal classroom environment to benefit from the experiences of others and build networks for ministry support.

To enter the MA, Grad Dip or Grad Cert programs, you need to have completed a BTh or equivalent.

To complete the MA one of your units must include a project or capstone experience. 

If you wish to graduate from the Master of Arts program with SMBC as your primary sponsoring college, we normally require at least five of your eight MA units to be studied through SMBC.

For more detailed information on doing an MA, including admission requirements, length and structure, see the ACT course overviews

If you are interested in any of our current MA units, please feel free to contact our registrars - on 02 9747 4780 or email - for a unit outline.

2017 MA Units

MA UNIT TH789-6i/TH789-4i
Monday 6 - Friday 10 March 2017 
(Applications close  Friday 3 February 2017) 
Lecturer: Rev Dr Bradley Green

Augustine (A.D. 354-430) is arguably the most significant theologian in the history of the Christian church. It has even been suggested that Christian theology is one long series of footnotes to Augustine. Among his most important works are The City of God and The Confessions.

Sixteen centuries after Augustine, his theological insights continue to challenge and inform us with their relevance to Christian thought and practice. His wide-ranging thinking influences our understanding of faith, ethics, educational principles and even political processes.

In this unit we’ll study both the life and thought of Augustine, and his contribution to the church and the broader Western world.

Join with many others who throughout the centuries have drawn on the wisdom and challenges of  Augustine.

MA UNIT NT7891i/PC789i
Monday 8 - Friday 12 May 2017 
(Applications close  Friday 7 April 2017) 
Lecturers: Rev Dr Alan Mugridge and others

Many Christians tend to either fear the Revelation to John, or try to ignore it – yet others are totally fascinated by it. In a world that is becoming increasingly hostile toward Christians, the message of Revelation for the original hearers is of vital relevance for us today – especially as we also seek to proclaim and serve the Lord Jesus while waiting for the new heavens and earth with faithful endurance.

In this unit we’ll be looking at the Book of Revelation in conjunction with the SMBC Biennial Preaching Conference (8-11 May). There’ll be seminars and sermons by Alan Mugridge, Mike Raiter, Geoff Harper and others. The unit will cover crucial aspects of interpreting Revelation, critiquing sermons on it, looking at some sections in detail, and dealing with issues which affect how we apply it today. Come and join the excitement as we study Revelation together! (Apologies: previously advertised conference speaker, Rev Dr Greg Beale, is no longer available due to illness)

MA UNIT OT789-6i/OT789-4i
Monday 10 - Friday 14 July 2017 
(Applications close  Friday 9 June 2017) 
Lecturer: Rev Dr Graham Cole

The true test of a person's spiritual health is their prayer life. Bible reading per se is no test of faithfulness: even critics of Christianity read the Bible, if only to criticise it. But prayer is another matter entirely. An atheist with a prayer life makes no sense. How then are we to pray? Or to use the language of Simone Weil, how are we to pay attention to God?

This unit explores the biblical witness to engaging with God in prayer and the various forms it takes. It also looks selectively at the practice of prayer in the church – past and present. Apostolic ministry was a ministry of prayer and the word. Acts 6 shows us that.

Today's pastor needs to know how to help God's people pray in a world where God's presence is not always obvious. This unit aims to help the pastor or Christian worker to do just that.

MA UNIT EM789-6i/EM789-4i/IN789-6i
Monday 4 - Friday 8 September 2017 
(Applications close  Friday 4 August 2017) 
Lecturer: Dr Richard Shumack

Are you and your church prepared to fully welcome and share Christ with whoever walks through the door? Modern Australia’s diverse society means that in any ministry we are guaranteed to encounter other cultures. Whoever we are – fathers, mothers, sons or daughters, students from overseas, refugees or asylum seekers, Australian, Iranian, Sudanese, Chinese, or Korean – Revelation chapter 5 says that Christ lived, died, and rose again to ‘ransom people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation’.

This unit addresses questions of ethnicity and identity, cultural sensitivity and the challenges and opportunities associated with ministry in a diverse context.  It will be of great benefit to those planning to serve in a variety of ministry roles, whether in Australia or overseas, with a particular emphasis on how multi-ethnicity shapes the exercise of  the local church.

MA UNIT OT789-6i/OT789-4i
Tuesday 3 - Saturday 7 October 2017 
(Applications close  Friday 1 September 2017) 
Lecturer: Dr Geoff Harper

While Leviticus is the first book of the Bible Jewish children are introduced to, it is generally the last book that Christians read. That is unfortunate, for Leviticus sits at the structural and theological heart of the Pentateuch and contains the most systematic treatments in Scripture of crucial themes such as atonement, sacrifice, Sabbath rest, and living in the presence of God. Not surprisingly, therefore, understanding Leviticus proves essential for reading not only the Old Testament, but the New Testament too. Indeed, Jesus and the New Testament writers assumed hearers and readers were familiar with this book.

Accordingly, this unit will explore this oft-neglected book through detailed exegesis of selected passages and by considering its theological contribution. It will also suggest how Leviticus may be taught engagingly in the local church, with an eye to aiding pastors and Christian workers as they understand and teach the whole counsel of God.

Higher Degrees by Research

If you love to think long and hard about how the gospel shapes practice, a higher degree by research (HDR) may be for you. HDRs are designed to equip people to provide leadership in Christian thought and practice through rigorous, critical analysis of issues. Such qualifications are particularly relevant for those wishing to pursue a teaching ministry in colleges and universities.

If you are an experienced missionary keen to make a thoughtful contribution to the understanding of the missionary task, you may be interested in a Doctor of Ministry (DMin). The SMBC DMin specialises in qualitative research in missiology. Entry to the DMin is open to people with a strong record in prior theological study and a minimum of five years of significant contribution in missionary service. The degree takes three years to complete on a full-time basis and six years on a part-time basis.

If you would like to write a substantial thesis which integrates biblical and theological thought with questions of practice, you may be interested in a Master of Theology (MTh), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Theology (ThD). Entry to an MTh is open to students who have reached a high standard in a BTh, MDiv or MA. Suitably qualified students may enrol in an MTh and then upgrade to a doctoral program. The MTh can be undertaken as a full-time student for two years or as a part-time student for four years.

Entry to the doctorates is available for students who have achieved outstanding results in a BTh(Hons), MDiv, MA or MTh, along with proficiency in Biblical languages and successful completion of a research project. The degrees can be completed in three years for full-time students and six years for part-time students.

Supervision for HDR students will be offered by our experienced and research-active faculty, as well as drawing on the expertise of visiting lecturers or other academics who may consult in their area of specialty.

SMBC, PO Box 83
43 Badminton Road, Croydon NSW 2132
T +61 2 9747 4780
Sydney Missionary and Bible College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology
ACT Cricos Code Provider: 02650E
ABN: 11 000 047 950