Small groups, big gains: Creating a culture of deliberate discipleship
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SMBC’s courses and individual units (subjects) can be accessed in a variety of flexible study modes. Study at SMBC is available full-time or part-time and it’s possible to move between studying full-time or part-time. Within these options, you’ll find opportunities to study during the day, in the evening, by intensive mode, off-campus mode (live online), online mode, workshops or audit.
Whichever mode of study you choose (other than audit), it’s important to know that you'll need to allow some focused time outside the lectures for reading, completing assessments and engaging with other students. The comprehensive SMBC Kerr Library (and e-library) is available to you, irrespective of your study mode.
There is something special about the holistic formation that happens with full-time, in-person study, and particularly when that is combined with living on campus. There is a rich blend of spiritual, theological and ministry skills growth.
Full-time study allows you to be fully immersed in the community providing rich fellowship and opportunities to build a network of peers that will provide encouragement and support for years to come. We do urge you to seriously consider some full-time study for at least part of your time studying with us – and we encourage you to chat with us about how this might be possible.
Additionally, as a full-time student, you'll also complete the SMBC Certificate in Bible and Mission (CBM). The CBM provides full access to all the benefits of SMBC’s expertise in cross-cultural mission, preaching and pastoral ministry. It includes some extra classes, community activities, conferences and College Mission.
Unlike university, full-time (including the CBM) students will have 8 to 12 hours of lectures for Australian College of Theology units and then between 12 to 15 hours for the CBM program per week. Depending on how effectively you study, write and reflect, you’ll also need to allow time for library use, reading and research, community events and duties, prayer and other optional recreational activities.
Lectures are held Monday to Friday, with some evening lectures as well. Each of our two semesters includes 12 weeks of lectures, research and study weeks, plus time for exams.
Overseas students can apply for full-time study at SMBC.
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Part-time study is a great option to consider if you're unable to study full-time. Some prefer the model of part-time study alongside part-time ministry, others find part-time study offers the opportunity to have a taste of study before going full-time, while others who live some distance from College prefer the off-campus or online modes of study. It is possible to complete most of our courses via part-time study.
Some part-time students simply do one evening lecture a week after work, others have time for a couple of classes during the day plus participation in some community activities. Full-time workers often find our intensive mode study really convenient and those who live outside of Sydney can join our classes via off-campus mode (live online).
Part-time study is defined as being enrolled in one to two units per semester. Part-time accredited study through the Australian College of Theology is not available to overseas students.
For those in full-time employment, or at a distance from Sydney – either in metropolitan areas or in rural Australia – SMBC offers a flexible, comprehensive intensive mode program.
Effectively it is part-time study at home with a week of lectures at SMBC – either on-campus or off-campus. This offers the best of both worlds, with pre-reading and assignments done at home in your own time (with e-library access) and a focused week of teaching and study with your lecturer, plus interaction with fellow students.
Our intensive lecture weeks are held throughout the year with most during the NSW school holidays. The start and end dates give you 17 weeks in total to finish your unit of study. Your initial reading and assessment start a month before the lecture week.
For those studying on campus, morning tea and lunch are provided each day of your lecture week. Limited onsite accommodation at SMBC may be available during the lecture week, with preference given to those travelling from regional locations.
It’s possible to complete a Diploma of Theology (equivalent to the first year of the Bachelor of Theology) or a Graduate Diploma of Divinity (equivalent to the first year of the Master of Divinity) in two-four years just by intensive mode study.
Here's what some of our Intensives students say:
"As a full-time worker, it enables me to take a week out to focus on study and finish my degree in a reasonable time frame. We get the benefit of teaching from SMBC’s quality lecturers without the dilution of online study and to experience a study community face-to-face."
"It's been the perfect way for me to balance work and study and get the most out of the lectures."
"Being a wife and mum there aren’t too many opportunities to dig deep into the word. SMBC’s intensives provided the time to pray, study and fellowship together. This week has been encouraging and I am now refreshed through the word to continue teaching our children and serving our church."
If you are studying full-time, the majority of your lectures will be during the day, Monday to Friday.
If you are studying part-time and have a regular time during the day available, our daytime lecture schedule has a range of classes to suit your needs and interests. Different classes run for different amounts of time (usually in two or three hour blocks, with breaks) and occasionally across more than one day of the week. As a part-time student, you can study up to two units at any one time.
Depending on what time of which day you attend, you’ll also have access to morning tea, College Chapel, Principal’s Hour, Ministry Matters, or Fellowship Groups, plus various student-run social events. College lunch is also available, for a minimal extra cost, and is a great opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with your lecturers and fellow students (or just bring your own lunch and join in the conversation!).
Of course, you could also join our daytime classes via off-campus (live online) mode. As long as you can adjust to Sydney time you can join us from anywhere!
If you are busy during the day, and if you can consistently make available the same evening of the week for 12 lecture weeks, our evening lecture program is a great option. These classes are usually available in both on-campus and off-campus mode. You’ll join in with our full-time student cohort and, if joining on-campus, enjoy the opportunity to fellowship during the supper break.
Evening classes generally run 6.45pm–9.30pm (Sydney time). The evening units (subjects) are rotated over several years to allow you to have access to a range of units and make reasonable progress with your course via evening study.
Evening lectures are a popular way to start your course by completing one or more units before then embarking on full-time study, starting with a lightened study load.
Our off-campus (live online) study mode is more than just online study. It includes participation and interaction with lecturers and fellow students in live classes. We see studying in community, with all the discussion and insights that brings, as key to growing not only your theological knowledge but your Christian character.
Some of our classes are held just for off-campus students, but most are held in hybrid mode – that is, a mix of on-campus and off-campus students together. Through the use of video conferencing technology, everyone can see and hear everyone else in the class.
No matter where you are – in Australia, or around the world – as long as you can adjust to Sydney time (as you will need to be available to attend each class live), you’re welcome to join many of our classes and progress through your diploma, bachelor or masters course. You will need a computer and a good internet connection.
Note: It is possible to study a mix of on-campus and off-campus units at one time, but you must stick to one study mode per unit.
This mode of study is only available with our Master of Intercultural Studies (MICS) which is tailored to suit those already on the mission field. It has specific admission requirements and covers 16 units of study with only a few units available at a time. It is self-paced, supervised study completed on a semester basis.
Some higher-level, ministry-focussed SMBC courses and units are taught in a workshop format. These are effectively like mini-intensives.
Our Advanced Preaching Workshops, held twice a year, include a one day workshop, followed by two follow-up Zoom meetings. These are ideal for those already in busy preaching ministry.
Our Graduate Certificate of Christian Mentoring Course is delivered over a series of 1-3 days workshops. The four units that make up the certificate are held either fully on-campus or fully off-campus (live online).
If you have no need for a formal academic qualification and simply want to grow your knowledge and love of God, auditing our classes is a convenient, less-expensive study option.
You’ll be able to participate fully in the classes alongside your classmates (on-campus or off-campus). You can enrol in either ACT or SMBC certificate units but will not receive academic credit or have your learning assessed. This means that at the end of your studies you will not receive a certificate or transcript. You will, however, have access to all the same learning content as students studying for credit.
There are no prerequisite requirements for those who are studying at audit level, however, it may be wise for you to study foundational units before progressing to advanced theology and biblical units. We strongly encourage you to attend all classes and to work hard at completing the required exercises for the sake of your own learning and that of your classmates. You may like to do the unit assessments, but they will not be marked by the lecturers.
If you decide you would like to do the assessments and have them marked you will then need to enrol as a certificate student in the same unit. Certificate enrolments are charged at a higher rate and have pass/fail graded assessments. See Introductory Certificate in Christian Studies (ICCS) for further details concerning certificate enrolments.
Note: Foundational biblical language units (LA003, LA004, LA005, LA006) cannot be enrolled in as audit students but can be studied as certificate enrolments in the ICCS course.