The Graduate Diploma in Biblical Ministry is a professional qualification designed to:
- be appropriate for students in Christian ministry
- reflect the VCI Graduate School’s unique Competency-Based Theological Education (CBTE) approach of Integrated Leadership Development (ILD)
- provide a graduate qualification for people in Christian ministry whose first degree is not necessarily in theology.
Students will be able to practice independently as Christian ministers, with skills defined in terms of particular cultural milieus and areas of gifting. In particular, they will be able to:
- form an overview of Scripture so that their theology can be based on an understanding of the overall message of all the Bible books
- do exegesis of exposition/exhortation and narrative as the major types of literature applied to the New Testament (NT) epistles, the Pentateuch and Old Testament (OT) historical books using a practical form of semantic discourse analysis and compare their findings with that of leading commentaries
- discern the absolutes of a passage on which exegesis has been done and apply them to their local ministry context that they have analyzed
- apply the biblical absolutes in such a way that a biblical worldview is cultivated
- develop a number of ministry skills that are effective in their own ministry setting.
These five main learning goals are taught in an interdisciplinary fashion, weaving them together as strands through an integrated educational approach. Students are required to integrate spiritual development during the completion of each competency unit.
The educational objectives of the Foundation Training are incorporated in the Graduate Diploma. Therefore, if students have achieved these educational objectives before enrollment, it will typically be done over four semesters.
As the qualification is offered within a cohort, students who do not complete within the four semesters will need to obtain special permission to continue to work on the qualification and be required to pay a continuous enrollment fee.
To be considered for admission, a student should have all of the following:
- a Bachelor degree in any discipline (or its equivalent)*, or
- the VCI Advanced Diploma of Biblical Ministry
- a suitable position in Christian ministry.
Students are required to have satisfactorily completed the four VCI Foundation Training modules prior to their matriculation as the educational skills acquired are presupposed and further developed in the Graduate Diploma. Should VCI decide to run Graduate Diploma cohorts for which prior completion of the Foundation modules is not required, this material must then be covered in the program itself, which will likely result in extending the typical program duration by additional semesters.
For general requirements: See General Admission Policies and Procedures in the Catalog.
* Persons who meet all other admissions requirements but who do not have a Bachelor degree or equivalent can apply for pre-admission status if they demonstrate that they are likely to successfully complete the Graduate Diploma. To gain pre-admission status, students may be requested to submit a portfolio that provides: details of ministry experience; details of communication and computer literacy; written exegesis and hermeneutics of a passage from Paul's letters, and a passage of Old Testament narrative. The portfolio will be assessed based on the following criteria:
- skills in oral communication
- skills in written communication
- ability to think across cultural contexts
- ability to think in sequential logic.
Persons granted pre-admission status may participate in the intensives for the first six units of the Grad Dip and do not initially pay fees. They may be admitted as Grad Dip students if they achieve a minimum grade of B for all six units and pay the tuition fees for those units.