History

The Sydney College of Divinity has been training theologians and equipping people for ministry since 1983, when the first SCD degree, the BTh, was accredited. The approval of the BTh was made retrospective to 1 January 1982, with the effect that students who had already been engaged in the three-year program could complete the requirements for the degree by the end of 1984. The first graduation was held in 1985, with 41 graduands, all men. The 2012 graduation saw 172 graduands, men and women, and the total number of conferrals reached 4753.

After many years’ debate about the accreditation of theological Higher Education in NSW, the eventual establishment of the SCD came about following the NSW Higher Education Board’s direction to theological institutions that they should rationalise resources and establish a degree-supervision authority administered collectively by the institutions, on the model of the Melbourne College of Divinity (now the MCD University of Divinity). From the beginning, therefore, SCD was envisaged by Government as a consortium of teaching colleges, whose degrees would be administered by a supervisory authority established by those colleges. This authority would, by definition, be an ecumenical, or at least an interdenominational, institution.

The six founding Member Institutions of the SCD consortium (the MIs) were:

  • The Baptist Theological College
  • The Catholic Institute of Sydney
  • The Churches of Christ in New South Wales Theological College
  • St Paul’s National Seminary
  • The Union Theological Institute
  • The United Theological College

Institutional membership has changed over the years and extended beyond NSW. In 2014 the MIs are:

Australian College of Ministries Churches of Christ
Booth College Salvation Army
Catholic Institute of Sydney Roman Catholic
Emmaus Bible College Christian Community Churches
Nazarene Theological College Church of the Nazarene
NSW College of Clinical Pastoral Education Interdenominational
St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College Greek Orthodox

Certain other Higher Education institutions also deliver SCD awards alongside their own. Organisationally these are additional campuses of SCD MIs:

Additional Campus of the Catholic Institute of Sydney:
Good Shepherd College, Auckland

Additional Campus of Emmaus Bible College:
Perth Bible College, Perth

Additional Campus of Emmaus Bible College:
Tabor College NSW, Sydney

The College was approved by the Commonwealth Government as a Higher Education Provider on 26 November, 2004. This has meant access to Fee-Help for eligible students. The SCD awards and the intellectual property contained in them are owned by the SCD collective.

At this time, the SCD has embraced an intentionally ecumenical approach, through which the traditions and needs of individual MIs are addressed collegially, on a principle of flexibility within strong, clear frameworks. SCD students are variously ordinands and others training for leadership roles in the churches or church organisations and ordinary people seeking the enrichment of their faith and understanding for personal reasons or a learning experience that may help them to faith.

Almost all the coursework awards of the SCD are delivered through the individual MIs, working within a single academic governance structure for quality assurance and the maintenance of equivalence across the whole institution. Students are able to move freely amongst the MIs for different SCD course units if they wish to do so. The SCD delivers both its Korean Program of coursework, taught in the Korean language, and its Research Degrees Program directly rather than through the MIs.

The SCD welcomes adult students of all ages and backgrounds.

For current accredited awards see Accreditation and Registration.  Or visit our Courses page.