Aims, Ethos and Educational Philosophy

The Sydney College of Divinity was formed in 1983 when six theological Colleges in Sydney constituted themselves as a federation with a view to providing an accredited tertiary education award in theology. These colleges became the founding Member Institutions of the Sydney College of Divinity and were committed to a genuinely ecumenical endeavour in which, while retaining their autonomy and ecclesial traditions, they would collaborate with, and support each other, as a College. The Member Institutions have found that our mutual encouragement and accountability to one another as members of the College both enhances the academic standing of our teaching and learning, and strengthens our Christian ministry and witness in Sydney and beyond.

The SCD Bachelor of Theology was accredited by the New South Wales Higher Education Board in February 1984. The Bachelor of Theology remains a central award which embodies the College’s mission to provide both theological education and ministerial preparation.


In keeping with our origins, the aims of the Sydney College of Divinity are:

  • to provide high quality, accredited theological education from undergraduate to graduate levels
  • to prepare leaders and ministers, both ordained and non-ordained, who are well qualified to build the church of the future
  • to encourage theological scholarship which is ecumenically sensitive and relevant to issues of culture and society in Australia and Oceania
  • to contribute to the public discussion of issues of faith and culture in Sydney and beyond
  • to promote the growth of our individual member institutions
  • to provide our teachers with the opportunity to develop their professional skills, supported by a community of Christian scholars
  • to prepare the next generation of Christian teachers and scholars


Because of our origins and our collegial aims, the Sydney College of Divinity has developed a distinctive ethos, whose features include:

  • a commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is preached and lived out within our Christian denominations
  • a respect for the different theological standpoints of our member institutions
  • a properly critical approach to theological reflection on our faith traditions and on the relationship between faith and culture
  • a willingness to work together and to celebrate our shared enterprise in prayer and liturgy
  • a readiness to contribute to College administration and its committee structures
  • a balance between central administration and the autonomy of member institutions

Educational philosophy

In order to achieve our aims, and in keeping with our ethos, the educational philosophy of the Sydney College of Divinity is characterised by our desire:

  • to articulate the Gospel in the contemporary context
  • to bring our different theological traditions into dialogue with the wider world of Christian scholarship
  • to respect the educational approaches of our member institutions, while preserving a collegial approach to doing theology
  • to maintain common academic standards across the College
  • to respect the multicultural diversity of our students and teachers
  • to provide both vocational and academic education for our students
  • to foster adult teaching and learning strategies
  • to provide flexible modes of teaching and learning, including distance education
  • to encourage interaction and sharing between staff and students of our different member institutions
  • to enable graduates to engage in further study and research, both within the Sydney College of Divinity and in other institutions of higher learning
  • to provide professional development for our teachers and administrators
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