AQF Level 8 Award

The GradDipLead focuses on building leadership capacity for people involved in religious, non-profit and community focused enterprises.

Graduate Diploma of Leadership

The Graduate Diploma of Leadership (GradDipLead) is an AQF Level 8 award. It is designed for those possessing a three year undergraduate degree in the field of philosophy and religious studies and wish to pursue a further qualification an area of leadership focus as part of their continuing education for ministry.

The Graduate Diploma of Leadership focuses on building leadership capacity for people involved in a wide scope of religious, non-profit, community focused enterprises. Students may be working for a denominational based organisations in education, welfare, aged care, local church or other ministries requiring specific leadership training for ministry or mission.


Credit Points



1 year full-time or 3 years part-time

Fee Information

FEE-HELP is available to eligible students
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Study Terms

View study term and census dates

Award Specifications

View program and the specific regulations

An applicant for admission to candidature for the Graduate Diploma of Leadership shall:

  • hold a three year AQF 7 award in the field of philosophy and  religious studies (Australian Standard Classification of Education field 0917 – Philosophy and Religious Studies) from an accredited Australian tertiary institution; or
  • hold, from a university or other tertiary institution, qualifications approved by the Student Support and Administration Committee as equivalent to such an award.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this regulation the Student Support and Administration Committee may require an applicant to demonstrate fitness for admission as a candidate for this degree by carrying out such work and/or sitting for such examinations as the Student Support and Administration Committee may determine.

In exceptional cases an applicant may be admitted as a candidate for a Graduate Diploma of Leadership if the applicant submits evidence of other academic and professional attainments to the Student Support and Administration Committee.

No candidate for the award may be concurrently enrolled in any other undergraduate or postgraduate course within the Sydney College of Divinity or any other tertiary institution, unless approval has been granted by the Academic Board.

Applicants whose entry qualifications were obtained in an institution where English is not the language of instruction normally will be required to demonstrate competency in English by an IELTS (or equivalent) result of 7.0 in all bands of the test and may be required to attend such English language courses as prescribed by the Sydney College of Divinity.

The Graduate Diploma of Leadership requires the completion of 8 units (72 credit points) from 8500 and 9600 series units in the Sydney College of Divinity schedule of units.

The eight units shall include:

  • two compulsory units (18 cps):
    • P8570 Foundations of Christian Leadership
    • P8584 Non-Profit Governance for Ministry

If either of the two compulsory units have been completed in the award used for admission into the Graduate Diploma of Leadership, they are to be replaced with one or two elective units respectively 

  • two core units (18 cps) taken from the list of approved Master of Leadership core units
  • four elective units from the 8500 and 9600 series in the Sydney College of Divinity schedule of units (36 cps)

A specialisation comprises 4 units (36 cps) from a list of units approved by the Sydney College of Divinity Academic Board.

Graduates will have added specialised knowledge and skills in leadership to their theological education to enhance their work in the religious sector:


Graduates will possess:

  • an advanced level of theoretical and technical knowledge related to the practice of leadership particular to the management and governance of a complex religious, non-profit, ministry enterprise;
  • an advanced understanding of the principles of inquiry and methods applicable to leadership theory and their application to real-world ministry practice.


Graduates will demonstrate advanced, specialised cognitive and technical skills in leadership within a ministry-related body of knowledge, so that they are able independently to:

  • analyse critically, evaluate, and adapt information to complete a range of activities associated with leadership in a ministry related context;
  • analyse, generate and provide solutions to complex problems to guide the effective governance, management and operations of a religious, non-profit, community organization;
  • transmit knowledge, skills and ideas through coherent and sustained leadership to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

 Applications of Knowledge and Skills

Graduates will possess the ability to:

  • apply knowledge and skills in a way that demonstrates autonomy, well developed judgment, adaptability, and responsibility as leaders in religious, non-profit, community-focused enterprises;
  • plan and execute an advanced research or field-based project in an area of work-based leadership.

Credit and Recognised Prior Learning (RPL)

  • A candidate may seek credit for previous accredited study and or Recognised Prior Learning up to a maximum of 18 cps in the Graduate Diploma of Leadership.
  • Credit can be granted only from units at graduate level where the outcomes, content, demand hours and assessment are equivalent to those of existing SCD units.
  • Credit for Recognised Prior Learning can be granted subject to a successful application.

Articulation to other awards

Students are eligible to articulate to the Master of Leadership on completion of which students are required to surrender their Graduate Diploma.

The Graduate Diploma of Leadership is offered through the individual colleges and an application for enrolment must be made to the Registrar of the teaching institution. The registrar will be able to help you with any information regarding your study, including fees, units, mode of delivery and timetable.

A domestic Sydney College of Divinity student is designated as full-time if enrolled in three units (27 credit points) or more in a semester or part-time if enrolled in less than three units (27 credit points) per semester.

For any questions contact us at [email protected]

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