Study Options

Types of units

While it is common for multiple methods of delivery and types of technology to be utilised in teaching a single unit, the following definitions are helpful in categorising units.

The types of units delivered are:

  • Regular
  • Intensive
  • Extensive
  • Online
  • Independent Study
  • Independent Guided Study (IGS)
  • Research Project
  • Research Essay


Regular units are delivered face-to-face and require weekly attendance throughout a semester.


The usual semester-length course unit is offered over a one or two week period, either during term or in the summer and/or winter academic breaks. It is still a semester course and the student has the same time frame of a normal semester-long program to complete assessment tasks. Faculty are available for consultation following the intensive.


The usual semester-length course unit is offered over a number of days spread across a semester, e.g. five individual days (say, Mondays) or two to three weekends.  It is still a semester course and the student has the same time frame of a normal semester-long program to complete assessment tasks.  Faculty are available for consultation following the extensive.


These units are delivered through the Learning Management System (LMS) of the College.

Independent Study mode

When a unit from the Units of Study is not offered in the semester in which the student wishes to take it, the student, by arrangement with the lecturer, may study the unit in independent reading mode. It is essentially a reading course with some individual, face-to-face contact with the lecturer arranged at mutually convenient times. Though fewer students are now pursuing units by independent study mode because of the large number of units available by distance and online, it may still be a study option for some.

Independent Guided Study mode

This course unit enables students with initiative and creativity to pursue ideas and areas of interest in the subject area. It affords the student an opportunity to continue to develop independent research and study skills.  The student, in consultation with the College Registrar/Academic Dean, arranges with a suitably qualified supervisor/ lecturer a course unit outline including content, outcomes, assessment and reading list and completes the unit in the normal time frame. The Independent Guided Study (IGS) mode should not be confused with units studied as Independent Study mode (see above). Up to 18 credit points may be taken in the IGS mode.

Research Project

The Research Project builds on the theological background, capacity and interests of a student and enables her or him to pursue broad research, often of a survey nature, into an area or topic within a discipline or across disciplines.  This research cannot usually be done within the structures of individual coursework units or the focused study of a particular topic.

Research Essay

The Research Essay is worth 18 credit points and is 10,000 – 12,000 words in length. The student is assisted in the preparation of the essay by a supervisor appointed by the College in which the student is enrolled.  Approval for the research long essay topic is obtained from the Sydney College of Divinity Research Committee and, where applicable, may require clearance by the Ethics Committee.  The Research Essay is examined by two examiners one of whom is normally from outside the College where the student is enrolled.  The supervisor is not eligible to be an examiner.

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