There are two parallel paths to complete:
Step 1: Initial Application
Before applying to become a candidate, you will need to be a communicant member of your church for at least 6 months.
To begin the process of becoming a candidate, you will need to fill out an application form and submit it to the Session (the elders) of your church. You can download that form here.
For help on completing the form, please see the Candidate Guidelines. The minister of your church may also be able to help you with this stage of the process.
The form used by session for your evaluation can be downloaded here.
Step 2: Presbytery and the Candidates’ Review Panel
Once Session has approved your application, it will be sent to the Presbytery, who will then meet with you.
If the Presbytery decides to proceed with your application, it will be passed on to the Candidates’ Review Panel (CRP). The Candidates’ Review Panel will contact you to explain the process and organise an interview date. The Candidates’ Review Panel meets four times a year.
Prior to your interview with the Candidates’ Review Panel, you will be required to complete a psychological assessment, which is paid for by Christ College. During the Candidates’ Review Panel interview, you will be able to view this assessment.
Following the interview, the Candidates’ Review Panel will send a report back to your Presbytery. Presbytery will then make a decision regarding your application to become a candidate. If approved, you will be officially recognised as a candidate of the Presbyterian Church of Australian in NSW.
Step 3: Yearly Assessment of Candidature
Each year your candidature is re-assessed by your Presbytery, and is either sustained (continued), or is discontinued.
Step 4: Licensing and Ordination
Once you complete your theological study (see below), you will receive an Exit Certificate, which is presented at our annual Graduation Ceremony.
Upon receipt of your Exit Certificate, your Presbytery will conduct your Trials for License – you will be asked to lead a service, preach a sermon and undergo an interview. Successful completion of your Trials for License enables you to be licensed in the Presbyterian Church of Australia making you eligible for a call to a congregation at which point you will be ordained.
More information on the details of this process can be found in The Code of the Presbyterian Church of Australia (NSW), available here, in parts I & II, section 7, “Candidates for the Ministry”.
Course of Training
Alongside your application through your church, you will need to complete theological study (called the “Course of Training”) at Christ College in order to receive your Exit Certificate. The Course of Training is normally four-years full-time study and is a comprehensive program designed to equip you for pastoral leadership.
A complete Course of Training involves studying Australia College of Theology awards such as a Master of Divinity/Graduate Diploma of Ministry combined course for those who have previously completed an undergraduate degree, and a Bachelor of Theology/Bachelor of Ministry combined degree for those who have no previous tertiary qualifications. To see what the course of study looks like on this pathway, see our Course of Training Grid.
Previous theological study completed at other Theological Colleges (i.e. Moore or SMBC) – usually requires 1 or 2 years additional study at Christ College to complete the remaining Course of Training units. Most of your existing study can be used as credit towards the Presbyterian Course of Training, and can be applied for by completing a Cross Credits Form.
The list of cross credits can only be approved once you become a candidate. Please be aware that the list of required units may vary slightly from year to year. We can complete a preliminary list prior to you becoming a candidate, but this can only be finalised once your application for candidature is successful. Once finalised, any changes will be assessed to ensure that there is no disadvantage to existing candidates.
To apply for a course at Christ College, please start at our application page.
Field Education (FES)
As part of your theological training, you will be enrolled in our Field Education Scheme (FES). This puts you alongside a church minister where you receive training and feedback on your progress in the context of a local church. Most candidates are required to complete at least 2 years FES as part of their Course of Training.
Involvement in the College Community
At Christ College, we expect our candidates to be committed to our College community. This includes attendance at Chapel on Wednesdays and participation in yearly college missions. In addition to this, we expect our candidates to fulfil other obligations such as completing library duty and working bee days, and attending our Graduation Ceremony each year.
Financial assistance for candidates varies from year to year. Please contact our Bursar for more information on what is currently available.
Eligible students can pay for tuition fees through FEE-HELP.
Austudy may also be available for eligible students. For Austudy eligibility, please see the relevant sections of the Austudy website.