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2 Years



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Revd Dr Ashley Beck
Revd Dr Ashley Beck

Senior Lecturer - Pastoral Ministry
020 8240 2358

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The degree is designed to give students who are in formation for ordained ministry in the Church the basic theological skills for pastoral ministry in parishes and other settings. 

Why study Pastoral Ministry?

The Pastoral Ministry FdA is a partnership programme with the Permanent Diaconate Formation Programme for the dioceses of Southwark, Westminster, Cardiff, Arundel and Brighton, Brentwood, East Anglia, Northampton and Plymouth, and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Why St Mary's?

As indicated already, some of our students on the Foundation degree in Pastoral Ministry are studying for this as a major part of their formation as permanent deacons in the Roman Catholic Church. Since 2009 St Mary’s has been linked to the Diaconate Formation programme for nine dioceses in England and Wales (Southwark, Westminster, Cardiff, Arundel and Brighton, Brentwood, East Anglia, Northampton, Plymouth and Portsmouth), which currently numbers around 45 students.

The Diaconate Formation programme is administered by diocesan directors appointed by the bishops and by a Dean of Studies. Most of the teaching takes place in monthly formation days at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh (near Guildford) together with sessions that the students have with local mentors, blended online learning and residential weekends. The programme is the largest diaconate training course in the British Isles and one of the largest clerical formation communities.

The overall academic programme is three and a half years long. Students study for the Foundation degree in their first two years; from the academic year 2010-2011 those in the third year of formation who have gained this Foundation degree will be studying for level 3 modules from St Mary’s honours degree in Theology and Religious Studies and will be able to use these to progress to a BA Theology.

Those who feel called to the permanent diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church should contact their local parish priest.

Fr Ashley Beck (

Dean of Studies, PDFP, Senior Lecturer at St Mary’s

Key facts

  • The degree is taught in formation days on Saturdays (roughly every three weeks) at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh (near Guildford).
  • Part-time over two years including 11 formation days and two residential weekends each year.
  • After completing the Foundation degree students normally enroll for their third year of formation on the MA in Theology degree.

Course content

Year one

  • Foundations for the Study of Scripture 
  • Foundations for the Study of Theology 
  • Foundations in Religious Studies 
  • Foundations of Philosophy and Moral Theology 
  • Foundations of the Sacraments and Liturgy 
  • The Diaconate in the Context of the Threefold Ministry 

Year two

  • Christian Spirituality 
  • Ecclesiology, Church History and Canon Law 
  • Liturgy and the Catechumenate 
  • Moral Theology and the Common Good 
  • Scripture Two 
  • The Trinity and the Person of Jesus Christ 
Please refer to the programme specification document for a summary of the programme.

Career opportunities

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

The degree is taught in formation days on Saturdays (roughly every three weeks) at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh (near Guildford) and residential weekends elsewhere, consisting of lectures and seminars, alongside prayer and corporate worship. Local one-to-one tuition also takes place between formation days.

Assessment methods

Year One (Level 4)

In work for all modules in year one students will be introduced to the basic theory and practice of preaching, with practical work on posture, voice production and microphone use. The relationship will be explored between preaching and the various areas of pastoral ministry. There will be preliminary workshops concentrating on the basics of preaching technique.

Year Two (Level 5)

In all the modules of Level 5, work will be done on the continuing development of preaching skills as the student grows in theological confidence. This will focus primarily on preaching at Sunday celebrations, but also on reflections given during the week. Specific work will be done on different preaching techniques at different types of Eucharistic celebration, and on the demands of different church buildings. At the end of the second year, assessment will include some written work under examination conditions


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Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

  • Home/EU: coming soon
  • International: coming soon

2019/20 fees

  • Home/EU: coming soon
  • International: £11,750

Information about tuition fees, student loans and funding your studies can be found within our fees and funding section.

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2019 or 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken. For further information about additional costs please contact


A range of scholarships and bursaries are available to new foundation students. This includes:

Further information

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