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Graduate Certificate in Arts

Why study with us?

The Graduate Certificate in Arts (GCA) will equip students for effectiveness in their ministry within a church, school, hospital, or the wider community.

This qualification is offered with no specialisation OR a specialisation in one of:

  • Pastoral Leadership
  • Chaplaincy Studies, or
  • Youth and Family Ministry.

Students may continue their studies in the Master of Arts after successful completion of the GCA.

Key Information

Study Mode:
Mixed mode
Avondale Campus - Lake Macquarie
Full-time: 0.5 years, Part-time: Equivalent years
Course Code:

Course Details

Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Arts, graduates will be able to:
  • Critically engage with a body of knowledge in a way that demonstrates an advanced understanding and application of recent developments in Ministry Studies or Theological Studies.
  • Create evidence-based perspectives on specialised issues in Ministry Studies or Theological Studies by engaging the academic literature, evaluating alternative accounts and drawing reasoned conclusions;
  • Effectively disseminate research outcomes to a variety of audiences using highly developed communication skills;
  • evaluate and generate complex ideas and concepts that are grounded in professional practice using cognitive, technical and creative skills.

To qualify for admission, an applicant must have achieved:

  • An Australian Bachelor of Ministry and/or Theology or equivalent, or
  • an overseas ministry or theology qualification comparable to an Australian Bachelor's degree or higher.

Applicants opting for the Youth and Family Ministry or Chaplaincy specialisation may have completed a Bachelor in Chaplaincy with a major in Theology, or a Bachelor of Education or Teaching with a major in Religious Studies as approved by the Course Convenor.

In exceptional circumstances an applicant may be admitted based on qualifications deemed equivalent as assessed by the Course Convenor in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

This course has additional entry requirements which are listed below:

  1. A minimum of two years of ministry or chaplaincy experience and current (or recent) employment in the field.
  2. A written summary of ministerial and/or chaplaincy experience (whichever is relevant) and reasons for wanting to enter this course (250 words).

International Students

This course is available online to international students residing outside Australia. Students must be able to obtain an appropriate visa to visit Australia for the compulsory on-campus intensive study period. The course is not available to international students residing in Australia. For information regarding visas refer to

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose primary language is not English, must demonstrate English language proficiency through one of the following:

  • achieving an overall IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no sub-band less than 6.0, or
  • one of the other ways outlined in Appendix 2 of the Admission Policy (HE), or
  • documentary evidence of a prior qualification (or at least two years of tertiary study) conducted and assessed in English in a recognised country^ and completed within the last two years.

^Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, or the United States of America.

Advanced Standing

Applicants who have completed prior study may be eligible for advanced standing (credit recognition). Applicants should discuss their eligibility for advanced standing with the Admissions Team or the Course Convenor.

The Graduate Certificate in Arts (GCA) consists of four units and requires 24 credit points for completion. All units are worth six credit points unless otherwise stated.

  • This course is not offered full time.
  • Students generally complete two units per year over two years in a part-time program.
  • Not all units or all specialisations are available every year. Course Convenor guidance regarding units and unit availability is highly recommended.

The four units required to complete the course are selected as follows:

Non-Specialisation Award:

Choose any four units.

Specialisation Award:

Choose one of:

  1. Two units from the unit list below and two units from a specialisation; or
  2. One unit from the list below and three units from a specialisation; or
  3. No units from the list below and four units from a specialisation.
CMIN51100Graduate Studies in Biblical Spirituality
THBB56600Theology, Theory & Practice of Leadership for Ministry
CMIN52110Discipleship & Disciple-making - Meaning, Context & Application

Specialisation units must be chosen from the same list.

Specialisation lists:

Pastoral Leadership

THBB54100Perspectives on Luke-Acts
THBB56500Theology of Mission
THBB57000Theological Framework for Pastoral Leadership
CMIN53100Church Planting in Biblical & Contemporary Perspective
CMIN56110Mission into Pluralistic Societies

Chaplaincy Studies

CHPL41500Fundamentals of Counselling for Chaplains
CHPL45100Therapeutic Communication for Chaplains
CHPL45130Ethics, Diversity & Spiritual Integration for Chaplains
CMIN56500Clinical Pastoral Education 1
THBB56900Theological Framework for Chaplaincy Studies

Youth & Family Ministry

CMIN50300Advanced Lifespan Development for Ministry
CMIN56100Selected Issues in Youth Ministry
CMIN56400Youth Ministry in the Setting of Contemporary Culture
CMIN57000Selected Issues in Family Ministry
CMIN57600Intergenerational Family Ministry

To find out more about any of the units listed here, copy the unit code and then search for that unit here.

To view unit information, note the unit code and search for the unit in  Unit Outlines.

CMIN56500 Clinical Pastoral Education 1 includes 400 hours of approved clinical work. There is no work integrated learning requirement for any other units in this course.

Career Opportunities

The Graduate Certificate in Arts provides continuing career advancement for pastors and chaplains.

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