What is an ‘independent’ student at Trinity?

Our independent students are those Trinity students not currently training for ordination in the Church of England, but seeking theological education for a wide variety of reasons and vocational goals.

Unlike our ordinands, as an independent student, you can choose all your own modules, crafting a programme of study that fits your needs and interests. Our theology programmes include the Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Graduate Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, Master of Arts, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy. Our programmes are accredited by the Universities of Durham and Aberdeen. To find out more, click on an option below.

Full-time independent students have the option to be connected with church placement experiences, pastoral groups (smaller groups of students who meet weekly with a designated Trinity tutor), and times set aside for practicing spiritual disciplines in our wider community. [What can you gain from studying in the Trinity community?]

Our independent students also have the option to meet weekly on Friday mornings in an ‘independent hub’ group facilitated by Tutor in New Testament Dr Jamie Davies and Tutor in Christian Doctrine Dr Justin Stratis for encouragement, support, and ongoing book discussions. Recent discussions have included Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship and The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr.

In our wider community, an independent student is selected each year to participate in our Student Exec, and Trinity Tutor in New Testament Dr Jamie Davies serves as Tutor for Independent Students. Both the exec rep and tutor act as liaisons to represent our independent students in the college leadership, and are available to hear any concerns, questions, or ideas.

To request a prospectus, schedule a visit, or if you have any questions about how what we offer might fit your situation and needs, please email admissions@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk. Click here to find out more about our fees and funding.

 

Why study theology if you aren't becoming a vicar?

Our independent students join the Trinity community to study theology for a wide range of reasons that include:

  • Church leadership outside of the Church of England. We work in partnership with Bristol Baptist College and with local non-denominational churches, and our community includes students and tutors from a mix of backgrounds. 
  • Those who want to teach RE, Bible, or theology at the primary, secondary, or tertiary levels. Some of our current independent students are preparing to teach RE in secondary schools, while others are accessing our postgraduate research MA and PhD options to prepare themselves to teach at university level. 
  • Lay leadership in the Church of EnglandWe will offer you a robust theological education as you prepare to teach, preach, work with children and youth, and engage in mission through your church. 
  • Mission work. Perhaps God is asking you to serve him somewhere outside the UK, perhaps he is calling you to come alongside those in need within the UK. As you prepare to engage with the practical and spiritual needs of others, a strong theological education will be foundational to all you do.
  • Other! Some of our independent students have goals to become human rights activists, chaplains, or some join us simply out of a desire to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible as followers of Jesus Christ. Time spent gaining a deeper understanding of how to read your Bible and what it means to follow Jesus Christ in today’s world will never be wasted.  

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Train for ordination in the Church of England by coming to Bristol for six block weeks a year, remaining embedded in your local context, and participating in weekly virtual seminars and pastoral groups with your cohort. (2:31)   To request a prospectus, arrange a visit, or ask questions about how what we offer might best […]