Explore full-time residential training

Our “gathered learning” ordination training holistically integrates contextual training, academic programmes, and the practice of spiritual disciplines – all within the supportive, challenging environment of a community of fellow students, tutors, staff, and our spouses and families.

As an ordinand at Trinity, you will:

  • Grow, laugh, pray, discuss, eat, and worship immersed in a learning community of passionate fellow disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • Participate in seminars as well as smaller tutor groups with tutors who will challenge you to understand the Bible with greater depth, and to apply that knowledge to minister effectively in the local church.
  • Commit right from the start of your time here to a context church – a local parish where you, as part of a small group of Trinity students, will help lead and serve the congregation, alongside an experienced vicar, giving you valuable, context-based experience.
  • Find that your spouse and your family are embraced into a community with strong support systems, including Connect for student spouses and Muddy Boots Day Nursery.
  • Grow in your practice of spiritual disciplines; use this training period to prioritise taking time to listen to God.
  • Make the most of this unique time of training and gain the space needed to reflect more deeply on the Bible, on your relationships with God and others, and on how to minister in the local church, in advance of the stress and requirements of full-time church leadership.
  • Are you a pioneer? Join a cohort of fellow Trinity pioneers to explore together the ways in which God is preparing you to reach those outside the walls of traditional church models.

We are here to help you as you work through this process of discerning the next steps to which God might be calling you – just email admissions@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 117 968 0254.

Studying at Trinity

Sunday: Students and their families worship at their local context church, where they are engaged in their church placement experience.

Monday: A study day, usually free from formal college commitments so that you have time to read, write, and reflect on what you’re learning.

Tuesday/Thursday: Weekday mornings we meet for Morning Prayer in the chapel. Our main lecture days are Tuesdays, with additional classes on Thursdays and Fridays, depending on the student’s study programme and particular module choices. Our School of Leadership meets on Thursday afternoons, as do the postgraduate research seminars.

Wednesday: Set aside for personal spiritual development, with set time for quiet, small group worship and support in tutor groups, as well as personal contemplation and prayer.

Friday: The day includes Communion together in the morning, before our ordinands meet in groups to discuss Anglican Story, Ethos and Practice. Independent students are invited to participate in a tutor-led independent reading group.

Context-based learning and experience are a key part of your training at Trinity and as a Bristol-based student, you will be immersed in a context church for the entire time you are with us. Your practical experiences of ministry will inform your academic assignments for classes on topics such as leadership, worship, mission and pastoral theology, and vice versa – it’s all part of the holistic nature of your training.

When you join the Trinity community, we will work with you to discern what experiences you need to gain to help you prepare well for the type of ministry to which God is calling you.

Based on our conversations with you, we will place you in a context church for the duration of your training. There you will serve alongside others from your pastoral group at Trinity—enhancing the ways in which you can learn together and support one another—and receive supervision and mentoring from an experienced church leader.

Your church placement is important not just for the hands-on leadership experience it gives you, but because it forms the context for your assessed learning. You can use your placement experience very intentionally in order to gain particular experiences you’ve not yet had in ministry; you can also gain the experience of serving in a church environment different from the type of church from which you’ve come. You choose your church context in conversation with Trinity tutors to determine what will best fit you, given your past experiences and your future calling.

We partner with a wide range of local churches to give you the best possible chance of exploring the type of ministry setting God may be calling you into, whether in villages, deprived neighbourhoods, suburban areas, or in the city centre. (Take a look at our partner churches.)

In addition to the time spent in your context church, you will undertake a short-term church placement in a local church to help you gain ministry experiences in a different context.

At the end of your first year of training (and second year if you’re training for three years) you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside a church leadership team full-time for four weeks.

Whether it’s leading Sunday services, conducting pastoral visits, helping with PCC meetings or running children’s holiday clubs, you’ll be immersed in the day-to-day running of a church.

To make sure you’re experiencing a breadth of ministry contexts and opportunities, we aim to place you in a different church than the one you’re a part of regularly. It’s usually somewhere local, although it doesn’t have to be, and you may be there with another Trinity student or you may be on your own.

Either way, we hope this will be a good chance for you to be challenged and grown through a new and possibly very different experience of church life, ministry and leadership.

All Trinity ordinands choose a 20- to 30- hour community placement to complete in their first year (in addition to a church placement that lasts for the duration of their programme).

Community placements help diversify your experiences of mission and ministry, while also helping you engage with people who are different from yourself, think theologically about what ministry looks like in a ‘secular’ context, and think about what role the church might play in partnership with other organisations. Community placements can be completed in a wide variety of contexts in Bristol or beyond.

Find out more about our pioneer cohort, which includes both residential and non-residential (dispersed) students.

Read more about our fees here. The Church of England offers funding for all its full-time ordinands through the provision of a series of grants for your tuition fees and living costs. The exact amounts will vary from person to person, depending on your financial situation and family responsibilities.

If you have further questions, just get in touch with our admissions team and they’ll be happy to talk with you about the financial implications of your training.


Certificate in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Three-year Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Graduate Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Postgraduate Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Master of Arts in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Modes of Study

Ordination Training

Theological Study (Independent)


Postgraduate research

Come and visit us

The best way to find out if we’re the right fit for you is to come and visit us. We have several Open Days and Open Afternoons during the course of a year. If those dates don’t work for you, don’t worry – we can arrange for you to visit another time. We look forward to meeting you!

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