Explore non-residential (dispersed) learning

Through dispersed learning, you can live anywhere in the country yet still benefit from studying with us and being part of our communnity.

Studying at Trinity

Our dispersed learners can complete the Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission in two years or the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Theology, Ministry and Mission in three years, both accredited by Durham University.

For further information about dispersed learning contact admissions@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk or 0117 968 0254.

Dispersed learning students attend college for six block weeks during the academic year, during which you are fully immersed in the Trinity community, eating, worshipping and studying together, socialising, cementing friendships and having fun. You stay in accommodation on-site, and have your own single study bedroom. All meals are provided while you’re at college to allow you to focus on your studies.

Block weeks start at lunchtime on Monday (although you’re welcome to arrive on Sunday evening), and end at lunchtime on Friday to give you time to travel and to keep Sundays free for your context commitments. Our students find that this timetable fits well around family life – it enables you to spend weekends with your family and attend your usual church without disruption.

The first block week is in September, at the start of the academic year, and is a welcome week with some teaching. There are four other teaching block weeks. The sixth block week in May is a retreat/formation week.

During block weeks, we make time for reflection and build community within our DL cohorts.

If you’re on Instagram, have a look at our DL takeover in our highlights to get a flavour of what block weeks look like.

During the rest of the year your time is organised as follows:
  • Two-and-a-half days in personal study a week, plus half a day via Zoom in seminars with your tutor group.
  • Two days plus Sundays in context which includes supervision time with your church supervisor. Clear expectations are given to supervisors in relation to your engagement in context.
  • One day of rest from the programme.

The balance of study and time spent in context is designed to facilitate a high quality rigorous academic programme integrated with contextual engagement. 

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, whether in your local area or beyond. As part of this experience, you will engage in theological reflection on pastoral issues that might arise during the placement.

During the weeks between block weeks, students log into a weekly virtual tutor group and seminar.

You will use our video conferencing facility or other virtual means to connect with your cohort and tutors. This time offers additional support for learning in context and formation. Students who are local may choose to attend these sessions in person.

Close integration between your context and the college is a priority, building on Trinity’s expertise in contextual training.

We stay in regular contact with our dispersed learners in their context and closely liaise with context supervisors. The college offers support and training for the supervisors who facilitate your engagement in context, and supervisors are aware of your academic modules and assignments in order to help you integrate theory and practice in supervision sessions. Such integration will also be a strong theme of the seminars at college, as our tutors ensure that you relate your studies to your ministry.

Yes! We have recently introduced a part-time DL programme, which still enables you to access all the advantages of the full-time DL programme, complete with block weeks and online sessions. It normally takes three years to complete a part-time ordination programme as a DL, earning 80 credits a year.

Each year you will come to Trinity for four block weeks which are spaced throughout the year. For the rest of the year you will take part in weekly virtual tutor groups. You will also have online teaching on some Wednesday afternoons.

Find out more about our pioneer cohort, which includes both residential and non-residential/dispersed students.
You can 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.

Trinity College Bristol Icon Quote
Nigel, second year DL

With our DL family, we go through everything together. It is a true community where everything is shared, and everyone is loved. I am in no doubt that these friendships will last throughout our ministries as we continue to offer each other support.


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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