Applications open soon

This online PgDip launches in September 2024. Register your interest and we’ll email you as soon as applications open.

Register interest now

Earn a postgraduate qualification in New Testament and Early Christianity, 100% online.

Join our world-class department of Divinity and Religious Studies online for this flexible postgraduate diploma (PgDip).

Undertake research-driven courses in advanced biblical studies with experts in ancient Judaism, New Testament, and Patristics, wherever you are in the world.

This PgDip provides an excellent foundation for research degrees, as well as continuing development for professionals seeking to enrich their knowledge.

Outstanding expertise

You’ll be joining an ancient UK university where Divinity has been taught for more than five centuries.

Today, we’re a major centre of Christian theological study, carrying out cutting-edge research in New Testament and Early Christianity that seeks to both advance the field and support faith communities.

Research excellence

We’re rated 1st in the UK for the quality of our research in Theology in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

1st in the UK for Theology and Religious Studies (Research Excellence Framework 2021)

Choose the University of Aberdeen for online Theology courses

1st in Scotland for Theology

We’re rated 1st in Scotland for Theology and 3rd in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2024.

25th in the world

We’re rated 25th in the world for Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies (QS World University Rankings 2024).

Over 525 years of excellence

Join a university founded in 1495, where Divinity has been taught for more than five centuries.

Who is this online PgDip in New Testament and Early Christianity for?

This distance-learning postgraduate diploma is ideal for anyone interested in studying: early Christianity, the New Testament, Theology, Divinity, biblical studies, church history, and patristics.

Academic development

This PgDip and its courses provide an essential foundation for further academic work in New Testament Studies or Patristic Studies.

Professional development

The PgDip and its courses are also ideal continuous professional development (CPD) for leaders in religious communities and professionals working in faith-based organisations, such as schools or charities.

You can study with us online from anywhere in the world, no student visa required.

By the end of this degree, you’ll be able to...

  • Read early Christian literature closely, including scripture, with an advanced knowledge of historical, literary, and thematic elements.
  • Assess the range and significance of various modes of scriptural interpretation in antiquity among Jews and Christians.
  • Explain the principal factors that gave rise to particular theological developments in early Christianity and their later trajectories.
  • Engage with significant scholarly debates in the field of New Testament studies and early Christianity to develop your own emergent, informed position.
  • Evaluate the relative merits of various approaches to interpreting early Christian literature.

What you’ll study

You can choose to study for a:

  • Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), or
  • exit early with a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits).

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance-learning postgraduate diploma in New Testament and Early Christianity is delivered flexibly, 100% online.

You can learn with us anywhere, no student visa required, and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

Teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of online resources available, including:

  • reading materials
  • seminars
  • discussion boards with your tutors and peers
  • access to hybrid postgraduate research seminars
  • access to our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Biblical and Classical Greek texts

Your studies will feature texts transmitted in Biblical and/or Classical Greek, in their original languages and in translation. In studying these texts, you can develop your applied language skills.

You do not need to have any previous training in these languages to join this PgDip. If you’re interested in additional language training while you study, introductory courses may be available at an additional cost.

Your tutors

This PgDip is delivered by our School of Divinity, History, Philosophy and Art History (DHPA).

You’ll learn from academics who are active researchers in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity.

Our Department of Theology is recognised internationally as one of the foremost research institutions in Theology.

Dr Katherine Hockey

Katherine is a Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen. She has published on ancient philosophy of emotion and 1 Peter.

Her current research interests include the Catholic epistles, emotion studies and the New Testament, and Christian identity construction.

Katherine is co-chair of the Later Epistles seminar of the British New Testament Society, and she is the Coordinator for PgDip New Testament and Early Christianity.

View Katherine’s profile

Reverend Professor John Behr

John is Regius Chair in Humanity at the University of Aberdeen. He has written a wide range of books on Patristics as well as the Gospel of John.

His current research interests include scriptural interpretation and anthropology, questions of life and death, and the hermeneutics of reading texts.

John serves on a number of editorial boards of the International Journal of Orthodox Theology.

View John’s profile

Professor Grant Macaskill

Grant Macaskill is the Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen.

He has published on a wide range of historical and theological topics, including union with Christ in the New Testament, and autism and theology. He has published a book on Enochic literature in ancient Jewish and Christian traditions.

Grant is joint editor of Brill’s Studia in Veteris Testamenti Pseudepigrapha.

View Grant’s profile

Dr J. Thomas Hewitt

J. Thomas is a Lecturer in Early Judaism and Christian Origins at the University of Aberdeen. He has published on early Jewish messianism and the Pauline epistles.

His current research interests include ancient scriptural interpretation, messianism among Jews and Christians, and the work of the ascended Christ in the New Testament.

J. Thomas is co-chair of the Ancient Judaism and Christianity seminar of the British New Testament Society, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Biblical Literature.

View J. Thomas’ profile

Dr Logan Williams

Logan is the Kirby Laing Research Fellow in New Testament. He has published on ritual purity and eschatology in the Gospel of Mark, and christology and ethics in Galatians.

His current research explores the relationship between ritual and human transformation in Jewish and Christian antiquity.

Logan was winner of the 2022 Paul J. Achtemeier Award for New Testament Scholarship.

View Logan’s profile

This degree is assessed entirely online via:

  • research essays
  • critical book reviews
  • reflective-learning journals
  • exegetical journals
  • creative assessments, eg, poster presentations.

Hours for taught courses

To study part-time, we recommend you take no more than 30 credits per term.

30 credits

  • Around 300 hours of study and assessment time to complete.
  • You’ll study 15 – 20 hours per week per term, plus more at assessment times.

This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes.

You can largely set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. Your learning materials are available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.

Activities at fixed times

There will be some activities scheduled at a fixed time, such as online seminars with your tutor and assessments with deadlines. But otherwise, you can access and work through the course at your convenience.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your coordinator via email, MyAberdeen and Microsoft Teams. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.

We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.

When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.

But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.

Your most important commitment will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.

Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your studies each week:

  • Be realistic
  • Create a weekly schedule as a guide

If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.

We’re a member of the Access scheme run by the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL).

Access study spaces, books and journals in your area

The SCONUL Access scheme allows you, as a University of Aberdeen student, to access books and resources at university libraries across the UK and Ireland, or visit them for a quiet place to study.

You’ll be able to use study spaces, books and journals at over 150 university libraries which belong to the scheme.

Find out about the SCONUL Access scheme for libraries.

Your support team

Our friendly team are here to answer any queries you have before, during and after your studies.

Dr Katherine Hockey

Katherine is the degree coordinator. She’ll be on hand to answer any questions about degree content before you start and to help you throughout your studies.

Kate Smith

Kate is part of the School’s support team. She’ll be there throughout your studies to answer any of your non-academic queries.

Get in touch

The online education team is here to answer any questions you have right now about this qualification, or about studying online.

Ask us a question

Where this will take you

Your PgDip qualification

On successful completion of this programme, you’ll earn a respected PgDip in New Testament and Early Christianity from the University of Aberdeen, one of the UK’s six ancient universities.

You’ll receive exactly the same qualification online as you would on campus. Your PgDip title will not mention online or distance learning.

Towards a Masters in Theology 

You’ll earn 120 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this PgDip.

You can use these credits towards our Masters in Theology (180 credits), which may also serve as preparation to undertake a PhD.


All of the courses that are part of this PgDip are ideal continuing professional development (CPD) courses for those working in:

Faith communities

  • including ministers, priests, and volunteers in churches or faith-based organisations.

Educational settings

  • including teachers providing religious and moral education in non-denominational schools, and teachers in private faith-based schools.

Lifelong career support

Our career support doesn’t stop when you graduate.

You have access to our free careers service while you study, and beyond.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

Fees and funding

The fee quoted above is based on you starting your studies with us in the 2024/25 academic year.

We have confirmed that our fees will rise by 5% for the 2025/26 academic year. Our indicative cost includes a 5% fee rise each year.

Pay as you go

This is a pay-as-you-go degree.

You do not have to pay the full tuition fee upfront.

You can spread the cost and pay as you go, term by term.

How it works

  • You decide how many credits to study for each term.
  • At the start of term, you pay only for the credits you’re taking that term.
  • This gives you control over your costs and workload for each term of your degree.

Your personalised cost breakdown

Use the degree scheduler to plan your studies and see your cost breakdown, term by term.

Learning resources

Access to all the books and resources you need are included in your tuition fee. They’ll be made available to you online and you do not have to buy your own copies.


You may wish to set aside a small budget for printing, depending on how you like to work.

There are several ways you may be able to get help funding your studies:

Find out more about funding options.

Student card

All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.

20% Alumni discount

You’re entitled to 20% off our postgraduate taught degrees and short courses if you have a degree from the University of Aberdeen. View Alumni discount details.

How discounts work

Discounts are applied during your application process. You can only use one discount per application.

Entry requirements


  • 2:1 UK honours degree in a relevant discipline, or
  • equivalent qualifications (normally a 3.0 GPA in North America).

You’re also welcome to apply if you have:

  • other relevant qualifications, and
  • professional experience with supportive references.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

See the minimum entry requirements above. If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check equivalent qualifications from your country.

Visa requirements

You do not need a student visa to study online with us.

English language requirements

Teaching is delivered in English.

If English is not your first language, use our English requirements checklist to see if you need to provide evidence of your English language skills when you apply.

English language tests and scores

If you do need to provide English language test scores, these are the tests and minimum scores we accept.

These are our Postgraduate Higher requirements.

IELTS Academic, IELTS UKVI Academic, and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)

  • 6.5 overall
  • 5.5 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition

  • 90 overall
  • 17 for listening
  • 21 for reading
  • 20 for speaking
  • 21 for writing
  • TOEFL DI code is 0818

Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency

  • 176 overall
  • 162 for listening and speaking
  • 169 for reading and writing

LanguageCert Academic/LanguageCert Academic SELT

  • 70 overall
  • 60 for listening and speaking
  • 65 for reading and writing

LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken) – Online / In-centre

  • Overall High Pass
  • 33 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 38 for writing

Oxford ELLT Digital – English Language Level Test Online

  • 7.0 overall
  • 5.0 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

PTE Academic (online test not accepted)

  • 62 overall
  • 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing

For more information about language qualifications see our English Language Requirements page.

You will need access to:

A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

Most teaching materials are smartphone- and tablet-friendly. But we recommend a proper laptop or desktop for completing assignments comfortably.

Reliable internet access

We recommend:

  • a wired connection
  • a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps so you can take part fully in live sessions.

Speakers or headphones

  • We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
  • A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one for some interactive sessions.


We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.

If your course requires specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

See our detailed IT requirements for more information.

NEW: Try our degree scheduler

Choose your courses

Choose your courses

See all the courses that are part of this degree and choose what you want to study.

Manage your study schedule

Manage your study schedule

Control the pace and cost of your degree. Decide how much you want to study each term.

Save to your wishlist

Save to your wishlist

Save your schedule to your wishlist so you can view and edit anytime.

Customise your degree

Postgraduate Diploma

120 credits


This indicative cost is based on 120 credits of study over two years, starting in September 2024.

Apply for this programme

Start month
September or January

This indicative cost is based on 120 credits of study over two years, starting in September 2024.

Register your interest
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