Foundation Studies

Foundation Studies


Foundation Studies for National Ordained Ministry are theological and general tertiary level studies to be completed before entering the Internship Studies Programme of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Students accepted for National Ordained Ministry training while they are completing their Foundation Studies are under the supervision of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. The choice of subjects in their degree needs to be approved annually and tailored to meet Foundation Studies requirements. Some additional papers may be required. There will also be some additional formational events each year outside the degree programme.

Students accepted by the National Assessment Workgroup or through the Personnel Workgroup should contact the Principal or the Dean of Studies prior to finalizing their course of studies each year.

Annual review

As soon as their academic results are available at the end of the year, Foundation Students should arrange for a transcript to be sent to the Dean of Studies together with a report on their year’s work, and their plans for the year ahead.

Some courses may not meet the requirements of the church and early consultation and guidance each year is essential.

Financial support

There may be some financial support available from the Church before the commencement of the internship studies programme, depending on the level of Trust Funds available. For further information, please contact the Registrar.

Subject Requirements

General tertiary studies

The equivalent of at least two years (240 credits) full-time tertiary study in a non-theological course. This may be vocational training to a significant level, in areas such as nursing, engineering, education, business or agriculture.  It may be part of a general “arts” degree including subjects such as history, philosophy, languages, science, sociology, family and cultural studies. Although this requirement is fairly general, and may modified having regard to a person’s life-experience and background in church leadership, it is important.

Theological degree

The subject areas which need to have been covered during the course of a candidate’s theology degree (whether at degree level or higher) are as follows:

Biblical Studies

Ordinands should be able to explore the Scriptures in the light of contemporary scholarship so they can ‘do theology’ with the people of God. This discipline reflects the importance we attach to the Bible as our authority and a means of grace. It includes the appropriate use of the critical tools of Biblical scholarship.  The minimum requirements for papers in this area are:

  • Introduction to Old Testament
  • Introduction to New Testament
  • At least two Stage 2 papers in biblical studies
Christian Thought and History

Ordinands should be able to appreciate the variety of ways in which the people of God have thought, written and lived out their lives as disciples. Their approach to doing theology should include both historical and systematic foundations and methodologies.

Church history provides an appreciation of the traditions in which we stand and to which we contribute and of the ways in which God has been at work among the people of God. Theology engages with issues of hermeneutics, epistemology, theology and philosophy from the basis of an informed understanding of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. The minimum requirements for papers in this area are:

  • Survey from the early church to the present day
  • The study of one period in greater depth
  • Pacific and New Zealand Christianity
  • Introduction to theology including theological method
  • Christology
  • Pneumatology
  • Ecclesiology (including church and sacraments
  • Theological ethics
Ministry in Church and Society

Because of the ministry focus of the Internship Studies Programme foundation students should not major in Pastoral theology in their foundational degree, but some pastoral theology and field education is desirable where this is offered. Students should include in their degree the following:

  • an introduction to pastoral theology
  • at least one level two pastoral theology paper
  • a paper on Maori language and/or culture (not a strict pre-requisite, though you are strongly encouraged to take this paper)

The attainment of the degree itself may have further requirements, depending on the provider.

On occasion, a requisite paper listed above is not being offered. In such cases, foundation students should be in contact with the Dean of Studies at the Knox Centre to discuss appropriate alternatives.