NZ Diploma in Christian Studies
(Theological Studies) Level 5

NZ Diploma in Christian Studies (Theological Studies) Level 5

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the Bible and theology while gaining experience in ministry? That's what this programme is all about. The NZ Diploma in Christian Studies (Theological Studies) (Level 5) (NZDipCS) is a one-year full-time (or two-year part-time) programme that will give you the knowledge and skills needed to make a positive impact in your church, whānau, community or faith-based organisation. You will grow spiritually and develop your leadership skills through study and working in ministry. Course content is taught over six, week-long block courses throughout the year, held at Pathways Bible College in Pāpāmoa Beach, Tauranga.

This qualification can also lead on to our NZ Diploma in Christian Studies (Christian Leadership) (Level 6). Join us today for a life-changing journey of spiritual growth and service to your community.

What will I be studying?

You will complete the following core subjects plus an elective (Negotiated Ministry Practice) in your chosen area of Christian service.

Supervised Ministry Training (Semester One)

Bring your biblical and theological knowledge together with ministry experience through an internship (practical work placement). With 16 hours of supervised work experience each week, this module provides an invaluable opportunity to learn through experience and helps build ministry skills, leadership ability and a strong work ethic.

Extended Supervised Ministry Training (Semester Two)

This module builds on the insights and understanding accumulated in the Supervised Ministry Training module (Semester One) and is designed to equip you with the most relevant biblical, theological, and ministry-related knowledge.

Negotiated Ministry Practice

This elective lets you focus on an area you are passionate about. Choose from the following topics: Biblical Worship, Christian Camping, Christian Communication, Ministry with Children, Missions or Youth Ministry.

Christian History

Understanding the past helps us better understand the present. Dive into the history of Christianity and gain insight into its key figures, events, and milestones. Christianity's rich history has been shaped by many influential figures and events over the past two millennia. Examining the religious, social, and political contexts of the past deepens your theology, helping you better understand how Christianity has been shaped over time and has itself influenced history.

Interpreting the Bible

Learn how to understand the Bible better. This module will teach you how to interpret the Bible critically, considering its historical, literary, theological and contextual elements. Learning to interpret the Bible better allows you to apply its teachings to your faith and ministry.

Biblical Survey

Get the "big picture" of the Bible. Learn the metanarrative of scripture by exploring the Old and New Testaments in separate modules, looking at their themes, structure and purpose.

Old Testament Survey
Immerse yourself in the story of God's love for humanity, his plan of salvation enacted through his covenant people and the foundation laid that will eventually lead to Jesus. You will observe key events and the lives of key figures, as well as the political and historical framework in which they lived.

New Testament Survey
Dig into the story of Jesus and beyond. Learn how Jesus serves as the climax of the biblical story, by exploring the major themes and events of the Gospels, Paul's life and writings, and the rest of this world-changing text.


Learn the fundamentals of Christian theology, from the Trinity to eschatology, and how these topics matter in the real world. This course also includes a module exploring theology from a Māori perspective.

Systematic Theology 1: God, Humanity and the World
Learn theological foundations for thinking God, humanity and the world. Topics in this module include revelation, Trinity, creation, the imago Dei and sin.

Systematic Theology 2: Christ, Spirit and the Church
Build upon the previous module, by exploring Christ, Spirit and the church. Topics covered include Christ (Christology), the Holy Spirit (pneumatology), atonement, the church (ecclesiology) and eschatology.

Theology in the Context of Aotearoa
Develop an understanding of Christian faith and practice from a Māori perspective, learning the significance of Atua, whenua and tāngata within this indigenous framework. This course provides students the opportunity to engage with a deeper understanding through participation in a noho marae, being immersed in a Māori context through being hosted and taught by local iwi.

The Life of Christ: Living By Faith

This course, taught in three modules, examines how to follow in the way of Jesus through examination of the Gospels, the book of James and personal spiritual formation.

The Life of Christ through the Gospels
Examine Jesus' life and ministry with the Gospels as your guide. Jesus was a real person who showed love, kindness, mercy and compassion. Looking at the life of Jesus enables us to understand who he was and what he did, and how to engage in relationship with the Son of God.

James: Faith in Action
Study in-depth the book of James, exploring how belief shapes behaviour. This highly practical book encourages us not just to profess a faith in Jesus, but to live in the way of Jesus. It serves as a reminder for modern-day Christians to live out their faith in everyday life.

Spiritual Formation
Cultivate Christlikeness by incorporating rhythms of prayer, worship and spiritual disciplines drawn from the rich tradition of Christian spirituality. This module will take you on a journey of self-discovery, learning how you best connect with God.

Happy graduate student of Pathways Bible College

“My year at Pathways has been one I will not forget. I have gained so much more than the Bible knowledge that I signed up for. I have grown within myself and my faith.”

– Elizabeth Wood, Pathways College Graduate 2022 (Level 5) and studying NZ Diploma Christian Studies (Christian Leadership) (Level 6) with Pathways College in 2023

What can this course lead to?

A Pathways diploma can be a stepping stone to a full degree in Theology. You can cross-credit parts of your Pathways NZ Diploma in Christian Studies into Carey's Bachelor of Applied Theology, Bachelor of Theology at Otago University or Laidlaw College's Bachelor of Theology.

Pathways is pleased to be affiliated with these three leading education providers of Theological Studies in Aotearoa New Zealand.


Students each have two mentors. Instead of walking this journey alone, having mentors allows you to process your learning with a wise friend, someone who knows your life and ministry circumstances well, and who can model Christian living to you up close.

In order to achieve this goal of helping you become more like Jesus, there are two different kinds of mentors we require you to meet with on a regular basis:

Internship Mentor

This mentor shows you the ropes of your chosen ministry placement, coaches you in performing well in your ministry roles and helps you discern your giftings for ministry.

Personal Mentor

This mentor is primarily concerned with your spiritual and personal development, how your relationship with God is developing, how your life is going, and supporting you with your pastoral needs.

In addition, academic support is provided by the Pathways College Academic Management Team to provide guidance and support when it comes to meeting academic requirements such as assignment quality, deadlines and any matters relating to academic progress.

Entry Criteria

Academic Requirements

Applicants must be 16 or older by the start date of the qualification they are applying for, and have successfully completed one of the following:

  • NCEA level 2 or higher, or

  • A national or overseas qualification equivalent to or higher than NCEA level 2, or

  • A New Zealand Diploma at level 4 or above, or

  • The Pathways College Internship Preparatory Programme.

International Students

In addition to the above, international students must:

  • Be 18 or older by the start date of the qualification they are applying for, and

  • Meet the minimum English language requirement, which is an Academic IELTS score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5, or its equivalent.

For more information about applying to study at Pathways College as an International Student, please contact the Pathways College office.

Support from your Church / Ministry Placement Organisation

In addition to the academic requirements for entry into the NZ Diploma in Christian Studies (Theological Studies) (Level 5), applicants must also provide evidence that they have the support of a placement church or para-church or mission. This is necessary because without this support a student will not be able to meet the internship requirements of their study at Pathways. Typically completion of the ‘Internship Placement Form’ by the placement leader at the time of enrolment is sufficient evidence. We will contact the applicant if further information is required.

If you don't have a potential placement organisation, please contact us. We have a lot of partner organisations we could may be able to connect you with.

Enrolment:  Placement and Referee Forms

If you are ready to start your enrolment process, scroll to the bottom of this page and select the Enrol Now button

Note that while you can Save and Continue your enrolment application, having a Placement Form and two Referee Forms completed by your contacts before you apply is a good idea.

This Form can be used for both Placements and Referees.  Please share this link with your contacts to complete: Placement and Referee Forms  

Other Documentation

As part of the application process, all applicants must provide a copy of their Passport or Birth Certificate, verified by a Justice of the Peace. Find a Justice of the Peace near you by visiting

Special Entry

New Zealand applicants who do not meet the standard entry requirements may apply for Special Entry. This considers a person’s life experiences and employment history to determine their suitability to study at diploma level 5 or above. Students seeking special entry:

  • Must be over the age of 20, and

  • Must submit a Curriculum Vitae, or equivalent, that includes work history, or

  • Provide a written reference and suitable recommendation from a past or current employer outlining work completed (minimum three months employment), or

  • Provide evidence of prior learning that indicates an ability to study at Diploma level 5.

Police Vetting

Consistent with the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014, all applicants must undergo a Police Vetting check as part of the enrolment process. Admission into the programme is subject to a satisfactory outcome of this check. With their enrolment, applicants will need to submit a signed copy of the Police Vetting Service Request & Consent Form, along with one form of ID from each of the following lists.

Primary ID (select one):

  • Passport (NZ or Overseas)

  • NZ Firearms Licence

  • NZ Full Birth Certificate (issued during or after 1998)

  • NZ Citizenship Certificate

  • NZ Refugee Travel Document

  • NZ Emergency Travel Document

  • NZ Certificate of Identity

Secondary ID (select one):

  • NZ Driver's Licence

  • 18+ Card

  • NZ Full Birth Certificate (issued before 1998)

  • Community Services Card

  • SuperGold Card

  • NZ Employee Photo ID card

  • NZ Student Photo ID card

  • Inland Revenue Number

  • NZ issued utility bill (issued not more than six months prior)

  • NZ Teacher's Registration Certificate

  • NZ Electoral Roll Record

  • International Driving Permit

Happy graduate student of Pathways Bible College

“My highlights of studying with Pathways during 2022 have been the amazing community that has been built within block courses and classes; these have not only produced lifelong friendships but also accountability within our learning to be true to the word of God. This year has been so special.”

– Jonathan Michael, husband, father, intern at Gateways Christian Fellowship, Palmerston North and Pathways College Graduate 2022

Fee Information

2024 Fees (see notes below)

NZ Diploma in Christian Studies (Theological Studies) Level 5 – 120 Credits







Student Course Costs






Other Fees (apply to all programmes)



Application for Enrolment Fee (Non-refundable, applies to new students only)


Application Processing for Recognised Prior Learning/Credit Transfer


Replacement Diploma or Transcript


Replacement Student ID Card



  1. All prices include GST.

  2. Fees are subject to change without notification.

  3. The fees for the Level 5 and 6 diploma courses include the cost of accommodation and food during the intensive block-course weeks. Incidental costs associated with study such as books, travel, stationery, accommodation during your ministry placement, or other costs relating to your particular ministry placement are not included in this fee schedule.

  4. The International Student fees for students enrolled in the Level 5 and 6 diploma courses do not include airport transfers, costs associated with visa applications, insurances and other associated travel expenses. These are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Fee and Payment FAQs

Can my church or placement organisation pay my fees?

Yes, your church or placement organisation can pay your fees, but the invoice will be addressed to you. Regardless of the source of payment of your fees, you are responsible for ensuring that these are paid by the due date listed on your invoice.

When will I receive an invoice?

You will receive an invoice for your course fees once your enrolment has been confirmed.

Can I get a refund if I withdraw from my course or programme?

If you withdraw from a course or programme within the first two weeks of semester, you will receive a refund of your fees (minus your non-refundable application fee). After the second teaching week you may still withdraw from your course or programme but you will not be eligible for any refund.

Why are my fees deposited into a Public Trust account?

All student fees are paid directly to Public Trust. In accordance the Education and Training Act 2020 and the Student Fee Protection Rules 2021, Pathways College uses the Public Trust to protect all fees paid by students in connection with their study. The Public Trust transfers these funds to Pathways College in monthly instalments spread over the duration of your study. This ensures that your fees are protected from situations which may see our institution having to close. In the unlikely event that Pathways College may close down, any unused portion of student fees at the time of closure, including tuition and accommodation fees, are refunded to the student in accordance with NZQA's policy.

Are there scholarships available?

Students serving in CCCNZ / Open-Brethren heritage churches are eligible to apply for the JH Baldwin Scholarship provided by the Lichfield Lands Incorporated Society AND/OR Lichfield Lands Internship Support. For more information, visit

Some local churches also support individual students with their tuition fees.

Does this course qualify for Fees Free Study?

If you're a New Zealand citizen or resident and you're about to start your first year of tertiary, you could be eligible for up to one year of fees free study. Check if you are eligible by visiting

Please note fees free is not available for students enrolling into Online Courses or School of Worship Leading, as these are not NZQA accredited

Does this course qualify for StudyLink financial support?

Yes. Student Loans and Allowances.

Level 5 and 6 Diploma students at Pathways are eligible for government loans and allowances. You will need to apply directly to StudyLink to begin the process of getting any government loans and allowances.

Visit and apply early.

NZQA Requirements

This is an NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) approved qualification which means you are eligible to apply for Government loans and allowances. Doing supervised ministry enables interns to benefit by learning from experience leaders in a hands-on practical context within the church or para-church organisation.

Applicants for this qualification may also be eligible for the Government’s Fees-Free programme, making study at Pathways completely free. Visit to check your eligibility.

How to Enrol

As part of the enrolment process, you will need to arrange a placement organisation in which you will complete the practical components of your course. This can be with your church or a faith-based organisation like Christian Camping NZ (CCNZ), Word of Life, school, or charity. Need some ideas? Contact us if you are unsure how to do this or simply need more information.

Ready to enrol?

If you are ready to start your enrolment process, click on the Enrol Now button. While you can Save and Continue your enrolment, it is a good idea to have the following items ready before you apply:

  1. A placement in an organisation

  2. A primary form of identification. This could be:

  • A verified copy of your Passport, or

  • A verified copy of your Birth Certificate, or

  • A verified copy of your New Zealand Citizenship Certificate

    (Note that if you are an International Student, you are required to provide your passport as your primary form of ID, and the original must be sighted in person by a staff member of Pathways College before your study begins.)

  1. A secondary form of identification. This could be:

  • A verified copy of your Driver's Licence, or

  • A verified copy of another form of photo ID (this can include your passport if you provided your birth certificate or NZ citizen certificate as your primary form of ID).

    To get your primary and secondary forms of identification verified, you will need to take the originals along with a colour photocopy to a Justice of the Peace. You can find a Justice of the Peace near you by visiting

    If you are unable to provide any of the listed forms of primary or secondary identification, please contact for a full list of alternate forms of ID that may be accepted.

  1. Your National Student Number (NSN), if you know it.

  2. Placement and Referee Forms:  This Form can be used for both Placements and Referees.  Please share this link with your contacts to complete - Placement and Referee Forms  

In addition to your NSN and two forms of identification, you may also need to provide:

  1. A copy of your NZQA Record of Achievement or your academic transcript(s) from any tertiary organisations you have studied at (note this is only needed for students who have previously completed a qualification at another tertiary organisation).

If you're unsure about anything please contact


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