Information on the NZ Diploma in Christian Studies – Pastoral Ministry (NZDCS-PM)

This qualification will provide knowledge and more advanced skills required for ministry roles in parishes and other church settings. Graduates will find this useful for leadership roles in parishes and voluntary work with parish groups.

The NZDCS is a Level 6 qualification of 120 credits, consisting of 8 papers worth 15 credits each.

Most students in the NZDCS-CL are part time learners.  We recommend part time learners take one or two papers per semester in order to complete the qualification within 4 years.  This also ensures a reasonable workload.

Papers for this qualification are mainly offered by distance learning.  Some are also offered on campus.  See our Timetables page for what is on offer.  Students are welcome to take some papers face to face and others by distance learning.

What are the entry requirements?

Students need to have completed a Level 5 or higher qualification in a related field to be admitted into this programme of study. However, if you have a Level 5 or higher qualification, in a different subject area, and relevant experience, you can apply for admission to this programme.

What is the structure of this programme?

There are 8 main papers that you must complete to receive this award. Below is the programme structure for this qualification.

  • PM601 Leading Prayer – (15 Credits)
  • PM602 Celebrating Liturgy – (15 Credits)
  • PM604 Skills for Pastoral Ministry – (15 Credits)
  • PM605 Role of Pastoral Minister – (15 Credits)
  • SC601 The Gospel in Aotearoa – (15 Credits)
  • TH601 Sacraments Today – (15 Credits)
  • TH609 He Turanga Whakaaro – (15 Credits)
  • TH623 Ministry and Values – (15 Credits)

Options (with approval from Programme Co-ordinator)

  • SC603 Bible in Ministry can be studied instead of SC601 The Gospel in Aotearoa – (15 Credits)
  • TH626 Theology for Ministry: Special Topic can be studied instead of TH609 He Turanga Whakaaro – (15 Credits)


For more information on individual papers go to our ‘Course Units’ page.

Can I get recognition for previous academic study (Recognition of Prior Learning)?

Prior learning from an accredited institute at the same level is recognised by Te Kupenga. Please contact the programme coordinator for more details how you can apply for this. Depending on your previous tertiary study, Te Kupenga may credit up to 40% towards a qualification. For previous study to be considered, it must have occurred no more than 10 years ago. There is an administration fee for processing an RPL application:

    • RPL for an overseas qualification = $50.00
    • RPL for a New Zealand qualification = $40.00

There is no charge for cross-credit or for processing pre-requisites for entry into the NZDCS.

What is the next step?

Now that you have decided upon the qualification you want to study towards, the next step is to select which papers you would like to do first. Go to our Timetable page to see which papers are coming up.  Feel free to email our Catholic Theological College team for help or assistance in planning your study schedule.

If you are interested in further studies above Level 6, check out our Bachelor Degree or Graduate Diploma qualifications.

Te Kupenga - Catholic Leadership Institute

Enrolment for Certificate and Diploma Programmes is on-going.
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