Bethel offers three (3) programmes: the Bachelor of Theology, the Diploma in Theology, and the Certificate in Christian Ministry. The three programmes are designed to meet the College’s commitment to its mission, vision, and objectives. Each programme has stated objectives, which are directly related to the institutional statement of purpose. The structure of the programmes is compatible to the University Council of Jamaica’s requirements for intuitions that offer tertiary level studies. The Bachelor and Diploma programmes have proven effective in ministerial preparation in accordance with the tradition of theological education.
All the programmes of the College flow directly from and seek to bring into sharp focus the College’s vision and mission as outlined in its strategic plan . Indeed, as Bethel continues to provide training in theology and Christian ministry and to produce spiritually equipped, socially aware, morally sound and servant-oriented individuals, the College has offered programmes that reflect these emphases. There is no academic offering at the College that is not directly connected to its ethos and identity.
The Bachelor of Theology, the Diploma in Theology, and the Certificate in Christian Ministry meet the mission of the College and maintain its integrity as a place of training for pastors and other Christian workers. This is reflected in the fact that the degree programme includes courses in Bible, Theology, Missions, Christian Education, Church History, the two major Biblical languages, the Social Sciences, Pastoral Ministry, and Leadership. The diploma and certificate programmes also include courses in the above identified areas, but with special emphasis on practical ministry. Bethel’s programmes are designed to equip students for specialized vocations, such as Christian education, youth ministry, leadership, guidance and counselling, and lay ministry.
The Bachelor of Theology
The Bachelor of Theology is the highest academic degree awarded by the College. It is structured so that, in four (4) years, students receive a balanced exposure to theological studies. The students have the option of taking a minor in Guidance and Counselling. The programme also provides flexibility in preparation for personal calling and needs. The Dean or a faculty advisor assists the student in selecting courses most appropriate to the individual’s interests and goals in ministry from the six (6) primary areas, Biblical Studies, Theological and Historical Studies, Pastoral Studies, Psychological and Counselling Studies, Philosophical and Communication Studies, and Missions and Social Studies. The degree requires the successful completion of one hundred and thirty (130) semester credit hours, with a GPA of 2.00 or above on a 4 point scale. Up to two (2) years’ work (not exceeding 60 credits), may be accepted by transfer from schools with accredited programmes.
General Objectives of the Bachelor of Theology
The general goal of the programme, leading to the Bachelor of Theology, is to prepare those who are called to full-time ministry in the Church and society. This rests on the understanding of the minister as the Servant of God, who is responsible to transmit God’s message, love, and care to the world. The broad objectives therefore are:
- To prepare the student in an understanding of the Bible, the history and theology of the church, and to gain skills in integrating these in ministering to his/her own context.
- To prepare the student in an understanding of the dynamics of human nature, and to gain skills in relating to self, other individuals and/or groups in a just and upright manner.
- To assist the student in discerning his/her context of ministry, and, under supervision, sharpening those skills and abilities needed for the practice of ministry.
- To develop resourceful and mature spiritual leaders, counsellors, and educators for the church and community.
Bachelor of Theology with No Minor
Students desiring to acquire the Bachelor of Theology with no Minor are required to complete 49 courses amounting to 137 credits.
Bachelor of Theology with Minor in Counselling
Students desiring a Bachelor of Theology with a Minor in Guidance and Counselling are required to complete 50 courses amounting to 140 credit hours.
Diploma in Theology
The Diploma in Theology programme requires three (3) years of study and is structured within the Bachelor of Theology programme. It requires that students complete all prescribed courses in the general education core (30 credits), the area of specialization (53 credits), electives (9 credits) and internship (6 credits). The programme is designed for those who want to be involved in various levels of Christian ministry in the local church. Every course in this programme is included in the Bachelor of Theology degree programme. Even the Internship and Spiritual Formation Group experiences are open to these students.
General Objectives of the Diploma in Theology
Bethel Bible College conceptualized and developed the Diploma in Theology with the aim of offering solid foundational, theological, ministry-oriented educational experiences to persons who would not normally qualify to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Although this programme is below the bachelor’s programme in terms of quantity of credits, content, and time required, there is no difference in terms of the quality and level of work that is required. This is evidenced by the fact that the diploma is built into the Bachelor of Theology programme. As stated in one of the preceding sections in this chapter/section, this programme requires at least ninety (90) credits for completion. It is built on the following objectives:
- To prepare students within the context of an understanding of the Bible and of the history and theology of the church and to gain skills in integrating these disciplines in doing ministry within their peculiar contexts.
- To stimulate students towards pursuing spiritual and intellectual growth through disciplined study.
- To prepare students to work harmoniously with other church leaders and professionals.
- To prepare students to be able to assess their own performance as ministers and Christian workers.
- Diploma in Theology
Students desiring to acquire the Diploma in Theology are required to complete 35 courses amounting to 101 credits.
Certificate in Christian Ministry
Bethel sees the need to offer quality training in the area of Christian Ministry to lay leaders and other Christian workers in an effort to strengthen the ministry of the church. Therefore, it has conceptualized and concretized a Certificate in Christian Ministry, which is a one-year, 36-credit-hour programme. This new certificate programme replaces the Certificate in Theology that was offered for many years at the extension sites.
The goal of the certificate programme is to offer the opportunity for theological studies and ministry-oriented training to persons who intend to work in their local church as Christian education directors or directors of other ministries. This is an excellent opportunity for church members and leaders to access a significantly revised and standardized certificate programme in Christian Ministry. The College believes that this programme is contextual, relevant, practical, and life-changing.
The programme requires a Community Service Practicum (3 credits), that is, 30 hours of community service. These 30 hours include a three hour preparation seminar on The Christian and Community Transformation. The remaining 27 hours must be completed in a context where participants have direct contact with people. This practical part of the programme must be completed within three months after the student has registered for it. Each student is responsible to secure his or her own placement and is furnished with the necessary support documents from Bethel.
Curriculum #1 – Level II Programme
The Level II programme is a one year 36 Credit Hour Certificate. This programme is divided into three semesters with the student required, in each semester, to complete at least nine (9) credit hours.
Each phase of the programme will run for thirteen (13) weeks. Twelve (12) courses must be completed. This includes nine compulsory courses, a community service practicum and two electives.
Curriculum #2 – Level I Programme
The Level I programme is a one year 18 Credit Hour Certificate. This programme is divided into three semesters with the student required, in each semester, to complete at least six (6) credit hours.
Each phase of the programme will run for thirteen (13) weeks. Six (6) courses must be completed. This includes five compulsory courses and the community service practicum.