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MTh(Bib. Studies)/Postgrad Dip Bib. Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have time?
  2. Could I be a full-time MTh(Bib. Studies) student?
  3. Who will encourage me through my program?
  4. Is there a program trial period?
  5. Will I go through the program with a peer group?
  6. What happens if I miss on-campus sessions?
  7. Where are the module on-campus sessions held?
  8. Where will I get resources for my program?
  9. Do I need to specialise?
  10. How will I get my biblical languages up to the required level?
  11. Can I write assignments in a language other than English?
  12. Do I need my own computer?
  13. Do I need broadband internet access?
  14. How much will my program cost?
  15. Do I have to pay my fees in full up front?
  16. Are scholarships available?
  17. Do I need a student visa for my program?
  18. What is the time limit to complete my program?
  19. Can I transfer into the PhD(Bib. Studies)?

 

Do I have time?

Our MTh(Bib. Studies)/Postgrad. Dip. Bib. Studies is not designed primarily as a full time program. Nor is it primarily a campus-based program. Continue to live at home, and serve in your ministry or work. There's no need to relocate your family or leave them for long periods.

  • If you plan to complete the modules consecutively, this is equivalent to at least 50% of a typical full-time seminary program load.
  • You need to attend the 5-7 day on-campus sessions, usually held at an AGST Alliance seminary in Malaysia, Singapore, or Thailand.
  • You also need to allocate good quality time for significant pre- and post-campus study.


Good time management is essential. You will need to restructure your work/ministry load and responsibilities for the duration of the program.

  • Some participants have study leave provisions in their church/organisation.
  • Others arrange to cut down their work/ministry load.
  • Others take unpaid leave.


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Could I be a full-time MTh(Bib. Studies) student?

While most students will undertake their MTh(Bib. Studies) as a part-time program, the MTh(Bib. Studies) could be completed by full-time students over about 2 years.

If students complete up to two modules per trimester, and takes the 3rd credit option for some of the modules, they could complete the coursework in under two years, and then complete their thesis research.

If you are interested in undertaking the program in full-time rather than part-time mode, discuss this with the program director.

The program will still be non-residential for full-time students, so special care will be needed to ensure you are able to give your studies sufficient time and focus. Also, even if you wish to be considered 'a full time student', AGST Alliance is unable to sponsor you for a student visa in any of the countries represented in our consortium.

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Who will encourage me through the program?

Non-residential, modular programs are a challenge to complete.

We in AGST Alliance will encourage you as much as we can - but you also need to be disciplined.

We have two specific encouragement strategies for you:

1. Student support Memorandum of Understanding

You and the major stakeholders in your program - your family, ministry organisation/seminary and/or local church leaders - recognise the potential pressures, and may make a commitment to help you have adequate time and energy for your program.

Click here to download the Student Support Memorandum of Understanding guidelines and form.

2. Pastoral mentor

We work with you to have a pastoral mentor for the duration of your program. The mentor will

  • journey with you.
  • motivate and encourage.
  • be a sounding board.
  • pray with you.


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Is there a program trial period?

Yes - all AGST Alliance students enter their program on a two-module probationary basis. To continue, you need to complete your first two modules satisfactorily.

Additionally for MTh(Bib. Studies) students: you will be accepted into the MTh(Bib. Studies) program on a provisional basis until your biblical languages competence has been confirmed. You will need to have your status confirmed before you commence a second text-based module in each language. You may complete any/all of the three core non-text based modules prior to having your status confirmed.

There will be another review after you complete the coursework modules, to confirm that you may proceed with the thesis phase. If your module grades are not sufficiently high, you may be invited to complete the MTh(Bib. Studies) by means of a non-thesis alternative, or complete your program with a Postgrad. Dip. Bib. Studies.

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Will I go through the program with a peer group?

The MTh(Bib. Studies)/Postgrad. Dip. Bib. Studies is a 'semi-cohort program'. You may start the program at any module, and find yourself among a core group of participants.

As you share your experiences and challenges with others, they are likely to become friends and colleagues to network with after the program.

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What happens if I miss on-campus sessions?

If you miss some of the on-campus sessions of a module for genuine reasons, you may be given some directed studies to take the place of the missed elements of the module. But if you miss all/most of the on-campus sessions, you are unlikely to be allowed to complete the module.

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Where are the module on-campus sessions held?

These are held on the campuses of various seminaries in AGST Alliance, in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Most of the on-campus sessions are likely to be in the Kuala Lumpur area. So you need to plan to travel to attend at least some of your modules. Budget airlines ease the financial cost!

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Where will I get resources for my program?

AGST Alliance students have access to the libraries of a number of seminaries - those in our consortium and others. Students also draw on the resources of universities and public libraries.

You should register with at least one seminary library. A list will be given to you.

A growing number of program and research resources are accessible on-line. We will help you find these. And we encourage you to share your discoveries with fellow-students, too.

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Do I need to specialise?

No, you could complete a more general MTh(Bib. Studies), especially if you are wanting to be better equipped to use the Bible in your pastoral and leadership ministry. In this case, an example of what your program (pastoral emphasis) could look like is this:

[Core] Approaches to Scripture 2 credits
[Core] Contextualisation/hermeneutics 2 credits
Biblical theology 2 credits (elective)
Preaching the OT (or NT)
(or replace one of these electives with a further 2-credit text-based module)
2 credits (elective)
4 x 2 credits text-based modules 8 credits
Study trip 2 credits
[Core] Teaching biblical studies 2 credits
[Core] Research skills workshop 1 credit
2 x major papers (in lieu of a thesis) 9 credits (4 + 5 credits)


If you are wanting a more specialised program, either in OT or NT (or across both testaments) in order to teach in a seminary, you will be able to give greater attention to text-based modules, and hone up your competence (and confidence) in the biblical languages. In this case, an example of what your program (academic emphasis) could look like is this:

[Core] Approaches to Scripture 2 credits
[Core] Contextualisation/hermeneutics 3 credits
Biblical theology
(or replace this elective module with a further 2-credit text-based module)
2 credits
4 text-based modules (3 x 3 credits; 1 x 2 credits) 11 credits
[Core] Teaching biblical studies 2 credits
[Core] Research skills workshop 1 credit
Thesis 9 credits


Remember that if you plan to specialise in either OT or NT, you need to complete at least three 3-credit text-based modules in your chosen testament - which will require the higher level of Hebrew or Greek.

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How will I get my biblical languages up to the required level?

AGST Alliance doesn't offer courses specifically for this purpose. We encourage you to meet the requirements through other channels (to be approved by the Biblical Studies Programs Director). This may be through another seminary an on-line program or course, or self-study.

Click here for a fuller statement of the requirements for biblical languages competency.

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Can I write assignments in a language other than English?

Currently, AGST Alliance programs are conducted in English medium. However, there is scope for some work in our programs to be written in languages other than English, subject to special conditions, and on a case-by-case basis.

For example, a thesis may be written in a language other than English if a suitable supervisor is located. An English translation of the work will be required; and an oral examination is likely to be necessary.

The program director will be able to give you further details.

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Do I need my own computer?

A reliable computer is an indispensible resource for your AGST Alliance program. If your current computer is not very reliable, or you need to share it with too many other people, or it is placed in a noisy environment, then it may be well worth budgeting to acquire another one at the start of the your study program.

We advise you to revise/enhance your computing/word-processing skills; and make sure you apply common-sense computer security practices (like backing up your data regularly, and installing reputable anti-virus software and keeping the virus definitions up to date).

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Do I need broadband internet access?

We strongly recommend it.

  • Email attachments are the preferred means of submitting assignments.
  • Increasingly, on-line student/faculty interaction is likely.
  • Research and access to databases is increasingly common via the internet.

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How much will my program cost?

Click here to see the program fees and other costs of the MTh(Bib. Studies)/Postgrad. Dip. Bib. Studies program.

We try to keep the program fees affordable for students, taking into account their home country standard of living.

You will need to factor other significant cost into your program. See the details in the fees schedule here.

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Do I have to pay my fees in full up front?

No. Program fees may be paid in instalments rather than as one lump sum.

Unless prior arrangement is made, fees need to be paid at the commencement of each component of your program (e.g. at the beginning of a module, and as you commence your thesis process.)

Click here to see the payment schedule.

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Are scholarships available?

No scholarship money is directly available from AGST Alliance.

However, we support student applications to trusts/foundations for financial assistance.

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Do I need a student visa?

Because AGST Alliance is a regional, non-residential educational institution without its own campus, our students do not qualify for student visas.

Usually, when you travel to another country from your own to attend module on-campus sessions, a social visit pass is adequate. (You are officially attending a short training program.) Likewise, if you plan to spend time at a library or with your thesis supervisor, a social visit pass is usually sufficient.

It is your responsibility to check carefully about immigration regulations well in advance of the on-campus sessions of modules being conducted in a country other than your own, if you are travelling to visit your thesis supervisor, or you are planning time at an overseas library/study centre.

AGST Alliance is able to provide official letters if required for immigration purposes.

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What is the time limit to complete my program?

The MTh(Bib. Studies) needs to be completed within 5 years of the first module completed. This gives you time to have some choice in the modules you take and still complete your thesis/major papers in good time.

The Postgrad. Dip. Bib. Studies needs to be completed within 4 years from the first module completed.

If MTh(Bib. Studies) participants complete the modules but don't finish the thesis/major papers within the required time, they will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Biblical Studies.

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Can I transfer into the PhD(Bib. Studies)?

Yes, this may be possible.

If you complete the MTh(Bib. Studies) modules with sufficiently high grades, you may request the program director to allow you to proceed into the PhD(Bib. Studies) program without completing the MTh(Bib. Studies) thesis/major papers.

If you then withdraw from the PhD(Bib. Studies), you will need to request permission from the program director to complete the MTh(Bib. Studies) thesis/major papers - otherwise you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Biblical Studies.

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