GDTD program

The Graduate Diploma in Transformational Development is a 2-year program and is conducted fully online.

Program Partners

Since 2004, AGST Alliance has been offering quality post-graduate programs for church leaders and seminary / Bible college faculty in mainland South East Asia, to equip them for more effective Christian
ministry and mission. Download the program brochure.

1. Introduction

This program is designed for graduate-level Christian development and mission practitioners wishing to acquire and develop the skills necessary to reflect biblically and theologically on their work among the poor and oppressed. Competencies gained will help them tackle the complexities and challenges of their work as Christ-followers, especially in a culturally-sensitive environment.

Students will learn about the difference between secular development and a biblically informed approach, develop a framework for theological reflection to connect their faith and work, strengthen their inner spiritual life, explore the practical aspects of creating and maintaining partnerships, learn skills to enable them to practice sustainable development and be equipped to work in culturally and religiously sensitive contexts. Our GDTD program is conducted fully online.

  • No need for major work/ministry and family upheavals.
  • Studies are earthed in participants’ current vocational settings.
  • Some flexibility is possible.

2. Who Is It For?

The GDTD program is designed to help Christians who are working in the area of development in Christian non-governmental organizations or in churches improve on advocacy and facilitate more effective aid and development through the following:

  • Integrate theology and practice – earthed in participants’ ongoing work/ministry settings
  • Reflect on development issues, practices, and partnerships
  • Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of their vocation
  • Be part of a supportive community of Christian practitioners in transformational development from around Asia

3. Entry Requirements

Applicants for the GDTD need to meet these prerequisites:

  • At least 3 years experience in development work or missions.
  • Successful completion of a Bachelor level degree or equivalent.
  • Competencies acquired through other life experiences and secular qualifications will be considered too.
  • English language proficiency: at least IELTS 6.0 or TOEFL 550 (Computer-based score 213; Internet-based score 80).
  • Be commended for the GDTD program by two reputable leaders (at least one Christian leader) who know you professionally, academically and personally.
Normally students will be accepted into the program on the basis of the stated prerequisite qualifications.

However, applicants who do not meet the stated entry requirements may be considered for this program if their general education, scholarship, training and experience are deemed suitable, and if they are deemed as well qualified as those who are able to satisfy the normal entrance requirements.

Applications based on equivalency will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account a portfolio of work/ministry experience, publications and other relevant factors.

4. Program Components

This is a 24-credit course:

  • 1 Foundation module (no credit)
  • 6 Coursework modules
    • 4 credits per module
    • 3 modules a year.

5. Module Topics

Foundations: Christian Thinking and Vocational Practice (Pass/Fail)

This module explores issues of vocation and ministry, and introduces students to a framework for theological reflection that will help them connect faith and work in practical ways. It provides tools students can use to structure their thinking and apply theological processes to decision-making and problem-solving in work and ministry.

Module 1: A Theology of Integral Mission (4 credits)

This module explores a biblical framework for transformational development. Selected biblical texts on the themes of poverty, wealth, justice, compassion and human flourishing are set within the context of the Bible’s overarching narrative of the Kingdom of God. This will provide a framework within which students will explore Christian responses to the needs of marginalized people.

Module 2: Community Development (4 credits)

The principles behind international development theories are introduced in this module, and secular and biblical approaches compared. Students will be exposed to the emerging best practices, challenges and lessons learnt from academics and practitioners, and develop a theological framework for holistic and transformational development.

Module 3: Partnerships for Development (4 credits)

The many kinds of partnerships involved in transformational development are discussed, including partnerships with communities, government, business, other organizations and churches. Students will examine how healthy, effective partnerships can be established and nurtured, at local and district level as well as nationally and internationally.

Module 4: Spiritual Formation and Leadership (4 credits)

In this module, students are challenged to explore the connections between a strong, vibrant spiritual life and the vocation of development work, particularly in leadership roles. Students will consider how a deepening relationship with God and alignment with Jesus’ attitude of servanthood can be expressed through effective, relational leadership.

Module 5: Creation Care and Environmental Sustainability (4 credits)

Students will investigate the fundamental biblical call on humanity to care for creation and to nurture the earth’s productivity in a just and sustainable way. Effective sustainable development practices designed to help local communities develop greater economic and environmental resilience in the context of the unfolding global ecological crisis will be examined. Special consideration will be given to the role of faith-based Christian development organisations and local churches in this process.

Module 6: Faith Engaging Conflict and Society (4 credits)

This module critically engages with three current trends in society today: conflict and violence, resurgent religion and cultural diversity. The dynamic reality of conflict and violence, and the corresponding role of the individual and faith-based organizations as peace builders will be examined. Students will also evaluate the nature of religious resurgence and religious worldviews in multi-faith societies.

6. Module Dates

These dates may be amended, subject to the availability of the module facilitators and campus facilities.

2024 Program Schedule across all programs here.

7. Academic Expectations

8. Assessment Criteria

9. Fees & Costs

10. Frequently Asked Questions

11. Application Procedures

Download and submit these application papers to apply (right-click > “save link as” to save):

•   Application form
•   Commendation form (2 commendations required)

We require commendation forms from:

  • a senior leader in your church/organization
  • a professor/lecturer of the tertiary educational institution in which you studied most recently.

If you prefer to have a set of application papers to be posted to you, please email us. Make sure you include your full postal address.

We prefer that initially you email your application papers to us, in soft-copy format (i.e. as e-documents). When scanning transcripts, photos, etc., please set the resolution to standard/medium, so that files are not too large. As we process your application, we may request hard-copy (i.e. paper) copies of items.

12. Contact

For further questions about this program: