One Year Course (CTPS)
The One Year full-time course in Christian Apologetics offers the exciting opportunity to spend a full academic year investing in learning about the Christian faith and how we might communicate, defend, and commend it to those around us.
This course is the gold standard for effective training in evangelism and apologetics.
Michael Ramsden, European Director of RZIM Zacharias Trust
Students on the One Year Programme who meet the necessary requirements will be awarded the Certificate in Theological and Pastoral Studies. The Certificate is a one year course validated by the University of Oxford (at H.E. level 4/5 with the completion of the CTPS carrying a notional 30 CATS).more
This course is designed specifically as preparation for Christian service in the office, church or home. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be immersed in the field of apologetics and evangelism. The range of subjects and the nature of material included reflect this. The course aims to combine serious study of the Bible and Christian doctrine with an unparalleled opportunity to experience Christian apologetics in action.
- A full academic year in the inspiring surroundings of Oxford University
- The chance to attend lectures in Wycliffe Hall and Oxford University
- A base to use to explore Europe during the holidays
- The Certificate in Theological and Pastoral Studies is an Oxford University qualification and affords students the status, benefits and resources of an Oxford University student
- Time to study many of the key questions of, and objections to, the Christian faith
- World-class lecturers (including Alister McGrath, John Lennox, Os Guiness, Ravi Zacharias, Michael Ramsden, Amy Orr-Ewing) who are interested in the individual
- The stimulation of a challenging academic programme
- An opportunity to sharpen apologetic and evangelistic skills
- Study apologetics using the unique Oxford University tutorial based learning system
Discipleship, Fellowship and Support
- Being part of the vibrant worshipping community of Wycliffe Hall
- The opportunity to travel with members of staff on missions and other evangelistic speaking engagements
- A small student group, enabling enriching interaction with tutors and lecturers
- Mentoring in preaching and speaking from experienced and gifted communicators
- An engaging weekly practical evangelism placement in a local church or team
- Weekly worship celebration with a challenging devotional message, followed by huddles
- Huddles: a weekly discipleship and mentoring group which allows students to share concerns and successes, and receive ongoing support and encouraging advice from their huddle leader (OCCA Tutor)
A standard week in the life of a One Year Course student will include core teaching on apologetics and evangelism, preaching workshops, discussion seminars, and both OCCA and Wycliffe Hall community meetings. Core teaching is provided by Alister McGrath, John Lennox, Michael Ramsden, Amy Orr-Ewing and various guest lecturers. Students also have the opportunity to attend Wycliffe Hall lectures and will be taught two papers by Benno van den Toren and Justin Hardin, along with lectures at the University.
Students are given the chance to accompany the OCCA/RZIM team on ministry and mission events. In addition, they are encouraged to become involved in the various exciting Oxford church outreach initiatives. The combination of all these components provides unparalleled cutting-edge training in evangelism and apologetics.
The Certificate in Theological and Pastoral Studies is awarded by Wycliffe Hall on completion of the programme, and this qualification is accredited by Oxford University.
Who can apply for the Certificate in Christian Apologetics?
We welcome all applicants with a university degree or equivalent. Applicants should be passionate about Christ and making him known. The Certificate programme is an excellent next step for those who feel called into apologetics ministry, yet is equally open to (and appropriate for) those called to share Christ in the secular workplace.
Certificate Programme Details
The Certificate in Christian Apologetics covers numerous key areas within apologetics and seeks to give students a broad range of knowledge in areas that can be stumbling blocks to people coming to faith in Christ.
The Certificate Programme follows the Oxford University academic year structure, which is divided into three terms, or semesters. The autumn/fall term (September to December) is called Michaelmas Term, the spring term (January to March) is Hilary Term, and the summer term (April to June) is Trinity Term.
OCCA lectures typically take place on weekdays between 10am-4pm. Thursdays start at 8am with an OCCA worship celebration, and huddles. A few lectures are open to Wycliffe Hall students, though the majority are exclusively for the OCCA group.
One hour each week is allocated to a discussion seminar with the Academic Tutors. This is an opportunity to discuss ideas together, exploring areas of interest, current media focus, or picking up on any area of confusion that students might have.
During the year, each student presents a talk to the rest of the OCCA group. The strengths and weaknesses of the talk are then discussed by the group in a supportive and friendly manner. These workshops area wonderful chance to hone communication skills in an encouraging and safe environment, in order to equip students to face real situations. Preaching workshops take place most weeks in Michaelmas and Hilary terms.
Question & Answer Sessions
At various intervals during the year, students will have specific sessions looking at the questions non-Christians ask and how we can seek to answer them succinctly, clearly and carefully. Some sessions will involve group work, thinking through the different reasons people might ask certain questions an how this affects the way we respond. Other sessions will involve students being put in mock 'Grill a Christian' situations in order to develop skills in responding to questions.
Readings, Essays, Dissertation and Tutorials
In Michaelmas and Hilary terms students have a series of readings, assessed essays and tutorials which are designed to give a general introduction to key topics in Christian Apologetics, as well as an experience of the Oxbridge system of tutorial-based learning. Students are required to write five essays in Michaelmas term and three in Hilary term. Essay titles and reading lists are given out at the start of term.
OCCA students are given the opportunity to take part in practical outreach/evangelism during the year and are invited to accompany the OCCA Chaplain and other itinerant staff on specific speaking invitations. In addition, students are expected to become involved in the outreach initiatives of the local Oxford churches and organisations. OCCA staff will meet with students at the beginning of the programme to help guide them through options.
OCCA students are invited to contribute to, and participate in, the devotional community of Wycliffe Hall. All students are expected to attend the Wycliffe Hall morning chapel services, the weekly Wycliffe Hall updates/Bible studies, and the OCCA fellowship group meetings. OCCA tutors each run a huddle, which is an innovative small group structure that fosters transformation, spiritual formation and discipleship to Jesus Christ. The OCCA Chaplain, Training Director, Tutors (Huddle leaders) and Director are available to meet with students with pastoral concerns or issues.
Students are assessed in four areas: New Testament, Christian Witness in the Contemporary World, Christian Doctrine, and Christian Faith and Philosophy. Assessment takes place through a combination of essays, assignments, and attendance at lectures.
Fees and Scholarships
"I am certain that my year in Oxford under the loving guidance of Alister McGrath, Michael Green, and the Wycliffe team was life changing. Intellectually I developed in terms of biblical knowledge, church history, and of course current issues in apologetics. Practically I was challenged in terms of public speaking, debating and teaching to seekers and skeptics. But the deepest blessing was to enter into the Wycliffe community in worship and fellowship. The new friendships that developed will be there for a lifetime."
Bruce Beard, Class of 2005