Online learning FAQ

Learning online

What technology do I need?

You’ll need a computer and good internet connection – we use Zoom and Teams so if you’ve used that before it’s the same requirements.

When does teaching happen?

Most teaching happens from 09:30 – 15:30 (UK time), though this occasionally varies.

There will be other activities to do as well that you can do in your own time to fit round the rest of your life.

Do I need a new computer?

Probably not – if Zoom works on the one you’ve got it should be OK.

We would recommend not trying to everything on your phone as you’ll need a decent sized screen.

An Android tablet or similar ‘might’ work but we can’t guarantee it – PC or Mac is generally best.

Will I be on Zoom all day?

No. Teaching days will be a mix of synchronous activities like lectures, group discussion and seminars, and asynchronous activities like reading, watching videos or participating in internet-forum type activities.

You might be on your computer for most of the 5 hours but there will be opportunities to step away from the screen.

Do I need to have my camera turned on?

We prefer if students keep their cameras on – students tell us it is easier when you see the rest of the group.

Of course, there may times when you need to switch the camera and mic off, when the dog barks at the postman, your child is running around or your housemate comes out from the shower, but as a general rule – cameras on.

Can I study in the car / train / coffee shop?

Generally, students tell us they don’t get the most from teaching when in an unusual location. A quiet study space is best. If you’re taking part in synchronous learning activities you’ll be expected to join in with discussions which can be difficult in public places.

If you have to be away for any reason, discuss it with your tutor.

Can I study from abroad?

The BA course requires regular attendance in Nottingham so is not possible for overseas students.

Note – Birmingham Newman University is not able to sponsor student visas at this time.

MA study is accessible abroad since it all takes place online.

Our fees are the same for UK, Ireland and global students.

If you’re not resident in the UK you are unlikely to be eligible for UK student finance so will need to take responsibility for your own finance.

We will check your entrance qualification eligibility and English language skills as part of your application.

Practice and Placements

Do I still do ministry placements as part of the course?

Yes (if you are on a specialist pathway route). All of our courses are based on ministry and mission in local community: with children, young people, their families; chaplaincy contexts; or more general community ministry.

All the learning you do is with the focus of putting it in to practice.

You might use your own church or project as your main practice agency, or we can help you find somewhere if that’s not appropriate for any reason.

CYM also partner with local churches to offer paid scholarships that you might like to explore if you are willing to relocate.

Learning Resources

What about the library?

CYM is a digital-first college. We don’t have a physical library you can come to.

Students have access to Newman University’s online library as well as The Hub which is The Church of England’s online resource for Theology, Mission and Ministry students.

You won’t struggle to find enough to read!

Tutor Support

Will I still have a tutor?

Yes. CYM provides the following support systems:

Year Tutor – the first point of contact for your college journey

Practice Tutor – usually an external person who helps you reflect on your learning and practice. They will often be local to you and usually carry out one observation of your practice.

Line Manager – this is most commonly the church leader in your placement. They support you in your personal development and with practical issues to do with your ministry practice.

Spiritual Mentor – we ask your church to provide a spiritual mentor who’s sole role is to care for you and your walk with God

Chaplain – from time to time some of us need a little extra support. Our Chaplains are there as a safe listening ear if you need them.

Practical Details


Is it a proper degree?

Yes. CYM degrees are validated by Newman University and it will be their name on your certificate.

Can I still work full-time?

CYM degrees are full-time courses, meaning about 35 hours of scheduled activities per week. This includes lectures, off-line activities, private study and placements.

If you have to work for financial reasons, we usually recommend that more than 20 hours becomes unmanageable.

This is different if your work is also your college placement – chat to us about that.

It’s also possible to do the course part-time, leaving you more time to work.

Most of our MA students do work full-time in ministry and the degree is structured to fit round that.

Will I ever need to come to Nottingham on my MA degree?

No – all learning activities take place online. There may be occasions where you are invited to optional activities in Nottingham but these are not required elements.

What are the time commitments for a BA and MA degree?

Our BA (Hons) in Practical Theology is a full-time degree. This means around 35 hours per week of learning activities (which include 10-12 hours in a practice agency like a church or community project).

All our teaching takes place on Wednesday 09:30 – 15:30 and you will have other activities through the week: private study, placement, individual or group tutorials and so on which can flex to your other commitments.

The MA is a part-time degree, usually taking 3 years to complete. This means may be able to fit it around existing work and other commitments.

On average, students spend the equivalent of around a day per week studying – some more, others less. Some will block out regular time each week, others will put block study weeks or weekends in their diary.

Your main placement is often your full-time job, if you are in ministry or other work related to the course. This is 400 hours.

The other thing to bear in mind for those in full time jobs is the requirement for an 80 hour Alternative Placement at some point in the first two years. This could be 2 hours per week or an intensive block – there is a lot of flexibility to the pattern which your tutors will discuss with you, but you need to be aware of the need for this time which might be additional to your employed role.

What additional costs are there?


You pay your annual fees and that’s it.

You’ll have to be aware of other costs like a laptop and internet connection, but everything else is included.

Will I still get student finance?

You should do if you live in the UK or Ireland and have not studied at this level before. Our BA (Hons) in Practical Theology is eligible for student loans like any other degree.

You can explore what you are eligible on the Student Finance website.

Note: This website applies to students resident England only. If you live in a different country check your government web site.

UK students on the MA programme should be eligible for Masters Loans to cover the costs of their study. English students can find out more here [hyperlink -] and students from other nations should check their own government web site.

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