Undergraduate Studies - Bachelor of Divinity

Conferred through Maryvale HIRS by Faculté Nôtre Dame in Paris

Ecclesiastical Bachelor of Divinity

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The Ecclesiastical Bachelor of Divinity is a five-year part-time, collaborative-learning degree programme in Catholic theology providing a comprehensive exposition and analysis of Christian doctrine based on the study of the sacred Scriptures, the works of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the documents of the Magisterium. This degree is established by the Holy See (which is a signatory to the 1999 Bologna Declaration) according to the norms governing Higher Institutes of Religious Sciences (HIRS) and is conferred through Maryvale HIRS by Faculté Nôtre-Dame in Paris under the authority of the Holy See.

Although based at Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, the Programme attracts students from the whole of the United Kingdom and all over the world.

La Faculté Nôtre-Dame

Who is the programme aimed at?

Students are typically from all walks of life, aged 18–75, married, single, and religious. Some have strong academic backgrounds; others have done little academic work since leaving school. The Programme provides an academic formation specialising in Catholic theology and also develops the religious formation of the students so that they may participate more fully in the life and mission of the Church. While ecclesiastical degrees are intended for Catholics, this Programme is open to anyone interested in Catholic theology and comfortable with Maryvale’s Catholic ethos.

Students are expected to commit approximately 15-20 hours per week to their studies.

What are the entry requirements?

In general, entry to this degree programme is ‘open’ in the sense that no specific previous qualifications are needed but evidence will be sought of ability for degree level work and the application will need to be supported by appropriate references. The Programme is delivered in English and evidence of competence in the language may be required of those for whom English is not their first language.

How long is the programme?

The Ecclesiastical Bachelor of Divinity is a five year, part-time, distance learning degree programme.

It is possible, within the structure of the BDiv Programme, to study only part of the Programme and leave with the award of:

  • a Maryvale Certificate (after Year 2) or
  • a Maryvale Diploma (after Year 4)

When does the next course start?

A new programme begins each autumn.

Aims of the Programme

  • To provide a comprehensive academic formation in Catholic theology.
  • To develop a critical sense and academic judgement so as to evaluate different theological positions.
  • To help those participating to discover and realise their vocation in the Church.
  • To nourish each person's spiritual life through growth in understanding.


The Programme commences in September and normally consists of two residential weekends and one longer residential weekend per year.** Between residential periods students work from home, writing six essays per year. Academic grades are based on the essays and an examination at the end of each year. In the current situation, residential periods may have to take place virtually, but it is an important feature of the Programme that students and staff gradually get to know each other.


  • History of Philosophy
  • Systematic Philosophy
  • Holy Scripture
  • Fundamental Theology
  • Dogmatic Theology
  • Moral Theology
  • Spiritual Theology
  • Liturgical and Sacramental Theology
  • Patrology and the History of the Church
  • Canon Law
  • Biblical Catechesis

Higher Institute of Religious Sciences Regulations

Course Fees

Course fees page.


Each module is assessed by the completion of one or more assignments and a written or oral examination.


Successful completion of the Programme leads to the award of the Ecclesiastical Bachelor of Divinity degree, validated by Faculté Nôtre-Dame de Paris.

It is also possible, within the structure of the B.Divinity Programme, to terminate with the award of a Maryvale Certificate (after Year 2) or Maryvale Diploma (after Year 4).

How do I apply?

Applications are welcome any time up to the first week of September.

To apply, please download the BDiv application form and other documents. Once submitted to Maryvale Institute, your application will be processed by the Admissions Committee (with supporting documentation, such as references) which can take up to six weeks.


If you have a disability or any long-term condition that impacts on your day-to-day life, please download the Accessibility Form, open and edit it in Acrobat Reader, and email or post the completed document to the Accessibility Coordinator (address included on the form), to ensure we can give you the best possible support during your course of study. Disclosing a disability will not be a factor in Institute’s decision as to whether or not to offer you a place on the course. However, it is important that the Institute knows if you have any specialist needs in order to provide you with appropriate support and facilities. This information will remain strictly confidential. For further information, please contact the Accessibility Coordinator by using the contact button below:

For further information

Please contact us either by making an online enquiry below or by calling 0121 360 8118.

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