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Foundations: Pastoral Practice

Pastoral Practice is an online unit taken over 15 weeks, using Cliff College's online learning platform.

Pastoral care has been an essential component of Christian mission and ministry since the earliest days of the church. While some office holders within the church have a particular responsibility for pastoral care, all within the church are encouraged and expected to ‘watch over one another in love’, as John Wesley put it. This unit on Foundations: Pastoral Practice provides students with an introduction to pastoral theology and enables students to identify and develop practices of pastoral care. The unit situates pastoral care within the mission and ministry of the whole church, and explores how pastoral practice can face and respond to a number of specific contemporary issues. In the video above, Dr Ali Mackenzie shares more about the content of the unit.

Pastoral Practice is taught in ten sessions over ten weeks, with a further five weeks to prepare and submit your assessment. More detail of the unit structure is available under 'Dates and cost'.

This unit can be taken by itself, but can also be taken as part of the Foundations for Mission and Ministry programme. The Foundations programme is made up of this and five other units taken over two years. For more information on this programme, contact

This course has been thought provoking and has certainly impacted my practice.

This unit will be available from January 2025 and is taught in ten sessions over ten weeks, with a further five weeks to prepare and submit your assessment. The first and last sessions are live seminars which you will need to attend either online or onsite at Cliff College; the dates for these sessions will be available in mid-2024.

The other eight sessions are designed for independent study and are made up of video content, reading, written tasks and other creative activities to help consolidate your learning. These can be done at any time in the week that suits you. We recommend that you allow two hours of learning for each session, plus time for reading and assessment preparation.

Throughout the unit you will have opportunities through scheduled online meetings to check in with Cliff College staff, discuss your learning and experience of the unit, seek guidance on assessments and ask any questions you have.

You can apply for this unit here. This unit costs £360, including access to all teaching materials and tutorial support throughout your learning. This does not cover the cost of any meals or accommodation if you choose to attend the seminars at Cliff College rather than attending online.

Applications for this unit are now open - apply here! If you have any questions about the unit or application process, please contact

Entry requirements

A Level 3 qualification (such as an A Level) or equivalent.

It is recognised that standard procedures for assessing applications may not always provide an accurate understanding of an applicant's suitability. In such cases where a Level 3 qualification is not held, qualification it is still possible to apply, and these applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, in line with our non-standard entry process.

English language proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English shall have achieved an overall IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent in an equivalent recognised test. This must have been achieved no longer than two years before the date of enrolment on the unit.