Centre for Ministry Studies

REF 2021

1st in the UK

Divinity at the University of Aberdeen was ranked 1st in the UK for overall quality of research

Centre for Ministry Studies

'What the Centre provides is an answer to prayer for me and I want to spread the news about it wherever I can.' Rev Jim Pirie

The Centre for Ministry Studies at Aberdeen University (CMS) endeavours to be a centre of excellence that seeks to facilitate world class education and training for people involved in Christian ministry at home and internationally. Through developing and nurturing creative and innovative working relationships between the academy and the church, the Centre strives to produce scholarly work and practical training initiatives designed to enable people to think and to practice well.

To keep up to date with our activities, follow us on Facebook.


The Centre for Ministry Studies was established in January 2014 under the leadership of Professor John Swinton. It is co-ordinated by Rev Dr Ken Jeffrey, a highly experienced minister and academic. The Centre emerged from a collaboration between the University of Aberdeen, Christ’s College and the Church of Scotland. It is, however, completely and intentionally interdenominational and seeks to work closely with churches and organisations from all traditions with the shared purpose of facilitating ministry education, research and training across a wide range of contexts for lay and ordained people.

We understand ministry in its broadest sense to include all the works that all of God’s people are called to do. Also, ministry today takes place in a complex social and cultural context that requires churches to equip people with the skills that are appropriate and relevant for the twenty first century and to inspire them with confidence.

Therefore, the Centre aims to serve individuals and communities by providing programmes of education and training that will support people in their ministry wherever they are. Our goal is to make ministry education and training as widely accessible as possible.

Our accessible education is achieved via a variety of flexible academic programmes combined with day and weekend conferences, guided reading courses, summer schools, retreats as well as an extensive online directory of courses. We offer flexible opportunities for people to study and be trained at unaccredited, Certificate, Diploma, Masters and Doctoral level on either a part time or a full time basis.

We have developed a varied syllabus which includes studies in parish ministry, chaplaincy, mission, fresh expressions of church, pastoral care, community building, preaching, theology, worship, spiritual formation, leadership and peacemaking, to name but a few.


Rev Prof John Swinton
Email: j.swinton@abdn.ac.uk
Tel: 01224 273224

Rev Dr Ken Jeffrey
Email: ksjeffrey@abdn.ac.uk
Tel: 01224 274276

The Centre has assistance from two honorary lecturers Dr Jim Gordon and Dr David Smith

The Centre is also pleased to have the following associates from the School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History.


The Centre for Ministry Studies provides a suite of classes and courses that are designed to equip people with the skills that are necessary to allow them to minister successfully in their local church, community and beyond. These include:


At its inception, the Centre produced newsletters. Now we give regular updates and announce events via an email list. To be included in that circulation please email joel.pierce@abdn.ac.uk.