Faculty of Theology, Welcome from the Dean


Welcome from the Dean 

Welcome to the web page of the Faculty of Theology of the North-West University.


You have entered the web page of the second oldest Faculty of Theology in South Africa! The history of the Faculty of Theology, as that of the NWU, goes back to 1869 with the founding of the Theological School of the Reformed Churches in South Africa. Over the years it has not only been the Alma Mater of prospective ministers of the Reformed Churches in South Africa (Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid Afrika – GKSA), but many ministers of particularly the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa (Nederduits-Gereformeerde Kerk van SA – NGK) and the Nederduits-Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (NHK) also completed their first three years of study (BA Admission) here. Since 1995, however, the Reformational Theology of the NWU has attracted broader interest: the degree programmes of the Faculty are not offered only at the Potchefstroom, Vaal Tri-angle and Mafikeng Campus, but also at 27 theological training institutions world wide.


Students prefer to register at the NWU’s Faculty of Theology mainly due to the high quality of teaching and learning, the theological foundation, and the ethos of the Faculty.


  • All the qualification programmes are regularly evaluated both internally and externally to ensure that they not only comply with the requirements of the various collaborating churches, but also with the national and highest international standards.
  • We practice Theology as a science on a Reformational foundation. This includes the acknowledgement that the written Word of God, the Bible, is the product of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that it is authoritative. On this basis all paradigms – including our own – are constantly studied critically and reformationally, and staff and students of other theological convictions who respect this Reformational foundation and inclusive approach, are accommodated.
  • The ethos of the Faculty of Theology is defined by its Reformational foundation. The staff see themselves as “slaves of Christ” who, under his instruction, are in the service of academia, of every student whom God sends here, and who in this way want to positively transform not only the South African society, but also the world.


Fast facts


  • Total number of students: 610
  • M students: 111
  • D students: 118
  • M degrees completed 2012: 14
  • D degrees completed 2012: 26
  • Research articles 2012: 95
  • Academic staff: 25
  • % Academic staff with PhD: 84%
  • Administrative staff: 8
  • E-learning Technologist: 1
  • Research professors: 2
  • Extraordinary staff: 81
  • Post-65 Researchers: 4
  • Post-doctoral fellows: 12
  • Open learning centres SA: 20
  • Open learning centres internationally: 7


Management structure

The Faculty comprises three teaching-learning schools (for Ministers’ Training; for Pastoral Counselling and Church Ministry; for Ancient Language and Text Studies), and one Research Unit (the Unit for Reformational Theology and the development of the South African Society), each headed by a director. There is a fifth management unit: the Theology Open Distance Learning Programmes.


Distance students

Of our approximately 600 students, half are distance students. They are primarily persons in full-time professions and thus not in a position to easily relocate to Potchefstroom. The Faculty is geared to make its teaching-learning accessible to these students over any distance, among others through optimal utilisation of teaching-learning technology. Most of these students receive addional teaching and learning support at the 27 open learning centres of the Faculty of Theology across South Africa, in several African countries, and in Europe and the Americas.


Contact students

Undergraduate and honours contact students register because they experience a vocation to equip and serve people with and according to the Bible in obedience to and in imitation of Jesus Christ, thus transforming South African society positively. Students register to qualify for the following types of “professions”: as minister/pastor within an established church and/or denomination, as church planters, as pastoral counsellors, as child and youth ministers, as music ministers, as Bible translators. About 40% of the contact students have first qualified in a different field and practised another profession for even a decade or longer before starting with Theology because of a strong sense of calling.


Language medium

Teaching is predominantly in Afrikaans with simultaneous interpreting into English, and in some instances reversed, viz: teaching in English, with simultaneous interpreting into Afrikaans. All study materials are in both Afrikaans and English. Some programmes are also offered in Portuguese.


Qualification programmes

The following qualification programmes are offered:


Undergraduate degrees

BTh in Bible Languages

BTh in Pastoral Counselling

BDiv (a four-year professional qualification, commencing in 2015)

BA in Biblical Counselling and Psychology

BTh in Music Ministry (commencing in 2015)

BA in Ancient Languages and Bible Translation (commencing in 2014)


Honours degrees

Hons BTh

Hons BA in Theology

Hons BA in Ancient Languages


Master’s degrees

MDiv (Professional master’s degree)

MTh in all the Theology subjects

MA in all the Theology subjects (discontinued from 2015)

MA in Greek, Semitic Languages, or Latin



PhD in all the Theology subjects

PhD in Greek, Semitic Languages, or Latin


Postgraduate studies

From starting their honours studies, and specifically during their M and D studies, our students are guided to do their studying within one of the sub-programmes of the Research Unit. These sub-programmes are the following:


  1. Moral Renewal of Society, with Prof Riaan Rheeder as leader
  2. Ancient Languages: Text, Context and Reception, with Dr At Lamprecht as leader
  3. Practical-Theological Perspectives, with Dr Hannelie Yates as leader
  4. Ecclesiological Perspectives, with Prof Johannes Smit as leader
  5. Missiological Perspectives, with Prof Henk Stoker as leader
  6. Bibliological and Hermeneutical Perspectives, with Prof Francois Viljoen as leader



Enjoy your visit to our web page, and please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to welcoming you in person on the Theology Campus in Potchefstroom!


Francois Viljoen