Education and training

Having successfully completed the enquiry and assessment process, candidates for any of the ministries of the Church of Scotland have to undertake a comprehensive programme of training and formation. This comprises three strands; academic requirements, a conference programme and a series of practical placements. The precise nature and content of these varies according to the particular ministry. This applies to candidates for ministries of word and sacrament, the diaconate and the readership.

Academic requirements

For each ministry there is a core curriculum approved by the council and offered by designated academic providers. The course followed will depend on previous qualifications and the ministry for which the candidate is training.

Conference programme

A series of conferences with a comprehensive programme of seminars dealing with various topics related to ministry is provided as part of the formation programme for each distinctive ministry. Topics covered include worship, leadership, preaching, pastoral care, issues of abuse, church law, and an exploration of different forms of ministry such as chaplaincy and funerals. All candidates undergo speech training and a course in safeguarding (formerly child protection).

Practical placements

Candidates for any ministry within the Church of Scotland have to undertake a series of practical placements during which they are attached to a local congregation under the supervision of a trained and accredited supervisor. These placements vary in length and some are full-time, depending on the course of formation being followed. All supervisors are given full training, including in-service, and are well supported by the staff of the Ministries Council in this most important task.

The review process

Once candidates for the ministries of Word and Sacrament or the Diaconate have been accepted, they are subject to a process of regular review. This is the process by which the council and the nominating presbytery assure themselves that all aspects of training have been completed in a satisfactory fashion. No candidate can proceed to the next stage of training for either of these ministries without the previous year having been commended at the annual review. A final review is conducted and must be completed satisfactorily before candidates can seek a charge or appointment. This review process does not at present apply to candidates for the readership.

For further information on education and training matters, email


If you are a Minister, or a Graduate Candidate, in another denomination of the Christian Church and you wish to make an application to transfer to Ministry in the Church of Scotland, please send your CV in the first instance to

On receipt of your CV, we will contact you to discuss matters further.