Youth Diploma in Theology

The Diploma qualifies students to apply for PAOC licensed ministry credentials. Further information on credentialing is available from your PAOC or PAONL District Office.

The Diploma in Theology (Youth Ministry) is the right option for the student considering vocational youth ministry leadership training. This program has a strong Biblical base and is designed specifically for those pursuing God's leading toward a youth pastor role following graduation. The diploma provides the historical and theological knowledge as well as the spiritual disciplines and practical skills needed to become a pastor without the need for a seminary education.

Practical Experience component: Each semester, students are required to contribute back to their local church or other ministry setting through a practicum. The volunteer service there helps each student make immediate and direct application of their online learning back into a real setting. Students are required to take a practicum course each semester of their program. In the third year students complete an 8-month internship practicum which requires 400 hours of practical experience.


Vanguard Online is pleased to welcome many excellent Christian Leadership practitioners to facilitate our practicum courses. Their timely insights and discussion will both stimulate and challenge our students to think and grow as leaders.

Courses listed below are arranged according to recommended semesters for a traditional in-class program of studies. Keep in mind that traditional, multi-year programs are designed with an academic progression in mind. For the most part, there is flexibility within each year on the order in which courses can be taken. In some cases, a student's registration in a particular course may be discouraged if they have not taken the previous foundational courses in that discipline. Our program director is able to assist you in selecting appropriate courses.

Pre-Requisite Requirement
Orientation to Online Learning                                                                                                     1 cr. hr.

Year 1

Semester 1
Hermeneutics 3 cr. hrs.
Life in the Spirit 3 cr. hrs.
Youth Discipleship & Pastoring * 3 cr. hrs.
Creative Communication 3 cr. hrs.
Gospels 3 cr. hrs.
Practicum 1: Project Management 1.5 cr. hrs.
Semester 2
Introduction to Youth Ministry ** 3 cr. hrs.
World Religions 3 cr. hrs.
Ministry to Post Modern Families *** 3 cr. hrs.
Personal and Spiritual Formation 3 cr. hrs.
Systematic Theology I: God & the Human Condition 3 cr. hrs.
Practicum 2 - Personal Effectiveness 1.5 cr. hrs.

Year 2

Semester 1
Biblical/Theological Studies Elective (OT) 3 cr. hrs.
Church History: The Early Church & the Dark Ages 3 cr. hrs.
Homiletics 3 cr. hrs.
Adolescent Development 3 cr. hrs.
Philosophical Foundations 3 cr. hrs.
Pentateuch 3 cr. hrs.
Practicum 4: Relationships 1.5 cr. hrs.
Semester 2
Church History: From the Crusades to the Modern Age 3 cr. hrs.
Biblical/Theological Studies Elective 3 cr. hrs.
Introduction to Psychology 3 cr. hrs.
English Literature 3 cr. hrs.
Biblical/Theological Studies Elective (NT) 3 cr. hrs.
Practicum 6: Volunteers 1.5 cr. hrs.

Year 3

Semester 1
Systematic Theology II: Soteriology/Christology 3 cr. hrs.
Pastoral Letters 3 cr. hrs.
Leadership Assessment and Development 3 cr. hrs.
Introduction to Christian Counseling 3 cr. hrs.
Faith Community Perspectives One: Pentecostal History 3 cr. hrs.
Semester 2
Ethics and Critical Issues 3 cr. hrs.
Pastoral Life 3 cr. hrs.
Biblical Theology (Luke/Acts) 3 cr. hrs.
Youth Ministry Issues 3 cr. hrs.
Systematic Theology III: Ecclesiology/Eschatology 3 cr. hrs.
Full Year - Internship Youth Ministry 3 cr. hrs.