Personalized Study & Research
In addition to our robust flagship Certificate Program in Orthodox Studies by Distance Learning, which we normally recommend as our first port of call for those interested in studying Orthodoxy in-depth, the Institute also offers opportunities for personalized, private study and research in Orthodoxy.
Why Personalized Study and Research?
Do you have a desire to study a topic of Orthodoxy in focus and depth? Are you interested in researching a theme in Orthodox history, theology, life or worship in a personal, directed way, with dedicated guidance from an instructor? A course of personalized study with the Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute may be right for you — and they are available to be taught either face-to-face in San Francisco, or via video conferencing from anywhere in the world.
Sometimes your goal isn’t a specific certificate or credential, and you wish to go beyond even the depth offered in a broader program. While the Institute’s flagship course, our Certificate Program of Orthodox Studies by Distance Learning, provides the best option for those seeking to engage with Orthodoxy in an in-depth and extensive way, a course of personalized study provides the ideal option for those who are interested in a narrower area of interest within Orthodox Church life and thought.
We normally recommend a course of personalized study or research for our students who have already completed the Certificate Program and want to carry on with further studies on a specific area; or to those who already have considerable theological background in Orthodoxy and want to extend that experience further. We do not normally recommend this option for students just setting out on higher-education level Orthodox studies.
How Does the Private Course / Research Option Work?
When you enroll on a personalized course of study, the first step is a meeting with an Institute advisor (usually via video conference) in order to learn about your background, interests, and the desired topics, themes and areas of interest for your study. A short time later, we will return to you with a custom-created syllabus of study based on your interests, providing a unique, entirely personalised course of learning.
Instruction on your personalized course of study is carried out via the Institute’s modification of the Oxford ‘tutorial’ model, which provides you with six ninety-minute sessions with an expert instructor over a three-month period of study. For each tutorial session, carefully selected reading is undertaken, with study essays produced and discussed with your instructor. Not only are in-depth, one-on-one discussions at the heart of your learning, but you receive thorough marking of your written work and counsel on studying in further detail. Tutorials normally take place via live video conferencing, meaning you can engaged in this ‘face to face’, interactive type of personal research and study from any location.
Courses of personalized study are normally delivered over a three-month period of six sessions; however, if you desire to extend your studies further, the option to add on additional three-month blocks is always available. Additionally, for individuals who desire to write a longer study at the culmination of their work, an optional dissertation provides the opportunity to compose an extended paper of up to 10,000 words, with extra tutorial sessions on research, study and preparation, and a thorough marking of your substantial work.
What Can I Study?
The nature of personalized study is such that the specific areas of focus are almost limitless. Any approved topic that fits within the Institute’s remit of providing education in Orthodox life, history, theology and practice can be the basis of a dedicated course.
Some examples of personalized study topics include:
- Patristic and Church guidance on developing an Orthodox worldview
- Living the virtues in Orthodox monasticism
- Orthodoxy and the death penalty
- The rise of the Church in Byzantium
- A detailed study of the Church Fathers before Nicaea
- The nature of Orthodox preaching
- Pan-Orthodox relationships, modern ‘ecumenism’ and conciliarity
- A study of the symbolism of the Divine Liturgy
- Classical literature and the Orthodox life
- Orthodoxy and the Arts
Topics are designed to meet your interests, shaped in a coherent way by the Institute’s instructors but largely as recommended by you. The only topics that we do not generally teach via personalized courses of study are those that would duplicate what we offer within the modules of the Certificate Program; and in some cases where a proposed topic would benefit from the materials addressed in one or more of those modules, we may recommend enrolment on a module-by-module basis in those elements of the Certificate Program, in order to provide research students with the strongest possible base for their more in-depth work.
What level of study is provided?
Personalized courses of study can be crafted to match your level of experience and previous education, ranging from post-introductory to, more generally, Masters-level research guidance.
How Much Does it Cost?
Free – Initial enquiry. We do not charge an initial application fee for this course, but invite potential research students to contact us via the dedicated Application Form, below, to register their interest and set up a time for a first meeting with an Institute representative, for which there is also no charge.
$120.00 – Course initiation, syllabus design and setup fee. After an initial enquiry and meeting with an Institute representative, formal engagement of the Institute in developing a customised course for you is agreed to by the applicant and this fee is charged. It covers all development of the syllabus, program, etc.; and it is non-refundable, even if for some reason you elect not to go further and actually engage in your research.
$500.00 – Tuition for a personalized course of instruction provided through six (6) sixty-minute tutorials over up to three calendar months (whichever comes first). The tutorials will follow the syllabus designed for you by your instructor / advisor, in consultation with you, and will include in-depth discussion of assigned themes, reading and research, as well as consideration and marking of tutorial essays. If you wish to continue your personalized studies in the longer term, you can register for additional six-tutorial/three-month blocks of instruction. Instruction is generally provided via live FaceTime, AnyMeeting or Skype video conferencing environments, allowing you to take part from anywhere.
Book Costs – When designing your course, the Institute always strives to locate readings with on-line free editions that you can read at no cost; however, focussed study by nature requires access to relevant books and articles. If you have access to a local academic or good parish/monastery library, some of these might be available to you in that context; and we will always strive to provide guidance on where to purchase essential texts at affordable prices. Purchasing assigned books is undertaken directly by the student; an estimated maximum for a three-month course of study (if all books are purchased) might be $100.00 – $200.00; but this depends entirely on the course itself.
$200.00 – Optional dissertation fee. If you would like to conclude your series of tutorials by being guided in writing a longer dissertation (up to 10,000 words), you have the option to do so. You will be provided with an additional two (2) tutorial sessions specifically dedicated to helping you prepare your dissertation; and upon submission will have your writing marked in detail.
$40.00 – Optional transcript fee. If you would like to be provided with a printed transcript of your personalised studies, including a description of all content covered and marks awarded, this can be provided by the Institute upon completion.