Where Do I Start?
Our Admissions team are here to answer any questions you might have. They are always delighted to hear from you regardless of the stage of your discernment process. To send an enquiry, contact us at:
Usually the first step is to come and join us for an informal open afternoon ("Interview Day") to get a taste of study, formation, worship, and life in community at Ridley. Interview Days normally take place on Thursdays during term time. You will have opportunities to chat with our ordinands, meet with our faculty, pray and worship with us, find out more about our vision and values, and join us for delicious lunch. As part of the day, there are also informal individual conversations to help you explore Ridley and everything we have to offer further.
When Do I Visit?
We encourage you to visit us as early as possible. You are very welcome to join us on an Interview Day before you have attended Stage 1 Carousel Conversations and/or Stage 2 Discernment Panels. If you have not been recommended for training yet, we will be pleased to make a conditional offer to you.
There are four steps to applying for ordination training at Ridley:
- Read our vocations guide (please scroll down)
- Compete an application form
- Talk to the Admissions Team
- Attend an Interview Day
- Complete an application form
Complete the appropriate application form (includes booking on an interview day)
Prospective Ordinands from dioceses within the UK (including from the Diocese in Europe):
- UK application form for ordination training (Word doc)
- UK application form for ordination training (pdf)
When complete, return your application by email to:
If you have been recommended for training in the Anglican Ministry and are being sponsored by a diocese outside the UK/Diocese of Europe, and your diocese would like to sponsor you to do part of your training in the UK then please can you contact the Admissions Department with further details of your circumstances.
- Talk to the Admissions Team
Talk to the Admissions Team
Once you have sent us your completed application form, our Admissions Team will be in touch to arrange your visit. We want you to get the most out of your visit to Ridley and our discussions with you when we meet. To help tutors understand some of your background and your sense of vocation to inform these conversations, we ask that before you attend one of our Interview Days you discuss your visit with our Admissions Team.
- Attend an Interview Day
What to expect
Our Interview Days for potential ordinands normally take place on Thursdays within term time, and combine what you’d normally associate with an ‘open day’ with informal interviews. They are designed to give you a feel for the community and the place, and help you explore your training options.
The format of our Interview Days gives you the opportunity to see the college on a typical ‘working day’ and also ensures that there are staff and students available to answer your questions. We will send you more information once you have applied to come on an Interview Day, but the general format for the day is:
- Lunch: Upon arrival, you will be met by a student host who will take you in to lunch
- Welcome session: After lunch all prospective students attend a welcome session in the Chapel
- Individual informal interviews: After the welcome session, applicants split up and have three one-to-one (or one-to-two if your partner is attending) informal interviews lasting about 25 minutes each – one academic, one formational, and one with the Principal. These informal interviews are very much designed so that you can ask all the questions you have for us, and look in detail at which study pathway(s) would be best suited to you, as well being an opportunity for us to get to know you better.
- Common Room Tea: At 4pm there is break for all applicants in the Common Room, which gives another opportunity to meet current ordinands and ask them questions.
- College Communion: Once your scheduled meetings are finished you are free to leave (the timing of your last scheduled interview varies but will finish at the latest by 6pm). However, all applicants are invited to stay on for College Communion and supper in the evening if they would like to. Supper concludes at around 8pm.
If you have a partner whom you would like to accompany you, they will be warmly welcomed. Thursdays are our ‘community days’ when many students’ families come in to meet up in the morning and stay for lunch, and so they offer a chance to engage with the whole community. It is an ideal opportunity to meet with partners of current students and find out about life at Ridley from their perspective.
See our Families page to read about what Ridley offers to partners and children of ordinands.
Discerning a Vocation in the Church of England
There are six stages normally involved in becoming an ordinand (a trainee vicar) in the Church of England. The process of discerning a vocation to ordained ministry can take a good deal of time. This is quite deliberate. In line with scripture, the Church takes care to avoid rushing into ordaining people. All those involved in the process are concerned to seek God diligently and to carefully discern His will for each candidate. As you enter the process you should expect it to take months rather than weeks.
- 1. Prior involvement in the Anglican Church
1. Prior involvement in the Anglican Church
Normally before you can be ordained in the Church of England, you need experience of regular attendance and involvement in an Anglican church.
This helps to test whether you really want to commit yourself to the denomination's way of doing things, and it also helps to demonstrate to the wider Church that you are serious about the demands of ordained ministry. It is also important to test whether this ministry would really be suitable for you by asking those who know you well.
- 2. Consulting your incumbent
2. Consulting your incumbent
Next, you would normally approach your vicar, chaplain or equivalent, or a member of the vocations team in your diocese to ask whether he or she thinks ordained ministry would be appropriate for you. Do you have the gifts, abilities and temperament, and would they be willing to support your application to the DDO (Diocesan Director of Ordinands) for training?
The DDO is the person in each diocese who has the responsibility to oversee applicants for ordination. Normally it is crucial for your own incumbent to support your application to the DDO.
- 3. Meeting with your DDO
3. Meeting with your DDO
The Diocesan Director of Ordinands guides potential ordinands through the process of discernment. They will spend time with you and listen carefully as you articulate your sense of calling to ordained ministry in the Church of England. They will ask you lots of questions and recommend useful books for you to read, which will help you deepen your understanding of your calling. They will suggest others for you to speak to. The DDO has the authority to say no to an applicant, or to require more church attendance, study, or other preparatory experiences before approving a person's application.
- 4. The Selection Process
4. The Selection Process
At the First Stage candidates will work with a Vocations Advisor. This is followed by the Stage 1 Assessment: a non-residential day with six short interviews. At this stage a report is created highlighting areas to work on in the second stage.
There is then a Stage 2 Assessment: a two-day process with in-depth interviews and a group exercise.
After this, recommendations regarding training are made.
If applicants are recommended for training, they qualify to begin training for ministry at a theological training institution. This training is currently paid for by the Church of England (see Fees and Funding).
- 5. Choosing a theological education institution
5. Choosing a theological education institution
If you would like to explore whether Ridley is the right place for you to train, we ask that you have first talked to your DDO about it and ensured they are happy for you to take this next step.
When you have the blessing of your DDO, send in a completed application form (see above), which will enable us to book you onto one of our Interview Days. It is not necessary to have already attended your Stage 1 & 2 Assessments before making an application to Ridley as long as your DDO is happy for you to do so.
- 6. Choosing a theology course
6. Choosing a theology course
Ordinands who are under 32 when they start training and don’t already have a theology degree generally train for three years. If you are 32 or older when you begin, or if you have already done a significant amount of theological study, you will train for two years unless you apply for and receive permission to train for a different length of time.
Our course finder tool on this website will help you to choose a course, and we will also discuss your options with you and give you guidance when you visit Ridley on an Interview Day.