The Institute for Advanced Christian Studies (IACS) serves as the theological center in the Madras Christian College. It attempts to advance the Christian Calling by exploring faith and knowledge of various kinds in their mutual encounters within the academy and beyond. This involves offering formal and specially designed courses of study to the college community, the professionals, the public and special groups interested in leadership, service, advocacy and community development. A warm welcome to IACS as you view its various activity which in turn patronages the unit.
To mark the Centenary celebration of the Madras Christian College in 1937, the College moved out from the busy city to the calm spacious environs of Selaiyur forest in Tambaram, Chennai. At that time a definite location was set apart in the Master Plan of the College for a Theological Study Center.
When the College celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 1987, the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies was launched, fulfilling the vision of the founders to have a centre for theological studies along with the secular disciplines of the College. This paved way for the college community and others to be a part of the activities of IACS and to study diligently the Word of God.
The Institute for Advanced Christian Studies focuses on being theological and academic with the commitment to raise Christian leadership in the present context of our society.Even before IACS was formally launched, stalwarts who passed through the portals of the college had exhibited great Christian witness. For example, Justice Pandippedi Chenchiah, a Judge of Pudukottai and Vengal Chakkarai, the Major of Madras Corporation in 1941 were students of William Miller and became practicing Christians. They had made remarkably original contribution to Indian Christian Theology, missiological and ministerial explorations that can be generated in the contact of Higher Education to meet the challenges of the present world. IACS offers short term training to the Christian laity in order to equip them to be effective witnesses for Christ in their secular positions
Under the aegis of the autonomous status of the College, IACS offers a few short-term courses on the Bible and Christian Theology. They are:
- Diploma in Christian Studies This is a 8-month (July till the following March) study programme. The course offers sound biblical, theological and ethical study. The programme helps to have basic understanding of Christian faith. The course is conducted in two terms during the academic year. Classes are conducted every Tuesdays and Thursdays in two batches, one in the morning from 10.30am – 12.30pm and the other in the afternoon from 2.30 – 4.00pm. This is to facilitate the candidates to attend classes according to their convenience. Most of the students and staff of both the streams join the programme. A sizable number of the public who could afford the time have registered. A Plus-Two qualification makes one eligible to join the programme.
- Post-Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies The course is designed in the distant mode of study. It builds a strong Christian foundation of faith in an individual to interact with issues from the Christian perspective. It admits candidates twice a year – January and June. Any university degree or its equivalent is eligible to register.
- Certificate in Biblical Foundations course This course is basically a systematic study of the bible. It is a 3-month course from January to March in the academic year. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 – 8pm. A brief devotion is conducted from 5.45 – 6pm. This course is designed for those who do not have the time to attend regular courses during the day time to study the bible.