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Starting the AKC

Values and Purpose of The AKC

MaughanThe Associateship of King’s College (AKC) is the original award of the College, dating back to its foundation in 1829 and reflecting  the College’s motto: ‘sancte et sapienter’ (with holiness and wisdom). The 1829 Royal Charter states that the purposes of King’s College are to maintain the connection between ‘sound religion and useful learning’ and to teach the ‘doctrines and duties of Christianity’. The AKC remains faithful to this commitment to the importance of religion, and aims to promote intelligent, open-minded reflection on religious, philosophical and ethical issues. The 21st-century AKC offers an inclusive, research-led programme of lectures that give King’s students the opportunity to engage with these issues alongside their main programme of study.

A modern tradition

The College’s distinctive tradition continues to flourish in today’s diverse student community: while in 1835 the first King’s students graduated with the AKC, over 1200 students now follow the AKC programme each year. While the AKC maintains its original ethos of promoting reflection and conversation on the Christian faith, the programme has developed and broadened as the College has become increasingly global in its outlook. Its syllabus now includes all the major world religions, and considers critics as well as proponents of religious beliefs. The AKC is at the heart of the College’s commitment to an international, interdisciplinary, and innovative curriculum: it seeks to foster an understanding of different ideas, beliefs and cultures that can be taken into wider society. The programme is unique to King's College London, and is the only course open to students from every Department, as well as to staff. As the College has expanded and merged with other institutions, the AKC has been made available across all the different campuses of the College. 


The AKC Programme consists of two series of academic lectures each year, and is assessed by a 2-hour examination just before the Easter Vacation.  It is normally a three-year programme, designed to run alongside students’ main programme of study. The AKC syllabus includes ethics and moral philosophy, religious belief and atheism, biblical studies, Christian doctrine and history, the sociology and anthropology of religion, and issues relating to religious diversity in the modern world. AKC lectures are given by leading researchers – mainly academic staff in the Department of Theology of Religious Studies – and are open to students and staff of all beliefs and backgrounds. 

As Theology and Religious Studies students already cover the subjects taught through the AKC in their degree studies, they are offered a special version of the AKC. The AKC Programme for these students is delivered by other Departments and Schools in the College. It is designed to complement their main programme of study by exploring how other disciplines impact upon Theology and Religious Studies. Students of all disciplines who complete the AKC not only acquire knowledge about the subjects covered by the programme, but also learn to think intelligently about the ultimate questions of life’s origin, meaning, and value. 

Graduates of King’s College London who have successfully completed six AKC units over three years (or, when fewer than three years are available, four units over two years), are eligible to be elected as Associates of the College by the authority of the College Council, delegated to the Academic Board.  After election, they are entitled to use the letters ‘AKC’ after their names.

The AKC enables students to develop an enquiring mind 

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