Values and Purpose of The AKC
The Associateship of King’s College (AKC) course enables students to develop an enquiring mind, to be educated about important issues extending beyond their particular chosen field of study. This concern dates from the foundation of King’s College London, with its values summarised in the motto ‘sancte et sapienter’ (with holiness and wisdom).
The twin purposes of the College required by the original Royal Charter of 1829 were to maintain the connection between ‘sound religion and useful learning’ and to teach the ‘doctrines and duties of Christianity’. This obligation has been fulfilled throughout the College’s history by offering the course leading to the AKC, which is the original award of the College, first granted to students in 1835.
A modern tradition
The tradition has continued into today’s modern curriculum through this voluntary additional course, which provides students with the opportunity to think about fundamental questions of theology, philosophy, religion and ethics in a contemporary context alongside their main degree studies. As such, this course is unique to King's College London, and is the only course open to students from every department, as well as to staff. As King’s College London has expanded and merged with other institutions, the AKC has been made available across all the different sites and departments of the College today.
The AKC syllabus covers such areas as Morality and Ethics, Religious Experience, Belief and Atheism, Biblical Studies, Philosophy of Religion, Christian Doctrine and History, Sociology and Anthropology of Religion, and Religious Diversity in the Modern World. These topics are taught through academic lectures in a non-confessional manner, open to students and staff of all beliefs and backgrounds.
As Theology and Religious Studies students already cover these subjects in their degree studies, a special version of the course is prepared for those who wish to take the AKC, complementing their degree studies by considering how other disciplines in the College impact upon theology and religious studies. Thus students of all disciplines who successfully complete the AKC not only acquire a body of knowledge about the subjects covered, but learn to think about the ultimate questions of life, society and personal identity.
Graduates of King’s College London, who have usually completed six AKC units over three years (or, when fewer than three years are available, four units over two years), are then 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 name in addition to their degree.