Associateship of King's College
The Associateship or Associate of King's College (AKC) award was the degree-equivalent qualification of King's College London from 1833. It is the original qualification that King's awarded to its students. In current practice, it is an optional award that students can study in addition to their degree proper.
Since 1909, only students registered for a University of London degree at King's have normally been allowed to study for the associateship. The three-year course involves weekly lectures concerning theology, ethics and philosophy. At the discretion of the Dean, some postgraduates, and medical/dental students who do not intercalate, are allowed to compress the programme into two years. All members of staff at King's may study for the AKC as a free-standing qualification. From 2015, King's alumni—who in their student days opted out of an AKC study—can now study for the AKC via distance learning programme.
Registered students/alumni/staff take an annual examination. Successfully passing all the exams for three years (subject to exceptions, e.g. registered alumni take the examination in two years only) will entitle the students to wear an epitoge on their academic dress during their graduation exercises. After graduating from King's, students/alumni who succeed in the AKC exams will be eligible to be elected as Associates of King's College. Staff who also succeed in the AKC will likewise be eligible for election. Associates use the post-nominal letters AKC along with their main qualification.
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Until 1976, the Theological Department of King's College London (a distinct institution from King's College London and not to be confused with the latter's Faculty of Theology) awarded the Theological AKC. This was an ordination qualification in the Church of England and was a three-year, full-time course of studies. Some ordination candidates read the AKC only and some read the combined BD/AKC course, receiving both qualifications at the end of the three years. The Theological AKC was equivalent to a BA pass degree in theology. It was awarded in three classes with an undivided second class. Holders were entitled to wear distinctive academic dress by a grant of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The hood is of the "Cambridge shape" (MA), made of black poplin and edged, inside and out, with "one inch of mauve silk". The gown resembles the classic MA design of the ancient universities with a few exceptions (e.g. it had a black button and cord at the back of the yoke). Also, its sleeves are cut square, that is, without the "crescent" shaping of the other universities.