Diploma in Interfaith Dialogue

This program introduces students to the beliefs and practices of other the major religions that make up the demographics of the GTA (which reflect the major religions of the world generally), so that student can engage in meaningful dialogue with men and women of other religions. 

This diploma springs from the reality that the Greater Toronto Area is one of the most diverse places on earth. It is designed to introduce students to the spirituality of many of the different religions and faith communities who are our neighbours, leading to meaningful dialogue and new points of connection with other people.

  • Diploma Outcomes

    By the end of the program, students will be able to:

    1. Understand and recount the historical origins, central teachings, devotional practices, and social/political influences of at least four major religions (informational and confessional aspects)
    2. Identify the major texts of at least four religions and explain how those texts are used in each religious practice (informational and confessional aspects)
    3. Articulate how more than one religion engages in religious topics such as peace and justice, prayer and mystical experience, etc. (relational and practical issues)
    4. Demonstrate the relationship between religion and culture through the arts and education (relational and practical issues)
    5. Engage in meaningful dialogue with men and women of other religions at either a personal or institutional level. This does not mean that every student will be members of dialogue teams; rather, through experiential learning they will come to understand the nuances of interfaith dialogue that can occur at every level: personal, local groups, and the larger institutional (when available).
  • Admission Requirements
    • Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.
    • Admission is open to people of all faith traditions. A prior degree is not required to apply.
    • Submit the application form with a $25 processing fee.
    • Please note that no candidate will be considered until all documentation has been received. Please send your completed application form with a non-refundable fee of $25.00 CAD payable to the University of St. Michael’s College to:

    Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing
    Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael’s College
    81 St. Mary St.,
    Toronto, ON
    M5S 1J4

  • Fees

    In light of a generous donation from the Scarboro Foreign Missions, we are able to offer our diploma courses at a reduced rate. The current cost per course is $100. This rate may be subject to change. Please consult the Student Services Officer for more details.

  • Program Requirements

    The Diploma in Interfaith Dialogue is a 10-credit diploma program, requiring the students to take 8 courses, and one 2-credit capstone course. Generally, the courses run in the evenings or, if the instructor’s schedule permits, on Saturdays. Each course is made up of 12 hours of contact time.

    The program is structured as follows:

    • 2 introductory courses are required
      • A Catholic Approach to Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations
      • Theories and Practices of Dialogue
    • 2 courses from Category I (faith-based courses)
    • 2 courses from Category II (topics in interfaith encounter)
    • 2 additional courses from either categories
    • capstone course (project-based)

    Students can consult the Programs Coordinator for further details.

  • Summer 2021 Courses

    SMD 305
    Chaplaincy in the Multi-Faith and Interfaith Context

    Toronto is a city that embraces the other. Over half its residents were born elsewhere. They hail from nearly every country in the world and speak over 140 languages. Toronto is also home to Canada’s largest LGBTQ community (https://theculturetrip.com.). This multiculturalism that is characteristic of Toronto is also reflected in the religious and non-religious diversity. This diversity has provided health care workers with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge, awareness, and understanding in order to respond to the needs of patients and families. This is no less true for those who provide pastoral/spiritual care.

    This course will introduce the philosophy and theoretical foundations to providing spiritual care in a multifaith environment such as Toronto. Students will learn the distinction between religious care and spiritual care. They will also develop basic listening skills, including how to respond in such a way that it further elicits the patient’s/family’s illness narrative.

    This course will be interactive using different multi-media resources, as well as small group discussion. Students will be invited to get in touch with and explore their own worldview and social location and how these inform them.

    Dates: May 25, June 1, 8, 15 (Tuesday)
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Instructor: Dr. Marc Doucet
    Location: Remote

    SMD 204

    In this course students will explore an introduction to Sikhism.  We will look at the evolution of Sikhism through historical accounts of the 10 Gurus, evolution of scriptures contained in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Holy Book) and key faith traditions, practices and daily living.

    Dates: July 5, 12, 19, 26 (Mondays)
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Instructor: TBA
    Location: Remote

  • Fall 2021 Courses

    SMD 401
    Mapping Religions (Capstone Course)

    Faith-based community organizations are often an integral yet overlooked player in the formation of civil societies. They contribute in meaningful ways to the artistic, social, cultural, environmental, political, and economic outcomes of the neighbourhoods where they are situated, but unless they bear conspicuous labels like church, gurdwara, mandir, mosque, synagogue, or temple, they are not always easily identifiable as religious or spiritual centres.  This capstone course will attempt to render those spaces, and the contributions of the people who inhabit them, visible.

    We will begin be exploring questions such as the following:

    • What constitutes a “religious” space?
    • How does the urban configuration of the diverse, multicultural city of Toronto, as a city of neighborhoods, dictate where religious spaces are situated?
    • What is the relationship between bricks and mortar religious spaces and digital, online communities of religious practitioners?
    • How do these inform one another and how do they redefine the concepts of “access” and of “congregation”? How has this been changed by the global pandemic?
    • What does it mean to “put something on the map”?
    • How does mapping the spaces that form the basis of Toronto’s spiritual and religious communities change the way we see the city and our role as educators within it?

    This course will use a combination of techniques, including map-making and ethnography, to make diverse religious spaces and living religious communities in Toronto come to life.

    Date: Thursday, September 2; Thursday, September 9; Tuesday, September 14; Thursday, September 23
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Instructor: TBA
    Location: Remote

    SMD 101
    Catholic Perspectives on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations

    In this course, we will examine seminal documents and agencies from the Catholic tradition, with an emphasis on ecumenical and interreligious relations at the international, national, and local levels.

    Students will have an opportunity to develop a deep understanding of unity/commonality that can be applied to emerging ecumenical and interreligious contexts around the world.

    Date: October 5, 12, 19, 26 (Tuesday)
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Instructor: TBA
    Location: Remote

    SMD 306
    Global Christianity & Inculturation

    Christianity can no longer be thought of as a “Western” religion. The global diffusion of Christian thought and practice has shifted its centre of gravity and given rise to a range of ‘local’ Christian expressions. These expressions challenge the “normative” status of Western Christianity and shed tremendous light on contemporary discussions about how to “inculturate” the faith today, which refers to process of adapting or accommodating Christianity in different cultural contexts. From small Chinese house churches, to massive Korean megachurches, perishes on Navajo reserves to Kenyan gospel halls, Christianity has now become a more diverse faith than ever before in history.

    This course will introduce Global Christianity by examining the rise of Christianity in various local and regional contexts around the world. Students will learn about the key events, backgrounds, and contexts that contributed to the “globalization” of the Christian religion and become familiar with Christianity as it is lived and practiced among people in the Majority World. They will also examine the ways the Gospel has become “inculturated” in both Western and non-Western culture.

    This course will make use of different multi-media resources and incorporate a variety of learning methods, such as student presentations and small group discussions.

    Date: November 8, 15, 22, 29 (Monday)
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Instructor: TBA
    Location: Remote

  • Winter 2022 Courses

    SMD 102
    Dialogue Principles and Practices

    In this course, we will explore various contemporary approaches to interreligious dialogue and engagement, with a special emphasis on selected examples of such dialogue in Canada and the Greater Toronto Area.  Students will have an opportunity to reflect on the potential of interreligious dialogue to foster mutual respect, practices of humility and hospitality, and collaboration on social issues.

    Date: January 10, 17, 24, 31 (Monday)
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Instructor: TBA

    SMD 307
    Interfaith in the Classroom

    In this course students will be able to acquire the basic skills to reflect and discuss the need for interfaith dialogue in public education within the context of a local classroom.  It will allow for the presentation and exchange of best practices in teaching interfaith education in the classroom, as well as, equip all students to implement and develop a practical context in which all participants may engage in meaningful interfaith dialogue and practice.  Finally, all students will be able to demonstrate interfaith leadership in collaborative community-based projects, in the assignment of culminating tasks and assignments, and finally, in the creation and development of Interfaith conferences and information sessions.  This course will provide a very practical approach and pedagogy to the understanding and practice of Interfaith Dialogue.

    Date: February 14, 21, 28, March 7 (Monday)
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Instructor: TBA

    SMD 205

    Date: March 21, 28, April 4, 11 (Monday)
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Instructor: TBA

Questions? Please contact inquiry.usmctheology@utoronto.ca or call 416-926-7128.

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