This professional program is designed for the theological education of men and women for leadership in the Church in both lay and ordained ministerial roles.
- Degree Goals
These goals are derived from the charism inculcated into the Faculty by its founders, the Basilian Fathers: teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge. These goals correlate with the four areas in the degree standards: religious heritage, cultural context, personal and spiritual formation and capacity for ministerial and public leadership.
The curriculum seeks to assist students to:
- appropriate and integrate the Catholic intellectual heritage and its significance/ relevance for understanding the current cultural context (ecumenism, interfaith, ecology, etc.)
- develop and apply the pastoral skills required for inclusive ministerial leadership which will assist in identifying current social issues (local and global) from a faith perspective
- foster a sustainable and authentic spirituality that appreciates the diversity of the Church and world in order to communicate the Gospel
- Degree Outcomes
These goals are articulated in more specific terms with seven degree outcomes that correspond to the curricular areas of bible, history, theology, ethics, pastoral theology, ministry leadership, and spiritual/personal formation, as follows:
Students shall be able to conduct informed and disciplined biblical interpretation/ analysis and know how the Church interprets scripture.
Students shall understand the historical development of the church in society/culture and how this contextualizes its teachings.
Students shall be able to think theologically in order to articulate the relationship of historical, doctrinal and systematic aspects of Catholic theology.
Students shall be able to give reasoned responses to contemporary ethical and social justice issues based on the Church’s teachings.
Students shall appropriate theoretical knowledge in order to provide effective faith-based pastoral care and leadership.
6. Ministry Leadership
Students shall develop the skills to analyze a pastoral situation, name core theological issues at stake and respond in an appropriate pastoral manner.
7. Spiritual and Personal Formation
Students shall exhibit values and dispositions that demonstrate an integration of theological theory and praxis.
- Pre-Requisite Requirements for the MDiv
Fifteen semester hours (five courses) of philosophy are required, especially metaphysics, philosophical anthropology, ethics, and some aspects of the history of philosophy. Those who lack the full requirements in philosophy are required to take additional courses in philosophy during their first year of study in the MDiv program. These courses do not count as credits towards the degree.
- Program Requirements
Thirty courses, or their equivalent in the case of transfer students, are required for the MDiv degree. An average of B- (2.7 GPA), with no mark below B-, is required for the MDiv degree.
In some cases, a student may apply for advanced standing on the basis of previously completed graduate-level work. The student must submit the request in writing to the Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing and supply official transcripts for the desired credits.
A student may wish to be exempted from particular courses or curricular requirements because of previous studies or experience. In such cases the student must seek permission from the Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing. If the exemption is granted, the student must substitute another course in the same area to fulfill the requirement.
With the approval of the Programs Coordinator, the instructor, and the department concerned, students may substitute supervised reading or tutorial programs for listed courses.
N.B. The minimum requirements for the MDiv degree do not necessarily fulfill all the academic and pastoral training needs of those preparing for ministry in today’s Church. Students are encouraged to complete additional courses in which they have a special interest or which might be necessary for achieving their personal ministerial goals. Candidates for ordination may be advised to supplement the degree requirements with an additional year of full or part-time study.
- Duration of Studies and Course Load
A minimum of two semesters are to be devoted to full-time study. A minimum residency of one year of full-time study is required or, for transfer students, ten units of study. TST work must be completed within a twelve month period.
The degree may not be completed in less than three years or six semesters of study.
Foundational Courses (5 units)
- Introduction to the Old Testament (SMB1007)
- Introduction to the New Testament (SMB1501)
- Foundations of Theology (SMT1101)
- Fundamental Themes in Christian Ethics (SMT1904)
- History of Christianity I (SMH1010)
**Foundational Courses must be taken at USMC**
Biblical Courses (3 units)
- any course in Old Testament
- any course in the Pauline corpus
- any course in either Old Testament or New Testament
Historical Courses (2 units)
- History of Christianity II
- History of Christianity III, History of Catholicism or A Journey Through History
Pastoral Courses (3 units)
- Canon Law
- Pastoral Care, Pastoral Counselling or Spiritual Direction
- any Pastoral elective course
Systematic Theology (6 units)
- Creation-Grace (Christian Anthropology)
- Sacramental Theology
- Introduction to Liturgy (SMT2402)
Systematic Ethics (2 units)
- Human Sexuality & Marriage (SMT3931)
- Justice: Indiv/Social (SMT3925) or Catholic Social Teaching (SMJ3609)
**Systematic theology and ethics courses must be taken from one of the Roman Catholic Colleges at TST**
Theological Field Education (4 units)
- Theology of Ministry (SMP2600)
- Field Placement and Theological Reflection Seminar
- 3 Pastoral Skills units
Electives (5 units)
- can be chosen from any area, and can include no more than 3 units of Greek, Hebrew, and/or Latin
- Theological Field Education and Pastoral Formation
Theological education for ministry includes sound academic studies, some experience of supervised practice in ministry, and opportunities for spiritual and pastoral formation.
Spiritual and pastoral formation includes: liturgical practice and opportunities for guided spiritual reflection Theological Field Education (TFE), Pastoral Skills Units (PSU, a Learning Portfolio, and a Summative Evaluation for Ministry (SEM).
Theological Field Education
Theological Field Education begins with an orientation to field-based learning in the course SMP2600: Theology of Ministry. It continues in an approved field placement where students engage in pastoral action and supervised theological and pastoral reflection on their learning. Upon completion of the Supervised Field Placement, students participate on campus in the course SMP3010: Theological Reflection Seminar, a guided group experience focused on identifying their operative theology in pastoral practice and on articulating their self-understanding as pastoral ministers.
Students should consult with the Director of Field Education by the end of their participation in the course SMP2600: Theology of Ministry, for assistance with developing their field-based learning goals and the placement suitable for pursuing these goals.
The Field Education Cycle includes:
- SMP2600: Theology of Ministry
- A Supervised Field Placement (SFP) of 250 hours, where students engage in forms of pastoral practice that challenge them to grow in theological integration and self-identity as pastoral ministers. The students and supervisors articulate this learning experience in a Learning Agreement. The Director of Field Education approves both the placement site and the learning agreement.
- SMP3010: Theological Reflection Seminar upon completion of the
Students need to consult with the Programs Coordinator and the Director of Field Education regarding the timing to complete the three components in the Theological Field Education program, as the full sequence of Theology of Ministry, Field Placement and Theological Reflection Seminar requires a minimum of three semesters. Upon completing the latter two requirements, two units of credit in Theological Field Education are granted.
Field Education timelines:
- For September Field Education: notify Director of Field Education by last Friday in June
- For January Field Education: notify Director of Field Education by last Friday in November
- For summer Field Education: notify Director of Field Education by third Friday in March
Placement possibilities include already approved St. Michael’s/TST sites, Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) and Supervised Pastoral Education (S.P.E.), as well as new sites to be approved in accordance with the student’s learning goals.
Evaluation of students in Theological Field Education is an ongoing process, and involves a learning log, supervisory sessions, and written reports at the completion of the supervised field placement. The
Theological Reflection Seminar also entails written work on pastoral practice and a concluding interview with the Director of Field Education.
- MDiv Portfolio
The Portfolio process is designed to encourage and support students’ self-awareness of and commitment to personal, spiritual and ministerial growth in the context of the M.Div. program. Students generally meet twice a year with the Director of Pastoral Formation to discuss Portfolio submissions, to reflect upon ongoing development and to identify relevant opportunities for further growth. The Director typically offers suggestions and guidance but does not directly evaluate the quality of the student’s continuing formation. The Portfolio process fosters personal responsibility and accountability for cultivating the attitudes, qualities, skills and knowledge essential for a well-rounded and integrated pastoral identity. Contents of the Portfolio are kept by the Director and are returned to the student at the end of the program. For more details about the Portfolio’s various components please contact the Director of Field Education.
- Pastoral Skills Development Experiences (PSDE)
In the context of the M.Div. Portfolio process, students are invited to identify and reflect upon their strengths and limitations as they prepare for pastoral ministry. After the completion of five courses, students will meet with the Director of Pastoral Formation to identify the knowledge and skill-sets they need to develop in order to meet their ministerial goals. Such skills may include: self-care; communication; interpersonal relationships; spiritual and pastoral care; administrative leadership, media skills, etc. Together with the Director, students will locate appropriate learning opportunities to achieve such goals. These development experiences may include, for example: workshops, leadership training sessions, parish-based development sessions, brief supervised work contexts, etc. Students must successfully complete at least 35 hours outside of TST course-based learning to fulfill this component of the program.
- Thesis Option
Students who maintain an A- average at the end of the second year of their program may choose to write a thesis of 12,500-30,000 words in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the M. Div. degree. Students are given two full semesters to write their thesis. After two full semesters, students must apply for an extension and will be charged a program continuation fee.
- Fourth-Year Studies
Some Catholic dioceses or religious congregations require a fourth year of theological study for ordination candidates. Requirements for this additional year vary. The Faculty of Theology accommodates these students by providing additional academic instruction and pastoral training experiences.