Master of Religious Education Degree (MRE)

This professional program is designed to prepare individuals for the ministry of religious education. It welcomes individuals from various aspects of this ministry such as teaching or supervising in schools, parishes, dioceses, or international settings.


  • Degree Goals

    The curriculum assists students to:

    1. appropriate and integrate the Catholic intellectual heritage and understand its relevance for educational ministry in current cultural contexts
    2. develop and apply the knowledge and skills required for inclusive educational ministry, in response to contemporary social issues, from a faith perspective
    3. foster growth in personal and spiritual maturity, a capacity for authentic public witness, and a commitment to life-long learning.
  • Degree Outcomes

    The goals are articulated  in more specific terms with these degree outcomes:

    1. Students shall be able to conduct informed and disciplined biblical interpretation and know how the Church interprets scripture.
    2. Students shall demonstrate an historical and theological understanding of the Church, its teachings, and its practices.
    3. Students shall demonstrate a capacity for critical and constructive theological reflection regarding the praxis of educational ministry in its various cultural contexts.
    4. Students shall develop pastoral skills for effective educational ministry, responsive to developmental, family, ecclesial and social issues.
  • Pre-Requisite Requirements

    Applicants must have at least one year of full-time experience in teaching or other forms of education ministry. Applicants without full-time experience should provide a resume detailing comparable experiences. The teaching experience need not be in school-based education, but may be of a more informal nature.

  • Program Requirements

    The M.R.E. requires between 14 and 20 courses, depending on the student’s qualifications.

    A student who has a B.Ed. or equivalent may be exempt from one Religious Education elective. A student who has completed OECTA III Religious Education Specialist or completes it while working on the M.R.E. will receive the same exemption.

    Teachers with evidence of at least two years’ of classroom work, or comparable teaching experience, may receive two exemptions.

    Students who have completed PQP I and/or PQP II may apply these courses towards further exemptions. Please consult the Programs Coordinator for further details.

  • Duration of Studies and Course Load

    A total of 20 units of study with a minimum B (3.0 GPA) average, with no grade lower than a B-, are necessary to complete the degree.

    The degree can be completed in no less than two years, and no more than eight years.

  • Curriculum

    The 16-20 units of study are distributed as follows:

    Scripture (3 units)

    • Introduction to the Old Testament. (SMB1007)*
    • Introduction to the New Testament (SMB1501)*
    • one course from Old Testament or New Testament

    Systematic Theology (5 units)

    • Foundations of Theology (SMT1101)*
    • Fundamental Themes in Christian Ethics (SMT1904)*
    • Trinity or Christology**
    • Sacramental Theology or Liturgy**
    • Catholic Social Teaching (SMJ3609)**

    *Courses must be taken at USMC*

    **Core Systematic and Ethics courses must be taken from offerings in the Roman Catholic tradition.**

    Historical (1 unit)

    • History of Christianity I, II or III, or A Journey Through History (SMH2801)

    Religious Education (4 units)

    • Theology of Ministry (SMP2600) or Pastoral Care in the Classroom (SMP3515)
    • Field Education and Theological Reflection Seminar (SMF3010)
    • Faith Development Across the Lifespan (SMP 3421)
    • Catholic Educational Documents (SMP 3428)

    Religious Education Electives (4 units)

    Students with a B.Ed. or equivalent may be exempt from one Religious Education elective.  Students who have completed OECTA III Religious Education Specialist or show evidence of completing it during the MRE program may receive the same exemption.

    Students who have completed PQP I and/or PQP II may apply these courses towards further exemptions.

    Free Electives (3 units)

    • 3 electives from any department.

    Students with 1 year of full-time teaching experience or a student with two (2) years in parish catechesis/religious education may have one free elective reduced from the program.

    A student with a second year of full-time teaching experience may have a second free elective reduced from the program.


  • Theological Field Education

    Theological Field Education begins with SMP 2600: Theology of Ministry or SMP3515: Pastoral Care in the Classroom. 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, the students participate on campus in SMF 3010: 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 the Director of Pastoral Formation by the end of their participation in the course, SMP 2600: 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:

    • SMP 2600: Theology of Ministry
    • A Supervised Field Placement (SFP) for a minimum of 100 hours where the students engage in forms of pastoral practice which 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 Pastoral Formation approves both the placement site and the learning agreement.
    • SMF 3010: Theological Reflection Seminar upon completion of the SFP.
    • Students need to consult with their academic advisors and the Director of Pastoral Formation regarding the timing for completing 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, one unit of credit in Theological Field Education is 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.

    Evaluation of the students in the Theological Field Education program is an ongoing process involving 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 Pastoral Formation.

  • MRE and the Ontario College of Teachers

    The MRE degree is one of the degrees recognized by the Ontario College of Teachers.

    Students who successfully complete the program may use it for entrance into the Principal’s Qualification Program and/or the Supervisory Officer’s Qualification Program.

  • MRE and the Catholic Principal’s Council of Ontario

    Graduates of the CPCO PQP – Part 1 and 2 are eligible to transfer up to two courses into the Master of Religious Education. Transferred units are counted as Religious Education elective courses.

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