Basic Degree Programs: MDiv, MTS, MRE

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Overview

The Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Theological Studies (MTS), and Master of Religious Education (MRE) degrees specialize in education and formation for ministry, including the ordained ministry, religious education and other pastoral ministries, especially in the Roman Catholic Church.

How to Apply for Basic Degree Programs

1. Complete your chosen degree application form

Download and fill out the program specific application for:

  • Master of Divinity (MDiv)
  • Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
  • Master of Religious Education (MRE)

2. Submit the application form along with the $25 application fee and your Letter of Intent to the Student Services Office by the following timelines

  • by the last Friday in June for those wishing to begin studies in September.
  • by the last Friday in November for those wishing to begin studies in January.
  • by the last Friday in March for those wishing to begin studies in the intersession term (April-May).
  • by the last Friday in May for those wishing to begin studies in the summer term (July-August).
  • N.B. Applications received after these deadlines cannot be guaranteed consideration.

3. Include Official Transcripts and Letters of Recommendation

Official Transcripts must be submitted directly by the respective educational institutions.

The Faculty reserves the right to determine whether or not credentials of other degree-granting institutions meet the standards for admission to the Faculty programs. Admission decisions are final and are not appeal-able.

Letters of Recommendation (normally letters are of an academic and/or professional nature) must be submitted directly by those writing the letters. Download the Letter of Recommendation Form.

Basic Degree Programs Course Descriptions

Basic Degree course descriptions are available at www.tst.edu/academic/course/listings.

All degree programs must be completed within eight years of initial registration. They may be earned on a full-time or part-time basis. At least one-half of all courses for degree programs must be St Michael’s courses taken on campus. St Michael’s off campus courses, on-line courses or courses taken from other TST colleges are not counted toward this.

Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Goals

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. The curriculum thus seeks to assist students:

  • To reflect on Scripture and Tradition in light of their original contexts.
  • To interpret them in light of present-day Church teaching and in terms of contemporary thought and experience.
  • To identify and address the major social issues of the day from the perspective of Scripture and the Church’s teaching.
  • To enter into interpersonal and community situations with sympathy and perspective.
  • To communicate the Gospel in a way that speaks to contemporary pastoral and social situations.

Additional Admission 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 requisite 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 have permission from the professor of the course(s) in question. If the exemption is granted, the student must substitute another course in the same area to fulfill the requirement.

With the approval of the Basic Degree Director, 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. Each student has a faculty advisor to assist in planning a personalized course of 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 o. TST work completed within a twelve month period.
  • The degree may not be completed less than three years or six semesters of study.

Curriculum

The thirty (30) units of study are distributed as follows:

Biblical Department (5 units)

  • Introduction in the Old Testament (SMB1007)
  • 1 unit in Old Testament
  • Introduction to the New Testament (SMB1501)
  • 1 unit from the Pauline corpus
  • 1 unit in either Old or New Testament

History Department (3 units)

  • History of Christianity I (SMH1010)
  • History of Christianity II
  • History of Catholicism (1648-Present) or History of Christianity III

Pastoral Theology Department (3 units)

  • Canon Law
  • 1 unit, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Counselling or Spiritual Direction
  • 1 unit, pastoral elective

Theology Department (10 units)

  • Foundations of Theology (SMT1101)
  • Trinity
  • Christology
  • Christian Anthropology
  • Sacramental Theology
  • Ecclesiology
  • Fundamental Christian Ethics (SMT1904)
  • Human Sexuality & Marriage (SMT3931)
  • Justice: Individual and Social (SMT3925)
  • Introduction to Liturgy (SMT2402)

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

N.B. Students who choose to take the “Sacrament” course in two parts must take both at the same College. Students should seek advice from their academic advisors.

Ministry and Theological Field Education (4 units)

  • 1 Unit, Theology of Ministry: SMP2600
  • 2 units, Field Placement and Theological Reflection Seminar (see below)
  • 1 unit comprised of 3 Pastoral Skills Units

Free Electives (5 units)

  • 5 units from any area, which may include no more than 3 units of Greek, Hebrew, and/or Latin.

Theological Education and Spiritual 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. The 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, SMP 2600: 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, the students participate on campus in the course, 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 with 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 250 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 Seminarupon 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, 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.

Placements may include the following:

  • Already approved St Michael’s/TST sites
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) and Supervised Pastoral Education (S.P.E.)
  • New sites to be approved in accordance with the students learning goals

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.

MDiv Thesis Option

MDiv students who maintain an A- average at the end of the second year of their program may choose to write a thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the MDiv degree. Students are given two full semesters to write their theses. After two full semesters, students must apply for an extension and will be charged a program continuation fee. Further information is available from the Director of Basic Degree Programs.

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.

Master of Theological Studies (MTS)

Goals

This program is designed to strengthen the religious basis of the individual’s life and work, whether in a secular career or church-related career, by providing the individual with a general theological understanding as well as the opportunity for some in-depth study and specialization. The curriculum is organized:

  • To facilitate the attainment of survey knowledge of the Catholic theological tradition with the possibility of attaining a focused knowledge in a specific discipline
  • To enable students to think theologically by considering different theological areas, perspectives and methods
  • To allow a level of freedom that respects and builds upon a person’s interests, abilities and past experiences and encourages that individual’s commitment to life-long learning

A total of twenty units of study with a minimum B- average (2.7 GPA), with no mark below B-, are necessary to complete the degree.

Curriculum

The twenty (20) units of study consist of foundational courses, in-depth courses, electives, and a summative exercise, as follows:

Foundational Courses (5 units)

  • Introduction to the New Testament (SMB1501)
  • Introduction to the Old Testament. (SMB1007)
  • 1 unit, History of Christianity I, II or III, or History of Catholicism (1648-present)
  • Foundations of Theology (SMT1101)
  • Fundamental Themes in Christian Ethics (SMT1904)

In-Depth Courses (7 units)

  • any course in Old Testament
  • any course in New Testament
  • one course on Trinity
  • one course in Christology
  • one course in social, sexual, biomedical, or ecological ethics
  • any course in Church History
  • Theology of Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Counselling, or Spiritual Direction

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

Electives (6-7 units)

  • A total of six or seven (6 or 7) free electives, depending on which Summative Exercise option is chosen.
  • No more than three units of Greek, Hebrew, and or Latin may be included.

MTS Specialization

Students may choose a specialization consisting of a total of six courses from one of the major divisions (Scripture, Systematic Theology, History or Pastoral). In-depth courses and electives may be counted toward a specialization.

Summative Exercise (1-2 units)

Students may complete the degree in one of three (3) ways: a Field Education option, a Thesis option, or a Research Paper option.

Field Education Option (2 units)

  • 1 unit, Theology of Ministry (SMP 2600). Students wishing to complete the MTS program in two years take this course in their first year, as the full sequence of Theology of Ministry, Field Placement and Theological Reflection Seminar requires a minimum of three semesters.
  • A minimum of 1 unit, consisting of at least 100 hours in an approved placement site and a one-semester Theological Reflection Seminar. Students may take a two (2) unit Field Education program or a second one (1) unit program with the second unit counted as one of the electives.
  • The Theological Reflection Seminar constitutes the summative exercise for this degree option. Consult the Director of Pastoral Formation and Field Education about this component.
  • Students who choose the Thesis option may also choose to take the Theology of Ministry and Field Education/Theological Reflection Seminar courses as electives. 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.

MTS Thesis Option (2 units)

MTS students who maintain a minimum A- average, normally after completion of 15 courses, may choose to write a thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MTS degree. The thesis is worth two units of study and comprises the summative exercise for this option. Students are given two full semesters to write their theses. After two full semesters, students must apply for an extension and will be charged a program continuation fee. Further information is available from the Director of Basic Degree Programs.

Research Paper Option (1 unit)

Students may also choose to complete the degree with a major research paper. This paper should be 8000 to 9000 words, and is evaluated by one reader, who may also be the director. This option is worth one unit of study, leaving the rest of the degree to be fulfilled with a further elective course.

Master of Religious Education (MRE)

Goals

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

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

Additional Requirements for Admission to the MRE

Applicants must have completed 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. If there is some question, an interview with the Basic Degree Director may be required.

Program Requirements

Depending on a student’s qualifications, between 16 and 20 courses, or their equivalent in the case of transfer students, are required for the MRE degree. An average of B- (2.7 GPA) with no mark below B- is requisite for the granting of the degree.
A student may wish to be exempted from particular courses or curricular requirements because of previous study or experience. In such cases a student must have permission from the professor of the course(s) in question. If exemption is granted, the student must substitute another course in the same area to fulfill the requirement.

Curriculum

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

Biblical Department (3 units)

  • Introduction to the New Testament (SMB1501)
  • Introduction to the Old Testament. (SMB1007)
  • 1 unit from either the Old Testament or the New Testament.

Theology Department (5 units)

  • Foundations of Theology (SMT1101)
  • 1 unit, Christology or Trinity
  • 1 unit Sacramental Theology or Liturgy
  • Fundamental Themes in Christian Ethics (SMT1904)
  • Catholic Social Teaching (SMJ3609)
  • Core Systematic and Ethics courses must be taken from offerings in the Roman Catholic tradition.

History Department (1 unit)

  • 1 unit, History of Christianity I, II or III, or History of Catholicism (1648-present)

Pastoral Department: Religious Education (4 to 6 units)

  • Faith Development Across the Lifespan (SMP 3421)
  • Catholic Educational Documents (SMP 3428)
  • 4 electives in the area of Religious Education.

N.B. A student who has a BEd or equivalent may be exempt from one Religious Education elective. A student who has completed OECTA III or shows evidence of completing it during the MRE program may receive the same exemption.

Free Electives (1 to 3 units)

  • 3 electives from any department.

N.B.A Student 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 (2 units)

Theological Field Education begins with an orientation to field based learning in the course, SMP 2600: 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, the students participate on campus in the course, 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 with 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 Seminarupon 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 theTheological 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.

Placements may include the following:

  • Already approved University of St Michael’s/Toronto School of Theology sites
  • New sites to be approved in accordance with the students learning goals.

Students should note that some placements are available only during the regular school year (September May) and others are available only during the summer months.

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.

Further Study

In some cases, MRE graduates are admissible to advanced degree programs subject to establishing MDiv equivalency. This normally requires one year of study beyond the MRE. Graduates wishing to pursue advanced degree studies should consult with the Advanced Degree Director in planning this year of study. The Advanced Degree Programs section of this Bulletin provides further information.

MRE and the Ontario College of Teachers

The MRE degree is one of the Masters 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.