Advanced Degree Admission Requirements

Advanced Degree programs at the Toronto School of Theology (TST) include two doctoral programs (ThD and DMin) and two master's programs (MA and ThM). The Doctor of Ministry is distinct from the other programs because of its professional nature, so it has a distinct application process and admissions requirements.

The following are minimum requirements for admission for the Advanced Degree programs (MA, ThM, ThD and DMin). It should be noted that meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission to any TST program. In-depth information about admissions requirements can be found in the program handbooks. The below summary is neither exhaustive nor authoritative.

This page outlines the admissions requirements for the MA, ThM, and ThD programs. Information on how to meet the language requirements follows the program-specific admissions requirements.

The criteria used by the Admissions Committee of the Advanced Degree Council to judge the applications is below.

Common Admissions Requirement for All Advanced Degree Programs

Fluency in English
For all AD programs, an applicant whose first language is other than English must provide evidence of ability to comprehend, speak and write English at the graduate level. One of the following will constitute prima facie evidence of such ability:

  • Evidence of an earned degree from a recognized post-secondary institution where the language of instruction and examination is English.
  • A satisfactory result on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants requesting the transmittal of results should use the TST institution code 0655 and the department code 99. On the paper-based TOEFL, the minimum satisfactory score is 600 with a 5.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE). On the computer-based TOEFL, the minimum satisfactory score is 250. On the internet-based TOEFL, the minimum satisfactory total score is 100, with at least 22 on the Writing section and 22 on the Speaking section. TST will also accept International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. The minimum score required is 7.0 (Academic) with no component below 6.5. Only the Academic version of the IELTS test will be accepted.
  • A grade of B in the advanced (level 60) Academic Preparation course in the English Language Program of the School of Continuing Studies of the University of Toronto, or equivalent standing at a comparable institution.

Master of Arts in Theology (MA)

Prerequisite Education
A baccalaureate degree, normally in Arts, from a recognized college or university (or the applicant must provide evidence of having completed equivalent studies under a different educational system) with at least a high second-class standing (i.e., B+).

History Department Additional Requirements

An applicant proposing to specialize in the history of Christianity must show evidence from his or her previous degree programs of adequate preparation in historical studies. See the MA Handbook for more information.

Language Requirements
While there are in-program language requirements, there are no language prerequisites for the MA in Theology.

Master of Theology (ThM)

Prerequisite Education
A baccalaureate degree, normally in Arts, from a recognized college or university (or the applicant must provide evidence of having completed equivalent studies under a different educational system); and a Master of Divinity degree or an academic master's degree in theological studies providing equivalent theological background (e.g., Master of Theological Studies, Master of Religion, Master of Arts in Theology of at least two years' duration), with at least a high second-class standing (i.e., B+) from a recognized institution. All theological schools fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada are deemed to be recognized institutions. Applicants from educational systems outside North America must give evidence of equivalent standing.

History Department Additional Requirements
An applicant proposing to specialize in the history of Christianity must show evidence from her or his previous degree programs of adequate preparation in historical studies. See the ThM Handbook for more information.

Special Requirements for the ThM in Pastoral Counselling
Applicants in Pastoral Counselling must satisfy all admission requirements set by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC) and have been admitted to Advanced Level of PCE in CASC. Note that this program requires an additional, separate application to the Toronto Centre for Pastoral Counselling Education (TCPCE).

Language Requirements

ThM Option I - For admission into Option I in the Historical, Pastoral and Theological departments, the applicant must be competent in at least one of the following languages: Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Alternatively, the applicant may be admitted on the condition that he or she will be able to demonstrate competence in at least one of these languages before entering the first year of studies. In some cases, another foreign research language may be substituted for one of these languages.

ThM Option II - For admission into Option II in the Historical, Pastoral and Theological departments, there are no universally applicable language requirements. Instead, language requirements appropriate to the area of specialization are determined by the AD Director of the student’s college of registration in consultation with the department.

Admissions in the Biblical department - For both Options I and II, proficiency in Biblical Hebrew is required for those proposing to specialize in Old Testament studies, together with competence in Biblical Greek. Likewise, proficiency in Biblical Greek is required for those proposing to specialize in New Testament studies, together with competence in Biblical Hebrew.

Doctor of Theology (ThD)

The following are minimum requirements for admission for the Doctor of Theology (ThD) program. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission to any TST program. In-depth information on program requirements can be found in the ThD and PhD Handbook.

Prerequisite Education
A baccalaureate degree, normally in Arts, from a recognized college or university, and an academic master's degree in theological studies or a Master of Divinity from a recognized institution. The following are recognized academic master's degrees: Master of Religion, Master of Theology, a Master of Arts in Theology of at least two years' duration, Master of Theological Studies. All theological schools fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada are deemed to be recognized institutions. Students from educational systems outside North America must give evidence of equivalent standing.

The applicant must provide evidence of:

  • sufficient background in the area of proposed doctoral work;
  • first-class standing in the qualifying masters degree (i.e., minimum cumulative average of A-, or, in a four-point system, 3.70, or its equivalent in other grading systems); and
  • evidence of the ability to carry out research at an advanced level, demonstrated normally by a thesis in the qualifying degree with a first-class standing or other substantial evidence of independent research and writing ability (normally a research paper of at least 30 pages), submitted to the Advanced Degree Office and judged to be of first-class quality.

History Department Additional Requirements
An applicant proposing to specialize in the history of Christianity must show evidence from his or her previous degree programs of adequate preparation in historical studies. See the ThD and PhD Handbook for more information.

Language requirements
For admission into the Historical, Pastoral and Theological departments, the applicant must be competent in at least one of the following languages: Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Alternatively, the applicant may be admitted on the condition that he or she will be able to demonstrate competence in at least one of these languages before entering the first year of studies. In some cases, another foreign theological language may be substituted for one of these languages (see 5.3 of the ThD and PhD Handbook).

For entrance into the Biblical Department, proficiency in Biblical Hebrew is required for those proposing to specialize in Old Testament studies, together with competence in biblical Greek. Proficiency in Biblical Greek is required for those proposing to specialize in New Testament studies, together with competence in biblical Hebrew. In addition, competence in one of the following modern languages is required: French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Additional language competency and proficiency is required within the program itself. Please consult the ThD and PhD Handbook for in-depth information on program requirements.

Competence in a language is the ability to read correctly theological texts of moderate difficulty in that language with the use of a dictionary. It is the level of skill normally acquired by the satisfactory completion of two semester courses in the language at university level.

Proficiency is a level of skill normally acquired after four semester courses in the language at university level.

How to Meet the Language Requirements

For admission to the ThM and doctoral programs, applicants must provide evidence of language competency and in some cases proficiency. Skill in foreign theological languages may be demonstrated in the following ways:

  • Transcript evidence. A student who has completed recognized post secondary courses in a foreign language within four years prior to making application for admission to the ThD/PhD program may, by submission of transcript evidence, be deemed by the Admissions Committee of the Advanced Degree Council to have demonstrated skill in that language.
  • Language examination. A student may demonstrate skill in a language by taking an examination administered by TST. Examinations usually take place in September and January. Information on language examinations, including dates of invigilation and examples of previous examinations, is available from the Advanced Degree Office. Arrangements for special examinations in languages other than Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French and German can be made with the Advanced Degree Office.
  • Coursework (to meet language requirements during the program). A student may demonstrate skill in a language by the satisfactory completion of a language course at TST, the University of Toronto or another recognized post secondary institution. TST offers non-credit courses in theological French, German and Latin.
  • Other evidence (to meet language requirements during the program). In the case of a modern language, the college Advanced Degree Director may write a letter attesting to the student's native ability or fluency. The Exemption from Language Requirements Form is to be used.

Admissions Criteria

Candidates' applications will be considered by the Admissions Committee of Advanced Degree Council, which will take into consideration:

  • grades in all previous post-secondary education with particular weight accorded to performance in the prerequisite degree(s) and in other recent programs;
  • adequate background in the stated area of interest;
  • the quality of the applicant, as attested to in the letters of reference;
  • the quality of the statement of academic purpose and interest;
  • the current availability of qualified supervision for course and thesis work in the applicant's desired area of research;
  • the willingness of a TST member school and of a TST department to admit the student; and
  • the likelihood of satisfactory completion of the program.

Candidates may request reconsideration of a decision by TST to refuse admission. All such requests must be made by the applicant in writing to the TST Director of Advanced Degree Studies stating in full the grounds for the request.

 


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