Choosing a Program

The member institutions of the Toronto School of Theology (TST) offer a dozen different degree programs at the master’s and doctoral level, which may cause some initial bewilderment. Full information on each of the programs can be found by following the links, but here is a quick overview to help direct your explorations.

TST’s programs can be categorized in two different ways. One is by level of study: Basic Degree programs require no previous theological study, while Advanced Degree programs require that students already have a first degree in theology at the master’s level. (The MA is an exception; see further below.) The other is by the nature of the program: some programs provide training for professional ministry of one kind or another; others are directed more towards academic inquiry and research.

If not indicated otherwise, each of the seven member schools offers the degree, except St. Augustine’s Seminary offers only basic degree programs.

Basic Master's Degree Programs

-- Professional Programs: Basic Degree --

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) provides a basic professional preparation for ministry, including ordained ministry.

  • Length: A minimum of three years (30 courses), with a requirement of at least two semesters of full-time study.

The Master of Religious Education (MRE), Master of Pastoral Studies (MPS), Master of Sacred Music (MSMus) and Master of Arts in Ministry and Spirituality (MAMS) offer training for specialized areas of ministry.

  • Length: Two years (20 courses). The MRE is offered by Knox College, St. Augustine’s Seminary and St. Michael’s College, while the MPS and MSMus degrees are offered by Emmanuel College and the MAMS degree is offered by Regis College.

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS)because of its flexibility, can also be used as training for specialized areas of ministry, though this is not its primary focus.

  • Length: Two years (20 courses, including summative exercise).

-- Academic Programs: Basic Degree --

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) provides a general introduction to theological study, together with the opportunity to specialize in a particular area.

  • Length: Two years (20 courses, including summative exercise).

The MTS and can be used as preparation for doctoral studies. The MDiv can be used in this way as well, as long as a student has taken enough courses in the proposed area of study and (normally) has done a thesis.

Advanced Master's Degree Programs

-- Academic Programs: Advanced Degree --

The Master of Theology (ThM) is intended for advanced and specialized theological study beyond the basic degree level. Option I (six courses plus thesis) can serve as preparation for some forms of teaching or for doctoral study. Option II (eight courses plus extended essay), which does not qualify a student for doctoral study, provides opportunities for the scholarly enhancement of the practice of ministry or disciplined reflection on a specialized function in ministry.

  • Length: Normal maximum is six years.

The Master of Arts in Theology (MA) requires no previous theological studies and thus is similar in some respects to a Basic Degree. But since it moves students quickly to the point where they are able to participate in Advanced Degree seminars, it is considered an Advanced Degree. The MA provides excellent preparation for doctoral studies, though students should note that tuition costs are higher in the second year than for Basic Degree programs.

  • Length: Two years (twelve courses, seven of which are at the Advanced Degree level, plus thesis).

-- Professional Programs: Advanced Degree --

The Master of Theology (ThM Option II) can be used as an opportunity for disciplined reflection on a specialized function in ministry.

  • Length: One year (eight courses plus extended essay).

Professional Doctoral Degree Program

The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is designed to assist students in gaining advanced expertise in the general practice of ministry as well as advanced skill in specialized area of research particular to their ministry.

  • Length: Normal maximum is four years.

Academic Doctoral Degree Program

The conjoint Doctor of Philosphy (PhD) in Theological Studies program is intended to provide students with the analytical skills, methodological rigour and knowledge base that will enable them to carry out innovative research at the leading edges of their areas of specialization. In practical terms, the purpose of the program is to produce graduates who will be qualified to teach theological (and related) subjects in universities, liberal arts colleges and theological schools. Secondary purposes include equipping persons for positions of leadership in ecclesiastical and related organizations, or for academically enhanced ministerial practice. The program will distinguish itself by its attention to methodological rigour within an interdisciplinary framework and by the unique ecumenical context provided by the Toronto School of Theology. The PhD is offered conjointly by the University of Toronto and six TST member colleges. 

  • Length: Normal program length is four years.

CLOSURES. Please note that as of November 2014, TST has closed admissions to the conjoint ThD program and PhD (University of St. Michael’s College). The new conjoint PhD in Theological Studies replaces these other doctoral degrees. TST, of course, is strongly committed to supporting all doctoral students to the completion of the programs into which they were admitted.

For a description of the new conjoint PhD, please click here.

Who Do I Contact for More Information?

For more information about any of our basic degree programs, you are advised to contact one of the member colleges directly.

Applications to the Advanced Degree programs (MA, ThM, PhD) are submitted to and processed by TST’s Graduate Centre for Theological Studies. Students applying to an Advanced Degree program select a college and department on their application. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Advanced Degree Director of their college of application prior to the application deadline.


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