Frequently Asked Questions about AST
I want to be a minister. What do I do?
The first step in answering this question is always to connect with your minister/priest and find out what your denominational requirements are for training. If you wish to be a sponsored candidate you will probably have to go through a process of discernment before you can start your study of theology. Ask what degree is needed for the type of ministry you wish to pursue. An undergraduate degree is required for entry into a graduate level program. At AST you can take the Master of Divinity (three years full-time) which prepares persons for full-time, paid accountable ministries or the Master of Theological Studies (two years full-time) which provides a basic introduction to theology with an emphasis on research and academic theology. Persons who wish to explore an adjunct vocation choose this degree. Since AST is an accredited school by the Association of Theological Schools in North America, all major denominations and other theological schools and universities will accept our credits and degrees.
Can I study at AST without a university degree?
Although AST is a graduate school we do accept people without a previous university degree. You may come to the School as a short course candidate. This means that you would apply to your church for this designation. If you believe that you have enough life experience and some university level courses you may submit a request to AST for a BA equivalency. The minimum number of university credits required for this would be five full year courses or one year's equivalent. Along with this you must show that you have had comparable training and experience which prepares you for graduate theological education. AST places a high emphasis on writing and research skills so a course in writing and composition and research methods is also helpful. If you wish to make application for BA equivalency you should visit the Prior Learning Assessment Centre in your area for help in putting a portfolio together.
Does AST have programs for lay people?
AST offers the non-credit Certificate Program in Theology and Ministry. This is a two year program and meets on the weekends through the academic year. The basic requirement for admission is a high school diploma. This program provides the basics in theology and ministry but is not credited. You should consult with your church to see if this program is enough for any position or training you seek. Lay persons can also take degrees and credit courses with us. You do not have to be a ministry candidate to pursue either of our degrees.
Do I have to become a candidate for ministry/priesthood to study at AST?
No. Many lay-persons study with us and enjoy the courses. A layperson can take the M.Div. degree. You may discuss this with the Dean before you apply or at the time of your admissions interview.
I studied religion in university, will study at AST be worth it?
This will depend on what areas you studied. Generally, a religious studies degree is not a theology degree. Religious studies can explore areas that you will not have time to do in theology school. World Religions, Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Society are important areas of study prior to theology. You should also take courses on literature and psychology and philosophy when you can. Writing and reading/research skills are very important for the study of theology too.
I have a science degree. Can I study at AST?
Yes, you can. If your skills of writing, composition and research in the arts and humanities are less developed, you should look at taking some of these in your undergraduate program. If you cannot do this before you graduate then you may wish to look at a summer school course before you come to AST. The faculty at AST will monitor your progress and may suggest that you do some remedial work in this area if your writing and research skills are not strong.
Does AST offer Continuing Education opportunities?
Yes. Graduates of our School and any other theological school are welcome to take courses offered at AST. AST also offers courses in the summer and on the Internet and these along with the residential courses are open to qualified participants. The School also welcomes everyone to attend the lecture series held throughout the year. We attempt to bring in the best speakers we can for these series. You may contact faculty or the Dean's office to discuss these opportunities and any plans you may have for further education in theology.
Will AST expand its degree offerings?
The School is exploring several avenues for the future. A degree in pastoral ministry similar to the MTS is being discussed. In September 2008, AST launched a new M.A. program in conjunction with Saint Mary's University.