Master of Arts (Theology and Religious Studies)

This program brings together two complementary programs: Theology (AST) and Religious Studies (Saint Mary’s University). Graduate students will experience a diverse and rich field of expertise in the study of theology and religion.

Students have a unique opportunity to explore and articulate the relationship between Theology and Religious Studies, especially as the fields have evolved both within Canada and internationally. The relationship allows Theology and Religious Studies students to be enriched with the methods and perspectives each field offers. The result is an exceptional preparation for doctoral work that is unique in North America. Students can shape their own focus, specializing in the multicultural, religiously plural realities of Canada, the Americas, and elsewhere, and choose to study within traditional theological areas, such as biblical studies, systematic theology, ethics, and pastoral theology.

 

Admission Requirements

The academic requirement for admission to this program as a first degree in theology (thesis or course-only) is a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a university recognized by the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, the Council for Higher Education in the United States, a similarly recognized AUCC accredited institution, or a similarly recognized institution. You have maintained a minimum ‘B+’ average in your undergraduate program. The academic requirement for admission to this program as a specialization in theology (thesis or course-only) is a Bachelor’s degree in theology, a Bachelor’s degree in a cognate discipline, or a Master of Divinity degree from a university recognized by the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, the Council for Higher Education in the United States, or a similarly recognized institution, with a minimum ‘B+’ average.

Admissions Process

Submit the following to the Registrar’s office by the published application deadlines: MA program application form; $70 non-refundable application fee; a letter of intent providing information on your area of interest, your goals, and how this degree program will help you meet them; a sample of your academic writing (at least 10 pages); one official transcript in its original sealed and signed/stamped envelope issued from each of your previous and current post-secondary education institutions; and three letters of reference in their original envelopes signed and sealed by your referees. The Academic Dean and the Program Coordinator will review your application and, if successful, you will receive an admission letter from the Dean. If not, you will receive notification that your application was unsuccessful.

Financial Support

Generous entrance scholarships are awarded annually to MA (Theology and Religious Studies) students with outstanding academic backgrounds. No additional application is required; all applicants are considered for these awards.

To be considered for funding, the application is March 1.

 

MA (Theology and Religious Studies) Program Requirements

Students in the MA (Theology and Religious Studies) program fulfilling the requirements for a first degree in theology (holding a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline) are required to complete 16 course credits and a thesis (valued at 2 course credits); or for a course-only degree, are required to complete 18 course credits. Students in the MA (Theology and Religious Studies) program fulfilling the requirements for a specialization in theology (holding a Bachelor’s degree in theology or in a cognate discipline, or the MDiv) are required to complete 6 course credits and a thesis (valued at 2 course credits); or for a course-only degree, are required to complete 8 course credits. To qualify for graduation with the MA degree, you must maintain an overall B+ average in your course work and your thesis (if you are in the thesis stream).

Required and Elective Course Distribution

All MA (Theology and Religious Studies) students are required to take Theory and Methods in Theology and Religious Studies (GTRS 6000), valued at one credit. Exemptions from this course are not permitted. It need not be the first course taken by AST students within the MA (Theology and Religious Studies) program. However, it should normally be taken within the first 4 credits of the program. One course must be taken at Saint Mary’s University. This course must be chosen in dialogue with your faculty advisor. All remaining credits are elective courses. (Current MA students who have already taken GTRS 6000 valued at two credits in previous academic years are not required to take an elective at Saint Mary’s University, but may opt to do so.) ACADEMIC CALENDAR 2019 - 2020 27 B MA (Theology and Religious Studies) students may enroll in courses in Supervised Field Education and Supervised Pastoral Education/Clinical Pastoral Education. Students in either of the MA streams who wish to make Pastoral Theology their primary focus are invited to discuss various options with the MA Program Director and appropriate faculty members. The MA (Theology and Religious Studies) degree program allows for optional field-based academic research using qualitative research methods. In keeping with AST’s adherence to the Tri-Council policies governing research involving human subjects, you are required to submit an application to the AST Research Ethics Board before any interviews are conducted. (See “Research Ethics Board” in Academic Policies and Regulations.)

Thesis and Defense

Thesis-stream students should consult with the MA Program Director early in their program regarding the formation of a thesis examination committee, the preparation and submission of the thesis proposal and the thesis, as well as procedures for the examination of the thesis. Your thesis and major papers must follow the guidelines in The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed. University of Chicago Press, 2017) and must abide by AST’s Inclusive Language Policy.

Language Requirements

Candidates for the MA (Theology and Religious Studies) in the thesis stream (specialization and first degree in theology) must demonstrate a reading proficiency in a modern language other than English, normally French or German. You may apply to the Program Committee to be examined in another modern language if it is more relevant to your specialty. You are expected to pass the modern language requirements by the end of your second term. Exemption from these requirements is granted if you have proof of reading competence in the language. The acceptable standard of proficiency is the equivalent of a “B” grade or higher in a 2000 level undergraduate language course at Saint Mary’s University. You can demonstrate this standard by completing a university course or by an examination administered by the MA (Theology and Religious Studies) Program Committee. If your work concentrates on Biblical Studies, you must have completed two full university courses of ancient Greek, Latin or Hebrew with a minimum B grade prior to graduation from the MA (Theology and Religious Studies) program. Students in the course-only stream are not required to meet the modern language requirement.

Program Duration

MA (Theology and Religious Studies) Program Requirements Students in the MA (Theology and Religious Studies) program fulfilling the requirements for a first degree in theology (holding a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline) are required to complete 16 course credits and a thesis (valued at 2 course credits); or for a course-only degree, are required to complete 18 course credits. Students in the MA (Theology and Religious Studies) program fulfilling the requirements for a specialization in theology (holding a Bachelor’s degree in theology or in a cognate discipline, or the MDiv) are required to complete 6 course credits and a thesis (valued at 2 course credits); or for a course-only degree, are required to complete 8 course credits. To qualify for graduation with the MA degree, you must maintain an overall B+ average in your course work and your thesis (if you are in the thesis stream).

Typically, the program will take three academic terms (normally, Fall, Winter and Summer) for fulltime specialization in theology thesis students to complete, or two terms for full-time course-only students. Three terms offer you two terms of course work and one term to complete your thesis. Students enrolled in the specialization in theology (thesis or course-only) who require more than six years to complete the requirements of the program must request and receive permission from the AST Senate for an extension.


 For more information, please contact our Recruitment and Vocations Coordinator:  smacalpinegillis@astheology.ns.ca
For an application to the MA Program, please see our Applications page.

                                                                       

 

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