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Master of Divinity and Master of Divinity (Advanced) Degrees

1. General Description

The MDiv and the MDiv (Adv) degrees are professional theological degrees recognized through the Association of Theological Schools of Canada and the United States (ATS). The Faculty of Theology of St. Peter’s Seminary administers these degree programs by virtue of the Seminary’s affiliation with Western University through King’s University College, and through our membership with ATS whose accrediting standards govern theological education and programs at universities throughout Canada and the United States. The MDiv and the MDiv (Adv) are not recognized as graduate degrees by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. The term “Master” is used in accordance with the practice of ATS. The MDiv (Adv) offers an enhanced program of academic courses and pastoral preparation for those candidates preparing for ordination to the priesthood, but it is also open to other students wishing to complete the academic requirements of this part of the program. 

A. Admission Requirements for the MDiv and MDiv(Adv)

1. Academic Admission Requirements for Candidates for Ordination

(i) Bachelor’s Degree - Applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s or Baccalaureate degree, preferably a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy or its equivalent, with a minimum average of 70%, from a recognized and accredited university.
(ii) Course Requirements for Ordination Students - Applicants who possess an undergraduate degree from a recognized university, but who lack the necessary core courses in Philosophy and Religious Studies or their equivalents, register in a qualifying year as special students of the University and complete the following requirements in one academic year, making them eligible for admission to the MDiv program. Applicants lacking only one or two of the core courses in philosophy may take them concurrently while registered in the program of theology.

The core courses are:
• Philosophy 1300E – Introduction to Philosophy
• Philosophy 2222E – Aristotelian Logic
• Philosophy 2206W/X – Modern and Post-Modern Philosophy
• Philosophy 2214 – Thomistic Philosophy I
• Religious Studies 2550E – History of the Catholic Church

2. Academic Admission Requirements for Lay Students

(i) Bachelor’s Degree - Applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s or Baccalaureate degree, preferably a BA in philosophy or its equivalent, with a minimum average of 70%, from a recognized and accredited university.
(ii) Course Requirements for Lay Students - Lay students are required to complete three core Philosophy and Religious Studies courses (or their equivalents).

The core courses are:
• Philosophy 1300E - Introduction to Philosophy
• Philosophy 2214 - Thomistic Philosophy I
• Religious Studies 2550E - History of the Catholic Church

Applicants who have not completed these courses prior to admission may complete them concurrently with their theological studies. In those cases, Philosophy 2214 and Religious Studies 2550E may count as credits toward the MDiv degree.

3. English Proficiency Requirements 

Applicants are expected to have proficiency in the English language, that is, the ability to understand spoken and written English, and to be able to communicate effectively in English. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to submit proof that they have achieved a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or its equivalent.

4. Exceptions

The limits or exceptions to these admission requirements are as follows:

• if applicants are in the process of completing their Bachelor of Arts degree, but require 4.0 courses or less to finish, they may be enrolled in the MDiv program provided that no more than 2.0 of the courses to be completed are philosophy or religious studies qualifying core courses, and that they have the written permission of the Dean of Studies;
• applicants who have not obtained the minimum average of 70% in completing their BA may be admitted at the discretion of the Dean of Theology;
• applicants who have not completed a BA, but who qualify as mature students at Western University (i.e., are at least 21 years of age or older and have not been in school for a minimum of two years) ,and have completed the qualifying year courses in philosophy and religious studies, may be admitted to the
MDiv or the MDiv (Adv) programs. The admission of these candidates may not exceed 10% of the combined enrollment of the MDiv and MDiv (Adv) programs.

5. Formation Admission Requirements 

Applicants for the MDiv and MDiv (Adv) are also considered applicants for the program of priestly formation or lay leadership. They must fulfill the specific requirements for admission to the respective programs of formation in addition to the academic admission requirements. They should consult the section of this calendar entitled “Application to Priestly or Lay Formation” for these specific requirements.

B) Progression Requirements

A principle of development shapes the progression of courses within the theological curriculum. The goal of the first level of courses is to provide the students with a
foundation for the rest of their studies. Introductory courses in various theological disciplines are offered; these courses focus on the revealed mystery of the Incarnation and the theological realities that flow from it. Subsequent courses lead students into further exploration within these disciplines.

Normally, progression in the program requires completion of the 100-level subjects first. Secondly, the 200- and 400- level subjects are offered on a rotating cycle. The
500-level courses are offered for the MDiv (Adv), but some of the 500-level courses may be included as options in the MDiv. Other progression requirements are elaborated in individual course descriptions.

Courses restricted to seminarians because they pertain specifically to training for priestly ministry include:

• Sacramental Theology 5542A/B
• Homiletics 5471A and 5472B
• Liturgical Studies 5544A/B
• Field Education 5581

Seminarian candidates registered in the MDiv (Adv) degree program follow a progression of study in the overall formation program which requires that they complete two years of full-time theological studies while in residence in the Seminary, then one year of Field Education placement in a parish, called the ‘Pastoral Year,’ followed by another two years of full-time theological studies in residence in the Seminary. Thus, they complete the MDiv (Adv) degree in nine semesters of academic study and one full year of pastoral field education in a parish. The tenth semester fulfills the remaining pastoral requirements for ordination.

Options in the program include the following:

• with the agreement of the Dean of Studies, a student may register in one additional theology course per semester by choosing from among optional courses available in the program;
• substituting courses in theology – that is, from another ATS-accredited school – is subject to the approval of the Dean of Studies in accordance with Western University Senate policy;
• normally, only full-time students will be given permission to take a course in another faculty;
• lay students may enter the program on a full- or part-time basis, taking the additional Field Education courses in lieu of the Pastoral Year, concurrently
during academic semesters of study or during the summer period.

C) Graduation Requirements

(i) Master of Divinity Degree: To graduate, candidates must:

• successfully obtain 18.0 courses in the MDiv program, i.e., 15.0 academic courses (thirty academic half courses) plus 3.0 full-year Field Education courses (including Field Education 481, Pastoral Health Care, or its equivalent), with an overall average of 70%;
• be enrolled in the program for at least one year as full-time students, and participate in the formation components of the program as outlined for lay students.

(ii) Master of Divinity (Advanced) Degree for candidates for ordination: To graduate, candidates for ordination must:

• successfully obtain 21.5 academic courses in the MDiv (Adv) program (i.e., thirty-five academic half courses) plus 4.0 full-year Field Education courses (including Field Education 5481 – Pastoral Health Care, and Field Education 5381– the Pastoral Year), with an overall average of 70%;
• be in residence at the Seminary for a minimum of three years, and participate in the program of priestly formation.

(iii) Master of Divinity (Advanced) Degree for candidates for lay leadership: To graduate, candidates must:

• successfully obtain 21.5 academic courses in the MDiv (Adv) program, (i.e., thirty-five academic half courses) plus 4.0 full-year Field Education courses (including Field Education 5481 – Pastoral Health Care, or its equivalent), with an overall average of 70%;
• be enrolled in the program for at least one year as full-time students, and participate in the formation components of the program as outlined for lay students.

(iv) Minimum Course Requirements: While seminarian-candidates are required to take all courses offered in the curriculum, lay students are able to make choices from the number of courses offered. However, those lay students enrolled in the MDiv or the MDiv (Adv) are required to take the following courses as a minimum:

• all 5100-level courses
• Biblical Studies 5202A/B, 5403A/B, and at least a 0.5 course (one half course) in Old Testament Studies
• all Systematic Theology courses at the 5100, 5200, and 5400 levels
• Moral Theology 5231A/B
• Sacramental Theology 5241A and 5242B
• Church Law 5452A/B

2) MASTER OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES

General Description

The MTS degree is a theological degree recognized through ATS. As with the MDiv and the MDiv (Adv) degrees, the Faculty of Theology of St. Peter’s Seminary administers this degree program by virtue of its affiliation with Western University through King’s University College and through our membership with ATS. The MTS is a postbaccalaureate, introductory theological degree for those seeking greater knowledge of the Catholic theological tradition. In contrast to the MDiv, the MTS does not prepare students for professional ministry in the Church. It is not recognized as a graduate degree by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. The term “Master” is used in accordance with the practice of ATS.

A) Admission Requirements for the MTS

(i) Bachelor’s degree - Candidates for the MTS must have obtained a Bachelor’s degree, with a B average, from an accredited university.

(ii) Philosophy prerequisite - Since some philosophical background is essential for studying Catholic theology at this level, a full-year, two semester course in Thomistic Philosophy is required. This course may be taken concurrently with theology courses as part of the MTS program.

(iii) Documentation - Applicants for the Master of Theological Studies must provide the following documentation:
• an official university transcript verifying completion of an undergraduate degree;
• two letters of recommendation;
• a brief life history giving reasons for applying for the program;
An interview with the Dean of Theology, or his delegate, will be conducted after these documents have been received by the Seminary.

(iv) Application deadline - The deadline for applications to the MTS program is July 15 for the Fall session and November 15 for the Winter session. Exceptions to this are considered on an individual basis. All documentation is to be submitted, along with a non-refundable Application Fee of $50.00 (Canadian funds) in cheque or money order, payable to “St. Peter’s Seminary”, to: The Registrar of Theology, St. Peter’s Seminary, 1040 Waterloo Street, London, Ontario. N6A 3Y1.

(v) Decision - Candidates will be notified accordingly in writing by the Rector, following a review by the Seminary’s Admissions Committee.

B) Progression Requirements

Students are required to complete a total of sixteen courses plus a thesis, as follows: first, they will complete 1.0 course (a two-semester course) in Philosophy and 5.0
courses (ten half-courses) from the first year of the theological curriculum of the MDiv, not including the field education course. Students then may select 2.0 (four half-course) electives from the upper-level years of the theological curriculum in consultation with the academic advisor. In the MTS program, students may take up to 2.0 (four half-course) ‘selected topics’ courses approved by the academic advisor. Field Education and most pastoral theology courses may not be taken as part of the MTS program. Students must complete a thesis directed by a member of the faculty.

1) Thesis

(i) Thesis Standards - The thesis will be a significant research project concerning a clearly-defined theological issue or problem. It will include a survey of the relevant scholarly literature and propose a creative response to the issue or problem. It should demonstrate good to excellent abilities in gathering and organizing material, and in critical analysis and reflection. It is to be forty-five to fifty-five pages in length, follow standard academic form, and will be graded
according to the Western University /St. Peter’s Seminary grading scale.

(ii) Thesis Regulations - Prior to the semester of registration in the thesis course, the student consults the Dean of Theology in regard to choosing an area of research and a thesis advisor. The student then informs the Dean when a faculty member has agreed to advise the student. A thesis proposal (five pages minimum) and a preliminary bibliography (two pages minimum), signed by the thesis advisor, must be submitted to the Dean two weeks prior to the last day for course registration for the next semester. The Dean, in consultation with appropriate faculty members, approves the proposal. A second reader is appointed. The thesis advisor guides the student through the research and writing. The thesis is to be submitted by the last day of classes in the semester of registration for the course. The advisor and the second reader evaluate the thesis and provide a written report to the student and the Dean. Each submits a grade to the Dean, who submits the average of the two grades to the Registrar. 

4. Graduation Requirements

To graduate, students must successfully complete 8.0 courses (sixteen half-courses) in the MTS program with an overall average of 70%. They must also complete the thesis with an average grade of 70% from two examiners.