Conjoint - Master of Arts (MA) in Theological Studies

The Master of Arts (MA) in Theological Studies is a full-time research master’s program intended to provide students with the analytical skills, methodological rigour and knowledge base that will enable them to carry out research at the leading edges of their areas of specialization. This master’s is a research degree very well suited for those desiring to pursue further research in a doctoral program. The degree is equally suitable for those wishing to pursue further specialized studies toward academic enrichment in their professional careers, such as in positions of leadership in ecclesiastical and related organizations, as well as in the private and public sectors (such as chaplains, teachers, social services workers, among others). The MA complements and builds towards the teaching and research done by faculty in the conjoint PhD program, all under the aegis of the Graduate Centre for Theological Studies, since some courses will allow interaction between master’s and doctoral students. The degree is offered conjointly by the University of Toronto and each of the participating TST member colleges, within the framework of the Memorandum of Agreement between the University and TST.

Program Features

The distinctive features of the conjoint MA program include the following:

  • It fosters study and research supporting the Church’s reflection on God and the Church’s self-reflection. The theological inquiry of other faith communities can also be supported in some areas.
  • The program includes some collaborative education for each entering cohort of students, with scholarly interchange across the traditional sub-disciplines of theological studies (Bible, history, theology, pastoral studies).
  • Courses and research projects intentionally consider interdisciplinary, ecumenical, and global perspectives. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged.
  • The program further develops attention to issues of method in research and interpretation.
  • The faculty have the dual conviction that there is a proper and important place within a public university for critical and constructive theological study and that a university setting is essential for the kind of theological study that TST desires to foster.

General Areas of Study

TST’s graduate faculty have specializations in a wide variety of areas of study. Prospective students will identify topics that connect with faculty in specializations within or across these areas:

  • The study of sacred and canonical texts, specifically, the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) or the New Testament (both involving languages; historical contexts and processes of development; related literature; subsequent theological interpretation; pastoral function and social effects).
  • The study of articulated structures of belief – the structures, contents, premises, and implications of Christian belief and practice (foundational theology; systematic theology; historical theology; theological ethics; and philosophical theology).
  • The study of the history of Christianity, understood in the broadest sense to include the variety of Christian traditions over the ages and throughout the world.
  • The study of ecclesiastical practices (liturgy, homiletics, education and formation, pastoral care, spirituality), pastoral and other religious leadership, and the social organizations in which these occur (such as congregations, faith-based organizations, ecclesial bodies, and ecumenical and interfaith organizations).
  • The study of the Christian faith in its relations with wider social and cultural contexts (social ethics; aesthetics; cultural studies; contextual theology; religion in the public sphere; comparative theology; and inter-faith dialogue).
  • Although Christian studies are at the core of TST’s mission, prospective students may choose to frame research topics in the context of other faiths.

Program Requirements

There are two options:

Option 1: Coursework and Master’s Research Paper (MRP)

4.0 full-course equivalents (FCE) including:

  • TSJ 5001H Master’s Research Seminar (0.5 FCE)
  • A methodology course (0.5 FCE)
  • 4 elective courses (2.0 FCE)
  • The Master’s Research Paper (1.0 FCE)

Option 2: Coursework only

4.0 full-course equivalents (FCE) including:

  • TSJ 5001H Master’s Research Seminar (0.5 FCE)
  • A methodology course (0.5 FCE)
  • 6 elective courses (3.0 FCE)

Languages:  During their program, students in both options may be required to demonstrate reading ability in a language in which relevant primary texts are written, or in which there is important secondary literature. Reading competence will normally be demonstrated by passing language examinations set by the Graduate Centre for Theological Studies. Language study is recommended for those considering doctoral studies.

Program Length

Three sessions full-time (i.e., one year). The MA in Theological Studies is a full-time only program. The maximum program length is three years.

Relationship to TST’s Conjoint PhD in Theological Studies

Master’s students will have the opportunity to engage in scholarly conversation in classes and seminars with each other. They will also be afforded the opportunity to engage in courses alongside PhD students, with the goal of elevating their level of discourse and stimulating the desire to further deepen research interests. This possibility is available in either the “Master’s Research Paper (MRP)” Option (Option I) or Course-Only” Option (Option II), both of which can lead to doctoral studies at TST. Students should consult with the GCTS Coordinator or college Graduate Degree Director on which program option will fulfill admission requirements in other doctoral programs at other institutions.

Admission Requirements and Program Policies & Procedures

For complete admissions requirements and program policies and procedures, see the Conjoint Degree Handbook.

To apply to the MA program, visit How to Apply to a Graduate Degree Program.