Choosing an Area of Study

The Toronto School of Theology's (TST) degree programs used to be structured around four distinct departments: Biblical, Historical, Pastoral and Theological. Some of the references in handbooks and TST materials may still refer to these program areas, and some courses will continue to be structured around these four groups, despite the fact that the TST member colleges have now begun to emphasize areas of study supported by faculty teaching and research expertise. Nevertheless, at the basic degree level, students will continue to fulfill program requirements by taking courses in biblical, historical, pastoral and theological studies. 

Areas of Study

For the graduate (advanced) degree programs, as TST transitions into its new program structures, courses will in the interim continue to refer to the four program area groupings. However, since the graduate programs more intentionally promote ecumenism and inter-disciplinarity, TST has begun to emphasize five areas of study supported by faculty teaching and research expertise:

  • The study of sacred and canonical texts, specifically, the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament (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; 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 religious 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); and
  • 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).