Graduate Degree Admission Requirements

Graduate degree programs at the Toronto School of Theology (TST) include two doctoral programs (PhD and DMin) and two master's programs (MA and ThM). The Doctor of Ministry is distinct from the other programs because of its professional nature, so it has a distinct application process and admissions requirements. Find out more about the DMin application process here.

Below are minimum requirements for admission to the graduate degree programs (MA, ThM, PhD and DMin). It should be noted that meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission to any TST program. In-depth information about admissions requirements can be found in the program handbooks. The summary below is neither exhaustive nor authoritative.

Admissions Criteria

Candidates' applications will be considered by the Admissions Committee of the Graduate Studies Council, which will take into consideration:

  • grades in all previous post-secondary education with particular weight accorded to performance in the prerequisite degree(s) and in other recent programs;
  • the applicant's academic background in the stated area of interest;
  • the potential of the applicant for graduate study, as attested in the letters of reference;
  • the quality of the applicant's statement of intent;
  • the availability of qualified faculty resources in the applicant's proposed area of research;
  • evidence that the applicant is likely to complete the program.

Candidates may request reconsideration of a decision by TST to refuse admission as per the relevant program handbook.

Fluency in English

For all graduate degree programs, an applicant whose first language is other than English must provide evidence of the ability to comprehend, speak and write English at the graduate level. One of the following will constitute prima facie evidence of such ability:

  • Evidence of an earned degree of at least two years in duration from a recognized post-secondary institution where the language of instruction and examination is English (please see the FAQ in How to Apply for further information).
  • A satisfactory result on an accepted English language test (please see How to Apply for accepted tests and minimum results)
  • A grade of B in the advanced (level 60) Academic Preparation course in the English Language Program of the School of Continuing Studies of the University of Toronto, or equivalent standing at a comparable institution.

For admission to the ThM and PhD programs, applicants must provide evidence of language competency and in some cases proficiency. Skill in research languages may be demonstrated in the following ways:

  • Transcript evidence. A student who has completed recognized post secondary courses in a foreign language within four years prior to making application for admission to their program may, by submission of transcript evidence, be deemed by the Admissions Committee of the Graduate Studies Council to have demonstrated skill in that language. Nevertheless, unless an exemption is explicitly stated in the offer of admission letter, all applicants are required to demonstrate current evidence of reading facility by taking a TST language exam. Students may also take a TST non-credit language course in theological French and German. Students who successfully pass these courses will not be required to take TST language examinations in these languages.
  • Language examination. A student may demonstrate current skill in a language by taking an examination administered by TST. Examinations usually take place in September and January. Arrangements for special examinations in languages other than Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, or German can be made with the Graduate Centre for Theological Studies.
  • Other evidence. Please see the program handbooks for other means of demonstrating skill in research languages.

Prerequisite Education

For admission to the MA program, an applicant is normally required to have a Bachelor’s degree in Theology or a major or specialist in Theology or Religious Studies, or equivalent, from a recognized degree granting institution, with at least B+ (3.3/4.0 CGPA) standing (or equivalent). Alternatively, an applicant may present a second-entry degree in Theological Studies, such as the Master of Divinity (MDiv) or Master of Theological Studies (MTS), representing at least two years of full-time studies or equivalent past the undergraduate bachelor’s, with a minimum of a B+ (3.3/4.0 CGPA) standing (or equivalent).

Language Requirements

Typically, there are no language requirements for admission into the program, unless the primary sources for the proposed area of study are in a language or languages other than English (as in biblical studies). In such cases, applicants may be required to provide evidence of competence in at least one language other than English.

Prerequisite Education

A baccalaureate degree, normally in Arts, from a recognized college or university (or the applicant must provide evidence of having completed equivalent studies under a different educational system); and a Master of Divinity degree or an academic master's degree in theological studies providing equivalent theological background (e.g., Master of Theological Studies, Master of Religion, Master of Arts in Theology of at least two years' duration), with at least a high second-class standing (i.e., B+, CGPA 3.3/4.0) from a recognized institution. All theological schools fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools are deemed to be recognized institutions.

Additional Requirements for Students in Historical Studies

An applicant proposing to specialize in the history of Christianity must show evidence from her or his previous degree programs of adequate preparation in historical studies. See the ThM Handbook for more information.

Language Requirements

  • ThM Option I - For admission into Option I in the areas of history, pastoral studies, or theology, the applicant must be competent in at least one language selected from among ancient or modern languages necessary for their research. Alternatively, the applicant may be admitted on the condition that he or she will be able to demonstrate competence in at least one of these languages before entering the first year of studies.
  • ThM Option II - For admission into Option II in the areas of history, pastoral studies, or theology, there are no universally applicable language requirements. Instead, language requirements appropriate to the area of specialization are determined by the Graduate Director of the student’s college of registration in consultation with the GCTS.
  • Admissions to Biblical Studies - For both Options I and II, proficiency in Biblical Hebrew is required for those proposing to specialize in Old Testament studies. Likewise, proficiency in Biblical Greek is required for those proposing to specialize in New Testament studies. To be credited with competence or proficiency in the required biblical languages, students need to receive grades of at least B+ (77%) (or equivalent in other grading schemes). Students may also be admitted with competence in any combination of two of the following: Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Greek or a modern research language.

Prerequisite Education

An applicant is required to have an appropriate master’s degree in theology from an accredited institution, with at least A- (3.7/4.0 GPA) standing, or equivalent. The following are recognized academic master's degrees: Master of Arts, Master of Religion, Master of Theology, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Divinity. If a student’s program included a research component (research paper, thesis), a grade of at least A- (3.7/4.0 GPA), or equivalent, also is required for this work. Students must also possess a baccalaureate degree or equivalent. All theological schools fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada are deemed to be recognized institutions. Students from educational systems outside North America must give evidence of equivalent standing. The TST reserves the right to determine whether or not credentials of other degree-granting institutions meet the standards for its admissions programs. (See the Conjoint Degree Handbook, General Regulations, A3.1 Procedures for Application.)

Language Requirements

Students applying to the program are required to provide evidence of reading competence in one ancient or modern language necessary for their research. (Competence is normally demonstrated by the satisfactory completion of a two-semester course at the university level within the last four years.) Additional language preparation is required for admission in cases where the primary sources for the proposed area of study are in a language other than English. In such cases, applicants may be required to provide evidence of competence in more than one language and/or reading proficiency in one language. (Proficiency in a language is a higher level of reading ability, consistent with that which is normally acquired by the satisfactory completion of a four-semester course at the university level within the last four years.) Applicants proposing to focus their research in Biblical Studies, for example, are required to demonstrate proficiency in the language of their primary focus (Greek or Hebrew), and competence in either the other biblical language or a modern research language.

Once admitted, all PhD students may need to give current evidence of their facility in their research language(s) by taking a TST Language Exam or by passing a TST Language Course (prior to registration in September). TST students who have fulfilled language requirements in TST’s other degree programs may be exempted from further examination in these languages by the Admissions Committee.