Graduate Certificates

Theological Studies (GCTS)

GCTS ImageThe Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies (GCTS) is an introductory program which may be taken either as a stand-alone certificate or as a bridge to the Master of Theological Studies degree (MTS). The program provides a foundation in theological studies with an opportunity to explore interdisciplinary and creative topics as electives.

Who is the GCTS for?

The GCTS is designed for those who have an interest in theological studies, spiritual concepts, and spiritual practice, but who are not able to pursue a full degree program. The Certificate will be of particularly interest to professionals in fields such as education or healthcare wishing to integrate theology/spirituality into their work. The GCTS can also be used as a stepping stone into the MTS degree (all 18 credits from the GCTS can transfer directly into the 45 credit MTS degree; see Calendar for details). As with all St. Stephen’s programs, the GCTS is open to students from any faith tradition – or no tradition.  

What Can Students Expect?

The GCTS aims to balance a foundation in theological studies (core courses) with an opportunity to explore interdisciplinary and creative topics through electives. The strong focus on electives allows for both breadth and depth. We offer:

  • A curriculum that combines academic rigor with opportunities for personal reflection and integration.
  • Small class sizes.
  • Inclusive perspectives open to multi-faith and multi-cultural views.
  • Courses in various formats: Week-long intensives, semester, online and independent study courses.
  • Dynamic, experienced, and accessible faculty who are committed and supportive.
  • A diverse, engaged student community.

Length of Program

Students taking a full course load can complete the GCTS in two years. Students must complete all requirements within four years from the date on which they register in the program.

  • GCTS Program Requirements (18 Credits)
    Required Courses (12 Credits)
    Choice of: SS071V Academic Writing, or SS074V Academic Skills (0cr graduate online course; must be taken in first year) 3
    SSC511 Introduction to Theology 3
    SSC5540 Spirituality: from Contemplation to Action 3
    One graduate course focused on Sacred Text, related to student's chosen faith tradition 3
    If the courses in the Sacred Text or Sacred History category related to student's faith tradition are not available at St. Stephen's College, transfer credits may be used with the permission of the Department Chair.  
    Electives (6 Credits)
    Two elective courses (3 credits each) chosen in consultation with the Department Chair. These may be taken through a variety of modalities: intensive, online, or independent study. Electives must be St. Stephen's College courses or University of Alberta CHRTP courses. A maximum of one course may be taken at the undergraduate level. 6

    Options Equivalent to Credit

    The following options are considered equivalent to credit in the GCTS Program. Students must consult with the Department Chair prior to applying for equivalency; acceptance of equivalencies will be in accordance with program and course requirements, and will be at the discretion of the Chair. Equivalencies granted for work done prior to entry into the GCTS program will apply to work no older than five years. Original certificate of completion must be presented to the Registrar’s Office.

    Academic Work 
    Equivalency to Elective Credits
    One unit Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) 6 credits
    Spiritual Direction Programs (Phase I & II)(eg. Jubilee Programs) 6 credits
    Lay Worship Leader Certificate Program (St. Stephen's College) 6 credits
    Canadian Foundation for Trauma Research and Education (CFTRE) certificates in Self-Regulation Therapy (SRT) SRT Foundation Level Certificate: 6 credits
    SRT Advanced Level Certificate: 6 credits
    Taking Flight International Corporation certificates in Trauma Recovery and Grief Support Trauma Recovery Certificate: 6 credits
    Grief Support Certificate: 3 credits


  • Admission Requirements

    1. Baccalaureate Degree from an institution of higher education approved by a Canadian provincial authority, or the demonstrated educational equivalent. Grade average minimum must be 72%/B/3.0 during last 60 credits of course weight.
    2. General readiness to function in an integrative adult learning program in terms of both personal qualities and academic competencies
    3. Commitment to one's lay profession or employment (paid or volunteer) as a ministry. Note: Persons who define their work activity as being committed to the improvement and nurture of society and the world community, including such fields as education, faith/religious community assignments, chaplaincy, mediation, management, media services, the arts, health care, counseling, Intercultural relationships, and care of the earth are recognized by St Stephen’s College as being in ministry.
    4. Willingness to engage in a program that is broadly ecumenical and interfaith; readiness to engage deeply in personal reflection; commitment to the practice of a spiritual life.

    Application Deadline:

    April 1 for Canadian and Permanent Resident applicants. November 1 for international applicants and all applicants applying for a Baccalaureate equivalency review (equivalency fee $225); if equivalency is granted, applicants then pay the normal application fee.


    Upon admission, students are expected to register for the St Stephen’s College Orientation Day (normally in early June).

**Note: Graduate Certificates are conferred by St. Stephen's College, not by the University of Alberta. For more information, see our About Graduate Studies at SSC and Institutional Charter pages.