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) Credits
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
One graduate course focused on Sacred History, 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. 3
Electives (6 Credits)
Two elective courses (3 credits each) chosen in consultation with the Department Chair. Electives must be St. Stephen’s College courses, or University of Alberta [CATS/SPRIT] graduate-level courses. 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 Psychospiritual Education (CPE) 6 credits
Spiritual Direction Programs (Phase I & II)(eg. Jubilee or PRC Programs) 6 credits
Healing the Healer program, Providence Renewal Centre 6 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 multifaith; readiness to engage deeply in personal reflection; commitment to the practice of a spiritual life.
  5. Language Requirements: All applicants must be proficient in English prior to admission. Proficiency is demonstrated by either (a) possession of a prior degree where the primary language of instruction was English, (b) demonstration of sufficient coursework completed in English, or (c) a satisfactory score on an approved English language examination (either TOEFL iBT, IELTS, CAEL, or PTE Academic). For full details, see the “English Language Proficiency” section of the St. Stephen’s College Academic Calendar.
Application Deadline:

Applications can be submitted throughout the year. The recommended starting course(s) are scheduled in June/July each year; in order to begin with these courses, it is advised that applications be submitted prior to November 1 for international applicants and April 1 for Canadian and Permanent Residents. Applications are processed within two months of submission. Applications which require a baccalaureate equivalency review are processed within four months of submission. Upon acceptance to the program, students can begin coursework. Applicants applying for a Baccalaureate equivalency review: equivalency fee is $225; if equivalency is granted, applicants then pay the normal application fee.


Orientation: Upon admission, students are invited to register for and attend the St. Stephen’s College Orientation Day (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.

**Note: Students in graduate certificate programs do not qualify for government student loans. For more information, see the SSC Academic Calendar.

**Note: International students who complete a graduate certificate program are not eligible to apply to work temporarily in Canada under the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Program.

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