International Students

A Guide for International Students

Seeking to Study at St. Stephen's College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Welcome and warm greetings to you! This resource is intended to provide introductory information about the steps you need to take when applying to study at St. Stephen's College (SSC) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. There are a number of graduate-level programs offered:

Department of Psychotherapy and Spirituality

  • Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality Degree [Art Therapy Specialization option available]
  • Post-Master's Art Therapy Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate in Spiritually-Informed Creative Arts
  • Graduate Certificate in Spiritually-Informed Psychotherapy

Department of Theology

  • Doctor of Ministry [Supervisory Education Specialization option available]
  • Master of Theological Studies Degree
  • Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies
  • Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Care
  • Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Our website offers details about each of these programs including academic requirements, admission requirements, and downloadable application materials.

It is the responsibility of all prospective international students to familiarize themselves with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website; with regard to information about timeline and time limits to studying in Canada. SSC will enroll only those international students who have study permits issued by IRCC for Designated Learning Programs. The Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number for St. Stephen's College is O19391057115. Study permit applicants will need to record this DLI number on their study permit applications. International students will need to show proof of a valid study permit upon arrival at SSC.

Since most international students applying to study in Canada expect to stay in this country for several months, or even several years, information provided here seeks to answer frequently asked questions pertaining to our College, the City of Edmonton, and the Province of Alberta.

As an international student applicant it is important for you to allow adequate time in your application planning for;

  • Completing our review and screening process,
  • Securing a study permit if you are admitted,
  • Locating housing if needed, and
  • Acclimating to the local setting.
Steps When?
Carefully read both the Frequently Asked Questions document below, and the Program Application requirements detailed on the website.
Make special note of the tuition question.
When you become interested in the program.
Send a completed application for the program of your choice to St. Stephen's College. Deadline is November 1 each year.
A file is opened in your name so that additional information can be added (e.g. transcripts, letters of reference). After application form and fee received. Application fee: $400CDN for degrees, $200CDN for graduate certificates.
When your application file is complete it will be reviewed by the Chair of the program to which you are applying. Within one month of complete application being received.
If it is determined that a screening interview is to occur you will be notified, given information about how the interview can occur (telephone/video conference), and be part of negotiating a time for this interview. Be aware that:
a. Time differences between Canada and your home country will need to be factored into negotiating the timing of the interview.
b. It is recommended that telephone calls be made from a landline if possible since cell phone reception is often unreliable.
c. All costs associated with the interview (telephone or video conference) will be the responsibility of the applicant.
Within two months of complete application being received.
Following the screening interview, you will receive a letter from the Dean about whether or not you are offered admission to the program. Within one month of screening interview.
If you are selected, you will receive a "Letter of Acceptance" that includes details and expectations associated to your participation in your chosen program. Within the letter will be a condition of acceptance indicating that you must:
(a) provide the College with a copy of valid Canadian Study Permit documentation for your study period, (b) formally accept the offer of admission to the program, and (c) submit a Criminal Records Check (sometimes called a Police Certificate) from your home country.
Within one month of screening interview.
It is expected that you will attend the Orientation Day scheduled in the year of your admission. NOTE: If you are travelling to Edmonton and COVID-19 restrictions are in effect, you will be required to quarantine/isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Edmonton (see FAQ). Early June.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • St Stephens College History and Degree-Granting Authority

    St. Stephen's College is a graduate school founded by The United Church of Canada and an Affiliated College of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. An Act to Incorporate St. Stephen's College (April 27, 1927; amended 1968) authorizes St. Stephen's College to confer degrees in theology. The College also teaches undergraduate and graduate University of Alberta credit courses, through the Faculty of Arts. St. Stephen's College is an Associate Member of The Association of Theological Schools in The United States and Canada, and is actively working toward full membership and accreditation with ATS.

    The Government of Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education licenses and certifies private post-secondary institutions. As a divinity school, St. Stephen's College is categorized as a private post-secondary institution. Institutions which fall under this category are listed here. This list includes other divinity/theological schools/colleges in Alberta.

    Campus Alberta Quality Council does not approve degrees in divinity.

    Information on College governance, including a copy of the Act, can be found on the College website here.

    Students intending to use St. Stephen's College degrees towards further higher education or for registration with professional counselling or other associations, in or outside of Canada, should be aware of the requirements of the institution, association or country they wish to apply that education toward. A number of theological colleges throughout Canada accept transfer credits from St. Stephen's College; however, public universities will most likely not accept transfer credits from a divinity school. Students planning to transfer to other institutions should be aware of the specific program requirements at that institution.

  • Where do I get an application form for a degree program at St Stephens College
    Go to our Programs page for more information. Details about program requirements, and application forms, can be downloaded.
  • Is there an application fee
    Yes, there is a non-refundable application fee, due with submission of your application. The application fee for a degree or post-master's diploma is $400CDN; the application fee for graduate certificates is $200CDN.
  • How much is tuition

    The cost to complete a Degree, Diploma or Certificate Program (including Program Fees and Course Fees) will range from $6,900 to $50,355 (CDN) depending on the program. Please see our Tuition page for more information on the costs for the program you are applying for.

    Reading material costs also need to be considered when planning the program, and may be up to $200CDN per course. Financial Policies are detailed in the Academic Calendar. Students are responsible for their own accommodation arrangements, and living costs.

  • Does the College offer financial assistance to students
    St. Stephen's College offers bursaries and scholarships to students enrolled in St. Stephen's College degree programs to help defray the cost of studies (amounts range from $150CDN to $600CDN; less than or slightly more than equivalent to one course fee). Bursaries are granted based on financial need and the terms of the bursary. Scholarships are awarded according to the terms of the scholarship. Financial aid will be granted according to the following priorities: (1) Canadian students, (2) International Students. Contact the College for details. As an International student, you will need to demonstrate adequate financial resources for your stay in Canada as a student.
  • How early do I need to apply to study at St Stephens College

    The annual application deadline to programs at the College is November 1 for international students planning to attend the intake the following June. For example, if you apply prior to November 2020, and you are accepted, you would start studies in June 2021. The normal timeline for processing international applications is as follows:

    1. Your application is processed within one month of receiving all application documents and application fee.
    2. College contacts you either to schedule a screening interview if your application is acceptable, or to tell you that you are not being invited to an interview.
    3. College contacts you with results of your application, within one month of the interview, and provides a letter of acceptance if the decision is made to invite you into the program.
    4. You accept the offer of admission in writing.
    5. You apply for a study permit through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • Can I complete a degree, diploma or certificate program via Distance Learning
    St. Stephen's programs normally cannot be completed via distance learning, and physical presence in Edmonton is required (therefore a study permit is required). As a consequence of COVID-19, programs that normally require in-person classes have been shifted to an online format (see the St. Stephen's COVID-19 page for updates on course offerings). Prospective students who wish to begin a program of study that normally requires in-person attendance are advised to apply for a study permit before commencing their studies online, as the program of study may still require the student to be in Canada in the future (subject to travel restrictions). If you apply and are accepted to a program, the letter of acceptance from the College will clearly indicate that the program requires in-person attendance for completion of the program of study once the College is able to resume classroom operations. The acceptance letter will indicate a target start date for courses that require the student to be in Canada. Officers should be satisfied that the applicant intends to continue their studies or complete their program of study in Canada once the College resumes classroom operations. However, if there is evidence indicating that the entire program of study has been shifted to distance learning and in-person attendance is not essential to complete the program, then the prospective student will not be eligible to apply for a study permit, since physical presence in Canada is not required. Officers cannot issue a study permit if the applicant intends to complete the entire program via distance learning.
  • Do I need to provide an English proficiency score

    Degree students must be able to express themselves verbally and in both reflective as well as scholarly writing. Possessing an adequate English vocabulary to communicate within both learning and clinical practicum/field placement contexts is essential. English Proficiency is demonstrated by:

    1. Possession of a degree or its academic equivalent from an institution recognized by Stephen's College where the language of instruction is English. Proof that the instruction for the degree was in English will be required; OR
    2. Demonstration of sufficient English language coursework at the secondary school level from select countries (eg. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland); or
    3. A satisfactory score on one of the following approved English language examinations:
      1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT): minimum score 600 (paper-based), or a total score of 88 with no less than 21 on each individual skill area (internet-based) [St. Stephen's College TOEFL Code is B640] Resources to help prepare applicants for the TOEFL test.
      2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS): minimum overall band score of 6.5, with at least 5 on each band
      3. Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): overall minimum score of 70, with at least 60 on each subtest
      4. Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): overall minimum score of 59
      5. Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB): minimum score of 85

    If you need to complete one of these English language examinations, you arrange for the results to be sent to the Registrar's Office at St. Stephen's College. The examination results are considered to be part of your application to the degree program, and must be received prior to the application deadline. Scores more than two years old cannot be verified; therefore the applicant normally would be required to retake the test.

  • Where do I find the requisite visa information needed to enter Canada
    Information can be found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website ("Study" link). Explore this site carefully and thoroughly so that specifics to your country and immigration circumstances are understood. Once the College issues you a letter of acceptance it is your responsibility to apply for and secure the requisite study permit. Find out if you need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa. Apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada.
  • Where do I find a Canadian visa office in my home country
    A list of countries and corresponding Canadian visa offices can be found on the International Visa Offices website.
  • Do I wait until I have a study permit before getting a Criminal Records Check-Police Certificate
    While everything hinges on the study permit, it is usually a good idea to know how to secure your Criminal Records Check/Police Certificate and what amount of time it takes for a police document to be issued.
  • How far in advance must I return my response to the Letter of Acceptance
    International students need to provide their response to the letter of acceptance by February 1 of the year in which you wish to start your degree program.
  • How soon before starting my studies at St Stephens College do I need to arrive in Edmonton

    The annual Orientation Day for new students is normally the third week of April (check the College website for the applicable year's course schedule). It is recommended you arrive in Edmonton with sufficient time to settle into your living arrangements before class sessions commence.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, while travel restrictions are in place; In accordance with Alberta's public health orders and COVID-19 guidance, and the standards set by the federal Government, international students will be required to isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Edmonton. As an affiliated College of the University of Alberta, St. Stephen's College students will have access to the University of Alberta, Residence Services isolation program:

    This program provides numerous supports for international students during isolation/quarantine and throughout their stay, including:

    -airport pick-up and transportation to a residence hall at the University of Alberta upon arrival;
    -accommodation in a residence hall at the University of Alberta for the 14-day quarantine period, including single rooms with private baths, linens, garbage collection, and laundry;
    -meal service and delivery;
    -periodic or daily check-ins;
    -access to campus and community health services;
    -material supports for isolating/quarantining;
    -monitoring student health and enforcing isolation/quarantine requirements;

    The fee for the University of Alberta Residence Services isolation accommodation program is $975 for one person. Once isolation/quarantine is complete, St. Stephen's College will provide ongoing monitoring of international students' health and safety through periodic check-ins and communication for the duration of their stay.

  • If admitted to the degree, diploma or certificate program, who will I consult for academic and career counselling

    The Chair of the Department overseeing your particular program:

  • Do I have to study full time or can I study part time

    As of June 1, 2014, all study permit holders in Canada need to actively pursue studies. This means that if you hold a study permit, you must remain enrolled and make reasonable and timely progress towards completing your program; failing to do so could lead to your removal from Canada. St. Stephen's College will report to IRCC on your continued enrolment and academic status. You may also be asked by an immigration officer to provide evidence of your continued enrolment and academic status.

    Reasonable and timely progress varies for each program:

    Students taking a FULL COURSE LOAD can complete the program in:

    Graduate Certificate in Spiritually-Informed Creative Arts
    1 year

    Graduate Certificate in Spiritually-Informed Psychotherapy
    1 year

    Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality
    MPS in 4 years; MPS Art Therapy in 5 years

    Post-Master's Art Therapy Diploma

    4 years

    Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Care

    2 years

    Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction

    1 year for credited requirements (plus 2 years for non-credited Spiritual Direction program)

    Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies
    2 years

    Master of Theological Studies

    3 years

    Doctor of Ministry

    4 years (for credited and non-credited requirements). Most students complete the degree in 5-6 years.

    St. Stephen's considers 15 graduate credits annually to be a full course load. To maintain fulltime status, students must complete 60 percent of a full load per year (min. 9 credits annually). For tax and other funding purposes, students are considered full-time if they either (a) complete at least 0.75 credits per month, or (b) are in the research/writing phase of their program. Master's students are in the research/writing phase upon formal approval of the Thesis/ITP or Culminating Paper Proposal, or enrollment in the Capstone Project course. Doctoral students are in the research/writing phase upon completion of their Integrative Paper.

  • Can I work while I am studying at St Stephens College
    If you plan to combine study and work while in Canada, familiarize yourself with the information available through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
    It is unlikely that your Study Permit conditions will allow you to work off campus while completing your studies; this will depend on your personal circumstances. For the MTS, MPS and PMATD programs, unpaid practicum work experience is part of the curriculum; practicum supervisors are approved and appointed by the College.
  • After graduation am I eligible to apply to work temporarily in Canada under the PGWP Program

    Yes, but only if you graduated from a degree program (diplomas and certificates are not eligible), and maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program (except your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took a leave from studies). You must normally complete the majority of your study program with in-class courses; however, if your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, you're still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). Along with graduating from an eligible designated learning institution, you need to meet all other criteria to get a post-graduation work permit:

    For information about applying to travel, study, work or immigrate to Canada, apply for citizenship, a permanent resident card or refugee protection, please visit:

  • Can I bring my family with me
    Look carefully at details provided on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website to see about this possibility.
  • How long can I stay in Canada after graduation from my degree program
    Your study permit will include entry and exit dates. There is information at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website about applying to change the conditions of your permit or extend your stay in Canada:
  • What if I want to travel outside of and then return to Canada while I have my visa
    There is information on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website about leaving and coming back to Canada.
  • Do I need health insurance coverage during the time I am in Canada
    St. Stephen's College does not have a health plan available for students. The Government of Canada does not pay for the medical costs of international students. Health coverage for international students varies among the provinces of Canada. If you are residing in Canada for a prolonged period you can learn more about whether you will qualify for an Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). We advise you to purchase Visitor to Canada Insurance, which is available from private insurance companies, if you are physically present in Canada but not eligible for AHCIP coverage.
  • How will I get around in Edmonton
    Edmonton has an extensive, user-friendly public transit system.
  • How do I find a place to live in Edmonton
    A list of temporary living accommodations located close to the College can be provided to you upon request. Additional information can be found on the City of Edmonton website.

    St. Stephen's students are able to apply for housing through University of Alberta Residence Services. This housing is normally for University of Alberta students, but Residence Services will accept applications from St. Stephen's students because the College is on campus. However, University of Alberta students get first priority, and space availability cannot be confirmed until the first week of September. St. Stephen's College students wishing to apply for accommodations will need a computing ID (CCID); contact St. Stephen's Registrar's Office to obtain.
  • What kind of community is Edmonton
    Edmonton is known for its multicultural and interfaith diversity. As part of your preparations for moving here you may want to see if there is a community of Canadians from your home country living here. Being in a supportive community environment and keeping in touch with persons from the same cultural tradition or spiritual family can strengthen the learning experience.

If you have further questions:

Please contact the Chair of the program at St. Stephen's College in which you are interested or the Registrar/Director of Academic and Administrative Services at Phone: 780-439-7311.