Master of Theological Studies (MTS)

MTS ImageThe MTS is a graduate-level academic degree in theology. It offers exploration of theological disciplines - broadly understood - which may be used as preparation for further study, vocational formation, or personal integration and growth. The MTS provides a flexible course of study with core courses that are augmented by electives, and ongoing interactions with a vibrant learning community.

Who is the MTS for?

As with all St. Stephen's programs, the MTS is open to people from diverse faith traditions – or no tradition. The program is ideal for those looking to receive a general theological education, or to delve deeply into a specific theological field.

The College encourages students to articulate their understanding of the spiritual dimension of human existence using the languages, symbols, and images of the traditions and worldviews with which they identify. Within this diversity, students at St. Stephen's College are expected to explore and expand their awareness of their own nurturing qualities, as they offer them in service to the Human community and to the Earth. 

What Can Students Expect?

Our MTS aims to balance a solid foundation in theological studies (core courses) with an opportunity to explore a variety of 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 and individual mentoring
  • Inclusive perspectives open to multi-faith and multi-cultural views
  • Courses in various formats: Week-long intensives, semester, online and independent study
  • Choice between a course-based stream or a thesis-based stream
  • Dynamic, experienced, and accessible faculty who are committed to your support
  • Flexibility to develop and focus on your own areas of interest
  • Diverse and cutting-edge approaches to research, including arts-based methodologies
  • A diverse, engaged student community

Length of Program

Students taking a full course load can complete the MTS in three years. Many students take four or five years to complete the degree. Students must complete all requirements within seven years from the date on which they register in the program.

After Graduation

MTS graduates make a difference in the world through their presence in spiritual care and chaplaincy in hospitals and prisons, work in faith communities, social service agencies, teaching and educational administration, the arts, and many more facets of our world.

Opportunities for Spiritual Care Providers

St. Stephen's College—through many of its course offerings—supports students working towards professional certification by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care/Association canadienne de soins spirituels (CASC/ACSS). Students seeking professional certification may need to take additional courses and training over and above the requirements of the MTS Degree Program. The onus will be on the student to consult with CASC/ACSS regarding certification categories and specifications; and to meet the expressed requirements of CASC/ACSS, both during and subsequent to their academic training. 

General Program Information

Incoming students can expect to take their first course in early June of their starting year. 

  • MTS Program Requirements (45 Credits)
    Required Courses (15 Credits)
    Choice of: SS071V Academic Writing, or SS074V Academic Skills (must be taken in first year) 0
    SSC511 Introduction to Theology 3
    SSC5540 Spirituality: from Contemplation to Action
    One graduate course focused on Sacred Text, related to student's chosen faith tradition
    One graduate course focused on Sacred History, related to student's faith tradition 3
    SSC5710 Inquiry, Research and Evaluation 3
    Electives (21 Credits)
    Seven elective courses (3 credits each) chosen in consultation with the Department Chair. These may be taken through a variety of modalities: intensive, online, independent study, or courses transferred from outside institutions (see Transfer Credit \policy). A maximum of one elective may be taken at he undergraduate level).
    Thesis Options (9 credits)
    Students choosing the thesis option will complete: SSC5570 Thesis Collegium [Pre-requisite: SSC571 or SSC5710] 0
    The thesis is a formally written 100-150 page document based upon the student's research of a stated question. The thesis integrates a introduction. a thorough literature review, explication of methodology, data presentation and analysis, and a summary of findings, conclusions, and synthesis. It is intended to address not only the candidates's research interest, but to make a contribution to the body of knowledge in that field. Upon approval of the thesis proposal, students pay a thesis fee. Note: Students may choose from a variety of arts-based research methodologies, incorporating visual arts, music, dance, theatre, etc. 9
    Course-Based Option (9 credits)  
    Students choosing a course-based option will complete: Two courses in an area of specialization, chosen in consultation with the Department Chair 6
    Culminating Paper (30-40 pages) which integrates learning in the area of student's specialization. 3

    Options Equivalent to Credit

    The following options are considered equivalent to credit in the MTS 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 MTS 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, Presence Program) 6 Credits
    Healing the Healer Program, Providence Renewal Centre 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 multifaith; readiness to engage deeply in personal reflection; commitment to the practice of a spiritual life.

    Application Deadline

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


    Applicants will attend an admission interview as part of the application process. Intake interviews will reflect on the applicant’s learning goals and determine her/his appropriateness for admission to the program.


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

**Note: The Master of Theological Studies degree is 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.