Bachelor of Theology program

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Program description

The Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) programme offered by the School of Religious Studies is the most intensely theological education available as a first undergraduate degree in a publically-funded University in North America. A steadily growing proportion of B.Th. students at McGill (38% of graduates 2012–2014) are taking a 120-credit or 90-credit programme as a first, undergraduate, degree permitting an exceptional concentration on academic study of Christianity. Overall, B.Th. graduates completed their degree on average within 2.8 years.

For students with a prior Bachelor’s degree, however, the 60-credit (two-year) B.Th. can also function as the first 60 credits (or two years) of the ATS-accredited M.Div. programme offered by the McGill-affiliated theological colleges of the Montreal School of Theology (MST). ATS accreditation of the MST and its M.Div. degree is thus “by virtue of affiliation with the McGill University School of Religious Studies.” (Bulletin 51 PART 2 Membership List 02/01/2015).

Because of this relationship between the McGill B.Th. and the MST M.Div., one key measure of educational effectiveness of the B.Th. programme is that graduates of the 60-credit, post-graduate B.Th. show the expected skills and attitudes required for success in the intensively pastoral third, In-Ministry Year of the MST M.Div. programme.

Thus, between 2010 and 2014, out of 52 MST M.Div. graduates, 25 had also graduated with the McGill B.Th. degree from the School of Religious Studies. A further 10 of the 52 MST M.Div. graduates had taken at least some required courses in the McGill B.Th. programme before proceeding to the M.Div. degree. The effectiveness of the McGill B.Th. programme is therefore heavily and intentionally represented in the overall educational effectiveness of the MST M.Div. and in the data underlying the MST Statement of Educational Effectiveness.

The main goals of the Bachelor of Theology (BTh) program are:

  1. to offer instruction in the academic disciplines of theology within a university setting, and
  2. to contribute to the preparation for ministry in the contemporary world by giving special attention to the Canadian and North American contexts, the Quebec context, and religious pluralism.

The Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) may be taken as a first or second baccalaureate degree.

As a first degree (90 or 120 credits) it offers a more intensive study of Christianity than is available within the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs, while also permitting the student to combine this specialization with other academic or professional interests, whether in Religious Studies or in other faculties and schools of the university.

As a second bachelor’s degree (60 credits) the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program is designed primarily for those who intend to qualify for the ordained ministry in a Christian denomination, although here too some students pursue the degree out of an interest in the academic study of theology for its own sake, or with a view to combining these studies with proficiency gained in other disciplines. The 60-credit program forms the core of the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) degree.

Those studying for the ordained ministry usually pursue the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) as part of a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) offered by one of the three Theological Colleges affiliated with McGill University in the Montreal School of Theology: Montreal Diocesan Theological College (Anglican Church of Canada), the Presbyterian College (Presbyterian Church in Canada), and United Theological College (United Church of Canada).

ATS accreditation

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada is a membership organization of more than 250 graduate schools that conduct post-baccalaureate professional and academic degree programs to educate persons for the practice of ministry and for teaching and research in the theological disciplines. The ATS’s mission is to promote the improvement and enhancement of theological schools to the benefit of communities of faith and the broader public. The School of Religious Studies has been accredited by the ATS since 1952. 

The Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program offered by McGill University is applicable to the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program offered by the Theological Colleges. The M.Div. is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada (ATS).

Admission requirements

The BTh program has three points of entry:

  1. To enter the 120-credit degree program from outside Quebec, the applicant must hold a high school diploma, with a minimum average of 75%, or the equivalent. A maximum of 60 credits from another institution of higher learning can be considered for transfer into the 120-credit program.
  2. To enter the 90-credit first-degree program, the applicant is expected to have completed the Diploma of Collegial Studies (DCS) of a Quebec CEGEP with a minimum average Cote R of 24, or the equivalent elsewhere. A maximum of 30 credits from another institution of higher learning can be considered for transfer into this program.
  3. To enter the 60-credit program, the applicant must have completed a B.A. or other Bachelor’s degree with a minimum CGPA of 2.7 (B-). No credits can be transferred from another institution of higher learning into the 60-credit program.

Any McGill student in good standing, with a minimum of 30 credits, may apply for transfer from their current degree program into the B.Th. program. B.Th. students entering the 120- or 90-credit programs are free to pursue Minors in other departments, schools, or faculties, in consultation with their B.Th. adviser(s).

The B.Th. program extends over three academic years of full time studies for those admitted with a Diploma of Collegial Studies and over two academic years for those admitted with a Bachelor's degree. For all other students it requires four years. The normal load consists of five 3-credits courses (15 credits) each term.

Applying to the BTh Program

Note: Owning to McGill University's implementation of a comprehensive online application system, paper applications to the B.Th. Program can no longer be accepted. All applicants must apply online.

The online application process should take about 20 minutes and a credit card is required for payment of the application fee. Once completed, the online application form may be printed for your own records.

For more information contact studaffairs.relg [at] mcgill.ca (Student Affairs) or by calling (514) 398–5251.

Required documents

  • Transcript(s) of all previous post-secondary academic work. Applicants to the B.Th. Program as a first degree must submit high school and/or CEGEP transcripts.
    • Copies of your unofficial transcript(s) can be uploaded to complete your application. 
    • Official transcript(s) are required only if you are admitted, and must be mailed directly from the institution to the mailing address below.
  • Personal Statement, according to the directions in the application. Please download and use the Personal Statement Form.
  • Two letters of recommendation including at least one from an instructor in an academic institution previously attended.

After your application has been received, you will be given access to your Minerva account. Using Minerva, you will be able to upload your unofficial transcripts and personal statement  to complete your application. You can find full instructions on how to prepare, upload, and submit relevant documents on the Applying to Undergraduate Studies website.

If you are applying for admission to one of the theological colleges, another complete set of these required documents must also be sent to the college concerned.

Please note that your file will not be considered by the Admissions Committee until all the required documents have been received.

Proof of proficiency in English

The language of instruction for most courses at McGill University is English; however, you may make arrangements to write term papers, examinations and theses in English or in French, except in courses where knowledge of the language is one of the objectives of the course.

You must demonstrate an adequate level of English proficiency prior to admission to McGill, regardless of citizenship status or country of origin. Click here to find out if you are exempted from submitting proof of English proficiency with your application.

Mailing address

By mail:
Bachelor of Theology Program
McGill University
Enrolment Services
688 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 760
Montreal, Quebec H3A 3R1
Canada

Drop-off or courier:
Enrolment Services, McGill University
3415 McTavish Street
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1Y1
Canada

Application deadlines

Applicants to the B.Th. Program may be accepted into either the Fall or Winter Term. The on-line application deadline is May 1 for September admissions and November 1 for January admissions. Please note that all required documents listed above must be received by the School of Religious Studies prior to these deadlines in order for the applicant to be considered by the Admissions Committee.

Readmission

Students requesting readmission to the Bachelor of Theology program after an absence of one academic term or more must submit an electronic readmission application. The on-line application is available as of March 1 through the Student Records menu once you have logged into Minerva. Supporting documents, if applicable, must be sent separately to the Student Affairs Office, Birks Building, room 107, 3520 University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2A7.

  • Students should state the reasons for their absence from the University and give a summary of their activities during that period. Requests must be submitted before June 1 for readmission in September and November 1 for readmission in January.
  • Students who withdrew because of illness should provide a medical note stating that they are ready to resume their studies.

Mature students admission policy

The Mature Student category is available to applicants who:

  • do not possess a conventional basis of admission such as a high school or CEGEP diploma, or
  • have academic credentials that do not meet the minimum requirements and have no academic studies within the last five years that would constitute a basis for admission.

Conditions for eligibility:

  • Canadian citizenship or Canadian permanent residency
  • 23 years of age or older at time of registration (21 years of age for the Faculties of Management and Music)
  • No college or university level studies within the last five years that would constitute a basis for admission
  • Two letters of reference
  • Letter of Intent, including description of previous educational experiences
  • Complete record of employment and personal history, highlighting points relevant to the application
  • Demonstrate academic potential by successfully completing a minimum number of two courses appropriate to the proposed area of study, each with a minimum grade of B (or equivalent), within the three-year period prior to admission. These courses, which may be completed at CEGEP or university, will also fulfill prerequisites for the intended program. 

Each student is considered on an individual basis, based on all elements in the file.

Applicants with regular academic studies completed during the last five years must apply under the regular high school, CEGEP, or university transfer categories.

Reconsideration of an admission decision

An unsuccessful applicant or a School of Religious Studies Council member acting on behalf of an unsuccessful applicant who believes that not all factors having a bearing on the application have been fully considered has the right to request that the B.Th. Admissions and Awards Committee review the application.

Starting on March 1, any applicant whose request for admission has been denied may submit a written request for reconsideration of the admission decision. The request must include information in support of reconsideration. This request must be sent to the Chair of the B.Th. Admissions Committee. Regardless of when they are received, requests will only be processed after March 1. It will not be possible to reconsider admission decisions after August 1. A fee of $40.00 will be charged before the request is processed.

If the findings of the review procedure uphold the initial decision of the B.Th. Admissions and Awards Committee, the applicant has the right to appeal in writing to the Director. The Director shall put the appeal before the B.Th. Appeals Committee, which shall consist of three full-time members of the School of Religious Studies Council who are not at the same time members of the B.Th. Admissions and Awards Committee.

The decision of the B.Th. Appeals Committee will be final.

Inter-faculty transfer

If you are currently registered at McGill in another degree program and you wish to transfer into the School of Religious Studies, Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program for the fall term, you must submit an electronic transfer application by June 1. The on-line application is available as of March 1 through the Student Records menu once you have logged into Minerva. Supporting documents must be sent to the Student Affairs Office, Birks Building, room 107, 3520 University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2A7.

Required supporting documents

  • Two letters of recommendation including at least one from an instructor in an academic institution previously attended. Your referee must download and use the attached form, B.Th. Reference Form
  • Personal Statement, according to the directions in the application. Please download and use the attached form, Personal Statement Form

If you are currently registered in the B.Th. program, and you wish to transfer for the fall term to another faculty, you must submit an electronic transfer application by June 1. The on-line application is available as of March 1 through the Student Records menu once you have logged into Minerva. Supporting documents, if applicable, must be sent separately. Please consult the appropriate Faculty website for detailed information.

Tuition fees and funding

Information concerning current tuition fees may be found at the following website: www.mcgill.ca/student-accounts/. Applicants for admission to one of the affiliated Colleges should contact the institution concerned for information regarding College-related fees.

Registration procedures

All students must register on Minerva. Minerva provides web access to registration, class schedules, course descriptions, etc.

  • Students can consult the When to register page for course registration deadlines. After this period a late registration fee will be applied.
  • All B.Th. students must receive approval from the B.Th. program director before registering for courses.
  • Students must also receive permission from the program director to with draw from courses.

Course selection

Candidates for the ministry from the three Theological Colleges associated with the School must select their courses in consultation with their College advisor. The course selection form needs to be signed also by the Chair of the B.Th. Committee.

Those seeking the degree and not sponsored by one of the three colleges associated with the Faculty will need to clear their course selections with the Chair of the B.Th. Committee.

In all cases this consultation should take place before registration.

Academic standing and course loads

Satisfactory Standing: Students enter the university in satisfactory standing and remain in this standing unless their GPA (grade point average) or CGPA (cumulative grade point average) for any year drops below 2.00. The normal course load in any academic session is five courses per term (15 credits per term). A student with a high GPA (at least 3.00) may take more than the normal five courses per term.

Probationary Standing: A student is placed in probationary standing if either the CGPA or the term GPA falls between 1.50 and 1.99. (For part-time students, the GPA is calculated on the basis of the last 9 credits.) Students in probationary standing may take a minimum of 6 credits and a maxi¬mum of 12 credits per term.

A student in probationary standing returns to satisfactory standing by completing 12 additional credits with a GPA of at least 2.50, or by completing 12 credits with a GPA and a CGPA of 2.00 or greater.

A student in probationary standing who fails to achieve the levels of performance specified above will be placed in unsatisfactory standing, with the exception of those who obtain a GPA of 1.50-1.99 while continuing to have a CGPA of 2.00 or greater.

Unsatisfactory Standing: A GPA of less than 1.50 places a student in unsatisfactory standing.

A student in unsatisfactory standing will have to withdraw or seek re-admission as a probationary student with special permission from the B.Th. Committee and the Dean. A student who is readmitted on probationary standing may have additional restrictions or conditions to meet, over and above those required of students referred to above under "Probationary Standing." A student in unsatisfactory standing for the second time must withdraw permanently.

Incomplete Standing: A student whose record in any year shows a mark of K, K*, L, L*, or && will have no GPA or CGPA calculated for that year, and the record will show "Standing Incomplete." After completing the appropriate course requirements the GPA and CGPA will be calculated and the student's standing determined as described above.

A student whose standing is still "incomplete" at the time of registration for the next academic year must obtain a Letter of Permission to Register from the Chair of the B.Th. Committee.

Graduation requirements

  1. The B.Th. is either a 120-credit program (for those admitted from outside Quebec and without a prior Bachelor's degree), a 90-credit program (for those who apply on the basis of a Quebec DCS or equivalent) or a 60-credit program (for those who apply on the basis of a recognized Bachelor's degree.
  2. Qualification for the degree shall include satisfactory standing (a grade of C or better) in all required courses and the complementary courses specified in year three, and the accumulation of sufficient acceptable credits to make a total of either 60 or 90-credits. It should be noted that students who take the B.Th. program as part of the M.Div. program need to maintain a minimum CGPA of 2.5 to be eligible for the M.Div. degree.
  3. Normally the program credits must be earned within five years from the date of entrance.

Academic achievement

Several designations are used to acknowledge the superior academic achievement of in-course and graduating students. These designations are awarded at the discretion of Faculty:

  1. Distinction: to designate graduating students, not in Honours, who have completed a minimum of 60 credits at McGill and achieved a CGPA of 3.30-3.49.
  2. Great Distinction: to designate graduating students, not in Honours, who have completed a minimum of 60 credits at McGill and achieved a CGPA of 3.50 or better.
  3. Honours: to designate graduating students who have completed a minimum of 60 credits at McGill and have fulfilled the honours course requirements with a CGPA of 3.20 or 3.50 for First Class Honours.
  4. Dean's Honour List: to designate graduating students with a CGPA of 3.50 or better. This designation applies in addition to those described in b) and c) above, except that it may not normally be awarded to more than 10% of the graduating class.
  5. Dean's Honour List: to designate in-course students who have completed a minimum of 27 credits during regular session (14 credits for those registered for one term) and have attained a GPA placing them in the top 5-10% of their class.

Evaluation

Competence in a course may be determined by examinations and/or essays, or by other means chosen by the instructor and approved by the Dean.

Withdrawal procedures

In case of withdrawal from the University prior to the published course withdrawal deadline, the student must withdraw from all courses via Minerva. In addition students must contact the Chair of the B.Th. Committee and complete the necessary withdrawal form.