Bachelor of Theology program

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 (B.Th.) program are:

  1. to offer academic instruction in the disciplines of theology within a university setting;
  2. to contribute to 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 Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Degree, including the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) components, is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada (ATS).


Admission requirements

The B.Th. 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, unless you qualify as a mature student. 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 Bachelor of Arts 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.

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. For non-Canadian applicants whose mother tongue is not English, a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required, with a minimum score of 577 for the paper based version and of 90 for the new internet based composite score (iBT). For the iBT a minimum score of 21 is also required in each individual component of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Permanent residents of Canada may be required to submit a TOEFL score as well. Note: The McGill ETS Institution code is: 0935.


Mature students admission policy

Prerequisite courses and McGill's competitive admission process: 

  • Two courses appropriate to the proposed area of study, each with a minimum grade of B (or equivalent).

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.

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

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 appropriate courses 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.


Readmission

Students requesting readmission to the B.Th. 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, Henry and William Birks Building, Room 109, 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 April 1 for readmission in May, 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.

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, Henry and William Birks Building, Room 109, 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.


Reconsideration of an Admission Decision

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; see Reconsideration of an Admission Decision. This request must be sent to the admissions office which denied admission. Regardless of when they are received, requests will only be processed after March 1. It is not normally possible to reconsider admission decisions made after June 10th.


Tuition fees and funding

Information concerning current tuition fees may be found at the Student Accounts website. Applicants for admission to one of the affiliated Colleges should contact the institution concerned for information regarding College-related fees.