Bachelor of Theology (BTh)

General Information

Program Description

The Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program offered by the School of Religious Studies is the most intensely theological education available as a first undergraduate degree in a publicly-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 program 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. program 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. program 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. program.

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. program before proceeding to the M.Div. degree. The effectiveness of the McGill B.Th. program 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:

to offer instruction in the academic disciplines of theology within a university setting, and
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).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.

 

Program-Specific Information

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, 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.

Registration

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.