Master of Divinity

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The Theology program encourages students to develop a critical approach to the problems and challenges facing modern society. The Master in Divinity (MDiv) is a three year (90 cr.) second-entry program, (that is, it requires a B.A. or its equivalent for admission but no prior theological training). As such, it is a general degree in theological education whose purpose is to provide students a general theological education and a professional formation. The diploma is conferred jointly by the senates of the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University by virtue of the federation agreement between both institutions.

The MDiv will allow students to pursue a more integrated program where theory and practice are linked more organically. Saint Paul University’s MDiv distinguishes itself from that offered by other Ontario universities in its emphasis on education for dialogue and collaboration across ecumenical and interreligious boundaries, and its exploration of theology’s engagement with issues in contemporary culture.

While the program may be completed on a part-time basis, students are required to register full-time for at least one year with a view to integrating theoretical education, supervised practical experience and personal training.

This degree is recognized by the Association of Theological Schools.

Why choose Saint Paul University?

  • For its solid reputation, history and Catholic tradition
  • For its internationally renowned professors
  • For its small classes on a human scale
  • For its affordable tuition fees and admission scholarships
  • For its bilingual setting in the heart of the national capital, ranked as the best place to live in Canada (MonseySense 2016 and 2017)
  • For its safe and friendly campus

Career opportunities

  • Pastoral agent in a school, hospital or prison setting
  • Spiritual attendant
  • Catechist
  • Youth development worker
  • Missionary
  • Pastoral associate
  • Youth services worker
  • Community or not-for-profit organization worker

 Click here to find out more about Admission Scholarships at Saint Paul University.

Courses sequences


Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate or its equivalent with a minimum average of 70% or B;
    In exceptional cases the Faculty may admit a candidate who has not obtained a baccalaureate or equivalent, if the candidate is already registered as a special student. All of the following conditions apply:
  1. Have successfully completed one year of study in a university;
  2. Have successfully completed at least ten courses (30 units) in the Faculty of Theology, which may be counted towards the degree;
  3. Have life experience that has prepared him/her for theological study at the post-baccalaureate level (e.g.: extensive experience in volunteer or paid position in a pastoral context or in other helping professions).

The number of such candidates registered in the MDiv program may not exceed 15% of the total enrolment. The evaluation of criteria for admission will be made on a case by case basis by the Program Director.

  • Evidence of suitability for pastoral leadership attested through a letter of recommendation and pre-admission interview;
  • Evidence of ability to succeed in a post-baccalaureate program of study, attested in a letter of reference from a professor familiar with the applicant’s previous academic work. In exceptional cases, this condition may be waived.



Compulsory Courses (45 units)

THO2189 Can We Talk About God?
THO3160 Introduction to the Old Testament
THO3161 Introduction to the New Testament
THO3162 Revelation and Christian Faith
THO3165 Community, Conflict, Salvation: Why the Church?
THO3166 The Good Life
THO3169 Liturgy and Experience
THO3171 Introduction to Pastoral Practice I
THO4160 Pastoral Ministry and Psychology
THO4161 Sociological Perspectives on Christian Community
THO4162 Practicum in Ministry I
THO4163 Practicum in Ministry II 
THO4164 Practicum in Ministry III 
THO4165 Practicum in Ministry IV
THO4201 Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist
THO4205 Theology and Practice of Ministry
THO4206 Personal Integration Seminar

Optional Courses (45 units)

3 units from each category:

(a) Old Testament Sources
THO4100 How to Search for Wisdom?
THO4101 How Does God Respond to Injustice?

(b) New Testament Sources
THO4102 Freedom, Law, and Justice: Perspectives from Paul’s Writings
THO4103 What is Truth?

(c) Human Reality and Saving Mystery
THO4107 Cultivating Humanity: Creation, Rationality, and Responsibility
THO4108 Theological Thinking
THO4109 Sin and the Question of Evil

(d) Growing in Communion with Other Christians
THO2167 Catholic Commitment to Ecumenism
THO3175 Anglicans and Unity
THO3316 Ecclesiology and East-West Ecumenism

(e) Foundations for Dialogue with People of Other Faiths
MIS2108 Theory and Praxis of Interreligious Dialogue
THO2410 World Religions
THO4204 Christianity and Religious Pluralism

(f) Contextual Issues in Church and Theology
THO3172 Faith and Contemporary Culture
THO4124 Feminist Perspectives in Theology
THO4202 Global Christianity
THO4203 Christianity in a Secular Age

(g) Christian Leadership
ECS3323 Dialogue
THO4302 Leadership in Faith Formation
THO4303 Leadership in Christian Liturgy

6 units from each category:

(b) Divine Self-Disclosure: The Foundation of Christian Hope
THO3163 The Christian God
THO3164 Who is Jesus Christ?
THO4125 Christologies, Past and Present

(b) Gathered Together in Prayer and Praise
DCA3106 Sacramental Law
THO3170 Proclaiming the Word of God in the Liturgy
THO3176 Theology of Christian Marriage
THO4111 Sacraments of Healing: Reconciliation, Anointing, Funeral Rites

(c) Tradition Shaped in the Crucible of History
THO3123 Early Christianity
THO3124 Reforming the Church
THO3167 Early Christianity: The First Five Centuries (0-600 CE)
THO3250 Modern and Contemporary Church History (1648 – present)

(e) Spiritual Depth and Moral Integrity
THO3168 Ways of Christian Life and Prayer
THO4104 Selfhood and and Sexual Ethics
THO4105 Spiritual Life and Social Justice
THO4106 The Ethics of Medicine, Sickness and Health


DCA 3106 - Sacramental Law

Sacraments and their celebration; legislation and rites; pastoral attitudes in the interpretation and application of law; in the case of students preparing for the priesthood, special attention given to the sacraments of penance and marriage in view of preparation for the examination for the faculty to hear confessions.

ECS 3323 - Dialogue

Examination of dialogue as a means of exploring hidden beliefs and the exchange of ideas between participants. Practical exercises that explore the use of dialogue as a means of resolving and transforming conflicts. Training in the use of structured dialogue in professional activities. Specificities of dialogue among ethnic and religious groups.

Prerequisite: ECS2321.

MIS 2108 - Theory and Praxis of Interreligious Dialogue

Dialogue as co-constitution of humans thanks to religious faith. Prerequisites and challenges involved in interreligious dialogue: in-depth dimension of faith; necessity of self-criticism; hermeneutic of religious convictions. Orthodoxy and orthopraxis. Harmony, conflict and end of religions.

THO 2167 - Catholic Commitment to Ecumenism

A study of the basic principles of Catholic ecumenical engagement, the contributions to progress in unity through the study of selected inter-church dialogues. Implications for common prayer, common witness, and collaboration in ministry.

THO 2189 - Can we talk about God?

An exploration of the origins of Theology as a discipline, of significant moments in its historical development, of its presuppositions, methods, and the basic questions it seeks to answer.

THO 3123 - Early Christianity

Survey of the historical evolution of Christianity from its beginnings to the end of the fifth century, with attention to early Christological debates. An examination of church history in the Middle Ages with attention to key figures, movements, and developments in church theology and practice.

THO 3124 - Reforming the Church

A study of church history from 1400 to present, movements of Catholic and Protestant Reform, significant social and cultural developments and their influence on the evolution of theology and church structures.

THO 3160 - Introduction to the Old Testament

An introduction to the writings of the Old Testament through the study of the Pentateuch and Historical Books, with particular attention to their historical and cultural context, the role of the Yahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist and Priestly traditions, and Deuteronomist History.

THO 3161 - Introduction to the New Testament

An introduction to the study of the New Testament through a critical study of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke. Attention to the cultural and religious context of the New Testament and history of the formation of the Gospels; contemporary methods of biblical interpretation.

THO 3162 - Revelation and Christian Faith

A Christian theology of revelation: Creation as a locus for revelation; reflection on how God has spoken in the history of Israel; fulfillment of revelation in Jesus Christ; impact of divine self-disclosure in shaping early Christian communities; faith as a human response to divine self-disclosure; implications for understanding the inspiration of Sacred Scripture and the meaning of Tradition; Christian revelation and other world religions.

THO 3163 - The Christian God

The self-disclosure of the mystery of God throughout history. Theological reflection on the mystery of God the Trinity; the caring God; the question of the suffering and compassionate God; the human experience of God; speaking of God in the context of contemporary culture.

THO 3164 - Who is Jesus Christ?

Understanding Jesus of Nazareth, his message and works. Theological interpretations of his death, resurrection, exaltation, and the eschatological event of salvation. Jesus as Messiah and Saviour, son of Mary and Son of God.

THO 3165 - The Church and Salvation

The Church as institution and event. Its Christological origin and historical development. The Church as sign of salvation among men and women. Unity and diversity in the Church.

THO 3166 - The Good Life

An introduction to the field of ethics within theology. Historical development of ethical approaches within theology. Constitutive elements of moral existence. Moral existence and Christian faith.

THO 3167 - Early Christianity: The First Five Centuries (0 – 600 CE)

Exploring the relationship between history and theology, methodologies of historical research. Survey of the historical evolution of Christianity from its beginnings to the end of the fifth century, with attention to early Christological debates.

THO 3168 - Ways of Christian Life and Prayer

Exploring the nature of Christian spirituality, its definition, foundation, diverse expressions; major periods and movements of Christian spirituality; the importance of spirituality for theological reflection and personal integration.

THO 3169 - Liturgy and Experience

Exploring the dimensions of human experience in terms of the common prayer of the Christian community through a consideration of sacred time, space, symbols, language and music; Jewish origins of Christian worship; the history of the Western liturgy. The structure and dynamics of the eucharistic liturgy, the liturgy of the hours, the liturgical year, and inculturation.

THO 3170 - Proclaiming the Word of God in the Liturgy

The theology and practice of preaching in the context of the liturgy, with attention to the structure of the liturgical year and the Sunday lectionary of readings. Practical experience in the preparation and delivery of a homily.

THO 3171 - Introduction to Pastoral Practice I

Learning and growth in pastoral ministry through critical reflection in small groups and integration of academic knowledge, personal experience and the practice of ministry.

Prerequisite: 9 cr. Theology.

THO 3172 - Faith and Contemporary Culture

An exploration of the dialogical stance of the Christian churches, at once learning from the riches of contemporary culture and sent in service to the human community. Challenges to the enculturation of the gospel. Contextualization of theologies to reflect the lives of particular communities.

THO 3175 - Anglicans and Unity

A study of ecumenical issues in Anglican history, in the work of major theologians, in contemporary ecumenical dialogues; the pastoral implications of full communion and interim agreements with ecumenical partners.

THO 3176 - Theology of Christian Marriage

The human reality and covenantal commitment of marriage considered from psychological, moral, social, and sacramental perspectives. Historical and cultural developments and their impact on the understanding of Christian marriage; religious and secular understandings of marriage in the contemporary context; inter-church and inter-faith marriage.

THO 3250 - Modern and Contemporary Church History (1648 - Present)

A study of church history from the era of confessionalisation, through the period of European revolutions, to the modern ecumenical age. Significant social and cultural shifts, in particular the changing relations of church and state, their impact on theology and ecclesial life.

THO 3316 - Ecclesiology and East-West Ecumenism

Inculturation of the Gospel: the cultures of the Mediterranean basin and their Christianization. Growing diversity in the Church. Doctrinal, liturgical and politico-social issues involved in the estrangement of the East and West. Schisms and their healing. Unionistic activity. Modern ecumenism and East-West relations.

THO 4100 - How to Search for Wisdom?

Wisdom Texts and Intertestamental Literature.


THO 4101 - How Does God Respond to Injustice?

General introduction to the prophets through a comparative study, with attention to their cultural, ethical and religious contexts. The evolution of prophetic literature towards an apocalyptic form and the meaning of apocalyptic literature.


THO 4102 - Freedom, Law, and Justice: Perspectives from Paul's Writings

An overview of the life of Paul and his work. Exegesis of selected letters, with special attention to his understanding of law, justice, and freedom in Christ. 


THO 4103 - What is Truth?

A study of Johannine writings, their structure, theology, and cultural setting. Exegesis of selected passages in the Gospel of John and Letters of John, and the Apocalypse. Special attention given to the meaning of "truth" and "life."


THO 4104 - Selfhood and Sexual Ethics

The meaning of human sexuality in social, psychological and Christian perspective. Sexuality and personal growth. Discernment of moral values in sexual behaviour.

Prerequisite: THO 3166.

THO 4105 - Spiritual Life and Social Justice

The principles of Catholic social teaching and their significance for life in contemporary society and culture. The human being as personal and social being; respect for human rights; freedom in the socio-political context; society as the milieu of personal growth.


THO 4106 - The Ethics of Medicine, Sickness and Health

An exploration of contemporary ethical issues relating to health and the integrity of the human person: respect for human life; the right to physical integrity; genetics; abortion, euthanasia and the end of human life.

Prerequisite: THO 3166.

THO 4107 - Cultivating Humanity: Creation, Rationality, and Responsibility

Christian anthropology. Responsibility and freedom of the human person as co-creator. Sin and the problem of evil. Relationship between creation and redemption. Creation and a scientific world view. Ecology and theology.


THO 4108 - Theological Thinking

Divine grace and human freedom. Historical development of the theology of grace. Christian existence as faith, hope, and love. God’s presence in the world and in the human person. Contemporary challenges.


THO 4109 - Sin and the Question of Evil

Understanding the meaning of sin: personal, social, and original. Conversion, finitude, culpability. The anthropological and Christian significance of suffering, death, and evil.

Prerequisite: THO 3162.

THO 4111 - Sacraments of Healing: Reconciliation, Anointing, Funeral Rites

The (Roman Catholic) Sacraments of Healing: Reconciliation/Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Viaticum. Funeral rites and pastoral concerns.

Prerequisite: THO 3169.

THO 4124 - Feminist Perspectives in Theology

An introduction to feminist perspectives and methods of interpretation and their application to the study of the Christian tradition. The contributions of major feminist theologians; issues in contemporary debate.

Prerequisite: THO 3166.

THO 4125 - Christologies, Past and Present

Exploring the systematic understanding of the incarnation of God in Jesus the Christ, including the unity and diversity of Christologies in the New Testament; the development of the Christological dogmas; history of theological reflection on Jesus; modern Christologies; Christ and contemporary culture.


Interaction between theology and psychology with reference to pastoral ministry, the experience of the believer, the development of faith and of religious attitudes. The pastoral implications of psychological theories of the individual and his/her social relations: impact on cognitive processes, emotion, behaviour, competence, values. Psychological perspectives on the pastoral minister's practice, role and identity.

THO 4161 - Sociological Perspectives on Christian Community

Interaction between theology and sociology with reference to pastoral ministry. A study of the pastoral implications of socio-historical structures, and of social and cultural change. Analysis of how the social milieu forms the way people think, feel and act, and the reflection on the importance of this formation for values and beliefs. Sociological perspectives on Christian communities' practice, role and identity.

THO 4162 - Practicum in Ministry I

Students are engaged in the practice of ministry while working under supervision in a local church or other ministry setting (a minimum of 8 hours per week). The student is introduced to theological research and reflection in pastoral practice & leadership enabling them to become a reflective practitioner of Christian ministry. The student will become familiar with basic resources for intentional practice: creation of a pastoral profile, learning contracts, disciplined individual and group reflection, supervisory relationships, introduction to professional ethics, race relations, Indigenous relations and interpersonal skills. Graded S/NS.

THO 4163 - Practicum in Ministry II

This practicum continues the experience gained in THO4162.

Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: THO 4162.

THO 4164 - Practicum in Ministry III

This practicum continues the experience gained in THO4163.

Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: THO4163.

THO 4165 - Practicum in Ministry IV

This practicum continues the experience gained in THO4164.

Graded S/NS.

Prerequisite: THO4164.

THO 4201 - Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist

Baptism as the foundation of Christian identity. The Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults and its history. Infant baptism. Issues in Confirmation. Theology and contemporary questions in the celebration of the liturgy of the Eucharist.

Prerequisite: THO 3169.

THO 4202 - Global Christianity

An exploration of the emergence in the twentieth century of Christianity as a worldwide faith. The changing face of Christianity, with attention to the changing demographics diverse "families" of churches and the developments in differing geographic regions.

THO 4203 - Christianity in a Secular Age

Christian faith in a world of religious pluralism; church and state; freedom of religion; differing approaches to the secularity and secularism. Dialogue between faith and science, faith and atheism.

THO 4204 - Christianity and Religious Pluralism

Exploring theological approaches to the fact of religious pluralism. Historical perspectives on the question of salvation outside the church; Catholic teaching and commitment to dialogue with other faiths; exclusivist, inclusivist and pluralist approaches.

THO 4205 - Theology and Practice of Ministry

An exploration of the biblical foundation, historical evolution and modern developments in the ordering of ministries in the church, with attention to forms and practice of ordained and lay ecclesial ministries, and the vocation of the laity in the world.

THO 4206 - Personal Integration Seminar

Theological reflection on the experience of ministry and service in a supervised setting (5 hours per week). Development of goals for continuous learning and integration. Personal identity as a minister, including the capacities for shared leadership, pastoral effectiveness according to context.

Prerequisite: IPA4482.

THO 4302 - Leadership in Faith Formation

Theological reflection on the practice and principles of catechesis. The development and growth of faith in current pastoral contexts. Methodologies, learning styles, growth processes and approaches tailored in view of various groups and settings.

THO 4303 - Leadership in Christian Liturgy

Theological reflection on the liturgical experience and expression of Christian communities. Principles, dynamics, and actualization of liturgical celebration, including sacraments, paraliturgies and prayer services. Roles and ministries in liturgical celebrations.


Contact Us

Office of Admissions, Registrar and Student Services
Room 148
Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, ON
K1S 1C4

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Telephone: 613-236-1393
Fax: 613-782-3014

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1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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Information for future students

Saint Paul University

223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4


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