Master of Divinity

Download the program description (PDF)

  • General information
  • Teaching staff
  • Admission
  • Program requirements
  • Courses
  • Contact us




Overview of the program

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) program integrates theology and practice to equip you for leadership and service in the church and the community. The program combines grounding in scripture and tradition with open engagement with pressing contemporary challenges, including practicing respectful dialogue with Indigenous communities, responding to a climate in crisis, reconciling broken human relationships, and social justice.

  • Ecumenical - While Saint Paul University is rooted in Catholic tradition, students from all backgrounds are welcome to explore the breadth of the Christian tradition and prepare for ministry in a diversity of settings. Maintaining the long history of strong collaboration with the Anglican and Eastern Christian communities is an important focus of the program.

  • Engaged - Putting theology into practice and doing theology rooted in practice is the focus of the degree. Two years of supported practicum placements are integrated into the program.

  • Interdisciplinary - The study of theology draws on history, philosophy, ethics, and the social sciences, as well as other disciplines. Other faculties and schools at Saint Paul University provide opportunities for additional learning in counselling, transformative leadership, conflict studies, and more.

  • Bilingual - While the program is not fully available in French, students may take several courses in French and all written assignments may be done in either French or English.

This is a second entry undergraduate, professional degree in theology that prepares students for ministry.

Read through some of our testimonials to see what our students thought of their studies!






Admission details

  • Registration: full-time or part-time
  • Program length: 6 terms (3 years, full-time)
  • Program delivery: This program is offered on campus and online.

For information about admission deadlines, please click here.


Students registered in this program may be eligible for a number of scholarships. For more information, please click here.


This degree is conferred jointly by the Senates of Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa.


Academic regulations.

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 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;

  • 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 (30 units)

THO2189 Can We Talk About God? An Introduction to Theology
THO2350 Introduction to the History of Christianity
THO3160 Introduction to the Old Testament
THO3161 Introduction to the New Testament
THO3166 The Good Life: An Introduction to Christian Ethics
THO3169 Liturgy and Experience: An Introduction to Christian Worship
THO3171 Introduction to Ministry
THO4162 Practicum in Ministry I
THO4163 Practicum in Ministry II
THO4164 Practicum in Ministry III
THO4165 Practicum in Ministry IV
THO4206 Ministry Integration Project

Optional Courses (33 units)

3 units from each category:

(a) Old Testament
THO4100 How to Search for Wisdom: The Poetic Books of the Bible
THO4101 How Does God Respond to Injustice? Understanding the Prophets
Or another course in Old Testament

(b) New Testament
THO3164 Jesus in the New Testament
THO4102 Freedom, Law, and Justice: Paul’s Letters
THO4103 What is Truth? The Gospel of John
Or another course in New Testament

(c) Systematic Theology
THO3162 Revelation and Christian Faith
THO3163 The Christian God
THO3165 The Church and Salvation
THO4107 Creation and Responsibility: Theological Anthropology
THO4108 Theological Thinking
THO4109 Sin and the Question of Evil
THO4125 Christology
Or another course in systematic theology

(d) Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenical Relations
THO2167 Toward Christian Unity
THO2410 World Religions
THO4204 Christianity and Religious Plurality
Or another course in interreligious dialogue or ecumenical relations

(e) Contextual Theology
THO3172 Faith and Contemporary Culture
THO4124 Feminist Perspectives in Theology
THO4203 Christianity in a Secular Age
Or another course in contextual theology

(f) Christian History
THO3123 Early Christianity
THO3124 Reforming the Church
THO4202 World Christianity
Or another course in Christian history

(g) Additional Christian Ethics
THO3177 Faith, Ethics and the Anthropocene
THO4104 Selfhood and Sexual Ethics
THO4105 Spiritual Life and Social Justice
THO4106 The Ethics of Medicine, Sickness and Health
THO4131 Toward a Moral Economy
Or another course in Christian ethics

(h) Social Science Intersection
THO4161 Sociological Perspectives on Christian Community
Or another course in social science intersection

(j) Indigenous Christian Relations
THO4132 The Church and Indigenous Peoples
Or another course in Indigenous Christian relations


6 units in Ministry:

THO3168 Christan Prayer and Spiritual Life
THO3170 Proclaiming the Word of God in the Liturgy: Homiletics 
THO3318 Spiritual Life in the Eastern Churches
THO4110 The Eucharist
THO4160 Introduction to Pastoral Care
THO4201 Sacramental Theology
THO4205 Theologies of Ordained and Lay Ministry
THO4302 Leadership in Faith Formation
THO4303 Leadership in Christian Liturgy
Or other courses in Christian ministry

With permission from the Master of Divinity program director, students have the option of enrolling in courses inother Faculties at Saint Paul University, at the University of Ottawa, or at other educational institutions to fulfill any course requirement in the program.

Elective Courses (27 units)

Students may choose elective courses from among those offered within the basic degree programs in theology. With the approval of the program director, they may also choose from among course offerings in Human Sciences and Philosophy in order to pursue a theological theme from an interdisciplinary perspective. 

THO 2167 - Toward Christian Unity

A study of the basic principles of 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 Introduction to Theology

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 2350 - Introduction to the History of Christianity

Survey of the history of Christianity from its Jewish and Greco-Roman origins to its present-day form as a culturally diverse world religion. Overview of key historical turning points in the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. Overview of Christian traditions: Eastern and Western, Roman Catholic and Protestant. Understanding the historical and social context of the evolution of Christian traditions and communities in relationship with different cultures and religions. Particular attention to the role of the churches in the colonization of Canada and relationship with Indigenous peoples.

THO 2410 - World Religions

Introduction to the world religions with an emphasis on Christian faith in interaction with other living faiths.

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

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 3164 - Jesus in the New Testament

Understanding Jesus of Nazareth, his identity, message and mission. Jesus the Messiah, Saviour, Lord, High Priest, son of Mary and Son of God. Theological interpretations of his death, resurrection and exaltation.

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 Christian Ethics

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 3169 - Liturgy and Experience: An Introduction to Christian Worship

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: Homiletics

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 Ministry

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

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 3177 - Faith, Ethics, and the Anthropocene

Brief overview of global heating, bio-diversity and species population losses and other threats to human and planetary well-being now being incurred as a direct result of human activity; the role of an "expanding theology" and ethics in regard to the world and universe as understood by science in the past several centuries; forms of understanding and vocabulary necessary to address major planetary issues of the 21st century; avenues for transcending inadequate smaller-scale paradigms; thinking theologically and ethically about human responsibility in the Anthropocene and its relation to communication of the Gospel in 21st century.

THO 3318 - Spiritual Life in the Eastern Churches

The sacramental foundations. Major trends. Contemplation and praxis. Forms of holiness.

THO 4100 - How to Search for Wisdom: The Poetic Books of the Bible

Wisdom Texts and Intertestamental Literature.


THO 4101 - How does God Respond to Injustice? Understanding the Prophets

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: Paul’s Letters

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? The Gospel of John

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 - Creation and Responsibility: Theological Anthropology

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

Deciphering the premises in questions about evil, suffering, and God. The history and difficulties entailed in classifying, differentiating, and conceptualizing evil. Theodicy as a response to the question of evil with problems of intelligibility, current expressions, strengths and limitations. The crucifixion of Jesus as theodicy. Continuing reference is made throughout the course to questions of meaning arising from suffering (viewed as the “ache” of evil) and a range of Christian ethical responses.

THO 4110 - The Eucharist

The origins of the eucharist and the meaning of a sacrament. History and theology of the eucharist from New Testament times through the Middle Ages to today. The eucharist as sacrifice and as memorial of the paschal mystery. Eucharist and experience of God.

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 - Christology

Exploring the systematic understanding of the person of Christ in two natures; the development of Christological dogmas in the early Church; history of christological teachings; modern Christologies; Christ and contemporary culture.

THO 4131 - Toward a Moral Economy

Disputed questions on ethics in economic life. Dialogue of faith and economic history. Dynamics and current challenges of labor, immigration and globalism from perspective of Catholic social thought.

THO 4132 - The Church and Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous and non-Indigenous theological and pastoral voices. History of and process of reconciliation, theological and pastoral questions related to Indigenous Peoples, and current debates. The Indigenous resurgence and its implications for the churches and theology.

THO 4160 - Introduction to Pastoral Care

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 4201 - Sacramental Theology

Sacramental worldview. Historical development, theological interpretation, and communal practice of the sacraments. Baptism, confirmation, eucharist, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, marriage, and holy orders. Sacraments in the life of the church. Implications of the sacraments for the spiritual life and social justice.

THO 4202 - World Christianity

A historical exploration of the emergence of Christianity as a worldwide faith with an emphasis on the modern period. 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 Plurality

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 - Theologies of Ordained and Lay 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 - Ministry Integration Project

Theological reflection integrating learning from courses and practicum placements through a community-based project, creative project, or paper.

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 practices of planning and leading liturgical celebrations.  

Contact Us

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

Notice to gmail address holders, be sure to check your junk mailbox regularly, as due to your server's firewalls our email response to your application may end up there.

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

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Please leave your documents in the mailbox in front of room 148 when our offices are closed.

Information for future students

Saint Paul University

223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4


Toll free



Follow us