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Archive 2014 - 2015 > Graduate studies > Theology


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  • Program requirements

Requirements for the PhD program:

  • two regular courses (three credits each) in the area of concentration or to be chosen in consultation with the director of Graduate Studies;
  • directed reading course (3 credits);
  • comprehensive exam;
  • the seminar (3 credits);
  • submission and defence of a thesis.

Research Director

The research director is appointed by the Faculty of Theology before the end of the second session upon consultation with the student.

Comprehensive Examination

  • The comprehensive examination is intended to verify that candidates have developed a theological culture enabling them to acquire a knowledge and critical judgment in reference to the major questions, the most significant debates and the principal authors, past and present, in their concentration and, more particularly, in the area of their own research.
  • THO 9998 is a credited activity which is evaluated upon completion of both a written exam and an oral presentation.
  • This examination should take place sometime between the beginning of the third session and the end of the fourth session. It takes place before the presentation of the thesis project.

Refer to the graduate studies procedures manual of the Faculty of Theology for further details on the comprehensive examinations.

Thesis Project Presentation

The thesis topic must be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for registration after the successful completion of the comprehensive examination.

After the comprehensive examination, upon completion of all course and seminar requirements, and with the approval of the research director, the candidates present their thesis project to professors and graduate students. At this meeting, the candidates present the original hypothesis they have formulated and explain how their project attempts to prove it. The presentation is not perceived as an examination but as an exchange between the participants which may elicit suggestions for improving the project.


The candidate must write, submit and successfully defend a thesis of at least 200 pages. The thesis must be a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge, embody the results of original research and analysis and be of such quality as to be worthy of publication.

At least six copies of the thesis and of a summary not exceeding 350 words must be submitted to the Faculty of Theology.

The thesis is submitted to an examining board of four to seven examiners, at least one of these being chosen outside the University. If the thesis is accepted by this board, the candidate will be called to defend it. The University community and the general public are invited to attend the defence.

Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is C+. Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 credits), the thesis proposal, or whose research progress is deemed unsatisfactory are required to withdraw.


All students must complete a minimum of six sessions of full-time registration at the beginning of the program.

Duration of the Program

Students are expected to complete all requirements within four years. The maximum time permitted is six years from the date of initial registration in the program.

Thesis Advisory Committee

During the first session of the program, a thesis advisory committee (TAC) is formed for the candidate. The Committee’s membership will be determined by the specific interests of the candidate. It will be composed of the supervisor and 2-3 additional professors. At least one member of the thesis committee, in addition to the supervisor, must be from the Faculty of Theology of Saint Paul University. The TAC is responsible for guiding the student throughout the program, including course selection, the comprehensive examination, thesis proposal, and thesis defense.

A meeting between the student and the Thesis Advisory Committee will take place at least once per session. The thesis examining board may include members who are not part of the TAC.