The Faculty of Religious Studies has enjoyed a long history at McGill providing a wide range of programs, including BA programs offered in cooperation with the Faculty of Arts, theological programs, and several specialized graduate degree programs.
The Faculty’s expertise in world religions engages many methods and disciplines, combining the rigorous and historically focused study of religious traditions and contexts with approaches that explore contemporary expressions of religions. For more on the Faculty’s distinctive, holistic approach to the study of religion, please visit About Us.
The Faculty is the home to the Centre for Research on Religion (CREOR) and McGill’s Initiative in Globalization and the World’s Religions, and is affiliated with the Montreal Diocesan Theological College of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Presbyterian College Montreal, and the United Theological College of the United Church of Canada. Each of these colleges is located close to campus.
The Faculty of Religious Studies offers or contributes to six degrees—BA, Bachelor of Theology, MDiv, STM, MA and PhD—and offers both graduate and undergraduate courses of study on most of the world's major religions.
Undergraduate programs include BA specializations with Major Concentrations in World Religions, Scriptures and Interpretation, Philosophy and Western Religions as well as Honours in Religious Studies, Joint Honours, Minor Concentration in World Religions, Minor Concentration in Scriptural Languages.
Graduate programs are available specializing in Buddhism, Church History, Bioethics and Comparative Religion, Hinduism, New Testament, Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible, Philosophy of Religion, and Theology. Graduate degree programs include STM, MA with thesis, MA without thesis, MA (Bioethics) and PhD.
The Faculty’s expertise in world religions engages many methods and disciplines, combining the rigorous and historically focused study of religious traditions and contexts with approaches that explore contemporary expressions of religions. We incorporate perspectives from history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, politics and literature, among others. We bring together the study of classical languages and texts with field research, archaeology, and ethnography in order to examine the rich diversity of religious traditions. We ask foundational questions of meaning and method such as “What is religion?” and “How are religious texts and practices to be interpreted?”
The Faculty’s holistic approach is marked by a deep appreciation for the immense richness of religious scholarship, the critical significance of religion in global society, and the diversity of contemporary religious expression worldwide. We are at the forefront of scholarship and critical debates on a wide range of subjects pertaining to the role of faith in public and private life, including interactions among the world’s religions.
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 Faculty of Religious Studies has been accredited by the ATS since 1952. A comprehensive site visit took place in March 2012; on June 5, 2012 the Board of Commisioners voted to extend the term of accreditation through Fall 2012. The Board of Commissioners met in February 2013 and approved the accreditation of McGill University Faculty of Religious Studies until the Spring 2019.
The Faculty of Religious Studies (FRS) has been accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) since 1952. The following FRS degrees are accredited by ATS: MA, PhD, STM. These advanced research degrees are governed and monitored by the office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The educational effectiveness of our graduate research programs is attested by the presence of McGill graduates on the faculties of theological seminaries and religion departments in Canada, the United States and around the world, as well as in positions of leadership in religious communities and public life.
The educational effectiveness of all the Faculty’s programmes is enhanced by a long tradition of close cooperation with McGill University’s Teaching and Learning Services, which provides research-based support to all aspects of teaching, learning, curriculum development and evaluation.
The Bachelor of Theology (BTh) programme offered by the FRS 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 BTh students at McGill (38% of graduates 2012-14) are taking a 120-credit or 90-credit programme as a first, undergraduate, degree permitting an exceptional concentration on academic study of Christianity. Overall, BTh graduates completed their degree on average within 2.8 years.
For students with a prior Bachelor’s degree, however, the 60-credit (two-year) BTh can also function as the first 60 credits (or two years) of the ATS-accredited MDiv programme offered by the McGill-affiliated theological colleges of the Montreal School of Theology (MST). ATS accreditation of the MST and its MDiv degree is thus “by virtue of affiliation with the McGill University Faculty of Religious Studies.” (Bulletin 51 PART 2 Membership List 02/01/2015)
Because of this relationship between the McGill BTh and the MST MDiv, one key measure of educational effectiveness of the BTh programme is that graduates of the 60-credit, post-graduate BTh show the expected skills and attitudes required for success in the intensively pastoral third, In-Ministry Year of the MST MDiv programme.
Thus, between 2010 and 2014, out of 52 MST MDiv graduates, 25 had also graduated with the McGill BTh degree from the Faculty of Religious Studies. A further 10 of the 52 MST MDiv graduates had taken at least some required courses in the McGill BTh programme before proceeding to the MDiv degree. The effectiveness of the McGill BTh programme is therefore heavily and intentionally represented in the overall educational effectiveness of the MST MDiv –and in the data underlying the MST Statement of Educational Effectiveness.