During the nineteenth century, several theological colleges in Montreal became affiliated with McGill University. In 1912, they formed a joint board for the academic study of Theology, leaving each denominational college to provide its own professional training for Christian ministry. This relationship between the colleges and the University led naturally to the creation, in 1948 of a Faculty of Divinity which assumed the academic functions of the Joint Board. In keeping with this goal the School offers the Bachelor of Theology and several graduate degree programs.
The original Faculty of Divinity taught theological courses for ordinands and also engaged in teaching undergraduates in other faculties a selection of courses of more general interest, such as philosophy and psychology of religion, and comparative religion. This selection grew over the years into the present BA Honours, Major and Minor programs in Religious Studies within the Faculty of Arts. In 1970 the name of the Faculty was changed to the Faculty of Religious Studies in order to reflect the new emphasis on the the academic study of religion. In May 2016, the Faculty of Religious Studies was repositioned as the School of Religious Studies in the Faculty of Arts. The School will continue to effect all of the teaching, degree, and research programs in religion and theology that have characterized its long and successful history at McGill. The School will continue its constitutive relation with the Montreal School of Theology and its close collaborations with cognate disciplines and units within the Faculty of Arts.
We are fortunate to be able to have a book-length treatment of the history of the Faculty, now School of Religious Studies, by H. Keith Markell. This work, entitled The Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, 1948-78, considers the founding, the initial constitution, and the early decades of the growth and development of the unit.