Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.)

General Information

Program Description

The Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program offered by the School of Religious Studies is the most intensely theological education available as a first undergraduate degree in a publicly-funded University in North America. A steadily growing proportion of B.Th. students at McGill (38% of graduates 2012–2014) are taking a 120-credit or 90-credit program as a first, undergraduate, degree permitting an exceptional concentration on academic study of Christianity. Overall, B.Th. graduates completed their degree on average within 2.8 years.

For students with a prior Bachelor’s degree, however, the 60-credit (two-year) B.Th. can also function as the first 60 credits (or two years) of the ATS-accredited M.Div. program offered by the McGill-affiliated theological colleges of the Montreal School of Theology (MST). ATS accreditation of the MST and its M.Div. degree is thus “by virtue of affiliation with the McGill University School of Religious Studies.” (Bulletin 51 PART 2 Membership List 02/01/2015).

Because of this relationship between the McGill B.Th. and the MST M.Div., one key measure of educational effectiveness of the B.Th. program is that graduates of the 60-credit, post-graduate B.Th. show the expected skills and attitudes required for success in the intensively pastoral third, In-Ministry Year of the MST M.Div. program.

Thus, between 2010 and 2014, out of 52 MST M.Div. graduates, 25 had also graduated with the McGill B.Th. degree from the School of Religious Studies. A further 10 of the 52 MST M.Div. graduates had taken at least some required courses in the McGill B.Th. program before proceeding to the M.Div. degree. The effectiveness of the McGill B.Th. program is therefore heavily and intentionally represented in the overall educational effectiveness of the MST M.Div. and in the data underlying the MST Statement of Educational Effectiveness.

The main goals of the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program are:

to offer instruction in the academic disciplines of theology within a university setting, and
to contribute to the preparation for ministry in the contemporary world by giving special attention to the Canadian and North American contexts, the Quebec context, and religious pluralism.

The Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) may be taken as a first or second baccalaureate degree.

As a first degree (90 or 120 credits) it offers a more intensive study of Christianity than is available within the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs, while also permitting the student to combine this specialization with other academic or professional interests, whether in Religious Studies or in other faculties and schools of the university.

As a second bachelor’s degree (60 credits) the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program is designed primarily for those who intend to qualify for the ordained ministry in a Christian denomination, although here too some students pursue the degree out of an interest in the academic study of theology for its own sake, or with a view to combining these studies with proficiency gained in other disciplines. The 60-credit program forms the core of the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) degree.

Those studying for the ordained ministry usually pursue the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) as part of a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) offered by one of the three Theological Colleges affiliated with McGill University in the Montreal School of Theology: Montreal Diocesan Theological College (Anglican Church of Canada), the Presbyterian College (Presbyterian Church in Canada), and United Theological College (United Church of Canada).

ATS Accreditation

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 School of Religious Studies has been accredited by the ATS since 1952. 

The Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program offered by McGill University is applicable to the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program offered by the Theological Colleges. The M.Div. is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada (ATS).The Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) programme offered by the School of Religious Studies 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 B.Th. students at McGill (38% of graduates 2012–2014) are taking a 120-credit or 90-credit programme as a first, undergraduate, degree permitting an exceptional concentration on academic study of Christianity. Overall, B.Th. graduates completed their degree on average within 2.8 years.

 

Program-Specific Information

Admission Requirements

The B.Th. program has three points of entry:

  1. To enter the 120-credit degree program from outside Quebec, the applicant must hold a high school diploma, with a minimum average of 75%, or the equivalent. A maximum of 60 credits from another institution of higher learning can be considered for transfer into the 120-credit program.
  2. To enter the 90-credit first-degree program, the applicant is expected to have completed the Diploma of Collegial Studies (DCS) of a Quebec CEGEP with a minimum average Cote R of 24, or the equivalent elsewhere. A maximum of 30 credits from another institution of higher learning can be considered for transfer into this program.
  3. To enter the 60-credit program, the applicant must have completed a B.A. or other Bachelor’s degree with a minimum CGPA of 2.7 (B-). No credits can be transferred from another institution of higher learning into the 60-credit program.

Any McGill student in good standing, with a minimum of 30 credits, may apply for transfer from their current degree program into the B.Th. program. B.Th. students entering the 120- or 90-credit programs are free to pursue Minors in other departments, schools, or faculties, in consultation with their B.Th. adviser(s).

The B.Th. program extends over three academic years of full time studies for those admitted with a Diploma of Collegial Studies and over two academic years for those admitted with a Bachelor's degree. For all other students it requires four years. The normal load consists of five 3-credits courses (15 credits) each term.

Registration

All students must register on Minerva. Minerva provides web access to registration, class schedules, course descriptions, etc.

  • Students can consult the When to register page for course registration deadlines. After this period a late registration fee will be applied.
  • All B.Th. students must receive approval from the B.Th. program director before registering for courses.
  • Students must also receive permission from the program director to with draw from courses.

Course Selection

Candidates for the ministry from the three Theological Colleges associated with the School must select their courses in consultation with their College advisor. The course selection form needs to be signed also by the Chair of the B.Th. Committee.

Those seeking the degree and not sponsored by one of the three colleges associated with the Faculty will need to clear their course selections with the Chair of the B.Th. Committee.

In all cases this consultation should take place before registration.

Declaring a Minor Concentration

A B.Th. student who wishes to declare a Minor Concentration should first ask an advisor in the Department offering the intended Minor to e-mail the Department’s consent to the B.Th. Chair. The B.Th. Chair will make sure that it is feasible to complete the Minor within the student’s credit limit.

Once a student has made the request and has been approved for the program the B.Th. Chair or an administrator from School of Religious Studies will request the Records Unit at Enrolment Services, Service Point, to add the Minor Concentration manually to the students’ records.

Academic Standing and Course Loads

Satisfactory Standing: Students enter the university in satisfactory standing and remain in this standing unless their GPA (grade point average) or CGPA (cumulative grade point average) for any year drops below 2.00. The normal course load in any academic session is five courses per term (15 credits per term). A student with a high GPA (at least 3.00) may take more than the normal five courses per term.

Probationary Standing: A student is placed in probationary standing if either the CGPA or the term GPA falls between 1.50 and 1.99. (For part-time students, the GPA is calculated on the basis of the last 9 credits.) Students in probationary standing may take a minimum of 6 credits and a maxi¬mum of 12 credits per term.

A student in probationary standing returns to satisfactory standing by completing 12 additional credits with a GPA of at least 2.50, or by completing 12 credits with a GPA and a CGPA of 2.00 or greater.

A student in probationary standing who fails to achieve the levels of performance specified above will be placed in unsatisfactory standing, with the exception of those who obtain a GPA of 1.50-1.99 while continuing to have a CGPA of 2.00 or greater.

Unsatisfactory Standing: A GPA of less than 1.50 places a student in unsatisfactory standing.

A student in unsatisfactory standing will have to withdraw or seek re-admission as a probationary student with special permission from the B.Th. Committee and the Dean. A student who is readmitted on probationary standing may have additional restrictions or conditions to meet, over and above those required of students referred to above under "Probationary Standing." A student in unsatisfactory standing for the second time must withdraw permanently.

Incomplete Standing: A student whose record in any year shows a mark of K, K*, L, L*, or && will have no GPA or CGPA calculated for that year, and the record will show "Standing Incomplete." After completing the appropriate course requirements the GPA and CGPA will be calculated and the student's standing determined as described above.

A student whose standing is still "incomplete" at the time of registration for the next academic year must obtain a Letter of Permission to Register from the Chair of the B.Th. Committee.

Graduation Requirements 

  1. The B.Th. is either a 120-credit program (for those admitted from outside Quebec and without a prior Bachelor's degree), a 90-credit program (for those who apply on the basis of a Quebec DCS or equivalent) or a 60-credit program (for those who apply on the basis of a recognized Bachelor's degree.
  2. Qualification for the degree shall include satisfactory standing (a grade of C or better) in all required courses and the complementary courses specified in year three, and the accumulation of sufficient acceptable credits to make a total of either 60 or 90-credits. It should be noted that students who take the B.Th. program as part of the M.Div. program need to maintain a minimum CGPA of 2.5 to be eligible for the M.Div. degree.
  3. Normally the program credits must be earned within five years from the date of entrance.

Use this PDF icon Audit Sheet 2018 to track your progress.

Academic Achievement

Several designations are used to acknowledge the superior academic achievement of in-course and graduating students. These designations are awarded at the discretion of Faculty:

  1. Distinction: to designate graduating students, not in Honours, who have completed a minimum of 60 credits at McGill and achieved a CGPA of 3.30-3.49.
  2. Great Distinction: to designate graduating students, not in Honours, who have completed a minimum of 60 credits at McGill and achieved a CGPA of 3.50 or better.
  3. Honours: to designate graduating students who have completed a minimum of 60 credits at McGill and have fulfilled the honours course requirements with a CGPA of 3.20 or 3.50 for First Class Honours.
  4. Dean's Honour List: to designate graduating students with a CGPA of 3.50 or better. This designation applies in addition to those described in b) and c) above, except that it may not normally be awarded to more than 10% of the graduating class.
  5. Dean's Honour List: to designate in-course students who have completed a minimum of 27 credits during regular session (14 credits for those registered for one term) and have attained a GPA placing them in the top 5-10% of their class.

Evaluation

Competence in a course may be determined by examinations and/or essays, or by other means chosen by the instructor and approved by the Dean.

Withdrawal Procedures

In case of withdrawal from the University prior to the published course withdrawal deadline, the student must withdraw from all courses via Minerva. In addition students must contact the Chair of the B.Th. Committee and complete the necessary withdrawal form.

Degree requirements

  1. The Bachelor of Theology is either (i) a 120-credit program (for those admitted from outside Quebec and without a prior Bachelor's degree), or (ii) a 90-credit program (for those who apply on the basis of a Quebec DCS or equivalent) or (iii) a 60-credit program (for those who apply on the basis of a recognized Bachelor's degree.
  2. Students must achieve satisfactory academic standing (a grade of C or better) in all required courses and the complementary courses specified in year three, and accumulate sufficient acceptable credits to make a total of either 60 or 90-credits, in order to receive their degree. It should be noted that students who take the B.Th. program as part of the Master of Divinity program need to maintain a minimum CGPA of 2.5 to be eligible for the M.Div. degree.
  3. Normally the program credits must be earned within five years from the date of entrance.

B.Th. Honours

Students who have achieved a CGPA of 3.30 at the end of B.Th. 2 year may apply to the Bachelor of Theology Committee for permission to enter the Honours program. They will be required to complete RELG 494 and RELG 495 in B.Th. 3 with a grade of B or better, to complete the degree with Honours.

Course requirements

Unless otherwise mandated by the Bachelor of Theology Committee, courses are as follows:

First Year (U0) courses (30 credits)

Students entering the Bachelor of Theology as a first degree program take 90 or 120 credits, beginning with the following courses:

Required courses (6 credits)

RELG 203 Bible and Western Culture 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 207 Intro to Study of Religions 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Complementary courses (24 credits)

3 credits from:

PHIL 200 Intro to Philosophy 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


PHIL 201 Intro to Philosophy 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

3 credits in History and Classical Studies at the 200 or 300 level
3 credits in Catholic Studies, Jewish Studies, or Islamic Studies at the 200 or 300 level
0-6 credits in languages (ancient or modern) at the100 level (if necessary)
6 credits in literature (other than biblical), Art History, or Music at the 200 or 300 level.

Note: All courses at the 100 and 300 level require Faculty approval.

3-9 credits to be determined in consultation with the B.Th. program adviser.

 

Year 1 (U1) courses (30 credits)

Required courses (12 credits)

Students admitted to U1 on the basis of a Quebec Diploma of Collegial Studies (DEC) will normally take the following required courses in their first year.

By permission of the B.Th. Committee, students may substitute courses for any of the required courses if they have already taken them or similar courses for credit elsewhere.

RELG 204 Judaism, Christianity&Islam 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 210 Jesus of Nazareth 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 321 Western Intellectual Tradition 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 334 Christian Thought and Culture 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Complementary courses (18 credits)

3 credits selected from the following list (or another approved course in ethics):

PHIL 230 Intro to Moral Philosophy 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


PHIL 240 Political Philosophy 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 371 Ethics of Violence/Non-Violenc 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 376 Religious Ethics 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

3 credits selected from the following list (or 3 credits in Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, or Philosophy and Western Religions):

RELG 331 Religion and Globalization 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 375 Religion, Politics and Society 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

12 credits to be determined in consultation with the B.Th. program adviser.

 

Year 2 (U2) courses (30 credits)

Required courses (24 credits)

Students entering the B.Th. as a second degree program would normally take 60 credits and begin with Year 2 (U2) courses. These students should verify with their program adviser regarding course substitutions if they have completed similar courses elsewhere.

RELG 302 Literature of Ancient Israel 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 303 Lit of Ancient Israel 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 311 New Testament Studies 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 312 New Testament Studies 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 322 The Church in History 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 323 The Church in History 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 333 Princip of Christian Theol 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 341 Intro:Philosophy of Religion 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Complementary courses (6 credits)

6 credits to be chosen from among the 300- or 400-level courses offered in the Bachelor of Theology or Bachelor of Arts Religious Studies programs in consultation with the Bachelor of Theology program adviser, of which 6 credits may be chosen from the following.

RELG 280D1 Elementary New Testament Greek 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 280D2 Elementary New Testament Greek 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 

Year 3 (U3) courses (30 credits)

Required courses (12 credits)

RELG 420 Canadian Church History 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

*
RELG 434 Princip of Christian Theol 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 470 Theological Ethics 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 479 Christianity in GlobalPerspect 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

* RELG 420 may be replaced with another 3-credit course if recommended by the program adviser.

Complementary courses (18 credits)

3-credit in a religious tradition* other than Christianity, such as the courses listed below.

ISLA 380 Islamic Philosophy & Theology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 252 Hinduism & Buddhism 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 253 Religions of East Asia 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 352 Japanese Relig: Hist & Thought 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 354 Chinese Religions 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

*Students who have previously taken a university-level course in world religions may replace this with 3 credits of complementary course.

Old Testament
3 credits from:

RELG 407 The Writings 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 408 The Prophets 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

New Testament
3 credits from:

RELG 411 New Testament Exegesis 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 482 Exegesis of Greek New Testamnt 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Christian Theology
3 credits from:

RELG 330 Reformed Theology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 336 Contemp Theological Issues 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 399 Christian Spirituality 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


RELG 423 Reformation Thought 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

6 credits, to be chosen from among the 300 or 400 level courses offered in the Bachelor of Theology or Bachelor of Arts Religious Studies programs.


 

Exceptions

  • By permission of the Bachelor of Theology Committee, students may substitute a course for any other required course if they have already taken said course or similar elsewhere (for credit).
  • Permission is needed from the Bachelor of Theology Committee for courses selected from the curriculum of other departments of the University.
  • By permission of the Dean and the Chair of the Bachelor of Theology Committee, students may also enroll for courses at any university in the Province of Quebec. See Inter-University Transfer Agreement in the General Calendar for details.
  • Professional and vocational courses (e.g., leading to ordination) are available through the In-Ministry Year (Master of Divinity (M.Div.)) upon the completion of the Bachelor of Theology degree.