S.T.B. / Master of Divinity

The core curriculum for the Pontifical Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology and Master of Divinity degree programs [S.T.B./M.Div.] is designed to give a sound theological education in preparation for ministry, incorporating pastoral formation that is achieved chiefly through Field Education and a series of supplementary courses offered in the final academic year.

 

Overall Goal: The S.T.B./Master of Divinity program at St. Augustine’s Seminary prepares candidates for ordained priesthood and lay women and men aspiring to ministry in the Catholic Church.

  1. Religious Heritage: Students should demonstrate a sound knowledge of Sacred Scripture and the Church’s rich theological tradition and its historical development to the present time.
  2. Personal-Spiritual Formation: Students integrate this knowledge into a personal response of faithful love for Jesus Christ, which is expressed in their loving service to his Church and all people.
  3. Cultural Context: Students reflect upon the needs of God’s people by discerning “the signs of the times,” including the Church's call to Christian unity, in order to deepen their lived faith response.
  4. Capacity for Ministerial and Public Leadership: Students should demonstrate that they can respond to the call to a living encounter with Christ, especially in the liturgy and prayer. Candidates show capacity to serve and lead others to an encounter with Christ in his Word and in the sacraments of his Church. In so doing, their witness calls their brothers and sisters to respond to God's love for them. 

Admission Requirements 

1.     Bachelor's degree, preferably a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), or its equivalent with adequate standing (normally at least B- standing in their final year) from an accredited institution. 

The Seminary requires this academic preparation in view of the demand of the Second Vatican Council that candidates be suitably grounded in the humanities.  With respect to this, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (C.C.C.B.) expressed the view that "we do not think that this requirement can be fully met by one who does not hold a university degree or its equivalent" (Program of Priestly Formation, Ottawa, C.C.C.B., 1979, n.36).  In accord with the Bishops, St. Augustine's makes this degree a pre-requisite to theological studies.  Students with a non-humanities degree such as a Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Engineering may not have sufficient preparation in the humanities and may be required to take appropriate additional courses.   Such cases will be judged on an individual basis.

 

2.     Philosophy requirement: 8 one-semester courses (or the equivalent number of two-semester courses). 

The Registrar and/or Philosophy Counsellor are available to provide guidance for students who are attempting to meet the philosophy requirement while attending another institution.  The institution’s name, course designator, faculty or department offering the course and complete course description may be forwarded to the Registrar for consultation. 

For admission to studies there is a requirement of a minimum of eight one-semester courses in Philosophy.  The courses shall be: Philosophy of Religion, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Knowledge, Philosophical Anthropology, Scholasticism, History of Western Philosophy, Metaphysics and Logic, without exception.  The minimal acceptable grade for philosophy courses that are to be counted towards the above philosophy requirement is normally a 60% equivalent.

 

3.     English language proficiency

All applicants are expected to have developed to a satisfactory degree the ability to understand spoken and written English and to be able to communicate effectively in this language.  If there is any doubt concerning an incoming student’s competence in English, his/her facility will be tested in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing prior to admission.  Details of testing requirements are listed in the Toronto School of Theology Basic Degree Handbook, section 5.3 English Language Facility.  Students who are new to Canada are encouraged and helped to seek opportunities to become more familiar with the Canadian cultural context.

 

4.     Formation Program.

Applicants for the S.T.B./M.Div. degree programs ordinarily are sponsored by a Diocese or provide supporting documentation of participation in a recognized spiritual formation program of a religious congregation or an ecclesially recognized lay movement.  All other applicants will be interviewed by the Academic Dean. Please note: Due to link between S.T.B./M.Div. and preparation for ministry, withdrawal from formation does not guarantee continuation in the S.T.B./M.Div. degree program.
 

Non-traditional Applicants for the Pontifical Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology / Master of Divinity [S.T.B./M.Div.]

In truly exceptional circumstances an applicant will be considered for admission into M.Div. basic degree program at St. Augustine’s Seminary of Toronto [SAS] and will be eligible to apply as follows:

  1. No formal post-secondary studies;
  2. Formal Post-secondary studies, diploma or one year of university;
  3. At least 10 University courses or half of the required credits for a first-entry undergraduate degree;
  4. Please note: the limit for admitting students in this category to the M.Div. is set by our accrediting body, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada [A.T.S.]. As a result, the non-traditional applicant category is just as competitive as the general applicant category.

 

Completion of Philosophy Prerequisite Courses

If a student does not meet the minimum philosophy requirements as described above, there are several options available:

  1. One may examine the possibility of attending an institution that offers a program of studies providing suitable pre-theology courses in philosophy.
  2. A student might complete his pre-theology independently. If admitted to the Seminary, he will reside at Serra House or St. Augustine’s Seminary.
  3. If a candidate for the Priestly Formation Program has completed some philosophy courses it may be possible for him to complete the remaining philosophy courses. A tailored academic program is designed in consultation with the Academic Administration.

Students in the categories noted above need to consult the Academic Dean about the fulfillment of their philosophy requirements.

It is the student's responsibility to be familiar with St. Augustine's Seminary philosophy requirements and to ensure that all forms are forwarded to the Registrar to maintain the completeness of their academic file. It is preferable that students take Ecclesiastical Latin alongside philosophy.


Policies and Procedures:

Please see the St. Augustine's Policies & Procedures Page.

Courses:

Curriculum:

There are thirty required courses for both the S.T.B. and M.Div., including the Integration of Theological Areas. In addition to the thirty courses, pastoral formation incorporates a field education placement for one semester.

  1. Nine Systematic Theology Courses:
    • Foundations of Theology
    • The Christian God / Mystery of the Trinity
    • Theological Anthropology I - Creation
    • Christology
    • Theological Anthropology II - Grace
    • Ecclesiology
    • Sacraments I
    • Sacraments II
    • Integration of Theological Area
  2. Five Moral Theology (Ethics) Courses:
    • Fundamental Christian Ethics I
    • Fundamental Christian Ethics II
    • Social Ethics
    • Medical Ethics
    • Ethics of Human Sexuality & Marriage
  3. Seven Scripture Courses:
    1. Old Testament
      • Historical Books of the Old Testament
      • Wisdom Literature
      • Prophetic Literature
    2. New Testament
      • Introduction to the New Testament
      • Pauline Literature
      • Johannine Literature
      • Synoptic Gospel
  4. Four History Courses:
    • Early Church
    • Mediaeval Church
    • Reformation
    • Modern Church
  5. Five Pastoral Courses:
    • Canon Law
    • Liturgy
    • Homiletics
    • Pastoral Counselling
    • Pastoral Psychology
      plus
    • Field Education Placement

Ordination Requirements:

Candidates for the priesthood will complete a one-year parish internship and an eighth semester of Pastoral Practica in the second term of their 4th year, as a preparation for priestly ministry, centred on those themes:

  • Preaching
  • Liturgical Celebration
  • Reconciliation
  • Marriage
  • Spirituality
  • Parish Administration Seminar.

PASTORAL PRACTICA

St. Augustine's Seminary builds on courses taken earlier in degree work and offers the following practica to candidates for the priesthood or students interested in pastoral studies. These courses are usually taken in the final academic year.

  1. Preaching Practicum: This practicum in preaching is for students who have completed their academic preparation and are about to assume the responsibilities of pastoral ministry. It covers the preparation, delivery and evaluation of homilies.
  2. Preparation of Liturgy Presiders: This course covers the Order of the Mass and the Rites of Baptism, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick and Funerals. While essentially a practicum, it also discusses the pastoral significance of the Rites as presented in the post-Vatican II documents on liturgical celebrations.
  3. Ministry in the Sacrament of Penance: This course explores the role of the celebrant of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is a practicum in the "hearing of confessions". Designed primarily for those who have completed their theological course work, concrete moral cases will be examined so as to prepare the future “confessor” to be a competent minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  4. Ministry in the Sacrament of Marriage: This practicum surveys the canonical and civil requirements for marriage as well as some aspects

    of counselling.  The processes of dissolution and declaration of nullity are also examined.

  5. Priestly Spirituality: This course examines the attitudes, dispositions and elements comprising the spiritual life of the Catholic priest that serve to promote his holiness, integrity and health.

     

  6. Parish Administration Seminar: This seminar-style course is an introduction to parish administration, rectory living and adjustment to the first years of ordained life.

 

Required Electives for seminarians are:

 

  1. Pastoral Norms on the Sacraments: A theological-canonical reflection on selected canons of Book IV of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (The Sanctifying Function of the Church), in light of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and postconciliar legislation. Particular emphasis is placed on the application of the Sacraments in parish ministry. Topics covered include: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing, and Holy Orders, as well as Other Acts of Divine Worship.
  2. Advanced Homiletics: This course gives students an opportunity to develop a theology of preaching based on the discussions of the survey of the tradition of Catholic preaching in Introduction to Homiletics and by means of opportunities to preach. Students employ those characteristics of outstanding preaching as determined in Introduction to Homiletics.

 

Suggested Electives for seminarians are:

 

  1. Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin. The course itself takes a full academic year, usually students enrol in Latin during the pre-Theology phase of formation when they are studying philosophy.Beginning with a quick review of English grammar, the course introduces the grammar and syntax of the Latin language and provide practice in their use in order to lead students to a reading knowledge of Ecclesiastical Latin: The Vulgate, Canon Law, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Aquinas, hymns and other documents.

     

  2. Mariology. The Christological-Trinitarian foundation of Mary's role in salvation history and in the Church is developed in two areas: (1) the foundations from Vatican II, Scripture, Church Fathers, and the four Marian dogmas; (2) the celebration of Mary in liturgy, popular piety, and spirituality. Finally, Mary is studied in light of ecumenism, and in one contemporary theologian and twentieth-century developments for her profound significance for today.

     

  3. Ecumenism. This course explores the historical sources of division among Christian churches, origins of the modern ecumenical movement, the commitment of the Roman Catholic Church to Christian unity, as well as growing agreement in doctrine and sacramental life. Special attention to implications for catechesis and pastoral care of inter-church families.

     

  4. Christianity and World Religions. This course introduces students to a number of religious traditions in their classical formulations and their contemporary practices. Students explore the academic study of religion, considering how various disciplines approach the myths, stories, symbols, rituals, ideas, and ethical practices of these religions. This introduction also provides students a framework within which to reflect on their own experiences, as well as prepare them for further academic study in both the humanities and social sciences. Traditions include: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Magisterial teaching on interreligious dialogue and engagement are also covered.

     

  5. Pastoral Catechetics. This course explores modern movements in catechetics, especially their implementation at local levels.The modern parish as a potential catechetical community is analyzed.Ancillary disciplines and modern research on psychological, intellectual, emotional, moral and faith development of children and adults are integrated into the course.

     

  6. Elementary New Testament Greek.The course itself takes a full academic year and covers basic New Testament Greek grammar. During the first semester, students work through basic grammatical and syntactical elements of the language. In the second semester students begin reading in the Greek New Testament.

     

  7. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. The goal of the course is to equip both students training for designated ministry and those students who wish to continue in advanced degree studies with a working knowledge of biblical Hebrew, as well as for subsequent study in syntax and exegesis. The course itself takes a full academic year, and it introduces students to the fundamentals of Biblical Hebrew, including phonology, morphology (grammatical forms), basic syntax (the components of meaning text units), and the most frequent vocabulary. At the end of the year, students should have acquired rudimentary skills useful for the purposes of homiletical exegesis, scholarship pursuit, and the general pleasure of textual theological interpretations.

Required CoursesRequired Courses

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