Biblical Studies

Old Testament

  • Historical Literature: an examination of the Old Testament with particular emphasis upon the Pentateuch. The traditions shown in the text are highlighted, together with the meaning of the theology presented.
  • Wisdom Literature and Psalms: with particular emphasis upon the Psalms, Proverbs and Job, this course explores the whole meaning and understanding of wisdom literature in the world of Israel and in the Christian tradition.
  • Prophetic Literature: with concentration upon the exegesis of at least one of the major prophetical works of the Old Testament, this course examines pre- and post-exilic prophetism in the Old Testament and the use of this literature in the Christian Church

    New Testament

  • Introduction to the New Testament: a survey course introducing critical methods, the origin and world of the New Testament, the formation of the Synoptic Gospels, Paul, the Fourth Gospel, the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith.
  • Synoptic Gospels: Building upon the introduction provided above, an exegetical and critical presentation of at least one synoptic gospel in depth, with necessary reference to the other gospels through historical background, literary structures and theological themes.
  • The Gospel & Epistles of John: a course in Johannine biblical literature which presents the exegetical and critical examination of the text with particular attention to the major themes of Johannine theology.
  • The Writings of St. Paul: an examination of selected Pauline texts to understand the major significance of Paul's teachings as both pastor and theologian. The central themes, style, structure and impact of his theology are presented.


  • Fundamental Christian Ethics I and II (two courses): the moral message of the Scriptures, Old and New Testament; conversion, the basic moral imperative of Jesus; historical overview of the ethical wisdom of the Church, the moral agent and his acts, the natural law, the Magisterium, positive law, virtue and sin, mortal and venial sin, the formation of conscience, methodology in Ethics.
  • Medical Ethics: a study of the issues of birth control, abortion, sterilization, artificial insemination, euthanasia and genetics; professional responsibility in health care in the light of the dignity of the human person, natural law and the official teachings of the Catholic Church.
  • Social Ethics: a study of human rights as the basis for social justice, emphasis on the need to raise consciousness to detect the hidden sin in the structures of institutions; historical and economic factors resulting in an imbalance in the use of the resources of the earth; the social encyclicals from Rerum Novarum to Sollicitudo Rei Socialis.
  • Sexuality and Marriage: marriage and the family seen as the proper goal and context of human sexuality; the need for integration of sexual drives for the maturation of the human person. Tension and sin in the misuse of sexual power. Marriage as human reality, its institution by God, marriage as saving mystery (sacrament) in the Christian community. The tragedy of divorce and the role of the Church in its canonical and pastoral ministry of the divorced.


  • The Church to A.D. 600: a study of the genesis of the Christian community, its development of doctrinal and ethical positions, its relation to its surrounding culture, its various forms of life and worship and its geographical expansion from the first through the sixth centuries.
  • The Mediaeval Church: a survey of the history of the Church from A.D. 600 to the middle of the fifteenth century. A study of the Church's development in, and effect upon, society during periods of growth and unrest. The break with the Orthodox Church.
  • The Church in the Reformation: the background to the Reformation, especially in the late Middle Ages; the central figures of Erasmus, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli; the special circumstances of the English Reformation and the spiritual renewal of the Counter-Reformation.
  • The Modern Church: a study of Christianity since 1648, with emphasis on both secular and religious challenges to the Church and on movements of revival and renewal with the Church. Canadian Church history will receive a priority.

Pastoral Theology

  • An Introduction to Canon Law: this course deals with the theological foundations of Canon Law and the fundamental principles of the Law in the light of the Second Vatican Council. Particular attention will be given to the role of the ministerial priesthood.
  • Preaching: a first course in the basics of preaching in the Liturgy, covering planning, preparation construction and delivery of homilies and sermons based upon, and sustained by, theological reflection on the Word that is proclaimed. Students not preparing for priesthood may choose another Pastoral course to fulfil this requirement.
  • Pastoral Liturgy: liturgy from its historical, theological and pastoral perspectives is treated in the context of such areas as: the Prayer of the Church, the Liturgical Year, liturgical planning, the celebration of the Eucharist and symbols in worship.
  • Practicum in Pastoral Counselling: Introduction to the theory and practice of pastoral counselling, focusing psychologically and theologically on current life challenges. Theoretical presentations, personal reflection, group interaction, practice counselling.
  • Pastoral Psychology: a course dealing with human behaviour, development, personality theory, abnormal behaviour and maturity, along with a philosophical discussion of human nature and behaviour in the Christian context. Various styles of Christian living and spiritual practices are explored from a psycho-theological point of view.

Systematic Theology

  • Foundations of Theology: introduction to Theology. Analysis of religion. Factors of theology: experience, revelation, faith, scripture, tradition, magisterium, reason, culture, development of dogma and infallibility.
  • The Christian God: the biblical concept of God and the evolution of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Unity and tension of the biblical and dogmatic views of God.
  • Theological Anthropology I: creation as the beginning of salvation history: biblical theology of Creation, Christian tradition and official teaching of the Church. Man as creature; man as God's image and co-creator; the original state of man; the problematic of nature and grace. Man as sinner; the biblical doctrine of sin and the Christian dogma of original sin throughout history.
  • Christology: an introduction to the basic themes relating to the person and mission of Jesus Christ: biblical, historical and contemporary reflection of the questions of Jesus and His work - incarnation, redemption, resurrection.
  • Theological Anthropology II: a study of the theology of grace in its different perspectives: biblical meanings, theological speculations, conciliar teachings; modern investigations concerning the relation between grace and freedom; grace and nature; grace and pneumatology; grace and eschatology.
  • Ecclesiology: an introduction from a biblical, historical, systematic and pastoral perspective into the mystery of the Church., magisterial pronouncements, especially Vatican I and II, contemporary questions.
  • Sacraments I: a study of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist from a biblical, historical and systematic point of view. The anthropological, ecclesial and christological dimension of the Sacraments of Initiation.
  • Sacraments II: the biblical foundations, historical development and theological understanding of the sacraments of "healing" (Reconciliation, Anointing) and of the "social" sacraments of the Church (Matrimony, Ordination).
  • Integration of Theological Areas: this course is to introduce the student to an academic integration of theological areas, aiming for a comprehensive view of Roman Catholic doctrine in systematics.

Pastoral Practicums

St. Augustine's Seminary offers the following courses to candidates for the priesthood or students interested in pastoral studies. These courses are usually taken in the final academic year.

  • Preaching Practicum: a practicum in preaching for students who have completed their academic preparation and are about to assume the responsibilities of pastoral ministry. Preparation, delivery and evaluation of homilies.
  • Ministry in the Sacrament of Penance: this course considers the role of the celebrant of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It will be a practicum in the "hearing of confessions". Designed primarily for those who have completed their theological course work, the course examines concrete moral cases so as to prepare the future `confessor' to be a competent minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • Preparation of Liturgy Presiders: a course on the Order of the Mass and the Rites of Baptism and Marriage. Anointing of the Sick and Funerals. While essentially a practicum, this course also discusses the pastoral significance of the Rites as presented in the post-Vatican II documents on liturgical celebrations.
  • Ministry in the Sacrament of Marriage: a practicum surveying 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.
  • Parish Administration Seminar: a seminar-style introduction to parish administration, rectory living and adjustment to the first years of ordained life.
  • Priestly Spirituality: this course consists of an examination of the attitudes, dispositions and elements comprising the spiritual life of the Catholic priest that serve to promote his holiness, integrity and health.

Suggested Electives

  • Pastoral Norms on the Sacraments: this course examines the canons regarding the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and anointing of the sick with particular attention to the sacrament of reconciliation.
  • Pastoral Catechetics: this course explores modern movements in catechetics, especially their implementation at local levels. The modern parish as a potential catechetical community is analysed. Ancillary disciplines and modern research on psychological, intellectual, emotional, moral and faith development of children and adults are integrated into the course.

Honors Master of Divinity

Qualifying students are eligible to write a thesis after twenty courses of their Master of Divinity Program or, for candidates to the priesthood, after completion of the internship year. For students whose initial registration was on or before January 1999, A- is the minimum standing average allowing the choice of a thesis; for those students whose initial registration will be September 1999 or later, A is the minimum standing average allowing the choice of a thesis.

The standards for the Master of Divinity thesis will be those of a Master of Arts thesis at Toronto School of Theology.

One faculty member, who may be from another college, will supervise the thesis. It will normally be fifty to sixty pages in length with an upper limit of seventy-five pages. The student will do readings to complete studies in any areas missed from the core curriculum course due to the focused nature of the thesis.

The thesis will be based on independent research (not connected to any writing and research done before or during preparation of the thesis) and recorded as such on the Master of Divinity transcript.

The thesis will be a full-year course worth two credits, only one of which may be a core curriculum course.

If work submitted to fulfill the thesis requirement receives a grade of B-, it will not qualify for the Honors Master of Divinity but will count only as equivalent to two courses: one core and one elective.

Return to the top
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2018 West Corporation. All rights reserved.