Religious and Theological Studies Programs In Canada
Credential · Bachelor of Arts (BA) · Bachelor of Theology (BTh) · Bachelor of Ministry (BMin) · Bachelor of Religious Studies (BRS) · Bachelor of Religious Education (BRE) · Bachelor of Biblical Studies (BBS) · Concurrent Bachelor of Education (BEd) · Bachelor of Church Ministries (BChMin) · Bachelor of Music or Music Therapy (BMus) · Associate of Arts (AA) · Associate of Theology (ThA) · Diploma/ Certificate
Program Length · 4-5 years for concurrent BEd · 3- 4 years for bachelor's degree
· 2 years for associate's degree · 2-3 years for diploma · 12-52 weeks for certificate
Entry · Bachelor's degree - direct entry; entry after 1 or 2 years of diploma, certificate or university study · Associate's degree - direct entry · Diploma/ Certificate - direct entry
Areas of Study · General arts, humanities, social sciences, religious studies and theology
· Specialization areas include biblical studies, Christian studies, Jewish studies, youth ministry, children and family ministries, pastoral leadership, urban ministry, global ministry, worship arts, development studies, counselling studies, sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, history, scriptural languages, music, music therapy, education, performing arts, intercultural studies, contemporary religion, comparative religion, western religions, eastern religions, world religions.
Special Features · field ministry/ outreach · international exchange/ study abroad · practicum
There are many ways to believe in and worship God, and this variety is reflected in the diversity of undergraduate religious studies and theology programs in Canada. Whether interdenominational or focused on a specific faith, universities offer competitive three- and four-year degrees in a more flexible range of subjects than you might expect.
There are two main options for religious studies or theological studies: a specifically faith-based institution or the Religious Studies or Theology faculties at a secular university. Both offer degrees including Bachelor of Theology (BTh) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Religious Studies, Religion & Theology, or Religious Studies (Applied Emphasis). Honours, joint honours, major and minor options are often available. Major concentrations may include world religions, scriptural languages, scriptural interpretation, classics, philosophy, contemporary religion, comparative religion, and western religions. Courses within these may encompass languages such as Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Chinese and Arabic, and look at religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Amerindian religions, Christianity, Islam, neo-paganism, and Judaism. Universities may also offer specific faith-centred programs in, for example, Jewish Studies, Asian Religions or Catholic Studies. Since religious studies considers religion in its historical, artistic, and global contexts and in terms of its impact on gender issues and sexuality, science, government and public policy, a minor in religious studies is a good complement for anyone studying anthropology, classics, English, folklore, history, philosophy, political science or sociology. The applied emphasis BA allows for a major in religious studies and a minor in parish services, while the concurrent Bachelor of Education (BEd) is for students who want to go on to teach religion at various school levels.
Theological studies, which leads to the Bachelor of Theology (BTh), is designed primarily for those intending to pursue the ordained ministry in a Christian denomination, although some students enjoy the academic study of theology for its own sake. Usually, though, Bachelor of Theology programs ladder into graduate studies, such as the Master of Divinity degree. Majors in theology include Biblical studies, spiritual theology and systematic theology.
While both secular and faith-based universities offer the BA and BTh, other degrees particular to Christian universities include Bachelor of Ministry (BMin), Bachelor of Religious Education (BRE), Bachelor of Religious Studies (BRS), Bachelor of Biblical Studies (BBS) and Bachelor of Church Ministry (BChMin). A Bachelor of Music or Music Therapy (BMus) is also available in some cases. These programs offer options in youth ministry, urban ministry, global ministry, worship arts, development studies, counselling studies, education, social work and more.
At the community college level, there are not as many secular colleges offering general religious studies; however, you find many specialty Christian colleges emphasizing spiritual formation, professional ministry and theological seminary studies. The religious colleges may also offer bachelor degrees such as the BRS or a BA in Theology or Leadership Development; however, many colleges focus on two-year Associate of Theology (ThA) and Associate of Arts (AA) degrees (in fields like music, music ministry, youth ministry and ministry aviation), and one- or two-year diploma and certificate programs in various aspects of Christian studies, ministry activities, education and performing arts. Many of these programs allow for credit transfer to certain university programs. Christian community colleges may also offer unique one-year certificate programs that give students non-traditional learning experiences centered on faith-based values. These are designed to combine academics and spiritual enrichment, and often involve outdoor training, travel and study abroad. To help students finance their education, many faith-based colleges offer internal scholarships, bursaries and even loans.
At both the university and college levels, classes teach students how to investigate, become critical thinkers, and evaluate their own cultures, current affairs and the impact of religion in today's world. Learning involves expressing complex ideas in essays, projects and presentations--skills which are transferable to many different careers. Religious studies and theology grads have gone on to work in journalism, law, medicine, social work, public relations, and business, as well as practical ministry both locally and overseas. In preparation for ministry work, some religious studies and theology programs provide outreach, field ministry, study abroad or practicum opportunities.