Undergraduate Programs
Calendar 2004-05

Faculty of Religious Studies

1 The Faculty

1.1 Location

William and Henry Birks Building
3520 University Street
Montreal, QC  H3A 2A7
Telephone: (514) 398-4121

1.2 Administrative Officers

B. Barry Levy; B.A., M.A., B.R.E.(Yeshiva), Ph.D.(N.Y.U.)


Kathleen Macdonald; B.A., M.A.(McG.)

Assistant to the Dean,
B.Th. Program Coordinator

Luvana Di Francesco

Administrative Assistant

1.3 History

The Faculty and the Colleges

During the nineteenth century several Theological Colleges in Montreal became affiliated with McGill. 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. This University Faculty now offers the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) degree and several graduate degree programs.

1.4 Facilities

The Faculty of Religious Studies is located in the handsome (William and Henry) Birks Building, erected in 1931, formerly known as Divinity Hall, at 3520 University Street. Besides the usual classrooms, offices and common rooms, this building accomodates the University Chapel and the Birks Reading Room.

1.5 Birks Lectures

An annual series was established in 1950 through the generosity of the late William M. Birks. The lectures are given by distinguished visitors, usually in late September or early October. The first lecturer was the Right Reverend Leslie Hunter. More recent lecturers have included Huston Smith, Northrop Frye, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Gregory Baum, Robert McAfee Brown, Krister Stendahl, Charles Adams, Jon Levenson, David Little and Azim Nanji. Paul Griffiths is scheduled to speak in October 2004.

1.6 Numata Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies

In recognition of the strong Buddhist Studies program in the Faculty of Religious Studies, the Numata Foundation has given a 20-year grant to the Faculty to bring a visiting scholar in Buddhist Studies to McGill each year.

The Visiting Professor teaches two courses, one at the undergraduate level and one at the graduate level, gives a public lecture and is available to students for conferences and consultation. The first Numata Professor, in 1999-2000, was Dr. Mahinda Deegalle (Ph.D., Chicago), a Theravada Buddhist Sri Lankan monk. Subsequent visitors include Dr. John Petitte, Professor Robert Morrison, Dr. Thupen Jinpa, Kate Crosby and Ven. Yifa (2005).

2 Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Religious Studies

Honours Concentration, Major Concentration and Minor Concentration in Religious Studies are offered in cooperation with the Faculty of Arts. Religious Studies B.A. Honours, Majors, and Minor students may take any of the courses described below except where otherwise indicated.

Admission is to the Faculty of Arts and all admission requirements and procedures, academic rules and regulations of that Faculty apply to students in these programs.

For general information on B.A. Honours, Major Concentrations and Minor Concentrations and courses, consult the Adviser. For specific course information, consult the instructor. Students who are interested in the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) or Master of Divinity (M.Div.) programs should refer to the appropriate listing.

3 Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

Students who have completed a first degree prior to the B.Th. with a minimum CGPA of 2.7 are eligible to apply the B.Th. degree towards the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree conferred by the Theological Colleges. This degree requires, in addition to the B.Th. degree, successful involvement in integrative seminars during the two B.Th. years and a year of professional pastoral study beyond the B.Th. This is called the "In-Ministry Year" (IMY) and is offered by the three affiliated theological colleges under the auspices of the Joint Board of Theological Colleges.

Students from the affiliated colleges may be eligible for bursary assistance if they are properly registered candidates for ministry. Information about church requirements and the professional year should be sought from the principals of the appropriate colleges.

One biblical language, usually Greek, is required by some of the colleges. Ministerial candidates should consult with the College advisers regarding biblical language requirements.

Prospective candidates for ordination with a B.A. Honours or Major in Religious Studies and a CGPA of 3.3 (B+) may apply for the S.T.M. degree followed upon completion by the professional year (IMY).

Applicants for the M.Div. program
must apply to the McGill B.Th. program as well as to one of the Theological Colleges. College application forms should be requested from one of the following:

Prospective students should contact the Chair of the B.Th. Committee to discuss their qualifications, expectations and objectives. Appointments can be made by telephoning (514) 398-3995 or by visiting the B.Th. Program Coordinator, Room 113, Birks Building.

4 Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.)

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 some students pursue the degree out of an interest in the academic study of theology for its own sake. Those studying for the ordained ministry pursue the B.Th. as part of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degrees (see below) offered by the three Theological Colleges affiliated with McGill: Montreal Diocesan Theological College (Anglican Church of Canada), the Presbyterian College (Presbyterian Church in Canada), and United Theological College (United Church of Canada).

The main goals of the program are:

4.1 ATS Accreditation

The B.Th. program offered by McGill and the M.Div. program offered by the Theological Colleges are together fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada (ATS).

4.2 Admission Requirements

The B.Th. program has three main options:

4.2.1 Mature Student Admissions Policy

Residents of Canada who will be 27 years of age or older by September 1 of the year that they seek admission (i.e., to the Fall Term) or January 1 (for admission to the Winter Term), and who lack the academic background normally required for entry into the B.Th. program, may apply for entrance as mature students into the 120-credit program of studies. If accepted, such students are enrolled in a qualifying year of designated Religious Studies and Arts courses (assigned by the Chair of the B.Th. Committee) before being considered for the 90-credit B.Th. program. A minimum CGPA of 2.5 (with no grade less than 60%) is required for advancement into the 90-credit B.Th. program. Those who achieve a GPA of at least 3.0 (with no grade less than 65%) during their first full term of the qualifying year may, upon approval of the B.Th. Committee, be advanced to the 90-credit B.Th. retroactively.

4.3 Competence in English

Please note that for non-Canadian applicants whose mother tongue is not English, documented proof of competency in oral and written English by an appropriate examination is required. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 575 for the paper based version is required. Permanent residents of Canada may be required to submit a TOEFL score as well. All official documents must be sent to the Faculty of Religious Studies address given below.

4.4 Applying to the B.Th. Program

All applications must be made on-line at the McGill University website for prospective students: The on-line application process should take about 20 minutes and a credit card is required for payment of the application fee. Once completed, the on-line application form may be printed for your own records.

Note: Owing to McGill University's implementation of a comprehensive on-line application system, paper applications to the B.Th. Program can no longer be accepted. All applicants must apply on-line.

4.4.1 Required Documents

A complete set of these required documents must be sent to the Faculty of Religious Studies (see address below).

If you are applying for admission to one of the theological colleges, another complete set of these required documents must also be sent to the college concerned.

Please note that your file will not be considered by the Admissions Committee until all the required documents have been received.

4.4.2 Mailing Address

Bachelor of Theology Program 
Faculty of Religious Studies 
McGill University 
3520 University Street  
Montreal, QC  H3A 2A7  

4.5 Application Deadlines

Applicants to the B.Th. Program may be accepted into either the Fall or the Winter Term. The on-line application deadline is May 1st for September admissions and November 1st for January admissions. Please note that all required documents listed above must be received by the Faculty of Religious Studies prior to these deadlines in order for the applicant to be considered by the Admissions Committee.

4.6 Tuition Fees and Funding

Information concerning current tuition fees may be found at the following website: Applicants for admission to one of the Colleges should contact the institution concerned for information regarding College-related fees.

4.7 Appeals Procedures

An unsuccessful applicant or a Faculty of Religious Studies Council member acting on behalf of the applicant who believes that not all factors having a bearing on the application have been fully considered has the right to request that the B.Th. Admissions and Awards Committee review the application.

If the findings of the review procedure uphold the initial decision of the B.Th. Admissions and Awards Committee, the applicant has the right to appeal in writing to the Dean. The Dean shall put the appeal before the B.Th. Appeals Committee, which shall consist of three full-time members of the Faculty of Religious Studies Council who are not at the same time members of the B.Th. Admissions and Awards Committee.

The decision of the B.Th. Appeals Committee may be appealed to the Vice-Principal (Academic).

4.8 Registration Procedures

Students register on-line at Minerva for students provides web access to registration, class schedules, course descriptions, and address changes.

4.9 Withdrawal Procedures

Withdrawal from and adding courses prior to the deadline listed in the Calendar (see above) must be done via Minerva. The permission of the advisor is required for all such changes in the initial registration. 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.

4.10 Graduation Requirements

4.11 Course Selection

Candidates for the ministry from the three Theological Colleges associated with the Faculty must select their courses in consultation with their College advisers. The course selection form needs to be signed 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.

4.12 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 the GPA/CGPA falls between 1.50 and 1.99. Probationary students may take a maximum of 12 credits per term, and must raise their CGPA to 2.00 within one academic session. Those who fail to do so will be placed in unsatisfactory standing.

A student in probationary standing may return to satisfactory standing at the end of the next academic session by obtaining either a GPA of at least 2.50 or both a GPA and a CGPA of 2.00 or greater unless the student was admitted on probationary standing. A student admitted on probationary standing must obtain a GPA of 2.50.

Students in probationary standing who obtain a GPA between 1.50 and 1.99 remain in probationary standing if they also have 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.

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 readmission 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.

Students 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.

4.13 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 the Faculty:


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

4.14 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.

4.15 Bachelor of Theology Program Requirements

The course extends over three academic years of full-time studies for those admitted with a Diploma of Collegial Studies and two academic years for those admitted with a Bachelor's degree. The normal load consists of five 3-credit courses (15 credits) each term.

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Students entering the B.Th. as a first degree program take 90 credits, beginning with the following courses:
Year 1 - Required Courses
(9 credits)
RELG 204
Judaism, Christianity and Islam
RELG 210
Jesus of Nazareth
RELG 334
The Christian Faith
Year 1 - Elective Courses
(21 credits)
To be determined in consultation with the B.Th. program advisor.
Students entering the B.Th. as a second degree program take 60 credits, beginning with Year 2 courses:
Year 2 - Required Courses
(24 credits)
RELG 302
Old Testament Studies 1
RELG 303
Literature of Ancient Israel 2
RELG 311
New Testament Studies 1
RELG 312
New Testament Studies 2
RELG 322
The Church in History 1
RELG 323
The Church in History 2
RELG 333
Principles of Christian Theology 1
RELG 341
Introduction: Philosophy of Religion
Year 2 - Complementary Courses
(6 credits)
To be chosen from among the 300- or 400-level courses offered in the B.Th. or B.A. Religious Studies programs (or RELG 280D1/ RELG 280D2) in consultation with the B.Th. program advisor.
Year 3 - Required Courses
(12 credits)
RELG 420*
Canadian Church History
RELG 434
Principles of Christian Theology 2
RELG 470
Theological Ethics
RELG 479
Christianity in Global Perspective
* Exception permitted if recommended by College adviser.
Year 3 - Complementary Courses
(18 credits)
One 3-credit course in a religious tradition other than Christianity, such as:*
RELG 252
Hinduism and Buddhism
RELG 253
Religions of East Asia
RELG 306
Rabbinic Judaism
RELG 352
Japanese Religions
RELG 354
Chinese Religions
* Students who have previously taken a university-level course in world religions may replace this with another complementary course.
9 credits, one 3-credit course in each of the following areas:
Old Testament
RELG 407
The Writings
RELG 408
The Prophets
New Testament
RELG 411
New Testament Exegesis
RELG 482
Exegesis of Greek New Testament
Christian Theology
RELG 330
Reformed Theology
RELG 336
Contemporary Theological Issues
RELG 399
Christian Spirituality
RELG 423
Reformation Thought
6 credits, to be chosen from among the 300- or 400-level courses offered in the B.Th. or B.A. Religious Studies programs (or RELG 280D1/ RELG 280D2) in consultation with the B.Th. program advisor.
--------------------------------END OF REVISION------------------------

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.

Permission is needed from the B.Th. Committee for courses selected from the curriculum of other departments of the University.

By permission of the Dean and the Chair of the B.Th. Committee, students may also enrol for courses at any university in the province of Quebec. See "Inter-University Transfer Agreement" in the General University Information section for details.

Professional and vocational courses (e.g., leading to ordination) are available through the In-Ministry Year (see section 3 "Master of Divinity (M.Div.)") upon the completion of the B.Th. degree.

4.16 B.Th. Honours

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

5 Academic Staff

Daniel A. Arnold; B.A,(Carleton Coll.), M.A.(Columbia), M.A.(Iliff), Ph.D.(Chicago); Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies
Gregory Baum; B.A.(McM.), M.A.(Ohio St.), D.Th.(Fribourg); Emeritus Professor, Theological Ethics (PT)
Maurice Boutin; B.A., B.A., B.A.(Montr.), D.Th.(Munich); J.W. McConnell Professor of Philosophy of Religion
Robert C. Culley; B.A.(Tor.), B.D.(Knox. Tor.), M.A., Ph.D.(Tor.), D.D.(Mtl. Dio. Coll.); Professor of Old Testament (PT) (Post-retirement)
Douglas B. Farrow; B.R.E.(Providence), M.Div.(Grace), M.Th.(Regent), Ph.D.(Lond.); Associate Professor of Christian Theology
Gaëlle Fiasse, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (Louvain-le-Neuve) ; Assistant Professor of Ethics and Religious Ethics (Joint appointment with Department of Philosophy)
Douglas J. Hall; B.A.(W.Ont.), M.Div., S.T.M., Th.D.(U.T.S., N.Y.), D.D.(Queen's), L.L.D.(Waterloo), D.D.(Presb. Coll.); Emeritus Professor, Christian Theology (PT)
Ian H. Henderson; B.A.(Man.), B.D.(St. Andrews), M.A.(McM.), D.Phil.(Oxon); Associate Professor of New Testament
G. Victor S. Hori; B.A., M.A.(Tor.), Ph.D.(Stan.); Associate Professor of Japanese Religions
Torrance Kirby; B.A.(King's, Halifax), M.A.(Dal.), D.Phil.(Oxon.); Associate Professor of Church History
Patricia G. Kirkpatrick; B.A.(McG.), M.Th.(Lond.), D.Phil.(Oxon); Associate Professor of Old Testament
B. Barry Levy; B.A., B.R.E., M.A.(Yeshiva), Ph.D.(N.Y.U.); Professor of Jewish and Biblical Studies
Joseph C. McLelland; B.A.(McM.), M.A.(Tor.), B.D.(Knox, Tor.), Ph.D.(Edin.), D.D.(Mtl.Dio.Coll.; Knox, Tor.); J.W. McConnell Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Religion
G. S. Oegema; B.A., Th.D.(Free, Amsterdam), M.A., Ph.D.(Freie, Berlin), Dr. Thed. Habil (Tübingen); Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Greco-Roman Judaism
Arvind Sharma; B.A.(Allahabad), M.A.(Syr.), M.T.S., Ph.D.(Harv.); Henry Birks Professor of Comparative Religion
L. H. Sideris; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.(Indiana); Assistant Professor of Environmental Ethics (joint appoint. with McGill School of Environment)
Devesh Soneji; B.A.(Manit.), Ph.D.(McG.); Assistant Professor of Hinduism
Frederik Wisse; Ing.(Utrecht), B.A., B.D.(Calvin, Mich.), Ph.D.(Claremont); Professor of New Testament (Post - retirement)
Katherine K. Young; B.A.(Vt.), M.A.(Chic.), Ph.D.(McG.); Professor of Comparative Religion (James McGill Professor)
Lara Braitstein; B.A., M.A.(McG.); Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhism
Norman Cornett; A.B.(Calif.), M.A., Ph.D.(McG.); Course Lecturer in Canadian Church History
K. Crosby; M.A., D.Phil.(Oxf.); Numata Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies
Antony Gabriel; B.A.(Syracuse), M.Div.(St. Vladimir's Theological Academy), M.A.(River Forest), S.T.M.(Lutheran School of Theology); Course Lecturer in Eastern Orthodox Mysticism
Barbara Galli; B.A.(Carleton), M.A.(Tor.), Dip.Ed., Ph.D.(McG.); Course Lecturer in Religion and Culture
Sujata Ghosh; B.A. (C'dia), Ph.D. Candidate (McG.); Lecturer in Women's Studies in Hinduism and Buddhism
Manuel Jinbachian; B.D.(Near East School of Theology), B.Litt.(Oxford), Ph.D.(Strasbourg); Course Lecturer in Septuagint
Maureen Jones; B.A.(C'dia), M.A. Candidate(McG.); Course Lecturer in Sexual Ethics
Jim Kanaris; B.A.(C'dia), M.A., Ph.D.(McG.); Faculty Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion
Lucille Marr; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.(Wat.); Course Lecturer in Church History and Christian Tradition
John Milton; B.A.(C'dia), M.Div.(Trinity International University); Course Lecturer in Biblical Studies
Rowshan Nemazee; B.A.(Trinity College of Vermont), M.A.(McG.); Course Lecturer in Women and the Christian Tradition/Feminist Theology
Mirela Saim; B.A., M.A.(Bucarest), Ph.D.(McG.); Course Lecturer in Dialogues and Controversies
Vanessa Sasson; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.(McG.); Course Lecturer in Introduction to World Religions
John M. Simons; B.A.(Bishop's), S.T.B.(Trinity), Ph.D.(Georgetown); Principal, Montreal Diocesan Theological College; Course Lecturer in Theology
Manjit Singh; B.A., M.A.(Delhi); Course Lecturer in Sikhism
Glenn Smith; B.A.(Michigan), M.A.(Ott.), D.Min.(Northern Baptist Seminar, Ill.); Course Lecturer in Christianity
Michael Storch; B.A.(Alta.); Course Lecturer in Sexual Ethics
John Vissers; B.A.(Tor.), M.Div.(Knox, Tor.), Th.M.(Princeton), Th.D.(Knox, Tor.); Principal, Presbyterian College; Course Lecturer in Theology
Richard Walker; B.A., M.A.(Calg.), Ph.D. Candidate(McG.); Course Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Technology
Visiting Numata Professor
Ven. Yifa; B.A.(National Taiwan), M.A.(Hawaii), Ph.D.(Yale)
Associate Members
A. Uner Turgay; B.A.(Robert Coll., Istanbul), M.A., Ph.D.(Madison-Wis.); Institute of Islamic Studies
Leigh Turner; B.A.(Winn.), M.A.(Manit.), M.A., Ph.D.(USC); Biomedical Ethics, Faculty of Medicine
Adjunct Professor
T. Jinpa Langri; Dr. Div, B.A.(King' Coll.), Ph.D.(Camb.)

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