Diploma in Ministry – United Church Studies

An award for students with previous theological study who are now preparing for Christian ministry.

The Diploma in Ministry is a one-year (full-time) program of intensive formation in ministry and pastoral leadership for students with prior  theological education from a recognized university, usually at the graduate level. Graduates work as ordained ministers, leaders in non-profit or community organizations, church senior administrators, spiritual care workers, youth ministers, and chaplains.  

Students in the Diploma in Ministry are enrolled in the college’s In Ministry Year, an innovative program of contextual theological education. Students spend about 40 percent of their time in a field placement, where they offer leadership and develop skills for ministry. Small group work and courses on subjects like pastoral care, preaching, mission, leadership, and United Church studies deepen their understanding of the theory and practice of ministry and help them reflect on their field experiences. All these courses (except United Church studies courses) are taught ecumenically by faculty of the Montreal School of Theology and all courses are offered in a hybrid-online format meaning that the Diploma in Ministry can be completed in a low-residency format. It may also be taken part-time. 

For students with a prior degree in theology (e.g., B.Th., M.Th., M.A., D.Min.), completion of the Diploma in Ministry qualifies them for Testamur, attesting that they have met academic requirements for ordination in The United Church of Canada. 

Diploma in Ministry students are encouraged to complete the Certificate in Bilingual Ministry alongside their theological studies in order to prepare for the linguistic context of ministry in Quebec and Canada.  


Structure and Courses

Courses in the Practice of Ministry

Pastoral Care (MST 511): Introduction to the basic skills of pastoral care, and exploration of the particular gifts and learning needs the student brings to this ministry. 

Principles of Preaching (MST 531): Fundamentals of sermon preparation, exegesis for preaching, developing a message, and sermon structure. In preaching tutorials, students present sermons for feedback and reflection. 

Christian Mission (MST 561): Explores the scriptural and theology foundations of mission and examines the significance of context for the life and mission of the church, with a focus on congregational mission. 

Congregational Leadership (MST 562): Provides students with lenses to study the congregation, and explores the various dynamics of leadership, particularly in the context of ordained ministry. 

Education and Formation (MST 541): Examines educational theory, theology and practice, and develops skills and knowledge for ministerial leadership in faith formation and education. The third section of the Integrative Paper is also completed within the context of this course. 

United Church History and Theology (UTC581): A survey of the rich history of the United Church of Canada and of the various kinds of theologies generated throughout that history and within the United Church today. 

United Church Polity (UTC 571): Using a case-study approach, discover how the United Church makes its decisions. Explore the caring and practical dimensions of making decisions and working within church structures. Learn the information that church leaders need to be effective in their role in the church. 

United Church Worship (UTC 522): Explore the unique character, history, and ethos of liturgical expression in the United Church of Canada. Integrate theory and theology and develop skills for worship leadership in congregational and pastoral settings. 

Field Placement

The Field Placement constitutes 12 out of 30 credits (or 40%) of the In-Ministry Year and provides a context for the practice of ministry and theological reflection. 

Intercultural Learning Experience

The In-Ministry Year includes an intensive intercultural encounter. The encounter provides an opportunity to connect with Christians in other cultures and to be exposed to cultural, economic, socio-political, and environmental issues faced by the church in a different context. Past encounters have included trips to Cuba, Mexico, and indigenous communities in Canada.  

Other Course Work

  • Integrative Paper 
  • Annual College Retreat 
  • Worship and Community Life 



General Requirements

A previous degree in theological studies – including Bible, church history, theology, ethics, and other related subjects – generally at the graduate level, though in certain circumstances undergraduate study may be accepted. 

Those seeking admission to UCS at Montreal Dio must also meet the following requirements: 

    • Satisfactory relationship with judicatory body of denomination (for those seeking ordination) 
    • Demonstrated capacity for leadership and willingness to pursue spiritual and professional development. 


Applications must be accompanied by: 

  • Official transcripts from prior post-secondary programs 
  • A current resumé 
  • Two reference letters – one reference letter should attest to academic ability, the second should attest to potential for ministry 

Applicants who have followed all application instructions above will be asked to participate in an interview process, either in-person or by video conference.