Master of Divinity – United Church Studies

Preparation for ministry, combining rigorous academic learning, ecumenical theological reflection, and engagement with diverse ministry contexts.

The Master of Divinity degree is widely accepted as preparation for ordination into the United Church of Canada and many other churches and is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. It is a 90-credit program which can be completed in three years of full-time study. It can also be completed on a part-time basis. The first two years of the program (M.Div. I and M.Div. II) take place primarily within the McGill School of Religious Studies. The final In-Ministry Year (M.Div. III) is completed at Montreal Dio in conjunction with the Montreal School of Theology. 

Master of Divinity 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.  

“I feel so equipped from my studies… equipped to serve outwardly to the community of faith and equipped to reflect inwardly in prayer and partnership with God. It has been thrilling to bring to life all of our studies and to begin to live the call to ministry that we as students share.”

– Aaron Miechkota, M. Div. 2021

Structure and Courses

The majority of the courses in the M.Div. years I and II consist of courses taken in the B.Th. program at McGill University (courses in B.Th. years 2 and 3).  The following is a summary of the courses in the program:

Biblical Studies

Literature of Ancient Israel 1
RELG 302

Literature of Ancient Israel 2
RELG 303

New Testament 1 (Formation of the New Testament)
RELG 311

New Testament 2 (Gospels)
RELG 312

Culture and History

Church in History 1
RELG 322

Church in History 2
RELG 323

World Religions and the Cultures they Create
RELG 309

Theology and Ethics

Principles of Theology
RELG 333

Advanced Theology
RELG 434

Theological Ethics
RELG 430

Philosophy of Religion
RELG 341

Complementary Courses

Courses offered by the McGill Faculty of Arts

For more details about the McGill courses listed above, consult the School of Religious Studies website. Note: M.Div. students take the 60-credit B.Th. (B.Th. Year 2 and Year 3).

Additional Coursework and Requirements

  • Ministry Seminar
  • Integrative Paper I, II, and III
  • Montreal Dio’s annual College Retreat
  • Participation in worship and Community Life

Intensive ministry formation based on an action-reflection learning model, course work, small groups, and a supervised ministry experience.

Courses in 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.  


General Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized college or university
  • Minimum 2.7 cumulative GPA
  • Demonstrated capacity for leadership and willingness to pursue spiritual and professional development.
  • Satisfactory relationship with judicatory body of denomination (for those seeking ordination)

Mature Students (26 years and older)

If you are over 26 years of age and do not meet the general admission requirements, you may apply for the Master of Divinity as a First Degree.

Note that an Evaluation Fee of $75 will be charged for the assessment of transcript for those applying for advanced standing (waiver of prerequisites).


Students must apply to both the McGill School of Religious Studies and Montreal Dio via the online application forms below.

Application Requirements

Applications to McGill and Dio must be accompanied by:

  • Transcripts from post-secondary programs (official transcripts are due at admission)
  • Two reference letters – one reference letter should attest to academic ability, the second should attest to potential for ministry

Applications to Dio should also include:

  • A copy of your McGill online application
  • A current resumé

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

Application Deadlines

Some exceptions apply – applicants are encouraged to contact Dio directly if unable to meet the application deadline

Fall Entry to M.Div.:

  • May 1 – Canadian and International applicants
  • June 15 – College-affiliated applicants

Winter Entry to M.Div.: 

  • September 15 – International applicants
  • November 1 – Canadian applicants

All applications to McGill’s School of Religious Studies (including required supporting documents) must be received by the deadlines listed above.