A few colleges offer distance education programs for ordained (priestly) ministry that allow students to do a significant portion of their studies in a distance education format.
Vancouver School of Theology
Native Ministries Master of Divinity Degree by Extension is the only degree program for persons engaged in ministry in First Nations communities that is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in Canada and the United States. This innovative degree program was developed in partnership with First Nations people. The primary location and context for learning is the community in which the student lives and serves.
It takes between five and six years to complete the Native Ministries Master of Divinity by Extension program. This course of study takes place in the student’s own community, in tutorials and seminars conducted by tutors and the School’s permanent faculty at regional sites, and in courses taught in the annual Native Ministries Consortium Summer School.
Bachelor of Theology is an undergraduate program intended primarily for students who are pursuing training in theology. Many graduates of the B.Th. Program use it for professional development or as a stepping stone to a Master’s degree or ordination. It is designed to be undertaken largely by distance-education and usually part-time, although full or near full-time studies may be possible on the Laurentian campus. The B.Th. is the equivalent of a three-year (90 credit) program: one academic year of studies in the humanities (liberal arts and social sciences) and two years of study in theological and religious studies.
Master of Divinity is a three-year academic program (30 credits) intended primarily for persons training for ordained ministry. The majority of this degree can be completed part-time and/or at a distance, and students can complete their placements at a parish or ministry local to themselves. The MDiv does require a minimum of two semesters of full-time, in-person study during which students are involved in the life of the College.
Montreal Diocesan Theological College
Reading and Tutorial Program is designed to provide the academic component of training for ordained ministry by means of home study under the guidance of a local tutor appointed by the College. Enrollment in the program is limited to those who for reasons such as age or family circumstances are unable to come into full-time or part-time study. A student who is looking towards ordination is strongly encouraged to obtain prior written approval of the sponsoring bishop.
The Program consists of twelve units of study. For each unit there are certain texts to be read and assignments to be written. There will also be at least two tutorial sessions. With hard work, the Program may be completed within two to three years of spare-time study. A limited number of exemptions may be granted for equivalent courses at university or seminary level taken elsewhere, either previously or under the College’s supervision.
In order to complete the requirements for ordination training, the student must attend the College for one academic year of practical and pastoral training – the In-Ministry Year. Successful completion of the Reading & Tutorial Program and the In-Ministry Year leads to the award of the College’s Licentiate in Theology (L.Th.) and the Diploma in Ministry (Dip.Min.).
The Reading & Tutorial Program may also be undertaken by lay persons not intending to offer for ordination, but who wish to acquire a good basic knowledge of Christian theology. In this case, a Certificate of Completion is awarded upon satisfactory completion of the twelve Program units.
Atlantic School of Theology
Summer Distance Master of Divinity Degree. This course of study will bring you to the AST campus for six weeks every summer for five years to complete the majority of your course work through intensive study. During the remainder of each year of the program, you will complete two further course credits through on-line study while engaged in a sustained and locally supervised ministry practicum that meets the School’s requirements and the approval of the student’s denomination and church.
Bachelor of Theology by Distance. Students over the age of 35, who have completed the Associate of Theology or its equivalent, and are sponsored by their denomination for ministerial training (whether as ordained or as lay) may enroll in the Bachelor of Theology by Distance program.
The program consists of three phases:
- The student will be required to complete 15 2-credit courses in the Associate in Theology program.
- A residential year at the College, including nine 3-credit courses.
- A two year local residency in supervised field education, complemented by four 3-credit intensive courses, and three other courses.