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Vancouver School of Theology

Degree Programs

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Indigenous and Inter-Religious Studies

Vancouver School of Theology continues its long standing partnership with First Nations communities and its new partnerships with inter-religious communities through Iona Pacific Inter-Religious Centre making possible a new M.A.  in Indigenous and Inter-Religious Studies.

Purpose:
The purpose of this degree is to provide students with the opportunity to engage in research and writing at a singular nexus where three major monotheistic faith traditions meet North American indigenous traditions and vice versa. It will make available the unique resources of VST’s partner institutions, Iona Pacific (inter-religious) and Yuu hadaax (indigenous), in addition to VST’s core faculty to offer a distinctive academic experience, both intellectual and spiritual. The degree will prepare students to participate in an increasingly pluralistic world and equip them to meet the challenges of religious diversity.

Primary goals of the program:

  • 1. To enhance theological academic expertise that is interdisciplinary in nature and cross-cultural in expression.
  • 2. To foster innovative theological research, transcending comparative study, to develop integrative faith-based knowledge and skills which address critical local and global needs in such areas as ecology, conflict, colonialism and globalization.
  • 3. To acknowledge the historical and contemporary role of the indigenous North American spiritual and intellectual tradition(s) as a world religion.
  • 4. To equip people for engagement in indigenous and inter-religious community life.

Program content, duration and location

Content:
The program will enable students to study the heretofore largely unexplored interface among indigenous religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity and their application in the world. Through course work and integrating seminars, students will treat pedagogically matters which cross a number of spiritual and intellectual boundaries areas. 42 credit hours will be allocated among:

Foundational core courses
         Research methods 3 credits
         Pluralism/World Religions 3 credits
         Sacred texts 6 credits
         Spiritual formation in communities 3 credits
         Ritual and ceremony in communities 3 credits
Electives 6 credits
Integrating seminars 6 credits
Supervised field experience in Indigenous,
Christian, Jewish or Muslim communities
6 credits
Culminating assignment 6 credits

Duration

This degree is a 42-credit hour program and can be completed in the equivalent of two years of full-time study. However, if a student wishes to study part time, all courses required for this degree must be completed in seven years from the date of first registration. Students admitted may be credited for courses of up to fifty per cent of credits already completed elsewhere in satisfaction of the core requirements.
Proposed rotation of core courses offered over a two-year period means two or three would be available in any given academic term. For almost all students, the following would obtain:

Year One – core courses, electives and integrating seminar
Year Two – core courses, electives, integrating seminar and culminating assignment

Location
In most cases, at least one-half of the degree courses will be provided on VST’s main campus or at approved extension sites or in conjunction with web-based course delivery. It is anticipated that students will also be engaged in learning and research projects at off site locations which have the appropriate instructional, research and peer community resources consistent with and supportive of the student’s course of study.

Admission
Admission requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or the educational equivalent. For indigenous students, Yuu hadaax will be part of the assessment consultation. For others seeking recognition of equivalent experience or work, an assessment tool will be used.

Distinctive Resources
In addition to its own core and adjunct faculty, VST has available a range of resources for the program. The Iona Pacific Inter-religious Center offers expertise in the Abrahamic traditions and will bring Visiting Scholars, post-doctoral Fellows and other specialists to the degree courses. VST’s partnership with the Center for Indian Scholars, the Native Ministries Consortium and Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a makes available a number of traditional and academic educators in the field of indigenous knowledge. Proximity to Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and other Vancouver-area post-secondary institutions affords other research interactions.

Educational Evaluation
Students will have two options for their culminating evaluative exercise:

A Directed Studies project and oral examination
A 75 – 90 page thesis

Application and Reference Forms
IIS Degree Programs Application Form (60kb pdf file)
IIS Degree Programs Reference Form (24kb pdf file)

Please email the Admissions Office or contact them by phone at 604-822-0824 or 1-800-822-9031 extension 2 for more information about this program.

Master of Theology (Th.M.) in Indigenous and Inter-Religious Studies

Vancouver School of Theology continues its long standing partnership with First Nations communities and its new partnerships with inter-religious communities through Iona Pacific Inter-Religious Centre making possible a new Th.M. in Indigenous and Inter-Religious Studies.

This program is a post-graduate degree that provides students with opportunities to engage in advanced research and writing at a singular nexus where three major monotheistic faith traditions meet North American indigenous traditions. It makes available the unique resources of VST’s new Iona Pacific Inter-Religious Centre and partner institution Yuu hadaax (indigenous) in addition to VST’s core faculty, to offer a distinctive academic experience which is both intellectual and spiritual.

The degree provides students the opportunity to develop research methods and resources which could lead to further study at the doctoral level in this emerging field and prepare them to teach and/or minister in an increasingly pluralistic world.

The Th.M. in Indigenous and Inter-Religious Studies provides advanced study in areas such as indigenous religion and rights claims, truth and reconciliation processes among religious communities, inter-religious environmental ethics, and dimensions of religious pluralism in a global context.

Admission requires a Master of Arts or Master of Divinity degree from an accredited institution or the educational equivalent.

Please email the Admissions Office or contact them by phone at 604-822-0824 or 1-800-822-9031 extension 2 for more information about this program.