Admissions

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VST admits qualified students to its programs of study regardless of age, colour, gender, sexual orientation or preference, national or ethnic origin, religious affiliation, or disability. VST does not discriminate on the basis of any of these in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, bursaries or other programs administered by the School.

Application Procedures

An application form must be completed. It is available on-line in the Application for Admission. Paper application forms are available from the Admissions Office by phone at 604-822-0824 or By Email.

To apply to our diploma and degree programs, please submit a completed Application for Admission to the Admissions Office and include the following. Program specific requirements for admission can be found in the Application for Admission forms. Please note: If sending your application materials via email attachment, the size of the attachments must be less than 10MB (10,000KB) in total.

Please note there is a $75.00 non refundable application fee to be paid as part of the degree program application. Applications will not be considered until the fee is paid.

To apply to the Certificate in Theological Studies, please click here. There is a $25 non refundable application fee for Certificate applicants.

Application Dates

• Applicants without a baccalaureate degree applying to a MDiv or MATS program must apply by March 15th to be considered for admission.
• Applicants wanting to be considered for VST Scholarships must apply by March 15th
• Applicants expecting to apply to VST student housing must apply by March 15th. Housing applications should be completed in early March.
• The latest date to submit an application for Admission in September is July 1st
• Applicants intending to begin studies in January must apply no later than October 15th

Application Requirements

Applicants to VST programs should have a general understanding of persons, society, culture and religion, as well as a reasonable ability to read philosophical and theological writing with comprehension. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to write in clear and correct English. If a student encounters difficulties in any of these areas, the student should anticipate taking longer to complete the program.

Bachelor’s Degree – Applicants to diploma or degree programs should normally hold a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from a college or university holding membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada or accredited by a regional association in the United States, or a degree that, in the judgment of the Admissions Committee, is of equivalent standing. Under special circumstances, some mature students may be admitted without a first degree.

Applicants without a first degree - VST will consider applications from applicants without a baccalaureate degree only if it is sufficiently demonstrated that the applicant is fully capable of graduate level work. While VST’s sponsoring denominations have their own stipulations for candidates for ordination without a baccalaureate degree, applicants for admission in this category must normally fulfill the following requirements:

• Minimum age: 30
• Have completed the equivalent of at least two years of study in a university arts program, with a ‘B’average. In some instances, the Admissions Committee permits students to register if they have one year of arts degree credits.
• Submit, along with their application, a 500 word supplement explaining how experience, vocational training, and education have prepared them for graduate theological studies
• Students applying to the M.Div. degree program without a first degree (B.A. or equivalent) must already be accepted as candidates for ministry in their respective denominations. Applicants may be granted permission to register in up to three courses/term prior to full admissions if they can demonstrate that they are well into the process of becoming full candidates and have completed all or most of their VST application file.

Certain applicants without a baccalaureate degree may be granted probationary admission only (see below)

English as a Foreign Language level – Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that they can read, write and speak in English at a graduate level. An Internet Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) must be completed and the results should be provided with the student’s Application for Admission form. An overall band score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component of the academic IELTS test is required for admission. The minimum TOEFL score required for admission to VST is 80 for Diplomas, M.Div. and M.A.T.S. degrees, and 90 for Th.M. and Ph.D with the following breakdown:

Basic Degrees:
minimum composite total 80
Reading: minimum 22
Listening: minimum 20
Speaking: minimum 18
Writing: minimum 20

Advanced Degrees:
minimum composite total 90
Reading: minimum 24
Listening: minimum 22
Speaking: minimum 20
Writing: minimum 24

An applicant with the minimum composite score but performing below the minimum in any of the subject areas may be admitted, but required to do additional work in the area of deficiency, or given probationary admission until the completion of a successful term of study.

Internet-based TOEFL testing can be done at most universities.

Application to the Master of Theology (Th.M) degree program - The following are required for admission to the Master of Theology program:

• A Masters level degree in theological study (MDiv, MATS, etc)
• Normally, reading knowledge of at least one modern language appropriate to the proposed field of study in addition to English
• Competency in biblical language or languages (for biblical work)
• A sufficient mastery of any other ancient or modern language required for the thesis topic

Admissions Categories

Where an applicant does not meet all the requirements for unconditional admission to one of VST’s degree programs, the following Admissions categories may apply:

• Conditional Admission: Under special circumstances, applicants may be admitted while certain official documents are still outstanding. The outstanding documents must be sent by the end of the student’s first term of study. Failure to submit the outstanding documents will cause the conditional admission to be revoked. Conditional admission will be changed to unconditional admission once the outstanding documents have been received and evaluated as satisfactory.
• Probationary Admission: Under exceptional circumstances, applicants may be granted probationary admission despite an academic record below normal entrance expectations. Students so admitted will be permitted to register for a maximum of 9 credits in their first term and may be required to take a graduate student writing workshop (typically through UBC) at their own expense and without academic credit. The probationary status will be removed on the condition that an approved grade is received in the student’s first 9 credits. If any courses are Not Approved in the first term, the student may be required to withdraw from studies at VST or continue under Academic Probation for another term (see Supplementary Calendar/Student Handbook for more information on Academic Probation). It is the policy of the School not to grant probationary admission to students coming from outside of Canada.

Additional Application Information and Requirements

Master of Divinity Degree
Candidates must have a clergy person from their denomination as one of the three references when applying.

Native Ministries Programs
The choice of suitable candidates for this program is made by the local community and the appropriate denominational authorities. The community or congregation covenants to support and guide the candidate. The denominational authorities undertake sponsorship of the candidate and financial responsibility for the training.

Applicants must provide clear evidence of sponsorship by the appropriate ecclesiastical body. This body must demonstrate that the student is preparing for ministry with First Nations people or is already exercising such ministry. This could take the form of a First Nations congregation, a mixed or integrated congregation or an urban-based ministry. Applications must be accompanied by a signed covenant from the student’s ecclesiastical authority. This covenant indicates that the denomination is prepared to provide the student with the necessary support to pursue the degree program.

All applications are handled directly by the Native Ministries Program Office. For more information, contact the office by phone at 604-822-9480 or By Email.

Click here to view and download the application form.

Diploma in Denominational Studies: Special Student Status
Students requiring denominational studies at the request of their denomination may complete the Diploma as special Students?and do not have to go through the regular admissions procedure at VST. Special Students in this case are those who have been required by their denominations to do a program in denominational studies and whose academic background and fitness for ministry have been assessed by the denominational authorities. A student must complete the regular admission process if he or she is not required to complete the Diploma by the denomination. Contact the Registrar at 604-822-9563 or By Email for details and a Special Student application form.
For students completing a program of study required by their judicatory that is less than 12 credit hours, recognition of their completed program of study will be by letter from the Registrar. For students completing a program of study required by their judicatory that is 12 or more credit hours, a Certificate of Study will be granted by the School at Convocation as per the usual process.

Applicants from Outside Canada

International students are an important part of the community at VST. Students come from many different regions of the world and bring with them their unique perspectives. This diversity offers valuable insights both inside and outside of the classroom and greatly enhances the VST community.

Documentation
Applicants who do not have Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status in Canada will require certain documentation such as a Study Permit before beginning a program of study in Canada. These documents must normally be obtained from a Canadian consular office outside Canada. Unless the student is a resident of the United States, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon or Greenland at which point they can be applied for at the Port of Entry into Canada. Students should contact the Canadian Embassy or Consulate nearest their residence about admission to Canada. This contact should be made as early as possible, as the time needed to process a visa can vary depending on the visa office.

Other sources of information are: the Study Permit Guide on the Internet from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and their call centre at 1-888-242-2100 (within Canada only).

Financial Independence
All students from outside Canada must give evidence at the Canadian border that they have been admitted to the School as students and that they have adequate means of financial support without being employed while they are in Canada.

The list of acceptable documentation and level of assets required is available here from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Employment
Full-time students from outside Canada may accept on-campus employment, though not more than 12 hours per week is recommended. Spouses must have Authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Canada if they wish to seek employment.

View the Work Permits for Spouses and Common Law Partners Guide from Citizenship and Immigration Canada or contact your nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate (if outside of Canada) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada at the telephone number listed above once in Canada.

Customs
A regulation of the Canada Border Services Agency states that household goods and motor vehicles are subject to customs control while a student is studying in Canada. This policy may necessitate the payment of a refundable deposit. Students applying for student visas should make additional inquiries from Canada Border Services. Visit the Canada Border Services Agency to see the Complete List.

Medical Insurance
International students may apply for medical insurance under the BC Medical Services Plan as soon as they arrive in British Columbia. They will need to provide copies of their admissions and visa documents. Medical coverage will begin three months from the date of arrival in BC as long as students apply as soon as they arrive. International students should arrange for private medical insurance for travellers for the first three months of their stay in BC.

For a Medical Services Plan application, visit the BC Medical Services Plan Registration Website. The AMS Health and Dental Plan required for all VST students is in addition to, not a substitute for, the basic MSP coverage.

Applicants from Other Institutions, Transfer credit and Advanced Standing

Students who have studied at the graduate level in another theological college or seminary may qualify to transfer credit hours into their VST program. As part of their application procedure, these students must:

  • Fulfill all requirements for admission;
  • Complete their usual procedures for admission;
  • Present transcripts of marks from institutions previously attended, together with a letter of reference from the Dean or Registrar of the Institution last attended;
  • Present course outlines and syllabi, and any pertinent evaluations for the courses under question;
  • Be prepared to demonstrate skill and knowledge competencies

Decisions about the specific requirements for transfer students to complete a degree program at VST will be made in consultation with the student, the Registrar, and the appropriate faculty and Program Coordinators.

Vancouver School of Theology requires that at least 1/2 of the degree be completed at VST.

If a student has completed a Masters Degree before entering VST, up to half of the credit hours earned towards that first degree may be shared with the Masters degree being pursued at VST as long as this does not exceed 1/2 of VST’s degree requirements, and does not undermine the integrity and standards of the VST degree.

Students applying transfer credit through work competed elsewhere must have completed that work no more than seven years prior to admission to VST.

Advanced Standing

In a number of cases, a student may have completed course work at an undergraduate level and/or  through non-degree status experience or programs.  This work may not need to be duplicated at Vancouver School of Theology.

In these cases, VST may grant advanced standing through exemptions from certain courses.  This advanced standing may be granted in two ways:

  1. Without credit:  rather than be required to duplicate material, students may be exempted from particular course work and be required to take alternative courses to make up the required credit hours.  Ministerial or life experience does not qualify for academic credit, but may warrant exemption from a particular course or courses.
  1. With credit:  students may be given degree credit for non-graduate level course work if it can be determined by appropriate written and/or oral assessment that students have the knowledge, competence, or skills that would normally be provided by the specific courses for which they have been admitted with advanced standing.  Advanced standing with credit is  limited to 1/4 of the total credits required for a VST degree.

Admissions Appeal process
In the case where the applicant is not granted admission and chooses to appeal the decision of the Admissions committee, the applicant will proceed as follows:

  1. Contact the Dean of Studies and request elaboration of the reasons for the rejection of the application
  2. After reviewing that data, if an applicant wishes to continue he/she shall contact the Dean of Studies and request that the application be re-considered by the Admissions committee in light of the addition of new information;
  3. If the decision of the committee is still negative and the applicant wishes to proceed, she/he shall send a letter of appeal to the Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC). The Dean’s Advisory Council is a sub-committee of the Faculty Council and is the usual body to which all academic matters can be appealed.
  4. When a member of DAC has also been a part of the original admission committee decision-making process, that person shall be excused from DAC and a replacement for him/her named by Faculty Council.
  5. DAC shall review all written material and shall hear the appellant in person if that person so desires. Members of the Admissions committee who wish to be heard may also make a submission to DAC’s deliberations.
  6. Decisions of DAC are final with no further appeal possible in the VST system. However, this does not preclude the submission of a new application at some point in the future.