Master of Arts in Public and Pastoral Leadership (M.A. PPL)

Specialization in Spiritual Care

The concentration in Spiritual Care is designed for those intending to pursue vocations as spiritual care
practitioners in settings such as health care facilities, prisons and correctional facilities. This
specialization has been designed to be in sync with the BC provincial government framework standards as
well as the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care certification requirements. Within 18 months students
can meet the BC standards requirements and within 24 months students can meet all CASC academic and
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) requirements leading to certification (excepting post graduate work
experience ).

This program provides an integrated approach to learning in which pastoral studies are intentionally
integrated with clinical experience in therapeutic methods. Student/interns are immersed into the modern
health care team context and learn the pastoral leadership skills essential to ministering within an
institutional setting. All students must pass a readiness interview with one of the VST adjunct faculty
CPE supervisors prior to being accepted into the program. Persons wishing to enroll should be aware of
the emotional rigor that is part of CPE and be prepared for focusing full time on their studies if they wish
to complete the program in the time framework outlined below.

Length of Program: As a concentration within the larger MA PPL degree, this program likewise carries
48 credit-hours of study. The concentration can be completed in two full-time years of academic and
practical study, which includes a full-time Clinical Pastoral Education Unit over the summer months
following a student’s first full-time year of theological studies. Those wanting to complete a 4th CPE unit
for certification as a Specialist with CASC will either need to have completed it prior to admission in the
program, or in the summer months following the 2nd year of full-time studies. 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

Concentration Requirements:
Theological Core: (students from religions other than Christianity may substitute some of these courses for
courses in their own tradition. It is up to the student to find these substitutions and have them approved through the
Registrar’s office)

  • TH500 – Constructive Theology (3)
  • ETH500 – Introduction to Christian Ethics (3)
  • Religious Pluralism or course in a tradition other than one’s own (3)
  • HB500 – Introduction to Hebrew Bible (3 credits)
  • One of NT500 – Synoptics or
    • NT501 – Paul (3 credits)
  • One of HIS500 Christianity and Judaism in Greco-Roman Antiquity or
    • HIS600 Canadian Church History Seminar (3)

Pastoral Identity, Leadership, and Spiritual Care Practice:

  • PT500: Spiritual and Theological Foundations for Public and Pastoral Leadership (3)
  • PT651/652: Public and Pastoral Leadership Studio I & II (6)
  • CPE Basic Unit 1 with directed studies in Pastoral Identity (6)
  • CPE Basic Unit II with directed studies in Professional Ethics (6)
  • CPE Advanced Unit I with directed studies in Leadership in Pluralistic contexts (6)


  • 3 Units of Theological Field Education:
    • TFE1: Exploration (taken in preparation for the Studio course)
    • TFE2a: Studio Part 1 (taken alongside PT651) in a faith-community setting
    • TFE2b: Studio Part 2 (taken alongside PT652) in a faith-community setting

Open Elective: 3 credits in any area of study (a 4th CPE unit can be completed here for those desiring certification as a Specialist with CASC)

Additional tuition fees for CPE units:
The total cost of this program is higher than the other streams due to the 6 – 1 student – CPE supervisor
ratio and other factors associated with the costs of running a clinical program. Some bursaries are

Culminating Assignment
The final requirement for graduation in the MA-PPL will be a capstone project and presentation (see below) or one of the following alternatives:

  • Students completing an MA PPL toward a vocation in ministry may, with support from theirDirector of Denominational Formation, petition the PPL committee to write a position paper on ministry (see M.Div requirements);
  • Students wishing to continue academic study after completing the MA PPL may petition the Research Studies Committee to write a thesis (worth 6 credits – see MATS requirements)

The final requirement is normally done in the student’s final year or semester of study.

Capstone Project and Presentation Description
The Capstone Project is an opportunity for students to complete their MA PPL degree by addressing a
practical, real world leadership challenge or opportunity using the skills and knowledge they have gained
throughout their program of study. The Capstone Project and Presentation provides opportunity for
students to synthesize and apply their knowledge and experiences from their whole program. It helps
them to negotiate successfully the transition to the next stage of their career, whether to the workplace or
further study.