The purpose of this post-graduate degree is to provide students with the opportunity to engage in
advanced research and writing at a singular nexus where three major monotheistic faith traditions
meet North American indigenous traditions. It will make available the unique resources of
VST’s partner institutions, Iona Pacific (inter-religious) and Yuuhadaax (indigenous), in addition
to VST’s core faculty to offer a distinctive academic experience, both intellectual and spiritual.
The degree will provide 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.
Primary goals of the program:
1. To enhance advanced theological academic expertise that is interdisciplinary in nature,
cross-cultural in expression and engages with a world of religious complexity.
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.
Program content, duration and location
The program will enable students to study the heretofore largely unexplored interface among
indigenous religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Through course work and integrating
seminars, students will treat pedagogically matters which cross a number of spiritual and
intellectual boundaries areas. 24 credit hours will be allocated among:
Integrating seminar 3 credits Advanced textual or oral narrative study 3 credits Language 6 credits Senior electives, including independent study options 6 credits Culminating assignment 6 credits
All electives must be in the fields of inter-religious and indigenous studies.
All work for any course undertaken as a part of the Th.M. program must be completed within
one month of the end of the term in which the student registered for the course.
Each candidate must demonstrate a sufficient mastery of the indigenous, ancient or modern
language required for the culminating assignment before that assignment is undertaken.
This degree is a 24-credit hour program and can be completed in the equivalent of one year of
full-time study. However, if a student wishes to study part time, all courses required for this
degree must be completed in five 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.
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 requires a Master of Arts or Master of Divinity degree from an accredited institution
or the educational equivalent.
Distinctive Resources Needed
In addition to its own core and adjunct faculty, VST has available the necessary 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
Students will have three options for their culminating evaluative exercise:
A Directed Studies project and oral examination
A 90 – 120 page thesis (22,500-30,000 words)
A publishable article
Please contact the Admissions Office for more information about this program:
1-800-822-9031 extension 2