CTS - Certificate in Theological Studies

The Continuing Education Certificate in Theological Studies is a non-degree program for all who are interested in deepening their understanding of contemporary theological thought, through active engagement with the topics and theological disciplines explored in VST workshops and courses. As academic credit is not offered, an undergraduate degree is not required for enrollment.

Some denominations have special Certificate programs to support their lay leadership. Please inquire for more details.


Program Length
Distance Learning

Length of Program

The Certificate is granted at VST’s Convocation ceremony to students who successfully complete 12 credits of study. The Certificate program is generally undertaken part-time, although the program can be completed full-time in one term of study. Summer school continuing education credits can be used towards earning a Certificate. All course work must be completed within 8 years of beginning the Certificate program.


General Theological Studies
Courses from the foundations of each discipline in theological studies, including biblical study, the history of Christianity, theological studies, Christian ethics, Indigenous and Inter-religious studies, and spirituality can be taken to complete the Continuing Education Certificate in Theological Studies.

General Theological Studies with the Diocese of New Westminster’s Learning Centre for Mission and Formation
Students from the Diocese of New Westminster’s Learning Centre for Mission and Formation can complete a general program of 12 credits that includes foundational courses in biblical studies, theology, church history, denominational studies, ethics, and spirituality. For those wishing to focus on preparation for preaching, children and youth ministry, or pastoral and spiritual care, students may specialize in a particular track by including the following:

  • Specialization in Homiletics: 3 credits of preaching courses and additional 3 credits of biblical studies
  • Specialization in Children, Youth, and Families Ministries: see (https://vst.edu/programs/ccyfm/)
  • Specialization in Pastoral and Spiritual care: 6 credits of courses in Pastoral Theology

Indigenous and Inter-religious Studies
IIS studies at VST provide students with the opportunity to engage learning in a context where Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faith traditions meet North American Indigenous traditions and vice versa. For those desiring a concentration in Indigenous and Inter-religious Studies, this Continuing Education Certificate is made up of the following:

  • 3 credits in Inter-religious studies or studies in one of the monotheistic traditions
  • 3 credits in Indigenous studies
  • 6 additional credits in IIS courses or the Indigenous Studies Program summer school.*

*Indigenous Issues Workshop
All non-Indigenous certificate students who enroll in ISP summer school are required to participate in a workshop on indigenous issues, normally held on the first day of ISP summer school. There are no fees associated with the workshop.

Indigenous Studies
The Indigenous Studies Certificate is a non-degree program for students who are interested in deepening their understanding of Christianity and theological thought framed by the Indigenous context in which the learner is rooted. All 12 continuing education credits in this concentration are taken through study in the Indigenous Studies Summer School or Indigenous Studies MDiv extension courses delivered where extension students are living.

Note: Application to the Indigenous Studies Certificate is made to the Indigenous Studies Program office. 


Certificate courses are taught by VST faculty and visiting scholars from around the world, and most are courses in which Diploma and Degree students also participate. VST Academy courses are also eligible for Certificate credit.

One (1) credit is equal to approximately 10 hours of teaching time. Certificate credits can be completed through weekend classes (1 credit each); January Interterm and Summer School intensives (1.5 or 3 credits depending on length); and 12-week Fall and Spring term courses (3 credits).

Some restrictions may apply as to which courses may be taken for the Certificate program. Normally, any course numbered in the 100’s or 500’s can be taken to fulfill one or more credits in the Certificate program.

Please note: Certificate credits may not be transferred into VST’s diploma or degree programs.

Certificate course work expectations

  • All reading as assigned by instructor
  • Class participation and group work
  • 3-4 pages of writing per credit (i.e. a 1-credit workshop requires 3-4 pages of writing; a 1.5-credit intensive requires 5-7 pages; a 3-credit course requires 9-12 pages)

Written assignments should

  • Demonstrate the ability to thoughtfully engage the material and reading for the class
  • Give a personal reflection on the reading and material covered

Certificate courses will be evaluated on an Approved (APP) /Not Approved (NAPP) system. No letter grades will be given for the completion of certificate courses.


No prerequisites required.

Distance Learning

The Certificate in Theological Studies can be accomplished 100% by distance.