Apply to VST

VST is open to all who are qualified and interested in theological studies, both in the Christian traditions and in dialogue with inter-religious and Indigenous traditions, welcoming all denominations or religious backgrounds. Students with different personal commitments, whether in Christian denominations, other faiths, humanist or secular approaches, and from all over the world, study full and part time in VST’s academic programs. Our students represent a range of ages, experiences, cultures, backgrounds, and stages of life. This diversity is essential to the learning experience, adding richness and depth to projects and discussions. The core work of the school is theological education for Christian leadership, and the curriculum is shaped to fulfill our vision to educate and form Christian leaders.

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

Application
Application FAQ
Bachelor’s Degree Applicant
Masters of Theology Applicant
Applicant from another school
Applicant without first degree
Denominational Studies
Foreign Language Applicant
Applying outside of Canada
Admissions Categories
Admissions Appeal Process

Application

Degree & Diploma Program Application Requirements

  • Download Application Form
  • Submit Application Form to admissions@vst.edu or by mail
  • Pay application fee: $75 CAD (non-refundable)
  • Provide official transcripts from all post high-school education
  • Provide 3 letters of reference
  • Written personal statement and theological reflection
  • Academic paper and statement of intent (ThM & GDTS only)
  • IELTS or TOEFL score (if English is not your first language)

Certificate Program Application Requirements

Payment Options

  • Cheque by mail
    • Please make cheques to Vancouver School of Theology
    • Please write “Admissions” in the note
  • Interac e-Transfer to accounting@vst.edu
  • Credit card by phone, 604-822-3550
  • Online via Flywire (international students only)

 

Mailing Address

Admissions Office
Vancouver School of Theology
6015 Walter Gage Road
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z
Canada
604-822-0824 | admissions@vst.edu

Application Dates

  • Applicants without a baccalaureate degree applying to a Diploma or Basic Degree Program (MDiv or MA) 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 St. Andrew’s Hall student housing must apply by March 15th. Housing applications should be completed in January or early February.
  • 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.

VST Vision, Mission & Values and Degree Competencies

Applicants to the MDiv, MAPPL, MATS and MA IIS degrees must submit as part of their Personal Statement, a reflection on how VST’s Vision, Mission & Values, as well as the defined competencies or outcomes for the program into which they are applying, intersect with their own educational and/or vocational goals. Please read the appropriate pages below before writing your Personal Statement:

Application FAQ

I am an Applicant with a 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 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 difficulty in any of these areas, the student should anticipate taking longer to complete the program.

I am a Master of Theology (ThM) Applicant

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

I am an Applicant from Another School

Transfer Credit
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 for 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 VST.

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

Without credit: rather than be required to duplicate material, students may be exempted from certain 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 specific course or courses.

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.

I am an Applicant without a First Degree

The Continuing Education Certificate program does not require a first degree for admission.

VST will consider applications to its diploma and basic degree programs 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 BA program, with a ‘B’ average. In some instances, the Admissions Committee permits students to register if they have one year of B.A. 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 MDiv degree program without a first degree (BA.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 admission 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 Admissions Categories).

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 difficulty in any of these areas, the student should anticipate taking longer to complete the program.

I am a Diploma in Denominational Studies Applicant

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 denomination to do a program in denominational studies and whose academic background and fitness for ministry have been assessed by the denominational authorities. The exact number of credit hours, and the exact course requirements are determined by the student’s denominational body in conversation with VST’s appropriate Director of Denominational Studies. In all cases, the Diploma is at minimum 18 credit hours, but may involve more than this.

A student must complete the regular admission process if they are not required to complete the Diploma by the denomination. Contact the Registrar for details and a Special Student application form.

Registrar’s Office
604-822-9563
registrar@vst.edu

For students completing a program of study required by their judiciary that is less than 18 credit hours, recognition of their completed program of study can be requested, normally by letter from the Registrar.

I am an English as a Foreign Language Applicant

English is the language of instruction at VST. 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, MDiv and MATS degrees, and 90 for ThM and PhD 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 be given probationary admission until the completion of a successful term of study.

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

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 difficulty in any of these areas, the student should anticipate taking longer to complete the program.

I am an Applicant 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 of Canada. If the student is a resident of the United States, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon or Greenland, they may apply for their Study Permit at the Port of Entry into Canada, as long as all their documents are in order. 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 of 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 from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Employment
Full-time students from outside of Canada may accept on or off-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 Students Guides 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 for more information.

Medical Insurance
International students may apply for medical insurance under the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) as soon as they arrive in British Columbia and 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 immediately upon arrival. International students should arrange for private medical insurance for travelers for the first three months of their stay in BC. For a Medical Services Plan application, visit the BC Medical Services Plan website.

The AMS Health and Dental Plan required for all VST students is in addition to, not a substitute for, the basic MSP coverage.

Admissions Categories

Accepted

Student successfully admitted to the program to which they applied.

 

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.

Admissions Appeal Process

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 and request elaboration of the reasons for the rejection of the application
  2. After reviewing that data, if an applicant wishes to continue, they shall contact the Dean and request that the application be re-considered by the Admissions committee in light of the applicant’s addition of new information that addresses the reasons for the rejection;
  3. If the decision of the committee is still negative and the applicant wishes to proceed, they 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 Admissions Committee decision-making process, that person shall be excused from DAC and a replacement for them named by the Faculty Council.
  5. DAC shall review all written material and shall hear the appellant in person if they so desire. 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 in future.

Plagiarism is unacceptable academic behaviour, including plagiarism found on application materials. Any applicant whose application materials are found to include plagiarism will be immediately eliminated from consideration for admission.