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Equipping Interreligious Spiritual Leaders

The MPS program equips individuals with the skills to make a difference in their community, developing knowledge in the areas of ethics, spirituality, faith and inter-religious dialogue. It prepares individuals for competent leadership in their chosen area of specialization.

An MPS degree from Emmanuel College provides the theological and spiritual grounding necessary to become wiser and more effective spiritual leaders. 

The Master of Pastoral Studies (MPS) is a professional and terminal degree, which means it does not directly lead toward doctoral studies. The 20-credit program allows students to specialize in one of two streams:

Spiritual Care

This stream prepares students who wish to provide spiritual care and counselling in religious communities or public institutions. Graduates of the MPS who complete basic units in Supervised Psychospiritual Education (SPE) are in compliance with the criteria for associate membership with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC). Those with advanced SPE units may also meet Certified Spiritual Care Practitioners and Certified Psycho-Spiritual Therapist certification requirements with CASC.

Within the Spiritual Care stream, students have the option to apply for admission to the MPS, Certificate in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy (SCP). This certificate provides training for spiritual care and psychotherapy as a spiritual care practitioner (chaplain) in public institutions like hospitals and prisons or as a psycho-spiritual therapist (pastoral counsellor) in counselling centres or other contexts.

This stream prepares students for entry into advanced training toward Specialist certification in the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC) and is a recognized educational training program for qualifying membership in the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). It is strongly recommended that students familiarize themselves with the regulations of the province in which they plan to practice psychotherapy and spiritual care.

Space is limited in the Certificate stream and meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission. Students not formally registered in the Certificate in Spiritual Care & Psychotherapy can still register independently with the CRPO.

Social Service

This stream provides leadership training in religious or secular social service agencies.



Program Summary 

Ten courses in Levels 1 and 2, for a total of 20, with required Emmanuel College Core Courses, Designated Electives and Open Electives. Full-time coursework can typically be completed in two years. The degree may be completed on a part-time basis, and up to eight years are allowed for completion. 

Multi-religious Foci 


The Christian Focus is available in these streams: Spiritual Care, Social Service

Foundational Faith Courses Include:

Old Testament I

New Testament I

History of Christianity I 

Theology I

Christian Ethics in Context



The Muslim Focus is available in the Spiritual Care stream and the Social Service Stream.

Foundational Faith Courses Include:

Surat al-Baqara (Qur’an I)

Biography and Thought: Study of the Life of Muhammad

Islamic Thought: Classical Age or Modern Age

Religious Thought and Spirituality in Islam

Law, Ethics, and Society


The Buddhist focus is offered in the Spiritual Care stream.

Foundational Faith Courses Include:

History of Buddhist Traditions

Foundational Tenets and Practices of Buddhism

Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation or Buddhist Meditative Traditions

Classic Buddhist Texts 

Buddhist Ethics

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Pastoral Studies program will be able to demonstrate 

  • Knowledge of sacred texts, religious history, religious-based ethics, tenets, and thought of one or more religious tradition(s) in correlation with theories of social sciences that are relevant to professional practice.
  • Evidence of sustained reflection on spiritual and professional identity formation in intercultural and interfaith contexts, in relation to specialized practice.
  • Development of skills, gifts, and arts of professional practice, grounded in appropriate theories, for leadership in institutional, community and other settings.