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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 towards doctoral studies. The twenty-credit program allows students to specialize in one of three streams:

Spiritual Care

This stream prepares students who wish to provide spiritual care in religious communities or public institutions. Students who complete units in Supervised Pastoral Education (SPE) are in compliance with criteria for membership within the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (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 counselor) 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)

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.

Worship and Preaching

This stream provides lay leadership in Christian communities. 


Program Summary 

Ten courses in Levels 1 and 2, for a total of 20, with required Emmanuel College Core Courses, Designated Electives, Open Electives and colloquia. Full-time course work 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. 

Interreligious Foci 


The Christian Focus is available in all three streams: Spiritual Care, Social ServiceWorship and Preaching. 

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.

MPS Student & Graduate Testimonials

Orev Reena Katz Emm 2T0: A Sound Path to Chaplaincy
Orev Reena Katz Emm 2T0: A Sound Path to Chaplaincy

Chaplain Orev Reena Katz was drawn to Emmanuel for its “multi-faith stream” and its “wonderful sense of community and social justice.” Not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of her time as a Master of Pastoral Studies student and maximizes the training she received through earning a certificate in spiritual care and psychotherapy. “I use what I learned every single day I work,” she says. And, it was thanks to Emmanuel College that Katz met people working in the prison system in spiritual care—people who inspired her career path and who she now counts as both lifelong colleagues and friends.

“I had a very odd educational path,” she says. “I am a unique, queer being, and when I was 18 it was clear to me I didn’t want to go to university.” Katz had left Canada, lived in Spain for a time, and then moved out west to work for a radio station in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). Her exploration of sound and performance were honed there while performing in feminist rock bands, and even playing in Klezmer bands. Creating sound and the act of listening were creative processes, and she delved into building sound sculptures exhibited in galleries including pitch_patch_pulse at Nuit Blanche in 2010. This work culminated in a Master of Fine Arts from New York City’s Parsons School of Design. Her thesis explored listening and empathy.

“Yet I had the inability to make a consistent income,” admits Katz, who became aware of the precariousness of teaching art while at the same time being an ordained Jewish priestess. She decided to pursue a certificate in clinical pastoral education as a means to extend her study of listening and the body. She did a nine-month placement at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health followed by one in corrections in Minnesota. “All of these experiences shifted the direction of my career, and fermented my listening practice as being about relationships and less about the arts,” says Katz. She pursued a year of post-secondary education at another university before her transfer to Emmanuel College. Here she completed her Master of Pastoral Studies.

There was a standout moment in her time at Emmanuel. In her own words, Katz says, “There’s an amazing group of Buddhist students at Emmanuel College, mostly women, who have formed a student group. They were interested in exploring spiritual care in prisons and put together a panel. The panel was multifaith, but rooted in Buddhism. We delved into the idea of the mind as a prison—how to break through the view of incarcerated people as bad people who are worthless. We talked of using meditation and mindfulness to overcome these stigmas. Two of the speakers were employed at federal prisons and I was invited to moderate the event held in the chapel at Emmanuel. The experience was touching, honest, authentic.”

Spiritual care is a crucial part of working with incarcerated people who have minimal access to resources. It is deeply nourishing to work with people who are aware of their journey of transformation. At Emmanuel, she “deepened relationships with fellow chaplains and witnessed the blessings of the knowledge circulating in community.”

Since November 2020, the pandemic has been hard on tradition- or faith-specific chaplains who have been deemed non-essential. Spiritual care hasn’t been prioritized. Katz has pivoted into work that is far more psychotherapy-based. At the moment she is engaging with youth in the Toronto area who are at risk or involved in extremist hate groups like the Proud Boys, QAnon and Incel. “There are a lot of young people online who are engaging in this material and end up committing violent crimes,” says Katz. “I work with a team of five therapists and clinical managers doing prison-diversion work in a circle of care on the level of mental health. We support families and care givers to create a space where these youth are not drawn to extremism. It is incredibly rewarding.”

Katz led a webinar entitled Correctional Chaplaincy: Spiritual Care in the Inverted Temple on Thursday, February 4, 2021. If you missed it, you can watch the recording which is available on Emmanuel College's Facebook page.