Dr. Stephane Saulnier
Newman Theological College will launch two new theology programs this fall aimed at giving students with a high school education a solid grounding in theology.
The certificate of theology is a 30-credit (10 courses) program. The diploma of theology is a 60-credit (20 courses) program.
The programs are intended to give students a basic understanding of theology for personal interest, as a component in preparation for ministry or in preparation for further study.
This coming academic year all courses offered as part of the certificate of theology will be "dual delivered," which means that there will be on-campus classes as well as an online class for each of the same courses.
Students who are older than 30 and who want to take the programs can also can gain admission once they complete their Grade 12 English.
Dr. Stephane Saulnier, associate professor at Newman College, said he hopes to eventually extend this mode of operation to most of the programs.
"These programs are exciting additions to the panoply of theology programs currently offered by the college. They are theology programs in their own right, as well as stepping stones to further theological education," explained Saulnier.
Someone interested in starting a theology program at an undergraduate level, and unsure whether to commit to a full 90-credit (30 courses) bachelor of theology, might want to start with the 10-course certificate of theology, which offers solid introductory foundation in history, Sacred Scripture, systematic theology and pastoral theology.
This program may be taken fully online on a part-time basis over two years.
Upon completion of the certificate of theology, a student may take the option of transferring all 30 credits into the diploma of theology, in which case the student would only need to take the remaining 10 courses to obtain the diploma of theology.
"An obvious advantage I see with starting with the certificate of theology is that students can start with more manageable assignments, as the assignments in courses allow for level differentiation," said Saulnier.
"This is a great way to develop initial study and writing skills and build on those as one goes. The greater demands of the diploma and bachelor levels would provide further opportunities for academic development."
Yet another option is for a person to register directly into the diploma of theology, which can be taken either full-time or part-time, on-campus or online, or as a combination of both.
The student would start with the introductory courses that are common to all programs and would then move on to the remaining courses. This option allows for greater flexibility in accessing a variety of courses once the introductory courses have been completed.
Saulnier said that this would be quite appealing to students who are already confident in their academic ability.
With a full diploma of theology, someone would have a solid grounding in most areas of theological studies, and would be well on their way to developing further analytical skills necessary for advanced study in theology.
Still offered will be Newman's full bachelor of theology program (30 courses, 90 credits), which boasts a significant number of graduates currently in key positions in the Church throughout Western Canada. Graduates find work as diocesan faith formation coordinators, pastoral assistants and lay chaplains in various institutions.
Saulnier indicated that this is a tried and tested program which the introduction of the certificate of theology and the diploma of theology programs will make more accessible.
"Dual delivery (courses offered on campus and online) allows us to make our programs far more accessible to all. Gone are the days when a student at a distance would embark on a program not knowing when they might be able to complete," said Saulnier.
People who completed a number of modules on the certificate of Catholic studies at Newman College are able to transfer up to six elective credits into the certificate of theology.
More information on the two programs is available on the college's website, www.newman.edu.