Theological Studies Handbook

This Handbook is a resource for MTS students, faculty, and staff. It introduces the people, partnerships, policies, and procedures that guide and support students in this program at Waterloo and Grebel. 

General Information | Prospective and New Students | Enrolment and Courses | Finances | Research Paper and Thesis | Community Life | Services and Resources | Important Dates

General Program Information

Welcome to Theological Studies

I am very pleased to welcome you to the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program at Conrad Grebel University College and the University of Waterloo.

We hope that you are excited to be entering a new adventure in learning, a graduate program where you will be encouraged to reflect on your own tradition and explore new directions. You are entering a learning community whose diversity is its strength. A variety of denominational traditions and beliefs are represented. There are people of different ages, genders and sexual orientations, with differing abilities, backgrounds and cultures. The life history of our students is also varied, coming from a wide range of workplaces and academic backgrounds. We strive to create an environment where all can thrive, and learn from each other.

You will have the opportunity to participate in lively classroom discussions. You will spend time in the library, reading and researching. You will hone your writing and presentation skills as you develop your own theology. Some of you may enter supervised experiences in ministry, where you explore callings to ministry in the church. We hope that learning continues for everyone outside the classroom, where you make connections that will last long after you complete this program of studies.

Conrad Grebel is a college within the University of Waterloo. It has its own distinctive identity and mission that is rooted in its Christian identity and its Anabaptist/Mennonite heritage. The mission of the College is to “seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.” 

The MTS program’s own purpose, within the College’s mission, is: “The mission of the Theological Studies program is to educate, equip, and form students through biblical, theological, historical, and pastoral study of Christianity in an Anabaptist-Mennonite and ecumenical context, for service to church and society.” A series of learning objectives emerge from this mission (after table of contents). I invite you to reflect on the mission statement and learning goals regularly over the coming months and years.

This Handbook is a resource for MTS students, faculty, and staff. It introduces the people, partnerships, policies, and procedures that guide and support students in this program at Waterloo and Grebel. It is also a work in progress and I welcome any comments about how it might be improved.

We look forward to having you in the TS department, and hope that you will grow in wisdom and faith through our program, coming to a deeper knowledge of Jesus, who is our saviour and our guide.

Carol Penner

Director of Theological Studies, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies

Overview of the Program

The mission of the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program is to educate, equip, and form students through biblical, theological, historical, and pastoral study of Christianity in an Anabaptist-Mennonite and ecumenical context, for service to church and society.

Graduates of the MTS program will:

  1. Demonstrate skills in effective communication.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of Christianity from a variety of disciplinary, theological, contextual, and experiential perspectives.
  3. Engage scholarship in the relevant fields of theological studies through research and critical analysis of primary sources and contemporary scholarly debates.
  4. Interpret Christian texts and traditions in light of present contexts. 
  5. Engage issues of justice and peace, and attend to voices of the marginalized.
  6. Increase the capacity for intercultural competence.
  7. Nurture personal formation through practices such as self-reflection, openness to others, leadership training, faith development, and participation in a diverse community of learning.
  8. Enhance the capacity for life-long learning.

In addition to the common objectives, graduates of the Applied Studies option will:

  1. Demonstrate leadership and skills for specific ministry contexts.
  2. Cultivate self-reflective awareness of personal strengths, vocational call, and professional ethics.
  3. Develop the ability to apply research and critical thinking to a pastoral context.

In addition to the common objectives, graduates of the Thesis option will:

  1. Demonstrate conceptual and methodological competence in one particular area of theological studies.
  2. Develop a sustained written argument that is critically engaged with relevant scholarly sources.

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program at the University of Waterloo (UWaterloo) and Conrad Grebel University College (Grebel) is a two-year interdisciplinary program leading to a Master of Theological Studies degree.  It is designed for students preparing for further graduate studies in theology, professionals in ministry, or for personal enrichment. The program draws on the College’s academic strengths in Theology, Biblical Studies, and History of Christianity, to examine the beliefs and practices of Christianity and particularly the Anabaptist/Mennonite tradition. Students may also take courses from faculty with teaching and research expertise in Music, Mennonite Studies, and Peace and Conflict Studies.  

Contemporary study of Christian theology takes place in an ecumenical and inter-religious context. In the MTS program this is reflected in faculty research interests, courses, and the student body.

Program Options

Students will complete the program via one of three Options. While each option has somewhat distinct pedagogical goals, we strive to integrate students from each of the options in all courses.  The MTS is designed to provide all students with both theoretical and practical orientation within the broad discipline of Theological Studies:

Coursework Option

This provides students with a broad understanding of theological disciplines. It consists of coursework and a final research paper.  It is the most flexible option and is usually the best option for students entering from another discipline (especially if they are considering advanced graduate study in theology) or for those completing the program for personal enrichment.  Several graduates have moved from this option into doctoral studies. Students may begin in this option and decide to move to one of the other two options after they have completed several courses.


16 graduate level one-term courses (0.5 unit weight) including 4 core courses (8.0 unit weight credits total) and maintain a 75% average

4 Required Core Courses:

TS 600 – Thinking Theologically

TS 610 – Studying the Old Testament

TS 611 – Studying the New Testament

TS 640 – Mennonite Tradition in Historical Context


12 other TS or other approved graduate courses

Master’s Seminar Presentation Milestone Requirement

Applied Studies Option

This optionintegrates academic study and practical internships (Supervised Experience in Ministry). It is for students involved in or preparing for the practice of ministry. “Ministry” is broadly understood to include pastoral roles in congregations, chaplaincy in hospitals, prisons, or elder care facilities, or social service in agencies in varied settings. This option involves coursework, internships, and a capstone integrative project.


16 graduate level one-term courses (0.5 unit weight) including 4 core courses (8.0 unit weight credits total) and maintain a 75% average

8 Required Courses:

TS 600 – Thinking Theologically

TS 610 – Studying the Old Testament

TS 611 – Studying the New Testament

TS 640 – Mennonite Tradition in Historical Context

TS 677 – Church and Ministry

TS 678 – Supervised Experience in Ministry I

TS 679 – Supervised Experience in Ministry II

TS 783 – Theology and Practice of Leadership


8 other TS or other approved graduate courses*

Master’s Seminar Presentation Milestone Requirement

* Students preparing for ministry will want to consider taking the following courses:

TS 684 – Pastoral Care

TS 751 – Worship, Ritual, and Ministry

TS 755 – Preaching

TS 635 – Christian Ethics

Thesis Option

This is the most focused of the options and is usually taken by students preparing for advanced graduate studies in Theology, Biblical studies, or History of Christianity, or by those who already have a strong undergraduate background in theological studies. It involves coursework and research and culminates in a thesis. Students who have expressed an interest in writing a thesis will be guided through the process of confirming a thesis supervisor and preparing a thesis proposal, as outlined in section 8.2 “Thesis” of this Handbook. This will normally occur in the second full term of studies.  Students should not assume that completing a thesis will be less work than eight courses. The iterative nature of writing a thesis is very different from the requirements of coursework.


8 graduate level one-term courses (0.5 unit weight) including 4 core courses (4.0 unit weight credits total), the successful completion of a thesis, and maintain a 75% average

4 Required Core Courses:

TS 600 – Thinking Theologically

TS 610 – Studying the Old Testament

TS 611 – Studying the New Testament

TS 640 – Mennonite Tradition in Historical Context


4 other TS or other approved graduate courses


Master’s Thesis Proposal

Master’s Thesis (4.0 credits)

Master’s Thesis Submission

Core courses and other options

The core courses introduce students to the basic disciplines of theology, biblical studies, and history of Christianity and provide a foundation of knowledge for other courses and research projects. The four additional required courses in the Applied Studies option are formative for the practice of ministry. Additional courses from the TS program, as well as from other UWaterloo graduate programs, Ontario universities, or theological schools may be included in a student’s program of study with the approval of the student’s advisor. Normally no more than 25% of the courses required for the completion of any option may be completed outside the TS department. If transfer students bring in 25% or more course credits, they will normally not be able to take additional courses outside the MTS program.

The Univesrity of Waterloo, Conrad Grebel University College and the MTS Program

The Master of Theological Studies program and the MTS degree are offered conjointly by the University of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel University College. Students in the program are fully part of both the University and the College.

It is important that students applying to any graduate program in the University have a good understanding of the distinctive features of the program, the teaching and research interests of the faculty, the academic expectations, and the potential financial resources that may be available.  Potential students are strongly encouraged to contact the TS office well before completing a formal application through the University website. This makes it possible to clarify many important issues about the program, admission, funding, tuition, and courses early in the application process.

While most of the personal contact with the program will be through the TS office, all MTS students are fully UWaterloo graduate students.  All academic policies of the UWaterloo apply and all UWaterloo services available to graduate students are available to MTS students.

The TS office is based on the Grebel campus within the University of Waterloo and all classes are offered at the College. Grebel offers study space for graduate students in the College library.


Teaching Faculty at Conrad Grebel University College

TS Graduate Coordinator

Mariia Smyrnova


TS Director Applied Studies / Practical Theology

Carol Penner


New Testament

Alicia Batten



Jeremy Bergen


History of Christianity

Troy Osborne


Old Testament

Derek Suderman


Music and Worship

Kate Kennedy Steiner


Spirituality and Aging; Church and Ministry

Jane Kuepfer


Administrators at Grebel


Marcus Shantz



Troy Osborne


Director of Finance

Sara Cressman


Director of Advancement

Fred Martin



Chip Bender


Prospective and New Students


Potential MTS applicants are strongly encouraged to contact either the TS Director/Graduate Officer or the TS Graduate Coordinator via email or phone prior to applying online. Before making such an inquiry, applicants should review the admission process, UWaterloo information about graduate programs, Admission information, and the Application Requirements for the MTS program.  A personal contact with the MTS program at that stage provides an opportunity to discuss the applicant’s academic and theological background, areas of interest, how the program suits those interests, and which program option seems preferable.

Application Procedures

All applications to the MTS degree are made through an online application, through the UWaterloo Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs Office (GSPA). 

Once an application is formally initiated, the applicant is assigned a UWaterloo “Quest” account into which future documents are deposited and through which communication with the applicant takes place.

The application “documentation” process requires:

  • uploading official copies of all previous undergraduate and graduate transcripts;
  • completing the “Supplemental Information Form” outlining reasons for interest in the program, identifying the preferred program “Option”, and describing long term study and career aspirations;
  • providing three reference letters through the forms and links provided. Two of these should be from people competent to assess the candidate’s academic capacities and potential. For applicants to the Thesis Option at least two of the three references must be academic.

Students normally begin their program in the fall term, to enable them to participate in both University and College orientation programs, to complete required core courses, and to qualify for optimal funding support. In certain circumstances students may be permitted to begin in the winter term, but they should be aware that this will limit their program orientation, course selection, and access to financial aid.

Transfer Students

Students transferring from another graduate program will go through the same application process. The student should discuss potential transfer credits during the admission process. These can be approved once a student has matriculated. 

International Students

Students who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents pay a slightly higher tuition than Canadian students. There are a limited number of scholarships available to international students in any given year and students are responsible for other costs.  Costs for the MTS program are about $7,500 per year in tuition, fees, and academic expenses (books, etc.), and about $10,00-12,000 annually in living costs for a total annual cost of about $20,000. Students will need to have additional sources of income. This level of guaranteed funding must be certified before a student is granted a Canadian study visa.


Once a student has been admitted to the University and to the MTS program, regular communication with the TS Director/Graduate Officer or TS Graduate Coordinator is encouraged in preparation for the first term of study. Students will be assigned a faculty advisor.

Admission to an Option 

  • Most students are admitted to the Coursework Option, and for many this is the program that best meets their objectives. 
  • Students with an interest in the practice of ministry should contact the Coordinator of the Applied Studies Option during the admission process. If this is the Option they choose, the Coordinator will be their advisor.
  • Students interested in the Thesis Option will indicate this on their “Supplementary Information Form” as part of the application process.  The capacity of a student to undertake a large research and writing project, the compatibility of a proposed area of research with a faculty member’s expertise, and the availability of faculty members in the area of interest are among the factors that will be considered if the student confirms their interest in the Thesis Option during their first or second term in the program.  Once a thesis advisor has been confirmed and a thesis proposal is approved, the thesis advisor will become the student’s program advisor.

See the Admission page for more information.


Orientation at the University of Waterloo and Grebel

Orientation is important. University of Waterloo orientation modules take place virtually in the weeks prior to the start of classes. Program specific orientation is typically held during the week prior to the start of classes in Fall. Orientation is an opportunity to meet other graduate students and faculty, become familiar with facilities and services that are available, and have many questions answered.  Some events are organized by UWaterloo Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, Grad Students Association, and Faculty of Arts on the main campus.  Some events at Grebel are held with students entering the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program. Other events are designed specifically for new MTS students.  Participation is required for all new students, including those who may have begun courses in the previous winter term and those who have been admitted for the current year but have deferred their enrolment until the winter term.  Exceptions will be dealt with individually. Details for the day will be sent to students prior to the event.

Academic Integrity Module

Academic integrity is an integral part of academic research, teaching and learning. MTS students, as well as all other UWaterloo students and faculty, are expected to demonstrate academic integrity in their work. In order to assist students in understanding what academic integrity entails, and what constitutes academic misconduct (for example, plagiarism), all graduate students must complete the Academic Integrity Module (available on LEARN) in the first eight weeks of the program.

The Office of Academic Integrity has a number of useful online tools, including a tutorial for graduate students.

Waterloo ID and Online Platforms


The University of Waterloo Identity and Access Management (WatIAM) is the main online identification system of UWaterloo. WatIAm userIDs are used to access Quest, LEARN, and other platforms. Students’ userID and passwords are managed using the WatIAM system.

Two Factor Authentication

The University of Waterloo uses two-factor authentication (2FA) as an added layer of security to all University accounts. Verifying your identity using a second factor (like your phone or other mobile device) prevents others from accessing your accounts, even if they know your password. All students are required to set up 2FA to access their UWaterloo accounts.


Email is the primary means of communication at UWaterloo. All students are given a unique email address ( and are expected to check it for messages from the University and the MTS program.   


Registration and course enrolment are web-based functions at the University of Waterloo and can be accessed through a student's Quest account. Within Quest, a student can manage their University-related affairs, including finances, course enrolment, contact information, etc. Students access Quest with their WatIAM user id and password.   

Waterloo LEARN

LEARN is a web-based course management platform where students will find a UWaterloo course website, if there is one.  MTS instructors may use LEARN for a course to post articles and links, facilitate online discussions, send emails to students, and/or enter student grades.  Students access LEARN with their WatIAM user id and password.  For more information see LEARN Help.


A WatCARD is a library card and university identification card.  To learn how it can be used and where to get it, visit the WatCARD website.

All students need a WatCard. Once their status in Quest has changed to ‘matriculation’, they can apply for a WatCard from the WatCard office.

WatCards have many uses, including:

  • borrowing privileges from UWaterloo’s libraries on campus. 
  • access to the PAC (Physical Activity Complex) and computer labs
  • making payments for food on UWaterloo campus (not Grebel), as well as at some restaurants off-campus
  • making payments for printing and photocopying services
  • To use a WatCard in place of cash, students must add money to their account.  This can be done in person, or online.
  • WatCards are valid as a transit pass on all Grand River Transit (GRT) buses and light rail for full-time undergraduate and graduate students. Students need scan their valid WatCard when they board the bus. WatCards of part-time students are not valid as a transit pass. More information on using Watcards as a transit pass is available online.  Information on GRT routes and schedules is available online.

Connecting to campus Wi-Fi

Wifi is accessble on campus through the Eduroam network. Instructions on how to connect can be found the Information Services and Technology website.

Student Enrolment and Policies Regarding Courses

Full-time or part-time status

The MTS degree may be pursued on a full-time or a part-time basis.  Students are full-time if they are enrolled in three courses in Fall or Winter terms, and two courses in the Spring term.  Full-time students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents qualify for a full-tuition scholarship with some conditions.

Students may apply to the TS program for a reduction in the number of courses that constitutes full-time status, typically with supporting medical documentation. If this is granted, it does not increase the total number of terms that students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible for the full-time tuition scholarship.

Continous Enrolment

Students must either sign up for a course or fill out a “Change of Enrolment Status” form each term until their degree is completed.  Students who are not planning to take a course in a specific term must complete a “Change of Enrolment Status” form and indicate that they will be “inactive” that term. If they do not complete this form their file may be closed by the Registrar’s office and they will be required to re-apply to the program.  “Change of Enrolment Status” forms are also signed by students’ faculty advisors and the Director, so there should be some conversation between students and the TS faculty to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the reasons for the choice of status for the upcoming term.

If a student requests consecutive “inactive” terms, there should be a discussion between the student and the advisor to ensure that the program requirements can be met. According to GSPA, inactive status is normally approved for a maximum of two consecutive terms  during a graduate program. Students who request more than two consecutive terms of leave because they have other commitments such as a full-time job or travel plans, or where long-term illness has suspended activity in their program, should voluntarily withdraw until they are prepared to resume their studies. In advance of voluntary withdrawal, students must discuss with their department any conditions which must be met upon their readmission to their program.  Normally, students who have incomplete courses on their record are not eligible for inactive status.

“Change of Enrolment Status” forms can be found online.

Degree Timelimits and Extensions

The MTS degree should normally be completed within five years of first enrolment, over up to 6 terms of full-time study, 12 terms of part-time study, or some combination thereof. Exceptions will be dealt with on a case by case basis and will require a clear plan for completing the degree. Students who are beyond the term limit for the program are required to submit a request for program extension.  If students are “inactive” for more than two consecutive terms they may be asked to voluntarily withdraw from the program and reapply for admission when they are ready to resume studies. In such cases, students will not lose credits previously earned. In a new application to the program they will be expected to indicate how they are now ready to complete the program requirements.

Students writing a thesis will be expected to report to their advisor each term documenting their activity and progress and projecting what they will accomplish in the coming term. Students who are writing a thesis but are “inactive” for more than two consecutive terms will be required to petition the department for permission to continue on the thesis project. The petition should clearly define the status of the thesis, the reasons for the delay, and outline a plan to complete the project within the degree time limit.

Transfer Credits

Once a student has matriculated, and at any time during the program, a student may request that courses from another institution be transferred to the MTS program. Courses may be transferred only if taken at a graduate level, with a minimum of 70% and only if they have not been applied towards a degree or certificate. Students should consult with their advisor first and then the program director. Up to half of the required courses for the program can be transferred. If a student transfers courses from another institution, this may reduce the number of courses they may take at other institutions while in the MTS program. The total number of transferred credits plus courses taken elsewhere during the program cannot exceed half of the total required courses. Sometimes there are good reasons not to transfer the maximum number of courses.

Advanced Standing

The four core courses required in all options introduce students to various disciplines of study, methodologies, and academic skills. They also serve to develop a cohort identity among groups of students. There are good reasons for students to take these courses, even if there is some overlap of content from previous studies. However, students with extensive formal academic background in theological or religious studies may petition to take an alternate course in lieu of one or more core courses. If this petition is granted, an alternate course must be taken in the TS program, normally in the same disciplinary area (e.g. Theology, Old Testament, New Testament, or History of Christianity). There is no reduction in the overall number of course required for the degree. The granting of Advanced Standing (AS) is never automatic, even in cases where a student has graduate-level courses in the relevant area. Only in exceptional circumstances will advanced standing be granted for more than two courses. The process for obtaining AS is as follows:

  1. The student discusses the possibility of AS with their advisor. As part of this conversation, the student and advisor should review a recent syllabus of the core course in order to familiarize themselves with the content and approach.
  2. The student initiates a conversation with the faculty member who teaches the core course in question. The student will provide copies of syllabi of relevant courses they have completed. The instructor may choose to test the student’s knowledge in the form of an oral exam.
  3. The student addresses a letter to the TS Director requesting Advanced Standing. The letter should take into consideration the previous conversations, previous courses completed, and the specific content of the core course. It will also normally indicate an alternate course to be taken. The Director will bring this letter to the TS Subcommittee for decision. If the instructor of the core course will not attend the meeting at which this request is discussed, they should provide a written opinion to the committee.
  4. If approved, a signed form will be added to the student’s official file.

Course Selection and Enrollment

Selecting and Confirming Courses

All students have a faculty advisor. Before a term begins students must contact their advisors and receive approval for the courses they will enrol in during the coming term. The advisor will then send a confirmation of that agreement (usually a copy of an email exchange) to the TS Graduate Coordinator. This makes it possible to arrange proper financial aid, to monitor the student’s progress toward graduation, and to track course enrolment patterns. Once the TS Graduate Coordinator has been informed, students may enrol in their courses on Quest by following the instructions in the Quest system. TS Course descriptions can be found on the TS website.

Course Drop/Adds

For an up to date listing of Course Drop/Add Dates, as well as other important calendar events and academic deadlines, visit the Graduate Studies Calendar.

Participating Visitors

MTS students may be participating visitors in other MTS courses without payment of additional fees. Students must contact and receive permission from their advisor and the instructor teaching the class.  If the advisor has agreed and the instructor has approved their participation, they may contact the Administrative Assistant to the Dean and Academic Program who will send them a “Participating Visitor” form to complete for their records.

Incomplete "INC" Grades

All assessment components for a course should be completed during the term in which the course is taken. In extenuating circumstances such as illness, students may not be able to complete their course work during the enrolled term.  In this case, an instructor may grant a student extension for specific outstanding course element(s) using an incomplete course (INC) agreement. The student and the instructor will determine an appropriate timeline for completing the work, which must be approved by the student’s advisor. A completed INC Grade Agreement Form must be submitted before a grade of “INC” will be assigned. If the work is completed by the agreed-upon deadline, a revised grade is submitted.  If course work is not completed by the deadline, the INC grade will be changed to the current earned grade. Any extension to the agreed upon deadline requires the permission of the instructor, student’s advisor, and TS director.

Students with more than one “INC” grade will normally not be permitted to enroll in additional courses while they complete their INC courses and will not receive additional financial aid until the courses are satisfactorily completed. An INC cannot be granted in the final term of a student’s program.

An incomplete grade status (INC) submitted by an instructor may remain on a student's academic record for at most two terms of enrollment following the term in which the course was taken. A student may seek a one-term extension by submitting a petition to the course instructor and the Department prior to the end of the two terms.  If a grade has not been submitted by the end of the second term and an extension has not been granted, the INC will automatically convert to an FTC (failure to complete incomplete course work, no credit granted).  For average calculation, FTC value equals 0.  An FTC status may be reverted to an INC on the academic record only if a petition from the student is approved by the Department, Faculty, and the Associate Provost, Graduate Studies.  Such a petition is granted only in exceptional circumstances.

Taking Courses in Another Program or Institution

Students may take courses in other UWaterloo graduate programs, at any university across Ontario, or in another graduate theological program, with the approval of their faculty advisor and the TS Director.  Approval may not be given in cases were comparable courses are offered at Grebel.

the process is:

  1. Speak with your faculty advisor to ensure that the course is suitable for your program.
  2. Contact the instructor to learn more about the course and request permission to take the class. Usually faculty want to ensure that students have appropriate academic preparation for the course.
  3. Provide the information about the course and the faculty advisor’s approval to the TS Director.
  4. If the request to take the course is approved by the TS Director, send the course code, title, and institution’s name to the TS Graduate Coordinator, who will send a formal “request for permission”. Depending on the arrangement with the other institution, this may also involve the submission of Ontario Visiting Graduate Student (OVGS) application.
  5. If the arrangement with the other institution is to “pay fees at home institution,” then the student will be enrolled in a section of TS 692, and pay tuition at Grebel.  In some cases, Grebel will be paying tuition directly to the institution offering the course.  The normal limit for such arrangements is 3 courses per student.
  6. If the arrangement with the other institution is to “pay fees at visiting institution,” then the student is responsible to pay tuition and incidental fees directly and submit the receipt to the TS Graduate Coordinator.  This course will appear on transcripts as a transferred course.
  7. At the end of the term, ensure that a transcript with your grades from that institution is submitted either to the TS Office or to the UW Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs for transfer credit.

The Ontario Visiting Graduate Student (OVGS) plan allows a graduate student of an Ontario University (Home University) to take graduate courses at another Ontario university (Host University) while remaining enrolled at his/her own university. Students enrol and pay fees to their Home University and are classed as "Ontario Visiting Graduate Students" at the Host University.

The course(s) selected must be at the graduate level, there must be no comparable course(s) offered at UWaterloo and the course(s) must be required for the student's degree program. 

We have developed processes for students taking courses at institutions that do not fall within the OVGS program, including the Toronto School of Theology, Martin Luther University College, and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, but students may take courses at other institutions as well.

An overview of information and procedures for students interested in completing a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree at Grebel/University of Waterloo, and then proceeding to complete a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary or Canadian Mennonite University is available here.

The normal limit for taking courses outside of the MTS program is 1/4 of the required courses (i.e. 4 courses in Applied or Coursework, 2 courses in Thesis).

Language Courses

While biblical languages are not currently offered at Grebel and are not required for the MTS degree, students are encouraged to pursue the study of these languages when possible.  Appropriate graduate-level language courses in Hebrew or Greek may be taken at other departments or institutions and transferred to the MTS program. The program will identify some language course options as part of “Course Listings” on a term-by-term basis.

  • A student in a non-thesis option may normally take a maximum of two courses of biblical language study in their program, with the approval of their advisor.
  • In most research graduate programs that require languages, languages are “milestone” requirements.  Therefore, students in the thesis option who require language study are encouraged to do so as part of “thesis preparation.”  A thesis student may petition the TS Administrative Group for permission to count one or more biblical language courses towards the required number of courses in that program.
  • Students must enroll in a course in order to receive course credit.  Students are not able to receive course credit by challenging an exam.
  • The Classical Studies department at UW regularly offers introductory level Greek for graduate students.
  • The study of modern languages will not be counted towards program requirements.

Directed Readings in Theological Studies

A reading course is an opportunity to do focused study on a particular topic, under the direction of a faculty member, and may be taken with the approval of the TS Administrative Group (TS-AG).  Because of workload as well as limits of faculty expertise, faculty members are not able to accommodate all requests for reading courses.  A faculty member may specify the terms of references for a course, or the student may make a proposal regarding the topic, general objectives, readings, and assignments.   The faculty member and student must agree on a course outline which includes expectations for reading, regular consultation, assignments (with the weight of each towards the final grade), and deadlines.  This syllabus must be approved by the program Director. The student and faculty member must also fill out a “Reading Course” form available from the TS Graduate Coordinator.

The amount of required reading and writing will vary depending on the subject matter, the variety of assignments, and the level of difficulty.  As a general guideline, students should plan on around 1500 pages of required reading in addition to research for a final project.  The amount of writing may also vary depending on genre.  A guideline is 25-35 pages, double-spaced.  In some cases, a reading course may consist of participation in an upper-level undergraduate course, with specified additional work at a graduate level.  Students will be registered in TS 691 – Directed Readings in Theological Studies.

Normally, a student will be permitted to take one reading course during their program, although in exceptional circumstances application can be made to consider further courses.

The onus is on the student to be aware of the procedure for applying for a reading course, and to follow the relevant timelines.

The process is:

  1. Student discusses course selection with their advisor. A reading course is a possibility only with the approval of the advisor. A student interested in a reading course should meet with their advisor well in advance of the deadline for advising.
  2. Student initiates conversations with potential faculty instructor, with a specific topic in mind.  Faculty members are not able to accommodate all requests. Normally, only those with regular (full-time) faculty appointments are available to offer reading courses.
  3. If the faculty member is open to supervising a course on a particular topic, they discuss the basic requirements with the student.
  4. The student applies to the TS Administrative Group for permission to enroll in the reading course.  The application consists of a letter explaining the purpose of the course, how it fits within the student’s educational or vocational goals, and any other factors that ought to be considered.  The dates of these meetings and corresponding deadlines will be announced each term.  Students should be aware that late applications will have implications for the processing of their course enrolments and scholarships.
  5. The TS Administrative Group will consider each application on its own merit.  Factors may include:
    • quality of proposed plan of study
    • fit with academic program
    • rationale for reading course (for example, reading courses are not offered primarily for reasons of convenience)
    • workload of faculty members
    • good standing of student (normally an average of at least 75% and no outstanding “incomplete” courses)
    • ensuring students experience most of their program in a regular MTS class settings (thus students who may have transferred in several credits, and/or who have taken several courses at other departments or institutions may be given lower priority)
    • a reading course is not to be used for research directly related to a thesis
  6. If approval is given by the TS-AG, the student and faculty instructor complete the Reading Course form, with details about readings, assignments including weight and deadlines, meetings, and any other requirements.  The form is signed by the student, faculty instructor, advisor, and TS director.

While several students may be interested in the same topic from the same instructor, the application from each student will be considered separately. Approval given to one student does not make it more likely that approval will be given to any other student.

Style Guide

In the disciplines of Biblical Studies, History of Christianity, and Theology, the Chicago Manual of Style is the predominant style for citation.  In the MTS program, student must use this format unless the instructor indicates otherwise.  Information about this and other style guides is maintained at the library’s TS Subject Guide.

In all written work students are expected to avoid language that reflects racial, ethnic, or gender stereotypes.  Inclusive language should be used when referring to human beings. 

Grading and Graduation Requirement

Numeric grades on a scale from 0 - 100 are used.  There is no official scale that correlates a numeric grade with a letter grade.  However, the system in use prior to 2001 is referred to as a guide

A grade less than 70% for graduate studies indicates work that is unsatisfactory.  A grade of 90% or higher signifies exceptional achievement.  In the MTS program students must achieve an average of 75% to graduate.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to know what constitutes Academic Integrity, to avoid committing academic offences, and to take responsibility for their actions. Students who are unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who need help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about 'rules' for group work / collaboration should seek guidance from the course professor, academic advisor, or appropriate administrator.

For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71, Student Discipline.  A student who believes that he/she has a ground to appeal a discipline decision should refer to Policy 72, Student Appeals.  A student who believes that a decision or action of a faculty member has been unfair or unreasonable should refer to Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances.

If a TS instructor suspects an academic offence, the instructor is obligated to report this and consult with the Associate Dean of Arts, Graduate Studies, before discussing the matter with the student.

Weather/Emergency Closing Guidelines

UW (and its Federated University and Affiliated Colleges) will "close" because of severe weather when normal operation would pose a significant danger to students, staff and faculty, or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes. Notice of a campus closing will be posted on UW's homepage, normally by 6:00 a.m., remaining in effect until 6:00 a.m. or later the next day. Radio stations that can be expected to carry announcements include CKGL (570 AM), CKKW (1090 AM), CHYM (96.7 FM) and KOOL-FM (105.3 FM). "Closed" means: classes are not held; meetings and other scheduled events are cancelled; scheduled examinations are cancelled, to be rescheduled; deadlines for assignments and other submissions are postponed until the same hour on the next business day on which UW is not "closed."


Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the MTS program is based on a “Fee per Course.” Current tuition for MTS courses can be found on the Fee Schedule website under “On Campus Professional Graduate Programs.” See the GSPA web site for the current Fee schedule.

Financial Aid

The MTS program offers significant financial aid to many full time students and limited support for some part time students. Most competitive scholarships are awarded in the Fall term. Much more limited funds are available in Winter and Spring Terms. Applications will be considered by the TS Admissions and Scholarships subcommittee. Nominations will be forwarded to the College's Scholarships and Bursaries Committee. For information on graduate awards, bursaries, scholarships, and the required forms and procedures, see Financial Aid.

Full-Time Tuition Scholarship

All full-time MTS students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible for the Full-Time Tuition Scholarship for up to six terms of full-time study. This scholarship will cover a maximum of three courses in Fall and Winter terms, and two courses in Spring term. Only graduate courses taken at Grebel or the University of Waterloo will be covered by this award. Courses taken at other institutions on a Letter of Permission will count towards full-time status.    

Payment Procedure

Students must arrange to pay their fees before the University's posted deadlines – either through direct payment or completing the  “Promissory Note” process. See Payment Options. Students should be aware that any unpaid financial obligations to the University or Grebel will negatively affect their registration for future terms and the release of their official transcripts.

Promissory Note Process

Students receiving scholarships, bursaries and awards will receive an award letter. Students will need to complete the“Promissory Note” process for their award to be applied to their account.  If their funding does not yet appear as “Anticipated Aid” in Quest, the award letter must be uploaded to their student Quest account as proof of forthcoming funds for outstanding tuition fees. If their funding does appear as “Anticipated Aid” in Quest, students will not be required to upload any proof documents to submit the Promissory Note; but they will need to click the NEXT button and then SUBMIT to complete the Promissory Note process.

Each term students must let the TS Graduate Coordinator know how many courses they will be taking so that adequate funding can be arranged through the Scholarship & Bursary Committee.   For more information on how to upload these forms, and for the uploading due dates, consult the online instructions.

Research Assistantships and Marking Assistantships

If funds are available, students may apply to assist TS faculty members with specific projects.  Information on this will be circulated in early fall.  A limited number of marking assistantships are sometimes available to MTS students through the Religious Studies program at UWaterloo. Students will be informed if such opportunities arise.

Research Paper and Thesis

Research Paper and Research Seminar

All students in the Coursework and Applied Studies Options must complete the Master’s Seminar Presentation Milestone requirement. The Seminar is a colloquium chaired by the Program Director or designate in which Research Papers are presented to TS faculty and graduate students. This is a “milestone” requirement.  No numeric grade is assigned.


The purpose of a final capstone project in theological graduate programs is to provide students with an opportunity to do integrative reflection on their total experience in the program. The paper that is presented is one window through which a student looks at the overall experience. The presentation of the paper is not a mini thesis defence. The paper has already been graded. The paper is a means of addressing a significant issue or reflecting on the overall learning and formation that has occurred in the MTS program.

These presentations are shared in community (in a seminar setting) so that fellow students and faculty can participate in and benefit from the learning of their colleagues. In graduate programs peer learning is highly valued. The seminar facilitates this. Students are therefore strongly encouraged to attend research seminars prior to the time when they will present their own work.

General Procedures

  • Students in the Coursework Option will choose one of their major papers written for a course taken at Grebel. The paper should represent some of their best work in the program, and might be representative of key learnings.  
  • Students in the Applied Option most often present the major paper written for the Integration Seminar. If they intend to present another paper they must have the approval of the Applied Studies Coordinator. 
  • The Research Paper will later be filed with the department as their “capstone” project. Students may choose to make changes in the paper after the Seminar. These papers are not placed in the library nor made public, but they may be viewed by future faculty and staff associated with the program.  A student should consult with their instructor or program director if their paper contains confidential information.
  • In addition to presenting their own Research Paper, students participating in the Seminar will read and present an oral evaluation of one of the other Research Papers presented in the Seminar.
  • The Research Seminar is typically scheduled annually for late in the Winter term, after classes are over. Students who will be completing their programs in the Spring or Fall terms usually participate in the seminar in the preceding Winter term, since they will only have met their graduation requirements when this milestone is complete. A second Seminar may be scheduled in the Fall term as needed.
  • Detailed instructions for preparing and presenting Research Papers will be provided for students at the beginning of the relevant term.


Only students in the Thesis Option are eligible to write a thesis. A thesis is approximately 120 pages, and constitutes 50% of the student’s program. It consists of six stages:

Admission into the Thesis Option

Students may indicate an interest in the Thesis Option during their application to the MTS program and they may be provisionally admitted to the Option on that basis. Students may enter the program in the Applied or Coursework Options and then develop an interest in completing a thesis. In both situations students should initiate conversation with the TS Director about their interest in a thesis, potential research area, and potential supervisor.  The Director will consult with TS faculty to advise them of the interests that have been expressed and to ascertain whether the students with these interests have the capacity to undertake a large research and writing project and whether the proposed areas of research are compatible with available faculty members’ expertise. Students will be encouraged to speak directly to potential supervisors during this process. This stage should be completed early in the second term of full time studies.

It is not necessary for a student to complete all courses before beginning to work on the thesis.  It is often advisable for students to take a course or two in the second year of study, while primarily working on a thesis.

The thesis process includes:

  • Thesis Proposal
  • Thesis Reserach and Writting
  • Thesis Defense
  • Thesis Completion 

Thesis Proposal

If a suitable match between a student’s interests and a professor’s readiness to supervise is made, the student will be asked to develop a thesis proposal under the direction of the supervisor for approval by the TS Department Committee. The proposal is usually approved before May 1. The TS Director communicates this decision and any conditions to the student.

There is not a rigid template for the proposal, and a particular topic may call for an adaptation of this structure, but the following sections indicate elements that are normally included.

Research question and thesis statement

An articulation, in brief, of the question that animates the research, and a provisional thesis statement.  This section should also explain why the research question and thesis statement are important.  In order to do this, the proposal should give attention to the “state of the question”: previous scholarly enquiry and available secondary literature.


This section describes the relevant primary literature and the methods to be used for interpreting it. It gives a rationale for the method and indicates how it will be used to generate dependable conclusions and verify the thesis statement.


This section describes how the exposition will be developed, including how it will be organized by chapters or areas, with a brief topical description of what is to be covered in each chapter or area. The interrelation of these chapters or areas ought to be described briefly as well.


An indication of potential implications of the thesis project.


A working bibliography (books, chapters, journal articles, other sources) must be presented. It should be appropriately categorized, usually distinguishing primary and secondary literature and/or other divisions as may be appropriate.

General Comments about the Proposal

  • Overall, the proposal must demonstrate familiarity with the particular scholarly discourse within which the thesis will be situated.  It must also indicate how the thesis will remain focused and manageable within that wider discourse. 
  • If the thesis requires knowledge of particular languages or research methods, the proposal should also outline existing competencies and/or the plan for acquiring them. 
  • Proposals may vary in length from four to ten pages, plus bibliography. 
  • Research that proposes to involve human subjects must undergo an ethics review conducted by the UWaterloo Office of Research Ethics.
  • The process of drafting a proposal, as well as the thesis itself, is highly iterative.  Students should expect to rework and submit several drafts of their proposal to their advisor.  A positive student-supervisor relationship will require explicit discussion of the mutual expectations for this process.
  • Students may register for “Thesis Preparation” during the proposal stage, although often they develop the proposal while completing their Winter term classes. At subsequent stages they register for “Thesis Preparation”, either full-time or part-time.
  • A first and second reader may be provisionally identified once the proposal has been accepted. The first reader is usually a member of the TS faculty or otherwise connected to Grebel.  The student may consult with the first reader, if the student and thesis advisor agree to this.  The thesis advisor may also initiate consultation.  The second reader should remain at arms-length throughout the entire proposal, research, and writing process.

Thesis Reserach and Writing

Thesis research begins during the formulation of the thesis proposal. This is followed by a significant period of focused research when the proposal is approved. Students whose research requires specific language skills (e.g. Hebrew or Greek) will be required to demonstrate competency in that language.

The student and supervisor should devise a plan for regular communication and check-ins.  Communication should happen at least once a month, and may be much more frequent. At the end of each term the student should report research activity and progress to the advisor.  The advisor will inform the TS department of the student’s progress.

Thesis writing

Writing the thesis under the direction of the thesis supervisor normally occurs when coursework is complete. Some students complete eight courses over Fall, Winter, and Spring, and then focus on the thesis.  It is also possible to do substantial thesis work in Spring, and then complete a remaining course or two in the Fall and/or Winter of the second year, while also working on the thesis.

Students are strongly advised to provide regular samples of writing to their advisor for comment and direction. One of the most common problems in thesis projects is that students do not understand the iterative intent of the process, and instead try to produce “papers” for evaluation and grading. The purpose of a thesis is not simply the finished product. The stimulation of intellectual dialogue, the capacity to respond to critique, and the ability to rewrite according to an advisor’s direction are all fundamental to the process. Students who write large sections of their thesis without ongoing interaction with their supervisor are often surprised and disappointed to learn that they will be expected to make significant changes in what they thought was a finished product. 

Many details about the thesis requirements at the University of Waterloo, such as formatting, title page, order of items, author's declaration, etc. may be found online at "Preparing your Thesis." The title page follows the format of other theses in Arts, with the exception of the following text: “A thesis presented to the University of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel University College in fulfilment of the thesis requirement for the degree of Master of Theological Studies.

Thesis Defense

The TS department appoints an internal and an external examiner.  The internal examiner will normally have affiliation with Grebel or the University of Waterloo.  The candidate may have contact with the internal examiner regarding the thesis, but only with the endorsement of the supervisor.  The candidate’s relationship with the external examiner must be at “arm’s length,” and cannot entail consultation about the thesis.

The TS director is responsible for confirming the participation of the examiners in the defense and normally chairs the thesis defense.  If the TS director is the supervisor or reader, then a designate chairs the defense.  The TS director is responsible to ensure that the thesis is publicized to the Grebel community.

The student will provide an electronic copy (PDF) of the thesis to the TS office, which will arrange for distribution to the readers.  There must be a minimum of four weeks between when the readers receive the thesis and the defense date. Members of the public may request a copy from the TS office.

The chair will confer with the external examiner a week in advance of the scheduled defense in order to confirm that the thesis is ready for defense.  If the external examiner indicates that the thesis has substantial problems or that s/he expects to vote to fail the thesis, then the thesis is not ready for defense.

Normally, only one examiner may participate in the defense by videoconference or phone.  The candidate must be present.

The chair will consult with the examiners by email before the defense to clarify the procedures and the order of questioning.  If the chair or another member of the examining committee wishes to confer with other members immediately prior to the defense, then all others will be asked to leave the room.

It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure the student understands the defense procedures, including what it expected of them.

The chair is responsible for ensuring the defense starts on time, and for ensuring that time limits are observed throughout.  The chair may wish to introduce participants, and/or have participants/guests introduce themselves. 

The student will summarize the thesis in 10-15 minutes. The opening summary presentation should indicate what prompted the thesis investigation, the focus of the research, the methods and sources, and the conclusions that were reached. The supervisor will ask two or three questions.  The supervisor may choose to inform the student of a question or questions that will be asked.  The two readers will then ask two to three questions each, with follow-up questions as needed. Typically, the external reader is the second questioner, and internal reader is the third questioner.  (10-12 minutes each) After that round of questions there will be an opportunity for the three examiners to ask further questions. (6-8 minutes each). Finally, at the discretion of the chair, other people in the room may be invited to ask questions.  The total time for the defense should be not more than 90 minutes, and is typically less than this.

This public part of the defense will conclude and everyone will leave except for the examiners and the chair.  That group will decide what the thesis status will be.  The chair will seek unanimity among the examiners.  If that cannot be achieved, a vote will be taken, and a majority will carry a decision.  The chair does not vote.

(1) Approved with minor editorial changes that can be approved by the supervisor.

(2) Approved pending revisions that require the approval of the supervisor and at least one other member of the committee.

(3) Not approved, but requiring significant rewriting that must be approved by the whole committee, and which may require a further defense.

(4) Fail. Student is removed from the Thesis option.

The student and others who attended the defense will then return to the room and be informed of the decision by the chair. The student will be advised how to meet any further conditions related to editorial changes, revisions, or significant rewriting, and the schedule by which these must be completed.  The examiners and chair will sign the relevant paperwork indicating the decision reached.

In extraordinary circumstances (e.g. closures mandated by public health), TS will follow the principles for the conduct of defenses adopted by the Faculty of Arts.

Thesis Completion

After the thesis has been successfully defended it will be revised or corrected, approved as outlined by the examiners, and then filed with the Department and University.  The student must submit an electronic copy to the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, according to these regulations for "Submitting your Thesis".  The Grebel library may arrange and pay for a hard copy to be printed, bound and placed in the library’s collection.  If a student wishes to make a personal bound copy, they are advised to contact Lehmann Bookbinding in Kitchener.

Community Life

The MTS program attracts a wide range of students from churches across the theological spectrum and from religious traditions other than Christianity.  Students have diverse educational backgrounds and may enter the program as various stages in life, from their early 20s to post-retirement.  Some have educational background in theology and biblical studies at an undergraduate or graduate level, while others have degrees in other fields. Some study full-time and others combine full-time work with part-time studies. There are students who are on campus for several hours most days and others who come to campus only when they have a class.  While this diversity presents certain challenges for building community, it is an opportunity to create a dynamic community of learning, exchange, and mutual support. The forms that community life takes vary from year to year as the composition of the student body changes. All students are encouraged to participate in the many formal and informal ways that community life is fostered. 

Community life is fostered through classes, organized events, and informal gatherings, including:


The Orientation Day is an important event and is typically held during the week prior to the start of classes in Fall. It is an orientation to Graduate Studies at UWaterloo and Conrad Grebel University College and the MTS program. It is an opportunity to meet other graduate students and faculty, become familiar with facilities and services that are available, and have many questions answered.  Some events are organized by the UW Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, Grad Students Association, and Faculty of Arts on the main campus. Some events at Grebel are held with students entering the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies program. Other events are designed specifically for new MTS students.  Participation is required for all new students, including those who may have begun courses in the previous Winter term and those who have been admitted for the current year but have deferred their enrolment until the Winter term.  Details for the day will be sent to students prior to the event.

Social Events

TS Department initiated Social Events

Receptions, suppers, potluck meals, etc.  These may involve only students and faculty, or students and faculty plus partners/families.  All students are encouraged to make these events a priority.

TS student initiated social events 

Students are encouraged to initiate gatherings themselves and some years these have been quite regular.  Notice of events may be sent to the TS Graduate Coordinator who can distribute it to the student email list.  Though there is not currently a MTS student society, students are encouraged to form one as a way of regularizing planning for events, as well as representing student interests to Grebel administration and beyond.  Some financial support would be available for a student society.

Dinning Room/Cafeteria

MTS students are welcome and encouraged to eat lunch in the Grebel dining room.  Students may bring their own lunches (microwaves, toasters, and sandwich grill are available) or purchase them.  Cafeteria items are sold individually. There have been many delightful conversations among MTS students and faculty around the lunch table.

Common Ground

“Common Ground” is a self-serve coffee and snack bar.Hours are posted. Fresh baking is available each day. Payment for all items is on the honour system.  Cash is deposited in a receptacle on the snack counter.

Study Spaces and Lockers

Study space near other students is an important feature of graduate student life. Full time grad students can be assigned study space in the library on a first-come, first-served basis at $10 per term. There are also lockers and Grad sudy space available in the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) (4th floor). Students should register for a locker at the reception desk of the Centre for Peace Advancement. Locks will be reset at the end of every term.

Worship, Music, and Chaplain


MTS students are welcome to participate in the weekly chapel service held in the Grebel Chapel, Wednesdays from 4:30-5:15pm.  These services are planned by the Chaplain, the Director of the Chapel Choir, and undergraduate students in the residence program. Some terms TS faculty and students have also organized weekly noon prayer following a liturgical pattern.


MTS students may also audition for any of the Grebel choirs or ensembles.


The Grebel chaplain is available to MTS students for conversation about spiritual or personal matters, and for referrals to other resources on or off campus.


These important rites of passage celebrating individual accomplishment happen within the context of overlapping communities.  Since the MTS degree is a conjoint degree, it is conferred both by Grebel and by the University of Waterloo.  Students are encouraged to participate in two ceremonies: a Grebel convocation event in mid-April, and the University Convocation in June or October.  The Grebel convocation is a celebration of students who have affiliated with the undergraduate residence, with the Music department, the PACS department, the MPACS program and the MTS program.  Family members are invited to the Sunday afternoon ceremony and reception.  There are usually two valedictorians, one undergraduate and one from among either MTS or MPACS graduates.

Most students will not have completed all program requirements when they participate in Grebel’s Convocation ceremony. Normally, those have completed, or are planning to complete, all requirements during a given academic year (Fall, Winter, Spring) will participate in Grebel’s April convocation. A student may petition the TS-AG for permission to participate in the ceremony, if they are likely to complete requirement during the Fall term after Convocation.

Conference participation

Attending a professional conference builds community among students who travel together to an event, and have opportunities to network with students and faculty beyond Grebel and the MTS program.  Students may apply to the department for financial support to participate in conferences.  In recent years, students have attended the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature (mid-November), Religion, Bible and Theology associations affiliated with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences (late May or early June), and the Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry.

Shared Governance

Each year, students will elect one student to serve as a voting member of the TS-AG for a period of one year, which is renewable. The normal term of service begins at the start of the Fall term and ends at the end of the Spring term. The TS office will oversee the process of nomination and election, if necessary. MTS students may also be invited to serve on faculty or administrative search committees, review committees, or ad hoc committees.

Services and Resources on Campus

Milton Good Library

Grebel’s Milton Good Library is part of the UWaterloo Library system. It has extensive physical and electronic resources in theological studies. The library staff are available and highly capable to assist students with their search.  Students will be introduced to the library during orientation and in an information session held near the beginning of term.  Be sure to bookmark the Theological Studies Subject Guide as it contains answers to many common and uncommon questions about the library and its services.

The Milton Good Library facilities include:

  • Public computer stations with Internet access and Microsoft Office applications
  • Use of scanners, access to printing through WPrint, microfilm reader
  • Wireless access through Eduroam
  • Public Photocopier (operated by funds on student Watcard)
  • Course reserves available upon request at the Circulation Desk. Students login to their personal course reserves list using their WatIAM username and password.
  • The Grebel Library is a pickup and book return location for books requested from other university libraries.
  • Bookable group study rooms (3 or more students)

Graduate Student Association and the Grad House

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is a student-run not-for-profit organization whose membership consists of the graduate students of the University of Waterloo. All MTS students are members in the UWaterloo Graduate Student Association and may use their services, participate in their activities, and become involved in their governance. 

The GSA actively promotes and represents graduate student interests to the university administration and various levels of government. Their lobbying efforts focus on issues such as student funding, working conditions, academic regulations, and university services.

The GSA provides a number of services for Graduate students, including legal aid, income tax aid, supplementary health and dental plans, and social events.  The GSA hosts events that are held on campus and off campus, including trips. The GSA offers financial support towards events organized by grad student departments and clubs. The GSA runs the Grad House, an on campus club with food, bar service, and entertainment.


Though Grebel operates a residence program with dormitories and apartments, this is only for undergraduate students.  MTS students have access to graduate housing through the university, including the Columbia Lake Village-North for single students and families, as well as apartments through St. Paul’s University College. For more information see:

The Kitchener/Waterloo area has a large stock of rental houses and apartments.  The following sites may be helpful for beginning that search:

AccessAbility Services

The AccessAbility Services (AS) Office, located in Needles Hall North, Room 1401 (1st floor), collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum.  Students who require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of their disability should register with the AS Office at the beginning of each academic term.


Counselling Services provides a wide range of strategies and services to support members of the university community facing a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, stress management, grief, sexuality, relationship issues and substance abuse.  Counselling Services organizes periodic workshops, and offers both individual and group counseling sessions to facilitate personal and social growth, assist with life difficulties, and to intervene in times of crisis.  Counselling Services is an inclusive, non-judgmental and confidential environment. Counselling and assessment with their services is free for students.

Appointments can be made by calling 519-888-4567 ext. 32655. Appointments are booked as soon as possible, though scheduling depends on available of counselors, time of year, and the client’s personal needs. While counseling services are free, there is a “no show” fee of $35, so if you are unable to attend your appointment, please call and cancel, preferably 24 hours ahead of time.

Centre for Career Action

The Centre for Career Action assists students in planning and working towards their career goals, through individual counseling sessions, workshops, and online resources.  The Centre is located in the Tatham Centre.

All students are allowed to book 15-minutes appointments with a career advisor to discuss job search tactics, grad school preparation, or career strategy. The Centre for Career Action also offers a wide range of workshops, open to all students.  Their website contains a calendar with details of upcoming events and online resources, including job listings.

Student Success Office

The Student Success Office, located on the second floor of South Campus Hall, provides a variety of services, including one-on-one counseling with “success coaches,” as well as study sessions, to help students succeed academically.

The Writing and Communication Centre

The Writing and Communication Centre’s purpose is to ensure that all UW students have the necessary writing skills for academic success. The Writing and Communication Centre offers tutoring and workshops by professional instructors at no charge to all Waterloo students.

Professional tutors provide individual attention to undergraduate and graduate students who want to improve the quality, clarity, and depth of their writing. The Centre offers Writing Tutorials specifically geared towards graduate students. During the fall and winter terms, the Grad Writing Centre offers two five-week tutorial sessions, and a four-week session each month in May, June, and July. These one-hour, weekly sessions for graduate students will help students gain a better understanding of English grammar, improve writing, and develop proofreading skills.

During these sessions, tutors

  • review student’s work in progress, e.g., parts of a thesis, research papers, or comprehensive exam preparation
  • discuss various points of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure
  • offer suggestions for revisions
  • teach you how to self-edit your work

The Writing and Communication Centre also offers one-hour appointments for graduate students to review,

  • part of a thesis
  • an article
  • research paper

Tutors offer constructive criticism and explain errors in grammar, punctuation, and style.

Grad Writing Services are offered free of charge to registered UW graduate students.  One-on-one writing tutorial sessions can be booked online.  Students may attend only one writing tutorial session a term. To register for a tutorial or writing consulting appointment, email Writing and Communication Centre.

Parking, Bicyle Use, and Local Transit

Students may park in the Grebel parking lot or other student lots at Waterloo. UWaterloo parking rates and regulations are posted.  Grebel parking rates can be found here.

Full-time MTS students may purchase a Grebel parking term pass by filling out a form at reception and paying. They will require departmental authorization to confirm that they are full-time.

Bike racks are available outside three of the entrances to Grebel and near most buildings on the UW campus. There is a Bike Centre on-campus, located on the northwest corner of the Student Life Centre.  The Bike Centre annually holds a bike auction, sells new and used bike parts, and has a variety of tools available for students to use to repair bikes (at a rate of $1/hour).  Volunteers on hand can help with bike repairs.

Full-time graduate students pay a non-refundable fee that entitles them to unlimited rides on Grand River Transit buses.  The WatCARD is the bus pass.

Retail Services

W Store

Located in South Campus Hall, W Store sells Waterloo clothing and accessories, Waterloo crested gifts, and graduating memorabilia, and academic and stationary supplies, and stocks up-to-date courseware (including course reading packages and textbooks), as well as a range of other fiction and non-fiction books.

W Print

W Print offers a range of professional printing services, including printing and photocopying, poster and banner printing, as well as thesis printing and binding services. There are four W Print locations on campus, including South Campus Hall, Student Life Center, Mathematics and Computer, and the Science Teaching Center.

International Students

The Student Success Office provides support for international students at Waterloo. They run a variety of programs and services for international students, including English Conversation Circles, peer-mentoring programs, and student advising. The Student Success Office is on the second floor of South Campus Hall. See also the specific information for international graduate students.

Child Care

A wide variety of Child Care Services are available through the following centres operating on the University of Waterloo campus. Due to the demand for services, early contact is encouraged. Contact each appropriate centre and place the child's name on a waiting list.

The Centres offer care for children 3 months through school age and include full and half day programs. Fees vary according to the program. Families who are unable to pay for their child care costs may be eligible for Child Care Subsidy, through Children's Services at the Region of Waterloo. Eligibility is determined through a financial needs test and approved families may be eligible for a full or partial subsidy. For more information or to apply, parents should contact the Child Care Subsidy office at 519-883-2200. Each of the centres is fully licensed and inspected under the Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services and meets the requirements of the Day Nurseries Act, the Ontario Fire Code and the Local Health Department.

Health Services

Graduate Student fees include health insurance. The costs are modest and the coverage is good. If students are already covered by private or public health insurance they may provide evidence of that and be exempted from health insurance.

Heath Services provides primary medical care for all registered University of Waterloo students. The Student Health Clinic offers three types of services: booked appointments, same-day appointments, and walk-in services. Health Services is located across the bridge located across from the Student Life Centre.

Booked Appointments

Booked appointments are the preferred method of accessing services.  Appointments can usually be scheduled within 2-3 days.  Reasons to book an appointment include:

  • immunizations (routine or pre-planned travel)
  • Verification of Illness Form
  • Mental Health Concern
  • Sexual Health Concern
  • Pregnancy Test
  • Prescription Renewal
  • Starting Birth Control
  • PAP Test
  • Any other non-urgent health concern

Same-Day Appointments

A limited number of same-day appointments are reserved for students with more immediate medical needs. Reasons to call for a same-day appointment (day or evening)

  • New injury or illness or condition that has occurred in the past 24 hours

Walk-In Visits

On a first-come, first-served basis we provide medical services for students.  Walk-In visits are for urgent medical needs.  The doctor can see a client for ONE problem in a walk-in visit.  A follow up appointment may be booked at the discretion of the doctor.  If you have already been seen by a doctor in the clinic for your condition, please book an appointment with that doctor for follow up.

Staff and visitors may receive urgent first aid treatment on a walk-in basis.

Other Services:

There are some non-physician services provided on a booked or drop-in basis

  • Drop-In: Dispensary, Laboratory, TB Test, Flu Shots
  • Booked: Repeat Immunizations, Allergy Shots, Repeat Dressing Changes

Call 519-888-4096 or drop in to Health Services for information and to book an appointment.


All Waterloo students have access to health and wellness facilities, as well as intra-mural sports programs, fitness classes, and other courses. Facilities include:

The Physical Activities Complex (PAC):

  • 2 gymnasiums
  • Swimming pool
  • Rock climbing room
  • 2 beach volleyball courts              
  • Cycling and activity studios
  • 8 squash courts (6 American and 2 International)
  • Golf simulator room
  • 2 activity areas
  • Weight room    

Columbia Icefields Centre (CIF)

The CIF is on North Campus at the corner of Columbia St. and Hagey Blvd. and features:

  • Three gymnasiums
  • Arena
  • Five playing fields
  • Fitness studio
  • Ball diamond
  • Fitness Centre


Campus Rec organizes intramural sports leagues for: Ball Hockey; Basketball; Beach Volleyball; Dodge-ball; Flag Football; Ice Hockey; Indoor Soccer; Slo Pitch; Soccer; Squash; Team Handball; Ultimate; Volleyball. There are also tournaments organized throughout the year.  Information on how to register is available online.

Fitness and Wellness Classes

Campus Rec organizes a series of fitness and wellness classes. Students must register and pay a fee to participate.


The Centre for Teaching Excellence provides workshops, small-group practice teaching sessions (microteaching), classroom observations and other sessions that help prepare graduate students at UWaterloo for their teaching roles.  Graduate students can attend individual workshops or choose to enrol in a certificate program in university teaching.

Important Dates

Academic Term Dates and Deadlines

For information about registration, enrolment, add-drop, withdrawal from a course, refunds, dates for submitting a thesis, etc., see the Academic Calendar.   All of these dates apply to MTS students.

For information about Fall New student orientation events at UW, see Orientation.

Grebel Dates

See the Grebel website for notice and description of Grebel Events.

Notices and details for many MTS grad student events will be sent in advance of the dates.  Some notable events to be aware of each year are:

Orientation day

Held the first week of classes in fall

First day of classes – Fall term

Mid Week during the first full week of September

Mid-term study break – Fall term

The second full week in October

The Benjamin Eby Lecture


Scholarship & Bursary Donor and Student Reception

A Sunday in October/November

Last day of classes – Fall term

Often the first week of December

First day of classes – Winter term

Often the Monday of the first full week of January

Reading week

The third week of February

MCEC School for Ministers

Mid week during the third week of February

Last day of classes – Winter term

Often the first week of April

Grebel Convocation

A Sunday in April