Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

School of Religion proposes suspending admission to three theology programs

By Communications Staff

After extensive consultation and consideration, the School of Religion has unanimously decided to ask the dean of arts and science to consider temporarily suspending admission to its theology programs – Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, and the Bachelor of Theology – for a period of two years.

“The decision to request the temporary suspension of admissions was not an easy one, but given the enrollment challenges we have been facing, we want to take the time to ensure that we can continue to offer dynamic, fulfilling, and competitive theology programs,” says Richard Ascough, Director, School of Religion. “Temporarily suspending admission would allow the school the opportunity to re-evaluate its programming moving forward.”

Applications to theology programs are declining at schools across North America, including Queen’s. Despite a decade of recruitment efforts, enrollment in theology programs has steadily decreased every year. The minimum requirement to maintain a sustainable program at Queen’s is 30 full-time students. In 2006 there were 25 students enrolled and in 2012 only 15. The most dramatic decrease in new students occurred this year with only one admission.

The proposal to consider temporarily suspending admissions will be brought to the Faculty of Arts and Science for further consultation, and current students and alumni continue to be consulted. The authority to make this decision, after appropriate deliberation, consultation, and communication, in accordance with the University Senate’s policy on temporary suspension of admissions, resides with the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, who will act in consultation with the dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

Should admissions be temporarily suspended, the School of Religion would continue to offer a full complement of theology courses for the next two years to ensure that students currently enrolled full-time in theology programs can continue to graduate. The school would work with part-time students to forge a plan for their studies. There would be no negative impact on the school’s faculty members and staff, and the growing undergraduate and master’s programs in religious studies will continue.

For more information visit the School of Religion website.