International Students Guide

PDF Version


 Seeking to Study at St. Stephen’s College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Welcome and warm greetings to you! This resource is intended to provide introductory information about the steps you need to take when applying to study at St. Stephen’s College (SSC) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. There are a number of graduate-level programs offered:

Department of Psychotherapy and Spirituality

  • Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality Degree [Art Therapy Specialization option available]
  • Post-Master’s Art Therapy Certificate
  • Graduate Certificate in Spiritually-Informed Creative Arts
  • Graduate Certificate in Spiritually-Informed Psychotherapy

Department of Theology

  • Doctor of Ministry Degree [Supervisory Education Specialization option available]
  • Master of Theological Studies Degree
  • Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies
  • Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Our website offers details about each of these programs including academic requirements, admission requirements, and downloadable application materials.

It is the responsibility of all prospective international students to familiarize themselves with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website,

with regard to information about timeline and time limits to studying in Canada. SSC will enroll only those international students who have study permits issued by IRCC for Designated Learning Programs. The Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number for St. Stephen’s College is O19391057115. Study permit applicants will need to record this DLI number on their study permit applications. International students will need to show proof of a valid study permit upon arrival at SSC.

Since most international students applying to study in Canada expect to stay in this country for several months, or even several years, information provided here seeks to answer frequently asked questions pertaining to our College, the City of Edmonton, and the Province of Alberta.

As  an  international student applicant it  is  important for  you  to  allow  adequate time  in  your application planning for…

  • Completing our review and screening process,
  • Securing a study permit if you are admitted,
  • Locating housing if needed, and
  • Acclimating to the local setting.


1 Carefully read both the Frequently Asked Questions document appended    to  this  guide,  and  the  Program Application requirements detailed on the website:

Make special note of the tuition question (see Appendix A).

When you become interested in the program.
2 Send a completed application for the program of your choice to St. Stephen’s College. Deadline is November 1 each year.
3 A file is opened in your name so that additional information can be added (e.g. transcripts, letters of reference). After application form and fee received. Application fee: $390CDN for degrees, $190CDN for graduate certificates.
4 When your application file is complete it will be reviewed by the Chair or Associate Chair of the program to which you are applying. Within one month of complete application being received.
5 If it is determined that a screening interview is to occur you will be notified, given information about how the interview can occur (telephone/Skype/Zoom), and  be part of negotiating a time for this interview. Be aware that:
a. Time differences between Canada and your home country will need to be factored into negotiating the timing of the interview.
b.  It is recommended that telephone calls be made from a landline if possible since cell phone reception is often unreliable.
c.  All costs associated with the interview (telephone or Skype/Zoom) will be the responsibility of the applicant.
Within two months of complete application being received.
6 Following the screening interview, you will receive a letter from the Dean about whether or not you are offered admission to the program. Within one month of    screening interview.
7 If you are selected, you will receive a “Letter of Acceptance” that includes details and expectations associated to your participation in your chosen program. Within the letter will be a condition of acceptance indicating that you must: (a) provide the College with a copy of valid Canadian Study Permit documentation for your study period, (b) formally accept the offer of admission to the program, and (c) submit a Criminal Records Check (sometimes called a Police Certificate) from your home country. Within one month of   screening interview.
8 It is expected that you will attend the Orientation Day scheduled in the year of your admission. Normally early June.
Check course schedule on College website:


First, please read about St. Stephen’s College history and degree-granting authority: 

St. Stephen’s College is a graduate school founded by The United Church of Canada and an Affiliated College of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. An Act to Incorporate St. Stephen’s College (April 27, 1927; amended 1968) authorizes St. Stephen’s College to confer degrees in theology. The College also teaches undergraduate and graduate University of Alberta credit courses, through the Faculty of Arts. St. Stephen’s College is an Associate Member of The Association of Theological Schools in The United States and Canada.

The Government of Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education licenses and certifies private post-secondary institutions. As a divinity school, St. Stephen’s College is categorized as a private post-secondary institution (categorized under “Private Career Training”):
Institutions which fall under this category are listed here:[]=992d5863-6636-4309-8373-73a8877d9667&schoolType[]=ccc1d7f0-7518-4f64-8492-ae24eb6ca198

This list includes other divinity/theological schools/colleges in Alberta.

Campus Alberta Quality Council does not approve degrees in divinity:

Information on College governance, including a copy of the Act, can be found on the College website:

Students intending to use St. Stephen’s College degrees towards further higher education or for registration with professional counselling or other associations, in or outside of Canada, should be aware of the requirements of the institution, association or country they wish to apply that education toward. A number of theological colleges throughout Canada accept transfer credits from St. Stephen’s College; however, public universities will most likely not accept transfer credits from a divinity school. Students planning to transfer to other institutions should be aware of the specific program requirements at that institution.

Where do I get an application form for a degree program at St. Stephen’s College?  Go to for information. Details about program requirements, and application forms, can be downloaded.

Is there a degree application fee? Yes, there is a non-refundable application fee, due with submission of your application. The application fee for degrees is $390CDN; the application fee for graduate certificates is $190CDN.

How much is tuition?  The cost to complete a Degree or Certificate Program (including Program Fees and course fees) will range from $5,800 to $45,000 (CDN) depending on the program (see Appendix A). Please check out the costs for the program you are applying for:

Reading material costs also need to be considered when planning the program, and may be up to $200CDN per course. Financial Policies are detailed in the Academic Calendar: calendar. Students are responsible for their own accommodation arrangements, and living costs.

Does the College offer financial assistance to students? St. Stephen’s College offers bursaries and scholarships to students enrolled in St. Stephen’s College degree programs to help defray the cost of studies (amounts range from $500CDN to $900CDN; less than or slightly more than equivalent to one course fee). Bursaries are granted based on financial need and the terms of the bursary. Scholarships are awarded according to the terms of the scholarship. Financial aid will be granted according to the following priorities: (1) Canadian students, (2) International students. Contact the College for details. As an International student, you will need to demonstrate adequate financial resources for your stay in Canada as a student.

How early do I need to apply to study at St. Stephen’s College? The annual application deadline to programs at the College is November 1 for international students planning to attend the intake the following April. For example, if you apply prior to November 2018, and you are accepted, you would start studies in April 2019. The normal timeline for processing international applications is as follows:
(1) Your application is processed within one month of receiving all application documents and application fee
(2) College contacts you either to schedule a screening interview if your application is acceptable, or to tell you that you are not being invited to an interview
(3) College contacts you with results of your application, within one month of the interview, and provides a letter of acceptance if the decision is made to invite you into the program
(4)  You accept the offer of admission in writing
(5)  You apply for a study permit through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Do I need to provide an English proficiency score?  Degree students must be able to express themselves verbally and in both reflective as well as scholarly writing. Possessing an adequate English vocabulary to communicate within both learning and clinical practicum/field placement contexts is essential. English Proficiency is demonstrated by:

  1. Possession of a degree or its academic equivalent from an institution recognized by Stephen’s College where the language of instruction is English. Proof that the instruction for the degree was in English will be required; or
  2. Demonstration of sufficient English language coursework at the secondary school level from select countries (eg. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland); or
  3. A satisfactory score on one of the following approved English language examinations:
    a) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT): minimum score 600 (paper-based), or a total score of 88 with no less than 21 on each individual skill area (internet-based) [St. Stephen’s College TOEFL Code is B640] Resources to help prepare applicants for the TOEFL test:
    b) International English Language Testing System (IELTS): minimum overall band score of 6.5, with at least 5 on each band
    c) Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): overall minimum score of 70, with at least 60 on each subtest
    d) Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): overall minimum score of 59 e) Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB): minimum score of 85

If you need to complete one of these English language examinations, you arrange for the results to be sent to the Registrar’s Office at St. Stephen’s College. The examination results are considered to be part of your application to the degree program, and must be received prior to the application deadline. Scores more than two years old cannot be verified; therefore the applicant normally would be required to re-take the test.

Where do I find the requisite visa information needed to enter Canada? Information can be found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, (“Study” link). Explore this site carefully and thoroughly so that specifics to your country and immigration circumstances are understood. Once the College issues you a letter of acceptance it is your responsibility to apply for and secure the requisite study permit. Find out if you need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa. Apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada:

Where do I find a Canadian visa office in my home country? A list of countries and corresponding Canadian visa  offices  can  be  found  at  the  following  website:

Do I wait until I have a study permit before getting a Criminal Records Check/Police Certificate? While everything hinges on the study permit, it is usually a good idea to know how to secure your Criminal Records Check/Police Certificate and what amount of time it takes for a police document to be issued.

How far in advance must I return my response to the Letter of Acceptance?

International students need to provide their response to the letter of acceptance by February 1 of the year in which you wish to start your degree program.

How soon before starting my studies at St. Stephen’s College do I need to arrive in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada?

The annual Orientation Day for new students is a Saturday at the beginning of June (check the College website for the applicable year’s course schedule). It is recommended you  arrive  in  Edmonton  with  sufficient  time  to  settle  into  your  living  arrangements  before  class  sessions commence.

Do I have to study full time, or can I study part-time?  

As of June 1, 2014, all study permit holders in Canada need to actively pursue studies. This means that if you hold a study permit, you must remain enrolled and make reasonable and timely progress towards completing your program; failing to do so could lead to your removal from Canada. St. Stephen’s College will report to IRCC on your continued enrolment and academic status. You may also be asked by an immigration officer to provide evidence of your continued enrolment and academic status.

Reasonable and timely progress varies for each degree. MTS and MPS students are expected to finish courses and practicum work in the first three to four years and do thesis research and writing in the fifth year. Post-Master’s Art Therapy Certificate students are expected to finish courses and practicum work within four years. DMin students are expected to finish coursework in the first three years and do dissertation research and writing in the fourth and fifth years. Graduate certificate students are expected to finish in 8-12 months.

NOTE: St. Stephen’s College defines full-time status as being actively registered in a minimum of two credits per month (9 credits over a 4-month period, 12 credits over a 6-month period, or 24 credits over a 12-month period). Students who are registered in less than 12 credits over a six-month period are considered part-time. Course extensions will not extend a student’s full-time status. While in the research/writing phase of graduate programs, students in good standing at St. Stephen’s College are considered full-time. Master’s students are considered full-time upon formal approval of the Thesis or Culminating Paper Proposal, or enrollment in the Capstone Project course. Doctoral students are considered full-time upon completion of the Integrative Paper.

Can I work while I am studying at St. Stephen’s College?

If you plan to combine study and work while in Canada, familiarize yourself with the information available through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), at
It is unlikely that your Study Permit conditions will allow you to work off campus while completing your studies; this will depend on your personal circumstances. For the MTS, MPS and PMATD programs, unpaid practicum work experience is part of the curriculum; practicum supervisors are approved and appointed by the College.

After graduation, am I eligible to apply to work temporarily in Canada under the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Program?
Yes, but only if you graduated from a degree program (diplomas and certificates are not eligible). Along with graduating from an eligible designated learning institution, you need to meet all other criteria to get a post-graduation work permit:

For information about applying to travel, study, work or immigrate to Canada, apply for citizenship, a permanent resident card or refugee protection, please visit:

Can I bring my family with me? Look carefully at details provided on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website to see about this possibility.

How long can I stay in Canada after graduation from my degree program at St. Stephen’s College? Your study permit will include entry and exit dates. There is information at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website about applying to change the conditions of your permit or extend your stay in Canada:

What if I want to travel outside of and then return to Canada while I have my visa? There is information on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website about leaving and coming back to Canada.

Do I need health insurance coverage during the time I am in Canada? St. Stephen’s College does not have a health plan available for students. The Government of Canada does not pay for the medical costs of international students. Health coverage for international students varies among the provinces of Canada. If you are residing in Canada for a prolonged period you can learn more about whether you will qualify for an Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) at the following website We advise you to purchase Visitor to Canada Insurance, which is available from private insurance companies, if you are physically present in Canada but not eligible for AHCIP coverage.

How will I get around in Edmonton? Edmonton has an extensive, user-friendly public transit system:

How do I find a place to live in Edmonton?
A list of temporary living accommodations located close to the College can be provided to you upon request. Additional information can be found here:
St. Stephen’s students are able to apply for housing through University of Alberta Residence Services. This housing is normally for University of Alberta students, but Residence Services will accept applications from St. Stephen’s students because the College is on campus. However, University of Alberta students get first priority, and space availability cannot be confirmed until the first week of September. St. Stephen’s College students wishing to apply for accommodations will need a computing ID (CCID); contact St. Stephen’s Registrar’s Office to obtain (

What kind of community is Edmonton?  Edmonton is known for its multicultural and interfaith diversity. As part of your preparations for moving here you may want to see if there is a community of Canadians from your home country living here. Being in a supportive community environment and keeping in touch with persons from the same cultural tradition or spiritual family can strengthen the learning experience.

IF YOU HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS: Please contact the Chair/Associate Chair of the program at St. Stephen’s College in which you are interested:  FACULTY DIRECTORY  or the Registrar/Director of Academic and Administrative Services at Phone: 780-439-7311.

Appendix A

COURSE FEES: Students are assessed course fees at the rate that is in effect at the course start date. Course fees are $859CAD/3-credit course, $1,718CAD/6-credit course, and $2,577CAD/9-credit course, unless published otherwise. Tuition for auditing online courses is the same as credit course tuition; other courses may be audited for half the credit course fee. Registration deadlines apply to courses; a late fee of $75CAD is applied where late registrations are accepted. Fees may change without notice. Some program requirements may be fulfilled at other institutions with permission of the Department/Associate Chair; students are responsible for any fees in effect at that institution.

PROGRAM FEES: Program Fees are detailed below. Students may avoid annual tuition increases by paying the entire Program Fee in advance. Degree and post-master’s Program Fees are paid in semi-annual or annual installments over the first four years of the program; graduate certificate Program Fees are paid in annual installments over the first two years of the program. Program Fees cover general academic and administrative support. The entire Program Fee is payable regardless of the number of years students take to complete the program. A non-refundable deposit of $540CAD is due upon acceptance of admission, and applied as credit to the first Program Fee invoice. The continuation fee applies only to those students taking longer than four years to complete their program. Students do not pay a continuation fee in the academic year they graduate; the academic year at SSC is June 1 to May 31, and graduation is in November. Non-refundable application fee for degree programs: International applicants $390CAD. Non-refundable application fee for graduate certificate programs: International applicants $190CAD.

TUITION INCREASES: Each year, tuition (course and program fees) will rise by Alberta’s inflation, with the possibility of additional annual increases.