Master of Theological Studies (MTS)

This graduate theological degree is designed and taught by Indigenous scholars and practitioners. Gain a multidisciplinary understanding of Indigenous theology, history and praxis. Encourage others to fully embrace being an Indigenous follower of Jesus Christ. Assist your community in following God’s call. Inspire people to embrace their Indigenous culture. Learn how to fully engage your ministry and its Indigenous context.

54 Credit Hours earns you a Master of Theological Studies

You will study with some of the finest Indigenous practitioners and scholars in the global context – women and men with earned experience to accompany the academics.

  • Majority Indigenous faculty
  • An Indigenous designed curriculum
  • Course delivery with Indigenous methods

Courses include

  • Biblical Interpretation
  • New Testament Foundations
  • Indigenous Theologies and Methods
  • Missional Ecclesiology
  • History of Christianity: Indigenous History and Mission

This is a non-resident degree. Face-to-face time is during three weeks at the Annual NAIITS Symposium. Community is built through time in study cohorts, one-to-one mentorship with faculty and the Field Placement.

As we navigate places where we don’t see ourselves...

MA in Theological Studies

Fees for North American Programs
Program Application Fee * Applicant resident in Canada
Applicant resident in US or elsewhere
$CAD 50
$USD 50
Tuition per three credit hour course ** Student resident in Canada
Student resident in US or elsewhere
$CAD 1000
$USD 1000
Audit Fee per course ** Auditor resident in Canada
Auditor resident in US or elsewhere
$CAD 500
$USD 500

* Application fee payable with on-line application.
** Tuition and audit fees payable at the time of course registration.

Course tuition includes library and technology costs.

Costs associated with attendance at the two required NAIITS Symposium events (registration, travel expenses, accommodation, and meals) are not included in course tuition. All costs remain the responsibility of the student.

Curriculum Philosophy

After years of work and planning by Indigenous leaders experienced in theology and mission, NAIITTS has produced an andragogical (adult-focused) methodology that allows us to more effectively serve Indigenous persons admitted to the program.

Each academic year, a proportionate number of non-Indigenous students may be admitted to the program on a case-by-case basis.

Transfer Credit

Transfer of up to 27 hours of credit from accredited graduate schools is permitted into this program. Students must have achieved a grade of B- or higher for a course to be considered for transfer. In addition, only courses taken elsewhere within ten years of matriculation in this program will be considered for transfer. Transferability of credits earned in this program to another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Any request of transfer of credits must be made at the time of application/admission.


Indigenous academic leaders have designed and tailored this degree for Indigenous people and those serving in indigenous communities. More than 80% of professors in the program are Indigenous scholars and practitioners with doctoral degrees from a wide range of universities and seminaries. Students will learn from professors who are engaged in their own Indigenous communities and are committed followers of Jesus. The NAIITS faculty are passionate about providing graduate-level theological education for Indigenous individuals and communities.


Courses are available in flexible, accessible formats. Online-hybrid options allow students to live in home community. Intensive summer courses provide face-to-face classroom experience. Wrap-around conference courses related to the NAIITS Annual Symposium stimulate learning. Elective courses allow students to further tailor the program to their own learning and ministry environment.

Mutual Learning Community

Students will join with colleagues who are working in Indigenous contexts and will grow in leadership capacity as relationships are built. The program will provide one-to-one experiences and small-group mentorship.

Further details may be found in the Student Handbook and annual Academic Calendar which can be requested from

Biblical Studies (9 Credits)

Biblical Interpretation
Examines the methods, principles and practices of interpreting the biblical texts. In addition to deepening one’s understanding and use of standard tools of biblical research, the course will contrast Indigenous epistemologies used in hermeneutics with those of Western traditions.

Hebrew Scripture Foundations
A general introduction to the historical, sociological, and theological context in which the Hebrew Scriptures came into existence, this course will provide the student with an understanding of the major emphases of the texts. In addition, the student will be introduced to themes of community life and praxis in the Hebrew Scriptures that find parallels in historical Indigenous worldviews of creation and Creator. The course will use community understandings, models and paradigms as a basis for comparison.

New Testament Foundations
A general introduction to the historical, sociological, and theological context in which the New Testament Scriptures came into existence, this course will familiarize students with the content and structure, distinctive theology, and introductory matters of the New Testament. in addition, the student will be introduced to the nature of the early Christian community, its transitions and changes from a strictly Hebraic construct as found within the Jewish community, and projections made for its future development.

Theological Studies (15 credit hours)

Theology I: Indigenous Perspectives
This course is a theological reflection focused on the concept of community. It will examine the Christian doctrines of creation, fall, and redemption, identifying God’s community-creating purpose in the world. Other issues examined include evil and the fall in their spiritual and cosmic dimensions, ecology and the cultural mandate. The course will include understandings of the nature and origins of community as portrayed within Indigenous cosmologies and spiritual perspectives.

Theology II: Theology and Ethic of the Land
The course will help students to develop an integrated understanding of God, humanity and culture focusing on current debates and their bearing on Christian mission and community. Practical issues such as the relationship between the sacred and the secular, the role of art, the place of work and leisure, and the significance of political engagement will receive particular attention in juxtaposition with Indigenous perspectives in each area. This course is normally taught by an Indigenous instructor.

Creation and Transformation (Directed Study)
The centre of Christian theology is Jesus Christ who unites Creator and creation. Therefore, this course will focus on the scriptural and ecclesiastical traditions concerning the person and work of Christ in transforming Creation. This will provide the basis for a discussion about the implication of Christology for the transformation of creation community. Thus, the course will seek to engage the ideas represented by the councils, creeds of past theologies, and then move to examine the theological praxis that resulted in a colonial and post-colonial context.

Indigenous Theologies and Methods
This course will delve into unique Indigenous theological contributions to the meaning of Christian faith and life. Utilizing a thematic approach, the intersection of one’s experience with the Creator, the nature of the spiritual, the Gospel story, redemption and redeemer will be explored in contrasting views with Western theological method.

World Religions
Jesus followers must be willing to interact and engage with an inquiring mind, in a knowledgeable way and in a Christ-like manner with peoples of other faiths. This course provides an overview of the major World Religions including the place of Christianity in the religious arena. It offers a foundation for understanding the classification of religions as well as the chronological development, adaptation, geographical distribution, worldviews, and cultural impact of world faiths. A summary of major religious innovators/figures, central doctrines/teachings, sacred myths and texts – including potential emerging world religions – will lead into a discussion concerning appropriate Christian responses to the world’s religions and their adherents. Indigenous values such as respecting others and story-telling are central to the approach utilized in this course.

Christian History (6 credit hours)

History of Christianity I
The history of Christianity up until close to the present time will be examined. This course will look at traditional historical accounts critically in order to look beyond a perspective that marries the church and its outreach with colonial expansion. The place, treatment and mistreatment of peoples – including Indigenous peoples – will be examined in detail.

History of Christianity II: Indigenous History and Mission
Continuing on from History of Christianity I, this course will examine ways in which the Indigenous church has been planted and has grown within Indigenous contexts. Special emphasis will be given to its growth and development through the various attempts in its history to contextualize or indigenize Christianity.

Skill Development (15 credit hours)

Indigenous Research and Writing
This course covers all aspects of research and writing at an academic level. The student develops their voice as an academic writer by learning how to identify and use rhetorical strategies in writing. The course will also explore the specific needs or concerns of Indigenous writing and research methods including protocol. Other topics covered are: proper citation and bibliography formatting, grammar, crafting solid thesis statements, building a line of reasoning and other organizational strategies of formal research papers, finding and interacting with quality primary sources and how to synthesize and interact with secondary sources in an academic essay.

Indigenous Spirituality and Formation
Indigenous understandings of the nature of the spiritual and of spirituality differ in many respects from those commonly held within Western traditions of Christian faith. The focus of the course, therefore, is to introduce the student to the ways in which Indigenous people participate as followers of Jesus in a manner that is authentic to their own cultural understandings, seeking to encourage spiritual growth and development from within such an Indigenous framework. This course will also discuss the appropriation of what has been perceived to be Indigenous spirituality by non-Indigenous people as well as a brief focus on what can be effectively learned from Indigenous understandings of the spiritual.

Indigenous Symposium Seminars
In order to foster deeper relationship, more effective academic engagement, and an overall greater involvement within the NAIITS community, students are required to attend two symposia as they progress through their studies. They will be required to participate in the concurrent seminar, and complete required assignments. Students will only register for the course at the time of their second Symposium following which, grades assigned to first and second Symposium work will be recorded.

Indigenous Practice of Andragogy
Andragogy is the study of methods, epistemologies, philosophies and contextual understandings of education that pertain to and enhance an adult-focused learning environment. This course will introduce the student to andragogical method as a theological framework and a contextual teaching practice, exploring the theological, philosophical, and pragmatic underpinnings of teaching. The course will also introduce the student to a variety of strategies to advance their development as a teacher.

Integrative Project
Normally, within Indigenous contexts of learning, integration of new experiences takes place more simultaneously. Compartmentalized approaches to knowledge, which require an integrative course, would be less normative here than in Western traditions. However, to provide an opportunity for students to continue the process of integrating what they have learned in the program with what they already understand, a project selected together with the NAIITS faculty will be undertaken to provide that opportunity.

Electives (9 credit hours)

Colonization and Decolonization
This course focuses on contemporary theories regarding colonization and decolonization emerging out of Indigenous studies, critical ethnic studies, and post colonialism studies. Attention is paid to the relationship between race, colonialism, and gender. Students will explore how these theories intersect with Christian theologies and spiritual practice. This course will consider the critiques made by Indigenous and postcolonial scholars of the methodological approaches used in the humanities and social sciences for their complicity in colonialism. It will examine various attempts to “decolonize” methodology and to construct Indigenous and postcolonial methodological approaches to society and community. Students will work to develop their own philosophical and methodological approaches to decolonization.

Cultural Anthropology
Trajectories in the study of anthropology have been helpful and hurtful, particularly to Indigenous people globally. In this course, participants will explore a variety of historical anthropological theories. The course will explore anthropology as a discipline, and invite other worldviews to contribute to the shaping of anthropological theory and practice for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Cultures and Change
The experience of Christianity has often been culturally disastrous for Indigenous peoples. Through the process of decolonization and indigenization this course will examine how Indigenous people live a biblically informed Christian faith in the context of Indigenous cultures. Perceptions from various disciplines will be sifted for insights to inform followers of the Jesus Way toward constructive action as change agents.

Ethics in Intercultural Context (Directed Study)
This course is an intercultural, contextual introduction to central issues in Christian ethics, with attention to the way in which moral reflection interacts with philosophy and culture. The course explores biblical-theological foundations for ethics, the role of scripture and Jesus’ example in ethical formulation, and deals with major contemporary topics including gender, sexuality, marriage, euthanasia, war, bioethics, wealth and poverty.

Indigenous Leadership Development
This seminar course will introduce students to concepts of leadership, organizational change theory, and skills required to lead organizations and communities in the context of changing demographics. The emerging practice of diversity as central to leadership theory and practice, the holistic nature of diversity, social justice within a diverse society, and the role these have in contributing to effective and appropriate leadership will be explored to gain an informed understanding. Reflection on multicultural, and intercultural perspectives and partnerships, specifically, those between Indigenous Peoples and Western culture is a focal aspect of this course. Leaders require knowledge, skill and attributes that support inclusion and promote unity.

Studies in a Holistic Gospel (Directed Study)
The course will explore how the body and soul dualism, out of which much Christian mission operated in the past (i.e. saving souls only), has proved inadequate and damaging to many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples in Canada. In this course, participants will explore and participate in developments in Christian missiology, in order to provide a more robust understanding of the nature of the gospel.

Scholarship Application

While not guaranteed, NAIITS attempts to offer a tuition-directed scholarship for the MA program(s), which is made available through the generosity of faculty and friends. If you believe you might qualify for the scholarship, you are encouraged to apply according to the following guidelines.

$100 per credit hour taken per award period deemed eligible to a maximum lifetime
award of $5000.

Requirements for Consideration

  1. Scholarship awards are directed primarily toward Indigenous peoples. Non-Indigenous students may apply and be considered, but will not be guaranteed.
  2. Scholarships will be awarded solely at the discretion of NAIITS faculty and/or administration, which may make other awards as deemed appropriate.
  3. Students must be enrolled or accepted into one of the NAIITS degree programs.
  4. Students must be enrolled full time in two consecutive semesters for the year in which the hours per semester.
  5. Students must reapply for scholarships each year. NOTE: Subsequent withdrawal from courses given will disqualify the applicant from reapplying for one full year.
  6. Applications must be received by March 1st to be considered for the April 30th awards and by July 1st to be considered for the August 30th awards respectively.
  7. Students who are applying for other student aid in their country of residence must complete and file required documents personally – they will not be filed by NAIITS.

NOTE: Successful applicants are not prevented from applying for scholarships from other sources of funding.

Download the Scholarship Application form here

For more information contact

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide documentation of their capacity to study in English.