How can I study theology without going to a Catholic University to study it?


Hi everyone. I am wanting to study theology but I fear that I don’t have the smarts to complete and pass an SAT or ACT and so I wouldn’t get accepted in to a Catholic university. I have a below average IQ as was confirmed by a recent IQ test that I took with a psychiatrist and I really don’t think I’d ever be able to get accepted in to a Catholic university. What should I do to go about studying theology at the amateur level? :shrug::confused:


If you’re open to distance/on-line learning, the Catholic Distance University at sounds interesting. I met the lady who founded it several years ago-- she’s quite orthodox, and the program is supposed to be too.




Yeah but I’d probably have to pass an SAT or ACT to get in right?


Under “Academic Programs” check out “Non-Degree Seeking Students”. :wink:

Looks interesting!


Hmmm, ok. I might try that! :thumbsup:


Read Pope Benedict XVI’s books and homilies, the latter of which you can find on


Yeah but I’d probably have to pass an SAT or ACT to get in right?

That’s a real downer , although I haven’t made up my mind yet .I didn’t know you had to have an ACT or will a GED get me in ??? I will look again obviously I missed .


Pick a distance learning cneter from here.


An average is just that… and average. People must be below the line and above the line. Very few people are right at the line.

Besides you’re only really average if you set your goals in an area where you’re almost always going to reach them. That’s what most people do, whether of high intelligence or low intelligence. So stop making excuses, sit down and study hard for you ACT and SATs. You don’t need to score perfect to get into a four year university.


Study the theology of Christ, read his words, read the writings of Saints, this is where fruit is hidden, and where wisdom is found.

Try the revelations of Saint Bridget, they are a great start, it can be read at this site,

**Saint Bridget was canonized by Pope Boniface IX in the year 1391 and confirmed by Pope Martin V in the Council of Constance in the year 1415.

The Revelations of Saint Bridget were accorded an exceptionally high degree of authenticity, authority and importance from an early date. Pope Gregory XI (1370-78) approved and confirmed them and judged them highly favorably, as did Boniface IX (1389-1404) in the papal Bull Ab origine mundi, par. 39 (7 Oct 1391). They were later examined at the Council of Constance (1414-18) and at the Council of Basel (1431-49), both judging them to be in conformity with the Catholic faith; The Revelations were also strongly defended by numerous highly regarded theologians, including Jean Gerson (1363-1429), Chancellor of the University of Paris and Cardinal Juan de Torquemada (1388-1468).**


Your desire to study and learn more is admirable. The benchmark for Christians through the centuries is not how much theology they know but how thoroughly and lovingly they put what they know into practice.

That being said, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a great place to start. A thorough study of the Catechism will give you a great foundation for your further study.


Ah ok. Thanks! You’re not the first one to recommend studying the Catechism either by the way. :thumbsup:


This site has free teachings and it was founded by Scott Hahn, so you know it has the right stuff. :slight_smile:


If you want to get a degree in theology, then you are better off getting an undergraduate degree in philosophy and a masters in theology, divinity, ministry, religious education, spirituality, liturgy, or church history.

But if you are not itnerested in the degree, just the knowledge the suggestions given above are very good. There are distance courses that do not require an entrance examination, as long as you’re not a degree candidate.

I would always recommend a course over simply reading. Simply reading you will get what someone has written, but not what it means and where it comes from or how the Church integrates it into her faith.

Look at the online programs first. You should find something that you can learn and not have to take the examinations. Also, I don’t know how old you are. But many universities dispense with the exmainations if you have been out of high school for more than five years. Check that out too.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


What EVER made the OP think that having a below average IQ would deny them a Catholic education, as opposed to a secular or Protestant one? And don’t get me started on the subject of whether IQ tests are a valid means of measuring intelligence. Your IQ score may well be nonsense.

I’ve taught at a Catholic college where there is the full range of highly bright to “having to struggle with the material”. Sometimes the latter produce much better work.

And, for struggling students, BTW, online courses are a lousy idea. The human contact of having a teacher in the classroom produces much better results with underconfident students.

If you want to study Catholic theology, apply to a Catholic school. If they reject you, go talk to them about taking a course on a provisional basis to see whether they would admit you if you do well. This would not work for Georgetown, Notre Dame, BC, or Loyola Chicago, but it would for many small Catholic colleges.


A good idea is to see if the diocese offers any adult theology education classes in parishes or in a lay formation program. I know our parishes in our diocese offers many classes and they are designed for all types of people. I have had the gammut of types of people in my classes. I have had developmentally disabled along with those with PhDs and it worked out fine. Each took from the course what they needed. Those who needed more attention were welcome to see me after class or during office hours. Best of all these courses are low cost or free.


I am studying Theology right now (I am half way through the masters program) and English in my second language. I assure you that if you allow God to be your help and Master, you will do well!!!:slight_smile: at His side. Child like trust is the wisdom that we all need.

Be not afraid to start the studies even on a more serious level :wink:


Hmmm, ok. Thanks Wxboss! :thumbsup:

Thanks Br. JR! I will take a look at the online programs. :thumbsup:

Thanks L2P2. I will see about getting into a smaller Catholic school.

Yeah, I am going to be taking a Why Catholic course here soon. Have you ever heard of it? The only cost is for the book and that is about $10 which my priest and spiritual director told me he’d pay for. Thanks Joannm! :thumbsup:

Ah yeah. I agree that we all need child-like trust. Thank you Trustful. :slight_smile:


Keep in mind that a lot depends on what kind of theology degree you want. If you’re lookiing for the professional theology degree that we get, you will have to get at least an undergraduate minor in philosophy. But if you want an academic theology degree, I don’t think that they require an undergrad degree in philosophy. Maybe others here who have such a degree can answer that question. I can’t, because I went through the seminary program. We have philosophy as a requirement and didn’t touch theology until graduate school and that was a four year program. But I know there are shorter degrees.

Anyone know the different requirements for these?


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


Part of the requirement for me to enter the MA Theology program at my school was at least 18 credits of philosopy and theology. If you didn’t have that you had to take non-credit courses to get you up to speed. Th erequirement was a bit more for those entering the MDiv program but an undergrad degree in philosophy was not required. Many of the guys had to do a year of philosophy before beginning the graduate seminary program.

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