How much of your study does the Seminary recognise?


#1

Okay, so let's say that I go to a Liberal Arts college, and spend three years studying Theology, Philosophy, History, English Literature and Latin.

How much of that is recognised by a Seminary? I understand that most seminaries have about 6 years of academic study, and you spend at least 1 year as a Deacon before becoming a priest.


#2

It really depends where you study and if the courses are recognised by the Seminary; or if any of the modules are recognised.

If I were you I'd ask the Vocations Director.

As an aside it would seem like an odd choice to study at a secular university rather than a seminary if you do feel you have a Vocation; not least because it is not particularily practical -- the training for a Priest is more than just academic; and not to mention with secular study you are likely to run up student debt.

But yes; it depends if it is recognised; If I studied for degrees in Theology at a Protestant bible college; and studied degrees in Analytical Philosophy -- I would probably have to redo the lot; or at least a large part of it.


#3

Seminary places just as much emphasis on formation as they do on academics. If you went to a college like Ave Maria which has a “Pre-Theology” program where students pray the office and go to Mass every day - a seminary will probably allow you to skip any of their pre-seminary requirements.
Secular colleges, even with a degree in philosophy and/or theology offer no formation - and so the requirements of pre-seminary formation will vary from diocese to diocese.
You will not be allowed to skip core classes in the major seminary, but perhaps some classes in the pre-seminary. For example, if you are an expert in Latin, you will not be required to take Latin I.

However, some dioceses, in the interest of speeding up people’s ordination have skipped pre-seminary formation for some students.


#4

Howabout the following question, which is something that I have been wondering for awhile:

How much of seminary study do other (civil/secular) colleges recognize?


#5

Actually, the rull academic formation to be either a priest or a brother begins after college. In the United States our education system is a little different from other countries, because of the way that we break down the academic career. Most countries do not have a Master's Degree.

In the USA we have a BA. Those students who are going on to a Master of Divinity or a Master of Arts in theology, which is different from a Masters of Theology, are required to have at least a minor in philosophy. These are specific courses in philosophy that are prerequisites for the study of theology and ministry.

The usual practice is that if you already have a BA or BS from an accredited university, you must complete the required courses in philosophy to begin the graduate studies in theology and ministry. Dioceses and religious communities are don't really make a big deal about where you get your undergraduate degree as long as your degree is accredited and you have the prerequisite philosophy courses. If you have not had any undergraduate theology courses, they will have some that they require, but the number is negligable. We're talking about a year of additional studies before entering graduate school for theology and ministry.

Also, a lot is going to depend on which Master's degree you're going for. If you're going for the Masters of Divinity (M.Div), the requirements are less stringent than if you're going for the Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.). If you're going to be a priest, the usual degree is the M.Div.

Because the M.Div is a practical degree, not a research degree, the undergraduate requirements are usually about 18 credits in philosophy and several courses in Christina doctrine, scripture and religious studies.

Contrary to popular belief, most students for the priesthood and brotherhood attend regular colleges for their undergraduate degrees, because most religious orders and most dioceses cannot afford to operate undergraduate colleges. There are still a few around. Most are regional seminaries called Minor Seminary. The term is actually misleading. The minor seminary was the high school seminary. When that disappeared, the college seminary became the minor seminary.

All that being said, there is no universal requirement in the USA that a man attend a college seminary before entering the major seminary (graduate school). Most religious communities and dioceses accept men who come with degrees from other colleges. As I said above, if you do not have the prerequisite undergraduate theology and philosophy courses, they will ask you to take them before admission to graduate studies.

These rules are only for the USA. Other countries are different, because their academic system is organized differently. In countries where there is no Master's Degree, which is most countries around the world, you simply enter university for a six-year program of studies toward a degree in a specific area. You would come out with a degree in Scripture, Moral Theology, Liturgy, Canon Law, Mystical Theology and so forth.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#6

Br. JR

I forgot to mention that I’m in Sydney, Australia. It looks like our education system is rather different, so I’m probably going to just have to go up to the Rector of the local Seminary and ask him personally.


#7

[quote="JReducation, post:5, topic:212985"]

In the USA we have a BA. Those students who are going on to a Master of Divinity or a Master of Arts in theology, which is different from a Masters of Theology, are required to have at least a minor in philosophy. These are specific courses in philosophy that are prerequisites for the study of theology and ministry.

[/quote]

Actually now the M.Diiv. requires a major in philosophy as you need 30 credits to qualify for theological studies in the M.Div. program. If you do not have the credits you can not take any of the theology classes in the program until the requirement is met.


#8

[quote="ByzCath, post:7, topic:212985"]
Actually now the M.Diiv. requires a major in philosophy as you need 30 credits to qualify for theological studies in the M.Div. program. If you do not have the credits you can not take any of the theology classes in the program until the requirement is met.

[/quote]

I know that's the case at WTU, but I'm not sure if that's the case at all theologates. While I taught for WTU for one year, I was never a student there. I went to CUA for my STL and then to Rome. I don't know what the Dominican House of Studies requires or Mt. St. Mary's, which are the other big schools up there. I know that St. Vincent de Paul, down here requires a minor in philosophy; but they do not offer an MA or an STL, only an M.Div. They may offer an M.Th. which is the two-year Masters. They're very small.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#9

[quote="JReducation, post:8, topic:212985"]
I know that's the case at WTU, but I'm not sure if that's the case at all theologates. While I taught for WTU for one year, I was never a student there. I went to CUA for my STL and then to Rome. I don't know what the Dominican House of Studies requires or Mt. St. Mary's, which are the other big schools up there. I know that St. Vincent de Paul, down here requires a minor in philosophy; but they do not offer an MA or an STL, only an M.Div. They may offer an M.Th. which is the two-year Masters. They're very small.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

Its the requirement from the Program for Priestly Formation (fifth edition) which covers all of the seminaries and theologates in the United States. It is spelt out in paragraph 50.

I fell under the old requirements of 24 credit hours of philosophy because I started my bachlors degree in the Spring semester of 2006 a few months before this was published so I was grandfathered in.


#10

[quote="ByzCath, post:9, topic:212985"]
Its the requirement from the Program for Priestly Formation (fifth edition) which covers all of the seminaries and theologates in the United States. It is spelt out in paragraph 50.

I fell under the old requirements of 24 credit hours of philosophy because I started my bachlors degree in the Spring semester of 2006 a few months before this was published so I was grandfathered in.

[/quote]

You were lucky. I attended CUA when they required the full BA in Phil if you were going for the MA and STL. We had to do double majors, because the community required an academic degree as well. Undergraduate took longer.

Down here they require that the minor seminarians have a BA in Phil, but there are many men who come in their later years, with degrees in other fields. They go through a crash program in Phil and a few undergrad theology courses.

I don't know how they work around the USCCB requirements. I no longer teach at the seminary. I teach at the novitiate.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#11

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