Philosophy College Credits


I recently posted a thread here in the 'Vocations' section of CAF a few days ago regarding my possible vocation to the Holy Priesthood. However, after hearing the advice that many have given me on that thread, and since I am about to graduate from high school, I am going to go to college and pursue a degree and if I still feel the call to the Holy Priesthood, I will go to the seminary upon graduation. I was planning on pursuing a major in Multimedia and a minor in Philosophy (in case I still feel called to the Priesthood after college). But I was wondering about my Philosophy minor, how many credits of Philosophy should I take in college if I intend on going to the seminary after college (if the call still exists by then)? Does the Church have a universal law on the matter or is that upon the discretion of the local bishop?


If you are going to minor in Philosophy be very careful about the institution you select.

Hopefully, someone will be able to answer your other questions.


There should be a vocations director in your diocese who would be able to advise you.


A vocations director should be able to tell you the quantity and types of courses best for you to take.

Please take the time to speak with that person directly. He will be able to guide you much better than any online forum with the specifics.


Thank you very much everyone.


The United States Program of Priestly Formation specifies:

  1. The seminary philosophy program of studies should be balanced, comprehensive, integrated, and coherent. The philosophy program must include substantial studies in the history of philosophy treating ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy. • The study of the history of philosophy helps seminarians under- stand philosophical issues as they have developed in the Western philosophical tradition and, more particularly, in the Catholic intellectual tradition that has been both shaped by and contrib- uted to the shape of the Western philosophical tradition. The knowledge of philosophy, with its powerful impact on theologyand theologians, is necessary in order to appreciate the richness of our theological tradition. • At the same time, it prepares seminarians for priestly ministry. By living more reflectively in the historical Catholic intellectual tradition, seminarians are better equipped for their ministry of teaching the faith and better prepared to engage contemporary culture, better prepared for the “evangelization of culture,” which is integral to the new evangelization. In this regard, some treat- ment of American philosophy or social thought is also helpful for seminarians in understanding the dynamics of contemporary society in the United States.
  2. The philosophy program must include the study of logic, episte- mology, philosophy of nature, metaphysics, natural theology, anthropol- ogy, and ethics: • The study of logic helps seminarians to develop their critical and analytical abilities and become clearer thinkers who will be bet- ter able rationally to present, discuss, and defend the truths of the faith. • The study of epistemology, the investigation of the nature and properties of knowledge, helps seminarians see “that human knowledge is capable of gathering from contingent reality objec- tive and necessary truths,” while recognizing also the limits of human knowledge. Moreover, it reinforces their understanding of the relationship between reason and revelation. They come to appreciate the power of reason to know the truth, and yet, as they confront the limits of the powers of human reason, they are opened to look to revelation for a fuller knowledge of those truths that exceed the power of human reason. • The study of the philosophy of nature, which treats fundamental principles like substance, form, matter, causality, motion, and the soul, provides seminarians a foundation for the study of meta- physics, natural theology, anthropology, and ethics. • The study of metaphysics helps seminarians explore fundamen- tal issues concerning the nature of reality and see that reality and truth transcend the empirical. “A philosophy which shuns metaphysics would be radically unsuited to the task of mediation in the understanding of revelation.” As the seminarian con- fronts the questions about the nature of being, he gains a deeper understanding and appreciation of God as the source of all being and gains some sense of how profound is this truth. A strong background in metaphysics also gives him the structure and abil- ity to discuss certain theological concepts that depend on meta- physics for their articulation and explanation. • The study of natural theology, which treats the existence of God and the attributes of God by means of the natural light of reason, provides a foundation for the seminarian’s study of theology and the knowledge of God by means of revelation. • The study of philosophical anthropology helps seminarians explore “the authentic spirituality of man, leading to a theocen- tric ethic, transcending earthly life, and at the same time open to the social dimension of man.” The philosophical study of “the human person, his fulfillment in intersubjectivity, his destiny, his inalienable rights, and his ‘nuptial character’ as one of the pri- mary elements which is expressive of human nature and constitu- tive of society” provides a foundation for the seminarian’s study of theological anthropology. • The study of ethics, which treats general principles of ethical decision making, provides seminarians with a solid grounding in themes like conscience, freedom, law, responsibility, virtue, and guilt. Ethics also considers the common good and virtue of soli- darity as central to Christian social political philosophy. It pro- vides a foundation for the seminarian’s study of moral theology.
  3. “Philosophical instruction must be grounded in the perennially valid philosophical heritage and also take into account philosophical investigation over the course of time. It is to be taught in such a way that it perfects the human development of students, sharpens their minds, and makes them better able to pursue theological studies.” The philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas should be given the recognition that the Church accords it. Especially in the courses on the history of philosophy, there should be a significant treatment of St. Thomas’s thought, along with its ancient sources and its later development. The fruitful relation- ship between philosophy and theology in the Christian tradition should be explored through studies in Thomistic thought as well as that of other great Christian theologians who were also great philosophers. These include certain Fathers of the Church, medieval doctors, and recent Christian thinkers in the Western and Eastern traditions.

It is good to get acquainted with Philosophy regardless, but if you're looking to try and bypass Pre-Theology, most seminaries will set the requirement to 30 credits of Philosophy, and 12 credits of Theology. These being from a Catholic institution also helps.


[quote="opus101, post:2, topic:325295"]
If you are going to minor in Philosophy be very careful about the institution you select.

Hopefully, someone will be able to answer your other questions.


I can't stress this enough. I write this as I sit in a philosophy class at a catholic university. My prof isn't catholic and removed Aquinas from the course because he didn't really study much Aquinas and apparently Aquinas isn't that important of a philosopher...:eek:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit