Philosophy Degree from a Catholic college


If a man discerns that he is meant to enter the seminary, say, after 4 years of college, and he received a degree in Philosophy from a Catholic college, could he go straight to graduate Theology without taking Pre-Theology? Of course, this is assuming that the 36 credits as outlined by the Priestly Formation guideline is met…



I know a priest who did 4 years of philosophy at the University of Dallas and then only four years at a major seminary. His formation was deemed sufficient and allowed to not spend an entire six years in seminary. This was in the Diocese of Wichita, KS. I hope this helps!



This is a good question - and here is my answer.

Seriously, I think it would depend on the diocese or religious order that accepts you as a seminarian. Some vocation directors, diocesan bishops, or religious superiors might give a shorter formation time. I remember a seminarian in one diocese with a B.A. in Philosophy who did one year of Pre-Theology instead of two.

The advisor of the Philosophy Department at your college would probably be helpful as well.

Now, before I go any further, I do suggest talking this over with a vocation director of a diocese (or dioceses) or a religious house that you are considering entering formation. There may be some seminarians at your school already that you have class with (i.e. this is common at the University of Dallas - the Pre-Theology seminarians there get the equivalent of a B.A. in Philosophy, and the undergraduate seminarians graduate with a B.A. in Philosophy. ). A vocation director or a religious superior will know much more than a lay person like myself. Also, keep in mind that different dioceses use different seminaries - which could also vary.

Cle_GDP-10: Thanks - and I’m glad you are discerning this vocation.


Assuming that you are discerning the diocesan priesthood, it is possible. (As I am sure you know, postulancy and novitiate for candidates for religious life normally precede philosophical and theological studies although I have seen some anomalous situations, and accommodations, over the years.)

On the other hand, if the diocese has a pre-theologate/discernment house but its seminary is outside the diocese, they may propose some alternate arrangement to provide an opportunity for you to get to know the diocese and, just as importantly, for those overseeing initial formation to get to know you since the discernment is on their part as well as on yours.

As others have said, you should reach out to begin a dialogue with the vocation director of the diocese. Any advice from me beyond that is rather idle speculation on my part.


Thanks for the replies everyone, and thank you for the encouragement; it means a lot :slight_smile:

On the contrary, I am actually discerning religious life/priesthood, not diocesan priesthood. It is a long story, but it is basically just the unique position that God has put me in (I am still very much open to marriage, so maybe it is more appropriate to say that I am in a waiting stage; still discerning where God wants me next). All of my diocesan bros are in my prayers, but I decided that if God desires for me to be a priest, it would be in a specific religious order.

I am thinking about a traditional liberal arts major along (maybe Math) with Philosophy. If I am not called to the religious life/priesthood, I am considering teaching and school administration. I also enjoy philosophy for its own sake, and I take very seriously what St. JP2 said about the “call to philosophers!”

Thank you again!


I get the impression from friends and acquaintances that familiarity with pastoral situations is gaining in prominence in seminary training so if some of the academic side is shortened for any reason they will still need to schedule sufficient “practicals”.

A friend mixed with families a lot throughout his (diocesan) training.

Our lives are ahead of us and the world is God’s oyster!

Learning is wonderful and hopefully others will catch it from you whatever your walk of life.

Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.


Most orders/communities will have you do (at least) one year of postulancy for discernment/vetting purposes, and then you would go on to the (one year and one day) novitiate. After completing that, then you would go on to 4 years of Major Seminary. :thumbsup:


Yes, and thank you! Interestingly enough, the college I attend is where my religious house sends their seminarians for graduate Theology. Well, I should clarify that the seminary is on the same grounds as the college, and the Pre-Theology seminarians take their Philosophy classes at the college. Unfortunately, the seminary Theology department is separate from the college Theology department, but some of the professors teach in both, so i will take my Theology classes with them.


Indeed, what I meant to clarify though is that even if you follow the exact same program as them, they will ask you to do a year+ of postulancy regardless. :thumbsup:


You mention above that some of your professors also teach in the religious order’s theologate. My advice would be to speak with them, especially if (as I assume) they are members of the order with which you are discerning). They are in the best position to answer your question about formation and educational requirements for that particular order…


Thank you :slight_smile:


Thank you


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