Seminary Life


What's it like? How does it go? How long is it? I think it's around 4-6 years, not sure. How much is it? How do you get in? Any other information would be appreciated. Thanks

  • Vjnycguy


It depends upon how much education you have going in. If you don't have a 4-year degree, you can count on about 4 years of college seminary, and if you do have a 4-year degree, you will likely do two years of Pre-Theology, where you earn a Bachelor of Philosophy (basically a BA in Philosophy without the core requirements, so mostly Philosophy, Theology, and some languages, as your seminary may or may not require).

As for how you get in, you first must apply to a diocese, who will then send you to whichever seminary they'd like for you to go to. I joined my diocese, and then when I'd been admitted to formation for them I was sent an application to the seminary, which I then applied to. Count on the application process to be quite involved; I had to meet with the Vocations Director and then the members of the Vocations Board, and do about 30 or so pages of paperwork. Plus there's a physical, psychological evaluation, school transcripts, background checks, letters of recommendations, and then a number of references whom they will contact to learn a little more about you. The process varies place to place, but I'd imagine it's not too different from that. After you've been accepted to the diocese, the Bishop will assign you to a seminary, and then you apply there like you would any other school. In most cases, the parts of the seminary application that overlap with the diocese's application process can just be forwarded on by your Vocations Director, but there again, that can vary place to place.

As for how it goes, that definitely varies place to place, each seminary will have its own sort of culture depending upon where it is, who it primarily serves, and so on. My own seminary is known both for its beautiful liturgies and its strong community life, as well as its academic rigor. I can tell you that it's very tough, but very rewarding--there is not a day goes by that I don't look around and find at least some small thing to love about the place.

Your day to day life will be mostly taken up with classes and communal prayer. There will also be conferences periodically and meetings with a spiritual director and a formation adviser. These people will help you discern your vocation--after all, that's why you go there. Get used to there being a good number of rules about things you may never have thought about, dress codes or how to conduct yourself in public or things like that--some places don't allow the use of cell phones outside of your room, so as to maintain professionalism.

Your first step should be to contact your diocesan vocations director. Over time, as you get to know him better and he gets to know you, he will decide to invite you to apply. Once that happens, the process, as I said, is rigorous, but it's well worth it. And once you get into seminary, it's even more rewarding. Above all, pray, stay close to Our Lord and Our Lady, and keep an open mind and heart. Be open to those who are there to serve you, and you will have nothing at all to worry about.

Feel free to PM me with any additional questions.



A couple of additional thoughts:

First, the part that edward mentions isn’t the whole of seminary formation; following your time in minor seminary, you’ll have four years at a major seminary, during which time you’ll study theology. At the conclusion of major seminary, you’ll have a mDiv, or an S.T.B., or an MA.

In addition to the degree requirements, you’ll also fulfill the requirements of the Program of Priestly Formation. I recommend you click the link and read the PPF for more background info. It’s important to note that academic formation is only part of the formation for the priesthood.

Also, I wanted to point out that pre-theology doesn’t necessarily lead to a Bachelor’s in Philosophy; some programs lead to an M.A. in Philosophy.

Finally, I should mention that all of this is in the context of formation for diocesan priesthood; if your discernment leads you to a religious community, there’s the additional matter of formation for life in that community.



Thank you everybody. Great information! :thumbsup:


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