Shorter seminary?


Hi all,

Just a quick question. Is it possible to shorten the time a man spends at seminary if he already has some of the academic qualifications (for example a Bachelors degree in Theology from an orthodox Catholic institution)?

I ask because I am currently discerning the priesthood but due to a number of financial and family issues I can’t see myself being able to begin studies until I’m close to 30 (I’m 23 now).

The answer will have no bearing on my decision to study for the priesthood, which I feel I am definitely called to. Would just be nice to have some kind of timeframe.

God bless,



I think it would largely depend on the diocese. Some might say yes, some might not. It’s tough to say. Talk to the vocation director of your diocese to find out.


:thumbsup: Bingo…the only one who can answer this question is the vocation director.



[quote="JRKH, post:3, topic:237751"]
:thumbsup: Bingo...the only one who can answer this question is the vocation director.



Thought that might be the case.

Thanks both of you.


I know somone who had an MA in theology and a PhD (in I don't know what) who only spent a short time in the seminary. But he had already worked for a parish for quite a number of years doing ministry.

Seminary work is on a graduate level, so unless the courses you took were graduate level they might not accept them for the major seminary. Of course with a degree in theology you would not need to take the prerequisite theology courses. You may need to take some philosophy if you didn't have the required prerequisites in that. But again a lot depends upon the seminary.


Remember that a major component of seminary is spiritual formation. I’ve been told that you don’t get anything like it anywhere else, so I sure wouldn’t want to try and become a priest without it.


Seminary is not just to learn Theology and in fact not all priests are called to be Theologians but instead they are called to be priests. Don’t let money issues take you away from your calling. If you feel you have a calling talk to the Vocations Director and see what they can do to help you. In my diocese most men pay for their own tuition for college seminary or pre-theology but the diocese pays for major seminary. God bless


The Masters of Divinity is required for ordination in the United States.

This is a 4 year professional masters degree program.

It is also important to understand that seminary is not just to fulfill the academic requirements for ordination. It is also for spiritual formation and discernment of the seminarian and diocese/religious institute.

So at a minimum, if the candidate has the entry requirements (enough credits in philosophy and theology) would be 4 years. Many dioceses also have a pastoral year that I am sure they would not do without, so that would be a minimum of 5 years.


The Masters of Divinity degree, again which is what is required for ordination to the priesthood in the United States, is not a theological degree, it is a pastoral degree.

That being said, you do learn theology, but you also learn scripture and canon law as well.

It also depends on the seminary (or theologate (a theologate is a “seminary” that religious attend) have different programs for their M.Div., the theologate I attend, Washington Theological Union in DC has more scripture in their program than Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.


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