Saint Vincent Seminary accepts qualified men and women into its graduate program.
Degrees offered are the Bachelor of Sacred Theology, Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Master of Arts in Ecclesial Ministry. Saint Vincent Seminary trains men for the permanent diaconate in a special program with the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Saint Vincent Seminary also offers graduate courses for continuing education for lay persons. Each respective degree program has its own requirements. Please refer to the descriptions under the specific program for details on the degree requirements for each program.
Fall Semester 2022
August 29 Final registration and adjustments; Classes begin
September 5 Labor Day; no classes
September 6 Last day for adding courses
September 12 Last day for withdrawal without permanent record
September 13–November 18 Withdrawals receive “W”
September 23 Last day to change to P/F designation; last day to change to Audit
September 29 Spring & Summer 2022 incomplete grades not changed become “F”
October 17 and 18 Extended weekend begins after last class on October 14
October 19 Classes resume
November 1 Seminary Registration for Spring Semester 2023
November 17 Founders’ Day (classes canceled 3:30pm 7pm)
November 21 Withdrawals receive a WF
November 23-November 27 Thanksgiving vacation begins after last class on November 22
November 28 Classes resume
December 9 Last day of class
December 10 and 11 Reading Days
December 12–15 Final examinations
December 15 Graduating students grades due at noon
December 20 Final grades are due at noon
Spring Semester 2023
January 15 Students return
January 16 Final registration and adjustments; Classes begin
January 23 Last day for adding courses
January 30 Last day for withdrawal without permanent record
January 31–April 14 Withdrawals receive “W”
February 10 Last day to change to P/F designation; last day to change to Audit
February 16 Fall 2022 incomplete grades not changed become “F”
March 4–March 12 Spring break begins after last class on March 3
March 13 Classes resume
April 5 Seminary Registration for Fall Semester 2022
April 5–10 Seminary Easter Vacation begins after last class on April 4
April 11 Classes resume
April 11 Seminary Registration for Fall Semester 2023
May 5 Last day of class
May 6 and May 7 Reading Days
May 8–11 Final examinations
May 10 Graduating student grades are due at noon
May 12 Commencement
May 16 Final grades are due at noon
May 22 Summer Session begins
Saint Vincent Seminary Bulletin
The Bulletin of Academic and Formation Programs and Policies of Saint Vincent Seminary is available online by clicking on the image on the left, describes our current course offerings and programs.
The Seminary Bulletin is also available for purchase, in full color, or in black and white (interior).
Read the Seminary Bulletin directly on this website here.
Degrees and Programs
The Pre-Theology Non-Degree Program
There are two possible Pre-Theology programs a student may pursue at Saint Vincent Seminary – a Non-Degree Pre-Theology Program and a Master of Arts: (Catholic Philosophical Studies) degree program.
Master of Arts (Catholic Philosophical Studies) (MACPS)
The two-year Master of Arts (Catholic Philosophical Studies) degree program was accredited in 2015. This academic degree, together with the formation program which the students also partake of, fulfills all the requirements of the Pre-Theology formation program required for entrance into the M.Div. program.
Master of Divinity (M.Div.) (Four-Year Degree)
The four-year Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.), a fully accredited professional ministerial degree, is designed to be completed by seminarians while they are fulfilling the requirements of the ordination formation program.
Master of Arts (Systematic Theology, Sacred Scripture, or Monastic Studies) (Two-Year Academic Degree)
The Master of Arts degree program goals include both the attainment of a general knowledge of Theology, as well as a focus for study and research writing in one of three areas of concentration: Systematic Theology, Sacred Scripture, or Monastic Studies.
Master of Arts in Ecclesial Ministry
The Master of Arts in Ecclesial Ministry degree program (MAEM) is a professional degree open to candidates for the permanent diaconate and lay students. This is a three-year program. The curriculum consists of three major areas: Systematic Theology, Sacred Scripture, and Pastoral Studies.
Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.)
(Four-Year Academic Degree in Affiliation with the Pontifical University of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome) This degree is offered under an affiliation agreement (approved by the Vatican’s Congregatio de Institutione Catholica and in keeping with the Apostolic Constitutions Sapientia Christiana and Veritatis Gaudium), with the faculty of the International Benedictine University in Rome, Italy – the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo.
Like all U.S. seminaries, Saint Vincent seeks to “foster the formation of future priests by attending specifically to their human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation” – the four core “pillars” or “dimensions” of priestly formation. These “dimensions” of formation for the priesthood have been increasingly emphasized by the Church in recent history, i.e., Saint John Paul II in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992); the USCCB’s Program of Priestly Formation, (5th edition, no. 70), Benedict XVI, in his Apostolic Letter ‘motu proprio’ Ministrorum Institutio (16 January 2013); and Francis whose suggestions gave rise to the Congregation for the Clergy’s, The Gift of the Priestly Vocation – Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis Veritatis Gaudium. Each seminary approaches these formational dimensions in a manner that is unique to its institutional charism. For Saint Vincent Seminary, these “dimesions” are understood as inter-relational dimensions that must be presented in an integrated manner, without compromising the unique character of each.
Here one can appreciate how natural such an approach is to a Benedictine environment that seeks to cultivate personal holiness within the context of community life. Classic Benedictine mottos such as “work and prayer,” “stability,” conversion of life,” and “obedience as the hallmark of free will” demonstrate a predisposition toward integration. Nevertheless, each formation dimension is unique and requires specific attention.
Saint Vincent Seminary requires priesthood candidates to complete a program of priestly and academic formation of at least four years. An average course load consists of 17 credits per semester for eight semesters. Those who have not met the requirements for admission into the Seminary’s four-year Priestly Formation Program may be admitted into the Seminary’s Pre-Theologian Formation Program which is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree but are lacking in the philosophical, spiritual, and religious foundation required for admission to first theology.
The Seminary is open to accepting undergraduate students who have successfully completed two full years of undergraduate work in an accredited college. They will take classes at Saint Vincent College to complete an undergraduate degree. They will participate in the Seminary’s Philosophical Formation Program and live in the Seminary community, while at the same time completing their Pre-Theology requirements.
For additional information on the Formation Program please refer to the Seminary Bulletin. A link to the Bulletin is available elsewhere on this page.
Institute for Ministry Formation
The Institute for Ministry Formation (IMF) is an outgrowth of Saint Vincent Seminary’s commitment to the formation and education of priests, laity, and religious. The Christian life is about service, and service is ministry. Using new technology and traditional methods for learning and gathering, the IMF gathers this community, grows and supports its faith, and helps guide its response to God’s call by forming hearts and minds.
The greater the number of people who come together to do good, the more good can be done. The IMF gathers like-minded people using the latest in education technology and a vast and historic network of theologians, ministry leaders, subject experts, and spiritual directors to continue to form the hearts of those in ministry. The IMF’s goal is to become a single source of learning connecting students with others across the US or across the world, while creating a unique outlet to share collective wisdom. The IMF offers a degree, certificates, retreats, workshops, parish resources, and spiritual development programs. Explore programs, events, and virtual and electronic content at: http://imf.saintvincentseminary.edu/.
Certificate programs are open to clergy, seminarians, religious, and lay students. These are 1–2-year programs leading to a graduate certificate. They are designed to equip students with core theological, spiritual, and pastoral formation for use in active ministry or to pursue more advanced graduate studies. The programs are flexible to accommodate those working in active ministry and/or the working professional. Courses are mainly online and can be taken in any sequence unless otherwise specified. Students may elect to complete their studies with a certificate, or they may elect to apply these credits towards a “stackable” Master of Arts in Ministry (36 Credits, beginning in the spring of 2023).
As the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) states:
Schools are welcome to offer these credentials before or within graduate programs as they wish and may include such credentials as a stackable option, as long as the school attends to the Commission’s expectations regarding non-degree programs (Standard 3.15) as well as the expectations of the particular graduate degree program. (Guidelines for Reduced-Credit Master’s Degrees, 2020.)
To receive the M.A. in Ministry, students will need to pair an 18-credit specialized certificate, such as the Certificate in Spiritual Direction, with the 18-credit Certificate in Catholic Theology. The program requirements of both Certificates must be fully completed. When two certificates are combined, they will satisfy the 36 credits of the M.A. in Ministry with a specialization. For additional requirements and more details concerning the M.A. in Ministry program beyond the minimum credits needed to satisfy the degree, see the below section on the Master’s Degree in Ministry with Specialization.
The Institute for Ministry Formation envisions creating several specialized certificates that will either stand alone as graduate certificates or may be combined and “stacked” with the Certificate in Catholic Theology leading to an M.A. degree in Ministry with unique ministerial specializations.
The Master of Arts Degree in Ministry (with Specialization) Approved for spring 2023
The Master of Arts degree program consists of the Certificate in Catholic Theology stacked or paired with another certificate in a specialized area of ministry. A minimum of 36 total credits is required for satisfactory completion of the M.A. in Ministry (combining two 18 credit certificate programs). Goals for the M.A. in Ministry include both the attainment of a general knowledge of Catholic Theology, a focused study in a specialized area of ministry, and the application of Theology to a specialized ministerial focus. Successful candidates complete the required coursework, achieving a minimum of a 3.0 GPA each semester and a “B” in each course. This coursework, together with the comprehensive exam, demonstrates the student’s knowledge and ability to integrate principles of Theology into active ministry. The written M.A. comprehensive exam measures the candidate’s knowledge of general theological principles and the application of theology to the area of specialized ministry.
Saint Vincent Seminary provides programs for permanent diaconate candidates and offers degree programs to qualified men and women seeking a theological education. Students from a diocese or religious order wishing to apply for the priesthood ordination program should view the admission checklist for that program and fill out that application, either online or via the pdf file. Institute for Ministry formation applicants should view that particular application checklist and fill out the IMF application, either online or via the pdf file. All other students should view the non-ordination programs checklist and fill out the non-ordination programs application, either online or via the PDF file.