The Master of Divinity program is open to diocesan, religious, and lay students. This is a four-year program. The curriculum consists of four major areas of study: Sacred Scripture, Systematic Theology, Church History, and Pastoral Studies.
“The purpose of the Master of Divinity degree is to prepare persons for ordained ministry and for general pastoral and religious leadership responsibilities in congregations and other settings. Because of its breadth, it is the recommended degree for admission to the Doctor of Ministry degree program and toward advanced programs oriented to theological research and teaching” (The Association of Theological Schools Bulletin 50, Part 1, 2012, G-39).
The goals of the program are as follows:
Students will learn the doctrinal heritage of the Roman Catholic Church and acquire the capacity to communicate this heritage through academic courses in systematic theology, Sacred Scripture, Church history, pastoral and spiritual theology, and pastoral studies, as well as formation conferences and structured opportunities for faith sharing;
Students will develop pastoral and leadership skills required by the diverse contexts and cultural dimensions of Roman Catholic parish ministry, by acquiring the academic and professional competency needed to begin ecclesial ministry;
Students will develop a commitment to life-long learning, rooted in the Word of God and integrated with their spiritual lives;
Students will acquire the competency requisite for preaching that is biblically grounded, doctrinally sound, pastorally focused and rhetorically effective.
The admission requirements are as follows:
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college;
18 credits in philosophy for non-ordination students and, in accord with the Program of Priestly Formation, 30 credits for ordination students; 12 credits in Judeo-Christian theology (please see the Pre-Theology description and cycle of courses on page 8);
2 credits in New Testament Greek and a working knowledge of Latin (two semesters);
Non-ordination students are required to have a personal interview with the Academic Dean and to submit three letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a person who knows their academic ability;
In particular circumstances, the Admissions Committee will determine whether deficiencies may be corrected after admission;
Students for whom English is a second language are required to submit scores from a recent TOEFL examination, according to the requirements on page 13;
In order to apply previous course work to the Pre-Theology core requirements, courses must have been taken within the last ten years; and
Those applying for the ordination program must submit all of the required documents and meet the requirements listed on the current Admissions Checklist before being admitted into the ordination program.
The degree requirements are as follows:
100 credits as specified:
14 credits in Sacred Scripture
24 credits in Systematic Theology
12 credits in Church History
24 credits in Pastoral Studies, (6 of which must be in field education and 6 more in Pastoral Counseling)
26 credits in electives (including one two-credit seminar);
A grade point average of 2.5;
A minimum of 60 credits must be accomplished at Saint Vincent Seminary. Note that not all transfer credits and courses can apply to the ordination program
The Degree Requirements for the Ordination Master of Divinity Program:
Though the Ordination Program builds on the foundation of the Master of Divinity Degree, it goes beyond it. A normal credit distribution and plan of studies is found below. A maximum of 60 credits may be transferred. Transfer credits must have been obtained within the previous ten-year period and not all courses may be transferred into the Seminary Ordination Program. Ordination students who earn the Master of Divinity degree will be granted the degree only after their fourth year of study. All Ordination Candidates are required to fully participate in the human, intellectual, pastoral, and spiritual formation program described previously.
Candidates for the Ordination M.Div. degree must maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 while completing no fewer than 120 credits, following the distribution below and the Cycle of Courses that follows. Electives may be chosen in addition to the required courses.
A candidate must complete all degree requirements within ten years after acceptance into the M.Div. Program.
Credit Load for Master of Divinity Students
A normal credit load for the Master of Divinity candidate is 16/17 credits per semester. This consists of a planned balance of courses, some more heavily academic, some more pastoral, to help facilitate a holistic integration of studies, reflection and ministerial skills.
Academic Dismissal from the Master of Divinity Program
A student may be dismissed by the Seminary for failing to attain a cumulative average of 2.5 by the end of the second semester. If a student’s cumulative average falls below 2.5 in the second year of theology, a warning letter will be issued. If the required cumulative average is not attained by the end of the following semester, the student is subject to dismissal. A student may be readmitted to the Seminary if he or she does acceptable remedial work. Once readmitted, the student must maintain the required cumulative average at each grading period. A second dismissal is final.