Saint Vincent Seminary Policy: Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults

Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity

Academic Advisors

 The Seminary, reconizing the value of faculty-student relationships, considers the academic advising of students to be an important element of their intellectual formation. Students in the Master of Divinity and Ordination programs are assigned an academic advisor when they begin studies. In subsequent semesters, students who wish to change their academic advisors may contact the Academic Dean.

Master of Arts and Bachelor of Sacred Theology candidates request a faculty member to serve as their academic advisor.

Academic Committee The Academic Committee is composed of the Academic Dean, two faculty members appointed by the Rector and two students from each class who are elected by their classmates. The Committee exists to deal with student suggestions for the general academic program and to serve as a channel to bring student concerns to the whole faculty. The Committee acts in an advisory role to the faculty and as a vehicle for expressing concerns of the student body in academic matters.
Academic Cooperation with Saint Vincent College

Sharing the same campus, the Seminary and the College take advantage of a mutually beneficial relationship. In some cases, pre-requisite courses can be taken in the undergraduate departments of the College. This is normally done during pre-theology for those in the Ordination Program.

A cooperative arrangement with the Theology Department in the College features some courses available to both undergraduates and graduates. A limited number of highly qualified undergraduates may be admitted to certain graduate courses as special students with the recommendation of the Chairperson of the Theology Department and the permission of the Academic Dean of the Seminary. 

Academic Due Process

The Academic Due Process Committee exists to deal with academic difficulties between a student and a teacher, especially as these difficulties pertain to grades. The Committee is composed of the Academic Dean, two faculty members appointed annually by the Rector and one student elected annually by the Academic Committee from its membership. An alternate faculty member is elected by the Academic Committee to serve in case a Committee member is a party to the difficulty. The Academic Dean is an ex-officio member of the Committee and serves as its chair.

A student who has an academic difficulty is asked to resolve the difficulty with the faculty member involved. If a mutually acceptable decision can be reached, the matter is settled by the teacher and the student.
In the event that a mutually acceptable decision cannot be reached, the student informs the Academic Dean of the difficulty. The Dean then discusses the matter with the faculty member.

If no resolution can be reached through the intervention of the Dean, the student may ask for a meeting of the Academic Due Process Committee. This request must be made within fourteen days of the Dean’s intervention. The student must present the Academic Dean with a written statement detailing the request for the convening of the Academic Due Process Committee.
Upon receipt of the student’s statement, the Dean shall convene the Academic Due Process Committee, which shall determine if there is reasonable cause to proceed with a hearing. If the Committee determines that no hearing is warranted, the decision of the teacher stands. There shall be no further appeal.

In the event that a hearing is granted, the Committee will review the matter with the student and the faculty member. The Committee, following the hearing, will make a decision in the matter by a simple majority vote. Either the student or the teacher involved may appeal the Committee’s decision to the Rector.

Upon review of the matter, the Rector will make a final decision that is not subject to further appeal.

 In the event that a hearing is granted, the Committee will review the matter with the student and the faculty member.  The Committee, following the hearing, will make a decision in the matter by a simple majority vote.  Either the student or the teacher involved may appeal the Committee’s decision to the Rector.

Upon review of the matter, the Rector will make a final decision that is not subject to further appeal.

Academic Fees Fees for graduation and processing official transcripts are subject to change. These fees are determined annually by the Board of Directors.
Academic Honesty

 Saint Vincent Seminary assumes that all students come for a serious purpose and expects them to be responsible individuals who demand of themselves high standards of honesty and personal conduct.

Fundamental to the principle of independent learning and professional growth is the requirement of honesty and integrity in the performance of academic assignments, both in the classroom and outside, and in the conduct of personal life. Accordingly, Saint Vincent Seminary holds its students to the highest standards of intellectual integrity. Thus the attempt of any student to present work which he or she has not done or to pass any examinations by improper means is regarded by the faculty as a serious offense. In case of academic dishonesty, the professor, together with the Academic Dean, who confers with the student, decides on the appropriate sanction. Possible sanctions include failure for the assignment, failure for the course, suspension or dismissal.

Academic Warning The Seminary demands of every student a cumulative and semester grade point average of 2.5 at each semester grading period. If a student fails to attain this 2.5 average for the semester, the Academic Dean issues a letter of academic warning with a copy sent to the student’s advisor. A student who receives an academic warning is required to consult with the academic advisor. Academic motivation, study habits and remedial programs are discussed. If a student fails to attain a cumulative average of 2.5 at each grading period, the Academic Dean issues a cumulative average warning with a copy sent to the academic advisor. A student may ultimately be dismissed for academic reasons.
Add/Drop Forms Registered students who wish to add or drop a course must complete add/drop forms. There is no charge to process these forms on the first day of classes. Beginning with the second day of classes a fifteen dollar ($15.00) fee per form will be charged. No fee will be charged for changes caused by the Seminary Administration.

The Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts degree programs are open to qualified diocesan, religious, and lay students. The Bachelor of Sacred Theology program is open to qualified ordination students. The specific admission requirements for degree programs are listed under each degree.

Persons considering application to the Seminary are encouraged to come to the campus and experience firsthand the environment and the spirit of Saint Vincent.

Acceptance to the Seminary is granted by the Admissions Committee. Applicants are notified of the decision of the Admissions Committee soon after all required documents are received. All correspondence should be addressed to the Academic Dean.

Applicants to the ordination program must already have legal authorization to be in the country for study or be sponsored directly by a religious order or diocese to be considered for admissions into the Seminary.

Audit Students may register to audit a course with the permission of the Academic Dean. No credit and no grade points are earned for auditing a course. Auditors are not required to complete class assignments or examinations. The tuition for auditors is reduced.
Change of Requirements

Academic requirements in effect at the time a student enrolls in the Seminary generally remain applicable to that student. However, the Seminary maintains the right to modify programs and to add or delete courses at any time. Work that was completed before the changes were made will be recognized towards the fulfillment of the requirements. New courses or requirements, however, may be applied to the incomplete portion of the student’s program.

If a student is readmitted to the Seminary, requirements for graduation are determined by the Bulletin in effect at the time of readmission. 

Class Attendance and Make-Up Exams Students are required to attend class. Students may be excused from class by the Rector, Vice Rector, or Academic Dean. The student is required to report any excused absence to the faculty member prior to the absence. In unusual circumstances, such as illness, a student may contact the Academic Dean, who will notify each instructor of the reason for absence from class. Individual faculty members may set more specific policies regarding absences and make-up exams.
Classroom Attire At the recommendation of several bishops and vocation directors, as well as the Chancellor of the Seminary Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., effective immediately, diocesan seminarians are to wear clerics and religious seminarians are to wear their habits to all liturgical celebrations, in the seminary and monastery dining rooms, and for all classes.
Computers and Information Services

By the decision of the faculty on August 23, 2005, computers may not be used in taking any examinations.

For further policies on computer use and information services, please see the Information Resources and Responsible Use Policy on page 82.

Continuing Education The Seminary welcomes students to take classes on a continuing education basis. Those enrolled as continuing education students are expected to have the necessary background for the courses which they wish to take. Continuing education students are admitted to the courses by the Academic Dean and pay the regular tuition rate unless they audit the course.
Credit Hours All courses are recorded in terms of credits or semester hours. A semester hour is defined as one lecture or class period of fifty minutes duration per week for one semester. Credits for pastoral formation are determined by the Director of Pastoral Formation and the Academic Dean.
Dual Degree Candidacy

After two semesters of successful studies in the theologate, Master of Divinity students may request admission to either the Master of Arts or the Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree programs.

Master of Divinity students who apply for dual degree status must meet the admission requirements for the degrees, have at least a 3.0 G.P.A. for the M.A. program or a 3.25 for the S.T.B. program and be recommended to the Academic Dean by the Master of Arts Committee or Bachelor of Sacred Theology Committee.

Financial Aid

All full-time and part-time students are eligible for scholarships as determined by the administration of Saint Vincent Seminary. A full listing of available scholarships may be found on the Seminary website at The Committee must adhere to all stipulations as stated in the various trusts, funds, endowment funds, and scholarship bequests.

Financial Information

Tuition and Fees: Please see the 'Downloads' link under Programs on this website for the most recent information.

Billing: Bills are sent prior to the start of each semester and will be due upon receipt. Failure to pay may preclude the possibility of receiving a degree or honorable dismissal.

Withdrawal/Refund Policy:

  • If withdrawing prior to the second day of classes, 100% Refund
  • If withdrawing after second day through the first day of third week, 95% Refund
  • If withdrawing after first day of third week through first day of fifth week, 40% Refund
  • If withdrawing after first day of fifth week, 0% Refund 
Grades Click here for grading table.
Grade Point Average Records are evaluated through a grade point average (GPA). This average is obtained by dividing the total number of credits taken on a letter-grade basis into the grade points earned.
Honors A cumulative GPA of 3.50 constitutes honors, 3.75 constitutes high honors and 3.90 constitutes highest honors.
Inclusive Language Guidelines

Saint Vincent Seminary has adopted the following guidelines with regard to inclusive language:

  • that a conscious effort be made to develop the inner freedom needed to relate to all persons with the sensitivity characteristic of our Lord;
  • that a conscious effort be made to use inclusive language in all forms of written and spoken communications.
Independent Study A student wishing to pursue a special project, or who, for reasonable scheduling purposes, needs to take a required course as an independent study, must first consult the Academic Dean, and then request a faculty member to direct and supervise independent work. If accepted by the faculty member for independent study, the student is required to complete the appropriate paperwork in conjunction with the faculty member and to seek final approval from the Academic Dean. Credits are determined by the faculty member and the Academic Dean. Ordinarily, M.A. students may not take more than two independent studies without permission from the Academic Dean; nor are students permitted to utilize independent studies to repeat a failed course.
Integrated Language Study Courses (previously known as ESL)

In collaboration with Saint Vincent College, Saint Vincent Seminary offers a full time, fully accredited Integrated Language Study program for our students. Students not ready to begin theological studies may reside and participate in the Seminary’s formation community and program while studying English and preparing for theological studies.

Pre-theology or theology students who are still in need of adequate proficiency in English will be required to take ILS courses at the College each semester until they attain a satisfactory level of English fluency.

Students may be required to take a reduced course load in their theological studies until their English fluency is adequate to the demands of the academic program.

Students who find they are having difficulty in this area should consult with the Academic Dean. Admittance into the ordination program will occur once the student achieves an intermediate level of English facility, provided that all other admission requirements are met. As a student progresses in his command of English, theology courses will be folded into the schedule on a gradual basis. Once a student achieves a TOEFL score of 550 on the paper examination, a 215 on the computer examination, or a 79 on the internet examination, he may enroll full-time in the ordination program.

Depending upon the degree of progress in accent reduction, international students may be required to receive tutoring for accent reduction through Fourth Theology.

Integtrated Language Study Courses
(previously known as ESL)
001 Reading
101 Reading II
002 Note Taking and Discussion
202 Note Taking and Discussion II
003 Grammar
103 Grammar II
004 Speaking and Listening
204 Speaking and Accent Reduction
005 Writing
105 Writing II
306 Advanced Speaking and Writing
307 Advanced Speaking and Writing II
308 Advanced Speaking and Writing III

Pass/Fail Option

Field Education courses, Introduction to New Testament Greek, and Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin may be taken on a pass/fail basis. Such courses will carry credit toward graduation but will not be used to compute the student’s grade point average if a “P” is earned. An “F” is computed in the grade point average.

With the Academic Dean’s approval, a student may indicate desire to take one of these courses on a pass/fail basis by filing a form with the Registrar before the date indicated on the academic calendar. After that date a change back to the letter grade option may not be made. Full tuition is charged.

Plagiarism Plagiarism is the intentional representation of another person’s written work or research as one’s own. It is critically important for students to properly credit all of the sources used in their writing. Such sources include all individual persons, groups of persons, institutional entities, or web pages from which written quotations, citations, or references are taken. In order to avoid even the appearance of plagiarism, Saint Vincent Seminary students must follow the Chicago Manual of Style as explicated in Nancy Jean Vyhmeister, Your Guide to Writing Quality Research Papers: For Students of Religion and Theology, second edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008). For further information about the various types of plagiarism, please see
Recording of Lectures or Conversations with Faculty Members or Administrators

As of August 2012, the following is the official policy of Saint Vincent Seminary regarding the recording of lectures or conversations with faculty members or administrators. According to our legal counsel, Pennsylvania law prohibits the recording of conversations without the prior consent of all parties. The recording of these conversations is treated as a felony violation according to Pennsylvania Statutes. Also, teachers have legal rights to their lectures, and you cannot record them without permission, just as a commercial cannot use a song without permission from the person who wrote the song. The recording of lectures in a classroom or public setting, without the prior consent of the professor, could be a violation of copyright law of the state of Pennsylvania, and may violate federal laws as well. Above and beyond legal realities, there are ethical standards that may be violated by any surreptitious or clandestine recordings of conversations or lectures, especially if these recordings are then distributed to others.

The policy of Saint Vincent Seminary is that it is both illegal and unethical behavior for anyone to secretly record any conversation between individuals, or any classroom or public lecture given in Saint Vincent Seminary, or sponsored by Saint Vincent Seminary anywhere on the Saint Vincent campus, without first having received permission in writing and in advance from the lecturer. All permission agreements should be signed by both (or, all) parties, dated, and should include all agreed-upon terms (for one lecture, for the entire semester, etc.). These completed agreements should be deposited in the Academic Dean’s Office PRIOR TO ACTUAL RECORDING.

Disciplinary, or even possibly legal, action could be taken if this behavior is discovered without the agreement of the lecturer, and especially if the fruits of this behavior are disseminated to others. 

Records and Transcript Policy

The Seminary makes available a statement informing students of their rights under the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974” (The Buckley Amendment). The purpose of this act is to establish procedures that govern access to and release of student records kept by the Seminary. Questions about the access to, and release of, student records should be directed to the Rector or the Academic Dean.

An official transcript is issued upon written request from the student. Transcripts are sent directly to the institution named by the student. The fee for this service is $5.00.

It is the policy of the Seminary to send official transcripts to sponsors of students at the end of each semester. Individual students who object to this practice are expected to notify the Rector in writing no later than ten calendar days into the semester.

Transfer Credit Policy/
Advanced Class Standing

Saint Vincent Seminary’s mission is to train priests as servant-leaders for the Roman Catholic Church. Candidates applying to Saint Vincent Seminary may apply to the Academic Dean for advanced placement in the seminary program based upon the completion of coursework at other institutions.

To be acceptable, transfer credits must have been completed within ten years of the date of application to Saint Vincent Seminary. A maximum of sixty (60) credits may be accepted toward the Master of Divinity degree (Ordination and Non-Ordination programs) and for the Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology. Twelve (12) credits may be accepted for transfer toward the Master of Arts degrees. Transfer credit will be acceptable only if it meets the following criteria:

Credits from other Roman Catholic Seminaries and Schools of Theology:

These credits will be accepted if the applicant/seminarian earned a final grade of at least a C (2.0 GPA or its equivalent) and provided that the content of these courses is determined by the Academic Dean to be compatible with the requirements of Saint Vincent Seminary.

Credits from other Accredited Graduate Institutions:

These credits will be accepted if an applicant/seminarian earned a final grade of at least a C (2.0 GPA or its equivalent) and provided that the content of these courses is compatible both with the requirements of Saint Vincent Seminary and with Roman Catholic Doctrine, as determined by the Academic Dean.

Language Credits:

Language credits in Latin or Greek, done on a College or University level of study, may be accepted as fulfilling the language prerequisites for the degree programs at Saint Vincent Seminary if the Academic Dean deems them to be sufficient. Otherwise, an equivalency or placement exam may be required of the student to test out, or to be placed in an Intermediate level of the language.

In all cases, the decision of the Academic Dean is final.

Registration Each year the times and procedures for academic registration are announced by the Academic Dean. All students are expected to register for themselves. A student’s academic advisor and the Academic Dean indicates approval of the schedule by signing the registration form. Students must register through the College Datatel System. Advisors must approve the completed registration form.
Repetition of Courses Students that receive an F grade are responsible for repeating the course or they will not earn a degree. For Master of Divinity students only, due to the difficulty of scheduling repeat courses, students may need to take an equivalent course through an approved distance learning program or at another accredited institution during the summer. Students must receive approval from the Academic Dean prior to enrolling for any credits taken and transferred from another institution for a failed course.
Social Concerns Day Each January the Seminary will hold a Social Concerns Day, which will coincide with the March for Life. Classes will be canceled that day. Each student will be involved in a social concerns activity by attending the march or participating in a social concerns activity recommended by the Seminary. Students unable to participate in the March for Life must utilize Social Concerns Day for some other appropriate social concerns activity, as approved by the Director of Pastoral Formation.
Student Evaluation Students in the Master of Divinity-Ordination Programs are evaluated annually through the Profile Process. Students in all other degree programs are evaluated each year by those faculty members who teach them. The evaluation is focused on academic skill and, when appropriate, suitability for ministry.
Student Evaluation of Courses At the conclusion of each semester students are given the opportunity to evaluate each of their courses using the online Survey Monkey program. Prior to the end of the semester, emails will be sent out to students with a link to the survey. The course evaluation surveys are open for a limited amount of time. It is the responsibility of each student to complete a course evaluation for each one of their courses before the end of exam week and prior to departing for break. Failure to complete the course evaluations will result in a lock on the release of their grades to their diocese/abbey. Independent studies and some pastoral courses are not evaluated.
Student Government Students are encouraged to participate in the Student Association of the Seminary. Each student registered in a degree and/or ordination program is a member of the Association.
Style Sheet Papers are to be prepared in accord with the approved style sheet of the Seminary (see Nancy Jean Vyhmeister, Your Guide to Writing Quality Research Papers: For Students of Religion and Theology (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 2008, Second Edition).
Technology Policy

The Internet can be a valuable resource for research and education. However, when using the Internet one must be aware that not all material available is of reputable academic quality and representative of Church teaching. The Internet materials used for research must be published by a reputable academic and/or ecclesial establishment. Citation of Internet sources must include the address of the website and its affiliation and be in conformity with Your Guide to Writing Quality Research Papers: For Students of Religion and Theology, Nancy Jean Vyhmeister, (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 2008, Second Edition).

Faculty members have the right to prohibit, limit or restrict the number or proportion of the Internet sources used in any given project.

This is a link to the Seminary's Information Resources Policy.

Withdrawal from the Seminary Program Students who withdraw from the Seminary are required to contact the Academic Dean and complete an official withdrawal form. This is especially important if the withdrawal is during the period when the student is entitled to a refund. Refunds are based on the date recorded on the official withdrawal form.


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