Academic Formation

The academic program provides structured opportunities to develop a comprehensive and discriminating understanding of the Roman Catholic religious heritage. Its primary goal is to enable seminarians to develop and demonstrate:

  • a sound understanding and mature acceptance of the teachings of the Church;
  • the intellectual ability to engage in theological study at a graduate educational level, and a healthy respect for legitimate theological pluralism in a contemporary context;
  • a sincere appreciation for the ecumenical and interfaith dimensions of the Catholic faith and teachings, as well as the interdenominational and interdisciplinary dimensions of Catholic theology;
  • the ability to relate the theology and teaching of the Church to others in a pastorally sensitive and effective manner.

The theological formation of candidates for the ministerial priesthood is based on faith, animated by the Holy Spirit, guided by the Word of God, and faithful to the tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. In a significant way, intellectual formation for priesthood means a theological education in which a thorough and comprehensive grounding in the Catholic faith is conveyed. While priesthood is a response to the call from God to live as an ordained minister in the community, it is also a profession that demands appropriate academic preparation. St. Vincent de Paul is a graduate institution.

The State of Florida, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Association of Theological Schools empower St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary to grant the professional degree, the Master of Divinity, and the academic degree, the Master of Arts in Theology.



The commitment to study, which takes up no small part of the time of those preparing for the priesthood, is not an external and secondary dimension of their human, spiritual, and vocational growth. The goal of intellectual formation is the conversion of mind and heart, which is the only sure foundation for a lifetime of teaching and preaching.

The academic dimension of the formation program for ordination consists of the following:

1. The Ordination Program requirements. This plan of studies includes 106 core credit hours; four electives (generally, eight credit hours); and eleven seminars. The courses cover the five fields of theological studies of Scripture (19 credit hours), Systematic Theology (31 credit hours), Moral Theology (18 credit hours), Church History (12 credit hours), and Pastoral Theology (26 credit hours and 11 non-credited seminars and language requirements to assure competencies in English and Spanish). Four electives complete this plan of studies.

2. The Master of Divinity requirements. The M. Div. Degree program is a graduate plan of studies of 90 credit hours included in the ordination program requirements. This program covers the five fields of theological studies of Scripture (17 credit hours), Systematic Theology (27 credit hours), Moral Theology (15 credit hours), Church History (12 credit hours), and Pastoral Theology (19 credit hours). Seminarians complete the academic requirements of the M.Div. Program at the end of IV Theology.

Qualified candidates admitted into the formation program are enrolled in the M.Div. plan of studies. Transfer candidates from other seminaries may enter the M.Div. degree program if they had been in the M.Div. or an equivalent program at the seminary from which they transferred.

To qualify for this degree, transfer candidates must enroll for a minimum of four full semesters of academic work and a Pastoral Year at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary. (For full details of the M.Div. Degree academic requirements, transfer credits, etc., cf. the section on General Academic Information).


Statement of Student Achievement and Educational Effectiveness

Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Benchmark: 100% of graduates working in full-time ministerial positions
     2014: 100% of graduates in full-time ministerial positions
     2013: 100% of graduates in full-time ministerial positions

Benchmark: 100% retention of graduates in priestly ministry five years post-graduation
     2014: 100% of 2009 graduates active in priestly ministry five years post-graduation
     2013:100% of 2008 graduates active in priestly ministry five years post-graduation

Benchmark: 90% of graduating students scoring >2.5 out of 4 on the Pastoral Care Exam
     2014: 100% of graduating students scored >2.5
     2013:  89% of graduating students scored >2.5

Benchmark: 90% of graduates will competently celebrate two sacraments in a second language (score >3 out of 4 on rubric assessing celebration of these sacraments)
     2014: 78% of graduates scored >3
     2013: 93% of graduates scored >3

Master of Arts (Theological Studies; MA[TS])

Benchmark: 75% ofgraduates in degree-related ministerial positions or pursuing advanced studies (a portion of our students undertake the MA[TS] solely for personal development)
     2014: 100% of 2013 graduatesin degree-related ministerial positions or pursuing advanced studies
     2013:50% of 2012 graduatesin degree-related ministerial positions or pursuing advanced studies

Benchmark: 85% of graduating students scoring >3 out of 4 overall on rubric assessing capstone requirement (Comprehensive Exam or Final Paper)
     2014:  71% of graduating students scored >3 out of 4 on rubric assessing capstone requirement
     2013:  100% of graduating students scored >3 out of 4 on rubric assessing capstone requirement


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