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 commitment to study, which takes up no small part of the time of those preparing for priesthood, is not in fact an external and secondary dimension of their human, Christian, spiritual and vocational growth. In reality, through study, especially the study of theology, the future priest assents to the word of God, grows in his spiritual life and prepares himself to fulfill his pastoral ministry (PDV #51).

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

  1. The Ordination Program requirements. This plan of studies includes 138 core credit hours. The courses cover the following fields of theological studies: Scripture, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Church History, Canon Law, Pastoral Theology, (Pastoral Language and electives. Details may be found in the Plan of Studies. 
  2. The Master of Divinity requirements. The M. Div. Degree program is a graduate plan of studies   of 91 credit hours in the Ordination Program requirements. The program requirements cover the following fields of theological studies: Scripture (15 credit hours), Systematic Theology (27 credit hours), Moral Theology (12 credit hours), Church History (6 credit hours), Canon Law (3 credit hours), Pastoral Theology (28 credit hours).

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).