The Master of Divinity Program 

  • Description
  • Prerequisites for Admission to the Program
  • Candidates for the Roman Catholic Priesthood
  • Degree Seeking Students who are not Candidates for the Ordained Priesthood


The Master of Divinity Program (M.Div.) is the basic program of graduate professional education. The basic sequence of 113 semester hours is organized into five general areas: Biblical Studies, Historical Studies, Systematic Theology, Pastoral Theology, and Liturgical and Sacramental Theology. The course sequences are so arranged that there is a progression from the sources of revelation to the systematic understanding and application of principles to the mission of the Church as required in the parochial ministry.

The program is professional in its orientation and yet truly academic in that it demands extensive independent study and the adequate use of the methods of research so that the student may carry out ministry in a creative and responsible fashion.


Prerequisites for Admission to the Program

Applicants will be admitted to the seminary that have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association.

College courses prior to theological studies should provide the cultural and intellectual foundations essential to an effective theological education. They should furnish the student with the tools of learning proper to an educated person and result in increased understanding of the world.

Since it is difficult to prescribe one pattern as normative for all pre-seminary education, Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, following the guidelines of The Association of Theological Schools regarding pre-seminary studies, envisages a number of categories of learning in which a student will have developed some in-depth understanding:

  1. Secular Understandings
    1. Understanding of human selfhood and existence.
    2. Understanding of modern social institutions and problems
    3. Understanding of culture and religion
    4. Understanding of the science and technology
    5. Understanding of the modes and processes of understanding
  2. Theological Understandings
    1. Bible: content and interpretation
    2. History of Christianity
    3. Constructive theological methodology and interpretation
  3. Linguistic Skills
    1. Greek, Hebrew, Latin
    2. German, French, or Spanish
    3. It is desirable that a student has a reading knowledge of one of the biblical languages and of one of the classical or modern languages. Decisions about additional language skills should be related to the future work of the individual. Thus, French or German should be included for a person contemplating possible graduate study in academic theology. Spanish or a language of the Third World might be of value for another ministry.In general, students should seek to develop moderate competence across the nine areas outlined above. They should be able to communicate easily possessing the ability to write and speak clearly and use correct English prose.Specific requirements which specify some of the areas of the above are the following:
      1. Theology–at least 12 semester hours in courses distributed normally over the areas of Old and New Testament history and literature, World Religions, Catholic Theology and courses in Sacramental Theology.
      2. Philosophy–at least 24 semester hours normally including courses in contemporary philosophy, ethics, logic or epistemology, metaphysics or natural theology and philosophical anthropology.
      3. Test scores from the Graduate Record Examination.

      Furthermore, the seminary reserves the right to give entrance or qualifying examinations in any of the categories above. A student, however, with a bachelor’s degree who lacks less than 36 semester hours needed to acquire the competencies above, may be admitted with the understanding that it is necessary to fulfill them at neighboring colleges and thus lengthen the seminary program.


      Candidates for the Roman Catholic Priesthood

      Applicants should understand that the diocesan priesthood vocation is a call to service of the Church that comes from the local Church and, therefore, on-going formation is subject to the scrutiny of that local community of which the seminary is an integral part.

      Applicants should be open to developments in Church life and practices to prepare them for a lifelong commitment to the priesthood.

      A Bishop or a Religious Superior must sponsor prospective students who intend to prepare themselves for ordination. To the extent permitted by its primary mission the seminary will make efforts to accommodate candidates for the priesthood from religious communities and other rites.

      These applicants must provide, in addition to the documents required of all full-time, degree seeking students, Baptismal and Confirmation certificates; Marriage certificates of parents from Church records; character testimonial from the pastor; and letters of recommendation. These applicants are required to provide an autobiography or personal history, which includes a vocational discernment statement. Students from a college seminary are required to have a positive evaluation and recommendation from the seminary faculty.

      Each applicant whether from the Diocese of Cleveland, other dioceses or religious communities, must be considered by the Admissions Committee. Prior to acceptance by the Admissions Committee, the applicant will be expected to undergo a physical and psychological examination by qualified personnel approved by the seminary.

      Application deadline for entry into the seminary program is May 1.

      Applicants are notified that candidates for the Roman Catholic priesthood are expected to provide their own transportation.