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Saint Joseph Seminary College offers an integrated two-year program of spiritual and academic formation for students who are preparing to enter a Roman Catholic theologate but who have never participated in a seminary formation program. The Pre-Theology program offers the basic requirements in philosophy and undergraduate theology necessary for entrance into the theologate and provides students with supplemental academic formation, based on the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which are designed to develop their appreciation of the Catholic heritage while deepening their own spiritual journeys. Designed primarily for the needs of second-career candidates and other college graduates, the program is flexible enough to accommodate the specific needs of individual students.

Before beginning theological studies, the candidate must fulfill certain academic requirements. But the candidate must also make a transition from previous commitments, routines and concerns if he is to enter fruitfully into the total formation program of the theologate. Such a transition is not merely academic but also has broader intellectual, spiritual, human, and pastoral aspects.

The academic requirements set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Program of Priestly Formation (a minimum of 30 semester hours in philosophy, including a series of specified course areas, and 12 semester hours in undergraduate theology) cannot be accomplished in a single year. Thus, Saint Joseph Seminary College, with an academic curriculum set within the context of holistic priestly formation and an atmosphere of reflection, offers an ideal setting for the total process, which enables the candidate to stabilize his decision to follow Christ as a priest.

Because of the varied cultural and educational backgrounds of these candidates, the Pre-Theology Program is both structured and flexible, fulfilling the necessary prerequisites while still addressing individual needs. It also serves as a further screening process, so that the focus of the candidate, his diocese, and the theologate will be more clearly defined when theological formation begins.

The Pre-Theology Program allows the candidates to spend energy and quality time on the multifaceted issues of ministry and personal dedication to Christ and His Church:

  • It acquaints the candidate with the basics of Catholic culture and tradition.
  • It allows the candidate to participate actively in ordered liturgical prayer, while cultivating private prayer and devotion.
  • It furnishes the candidate with a community context while guiding him into the solitude of a celibate life style.
  • It engages the candidate in basic pastoral activity.
  • It challenges the candidate with serious academic responsibilities.


Spiritual Formation: Special consideration is given to the age and individual needs of the candidate. As a rule, he participates in the regular Seminary Spiritual Formation Program: daily Eucharist and Morning and Evening Prayer; weekly formation discussion groups, under a formation moderator; semi-annual days of recollection; annual Holy Week retreat and participation in the Paschal Triduurn; personal contact with a spiritual director and availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Many religion courses in the Pre-Theology curriculum also pertain to spiritual formation.

Pastoral Formation: This element is integral to the two-year program and aims to provide a variety of experiences appropriate for a more mature seminarian. Through weekly assignment in the first year and participation in the Mission Immersion Program in the second year, the seminarian is encouraged to broaden his personal pastoral vision.

Human Formation: Participants in the Pre-Theology Program live in a seminary residence designed for older students (Vianney Hall). They are active members of the Student Government Association and participate in all its activities and events.

Intellectual Formation: The basic curriculum has been established to help the candidate acquire a philosophical mindset adequate for the study of systematic theology. Undergraduate theology courses are designed to answer the demands for in-depth formation in the Catholic tradition while preparing the candidate for theological study and for further priestly formation.


      LAT 1311 Basic Latin I 3
      PHI 3311 Introduction to Philosophy and Philosophical Research 3
      PHI 3321 Logic 3
      PHI 3331 Ancient Philosophy 3
      THE 4391 The Catholic Profession of Faith 3
   Total Semester Credit: 15
      LAT 1312 Basic Latin II 3
      PHI 3312 Medieval Philosophy 3
      PHI 3322 Metaphysics 3
      THE 4312 Fundamental Theology 3
      THE 4392 Celebrating the Christian Life 3
   Total Semester Credit: 15
      PHI 3341 Ethics 3
      PHI 4311 Modern Philosophy 3
      PHI 4321 Epistemology 3
      THE 2311 Old Testament 3
      THE 3312 Life in Christ 3
   Total Semester Credit: 15
      PHI 4312 Contemporary Philosophy 3
      PHI 4322 Philosophical Anthropology 3
      PHI 4332 Natural Theology 3
      THE 2312 New Testament 3
      THE 4394 The Catholic Tradition of Prayer 3
   Total Semester Credit: 15
Total Credit Hours: 60