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How do I get a Seminary Degree?

By T. Webster
Updated Feb 20, 2024
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A seminary degree is obtained from an institution that offers educational programs in theology and other areas, such as philosophy, divinity, and ministry. These degrees are primarily designed for students who want to enter some form of ministry. Many seminary schools offer bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees either on campus or via the Internet. Students can specialize in areas ranging from biblical languages to religious history to youth ministry.

Given the range of programs available, students should carefully consider what they want to study before embarking on a seminary degree. For example, a theology degree at a Christian-based college can provide students with a deep understanding of the Bible, its history, and the foundation of Christian beliefs. A degree in theology can be a good foundation for a pastor as it teaches students how to logically present concepts and explain their faith to others.

One of most important steps students can take is researching potential schools to determine which program best fits their belief systems and budgets. Unlike other colleges, a seminary college may require students to sign a statement of faith. A written pastoral letter of recommendation from the student's church may also be required. Questions about the spiritual life and personal life of potential students are likely to be asked. Students should choose references carefully as they can have a big impact on whether he or she is admitted to a seminary program.

It may also help to ask church staff members for recommendations on which college to attend. Some churches may offer scholarships or other programs that can help with the cost of getting a degree. Current church staffers looking to get a seminary degree may be able to get some course credit for their experience. This can significantly cut down on the time and cost it will take to get a degree.

Conducting Internet research is another good way to find the right school. After researching available programs, make a list of several seminary schools that are most appealing. Get information on the programs and admissions requirements from a few of your top choices.

Online seminary degrees are a popular choice for students who work full-time or who do not want to undertake the expense of moving and living on a college campus. The advantage to online degrees is that you can complete the coursework from anywhere in the world at the times that best fit into your schedule. You should check the college's policy on international students if the college is not based in your country.

No matter what program you choose for your seminary degree, find out if the program is accredited. An accreditation means the school meets a certain criteria in how it conducts its business and in the quality of its education. Having an accredited degree can also be a plus when applying for jobs or continuing your education. Earning your degree will require taking and passing all required courses. These requirements can typically be found in the course catalog of the institution you plan to attend.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By luna49 — On Nov 18, 2009

Is there a difference between attending a Catholic seminary vs. a seminary program in a religiously-affiliated college? I'd think that one of the key steps to getting a seminary degree would be in finding a school that matches your religious beliefs.

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