Seminary Courses and Training Information
Seminary programs prepare men and women for religious careers as priests, pastors, rabbis or other leaders of faith communities, as well as serving laypeople who want to pursue academic religious studies. Seminary courses may be part of bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree programs.
List of Seminary Courses
A comprehensive examination and critical analysis of the structure, theology and interpretation of the Bible is typically mandatory in seminary programs. Certain texts of the Bible, like scriptures, the Pentateuch, Psalms, gospels and epistles, are studied more intently, with the focus varying according to denomination and degree pursued. This is usually a classroom-based lecture course.
History of Faith
This is a required lecture-style class in virtually all seminary programs. Students learn about major events, issues, trends and movements of their faith, including ecumenical efforts and schisms. Major historical figures and their religious teachings are introduced. Students also examine the evolution of their faith and worship style.
Theology classes explore the main tenets of a faith, like creation, the nature of the relationship between God and people, and eschatology. Catholic seminaries mandate a theology of the priesthood for students preparing for ordination. Classwork in this required seminary course usually includes the theology of good, evil, sin, atonement, suffering and salvation. Current issues in theology, like medical ethics, are also studied.
Ministry students learn to support their congregations' spiritual and social needs in the context of faith. Coursework might include faith formation, outreach, leadership and evangelism. This class is usually required and involves both classroom learning and fieldwork. Students might work with urban, suburban or rural faith communities, as well as immigrant faith communities, families, young adults and children.
Seminary students learn the history of and current practices in biblical, pastoral and prophetic worship services. They also study the liturgical calendar and develop worship services for holy days and rites of faith. Students work on their writing and speaking skills and their ability to develop liturgical themes that meet congregational needs. Attendance and participation in daily liturgy is typically required for priesthood candidates.
Seminary Training Programs
Seminary training programs for those intending to become Catholic priests typically require residence at a seminary. Courses culminate in a 4-year Bachelor of Sacred Theology or similar degree and ordination as priests.
Seminary training programs for laypeople and other faith community leaders can be 4-year undergraduate degree programs, 2-year master's degree programs or doctoral programs in divinity, theology, sacred music or related fields. These seminary programs do not usually have a residency requirement.
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