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Seminary Accreditation

Accreditation is a primary means of quality assurance in North American higher education and a significant resource for quality improvement. Accreditation has always been associated with peer judgments about quality and has been the work of nongovernmental accrediting agencies. The names and addresses of those agencies accrediting all or part of the seminary's programs are listed below.

Programmatic Accreditation: ATS

Mount St. Mary's Seminary is accredited by The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, with the following approved degree programs: M.Div., M.A. (Theology).

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary is hosting a comprehensive evaluation visit for reaffirmation of accreditation by the ATS Commission on Accrediting, November 7-10, 2022. The purpose of this visit is to verify that the school meets all applicable Commission Standards of Accreditation. Comments regarding how well the school meets those standards and/or generally demonstrates educational quality may be sent to the ATS Director of Commission Information Services at least two weeks before the visit. Comments may also or instead be sent in writing to Rev. Msgr. Andrew Baker (baker@msmary.edu). All comments will be shared with the onsite evaluation committee.

Information regarding compliance with ATS accrediting standards may be addressed to:

The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
10 Summit Park Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1103
Telephone: (412) 788-6505
Fax: (412) 788-6510

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

As part of Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the Seminary is also accredited by the Maryland Higher Education Commission of the State Board of Education of Maryland, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The University will be hosting a comprehensive evaluation visit for reaffirmation of accreditation by MSCHE in spring 2023.

Information regarding compliance with accrediting standards may be addressed to:

1007 North Orange Street
4th Floor, MB #166
Wilmington, DE 19801
267-284-5011
www.msche.org

State Approval: MHEC

State approval assures that colleges and universities have satisfied certain minimum requirements established by the State for all degree-granting institutions operating in Maryland. Accreditation goes beyond this to assure that an institution has attained a level of quality recognized by other colleges and universities of the same type. Mount St. Mary's University is recognized by the Maryland Higher Education Commission as a state-approved university.

Maryland Higher Education Commission
6 N. Liberty St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
410-767-3301
800-974-0203
www.mhec.state.md.us

Ecclesial Affiliation: STB program

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary on January 4, 2007 (Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) was affiliated with The Pontifical Faculty of Theology of the Immaculate Conception, at the Dominican House of Studies, in Washington, D.C. which is authorized to grant the first-cycle ecclesial degree Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.). This affiliation was re-approved by the Vatican’s Congregation for Education in 2017. In fall 2022 both institutions will apply to continue the affiliation agreement for the S.T.B. degree program.

Special Program: ESL accreditation

cea-accreditation-logo.png The Mount St. Mary's Seminary ESL Program is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation for the period August 2022 through August 2032 and agrees to uphold the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions. CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S. For further information about this accreditation, please contact CEA, 1001 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 630, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 665-3400, www.cea-accredit.org.

Statement of Educational Effectiveness

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary provides education and formation for candidates for the Roman Catholic Priesthood.; In compliance with ATS educational standards, the seminary has developed a variety of direct and indirect measures to assess the extent to which the students are achieving the outcomes described in our catalog for the various degrees and programs they are pursuing. Faculty and Administration regularly review this data in the ongoing assessment of the educational effectiveness of the Seminary and to measure the success and timely completion of its degree and certificate programs. The following is a summary of the recent data as of May 2022.

Discipleship Stage / Philosophy Formation Program

This two-year formation program has as its purpose the preparation of candidates for entry into the theologate, i.e. the configuration stage of formation. The achievement of the goals of the program are measured by the formation team using direct and indirect measures of achievement in intellectual, spiritual, pastoral and human formation. As a demonstration of the effectiveness of the discipleship/philosophy formation program by class year is the percentage of those who completed the discipleship stage/philosophy formation program at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and who subsequently entered a graduate theological formation program the following fall, whether at the Mount or elsewhere:

  • 89.47% of those completing the Discipleship Stage/Philosophy Formation Program in May 2022 are expected to subsequently enroll in graduate Theological formation in fall 2022.
  • 100% of those who completed the Discipleship Stage/Philosophy Formation Program in May 2021 subsequently enrolled in graduate Theological formation in fall 2021.
  • 95.2% of those who completed the Discipleship Stage/Philosophy Formation Program in May 2020 subsequently enrolled in graduate Theological formation in fall 2020.
  • 88.0% of those who completed the Discipleship Stage/Philosophy Formation Program in May 2019 subsequently enrolled in graduate Theological formation in fall 2019.
  • 95.0% of those who completed the Discipleship Stage/Philosophy Formation Program in May 2018 subsequently enrolled in graduate Theological formation in fall 2018.

Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies (M.A.P.S.)

The two-year M.A.P.S. degree program has as its purpose to offer an opportunity for advanced graduate study of philosophy emphasizing both the history and major topical areas of philosophical inquiry, with attention to how these inform and are informed by the Catholic intellectual tradition. The graduates successfully passed a two-fold concluding exercise of a qualifying paper and oral presentation designed to measure student achievement of the degree program outcomes. The following data of recent M.A.P.S. candidates by entering cohort year shows the percentages of those who: 1) graduated in a timely manner, 2) who withdrew from M.A.P.S (but not from Seminary formation), and 3) retain eligibility to complete the degree as of May 2022.

  • Of the entering cohort 2021/2022 who enrolled for M.A.P.S. program (representing 17.74% of P1/sem-2027 class): none have graduated so far; none have withdrawn; and 100% retain eligibility.
  • Of the entering cohort 2020/21 enrolled in M.A.PS. (representing 44.44% of P1/sem-2026 class): 18.18% have graduated so far; 18.18% have withdrawn from M.A.P.S. (but not from seminary formation); and 45.45% retain eligibility.
  • Of the entering cohort 2019/20 (representing 38.46% of P1/sem-2025 class): none have graduated so far; 12.5% have withdrawn from M.A.P.S. (but not from seminary formation); and 62.5% retain eligibility.
  • Of the entering cohort 2018/19 (representing 44.0% of P1/sem-2024 class): 45.45% have graduated so far; 27.27% have withdrawn from M.A.P.S. (but not from seminary formation); and 27.27% retain eligibility.
  • Of the entering cohort 2017/18 (representing 25.92% of P1 cohort): 33.33% have graduated so far; 22.2% have withdrawn from M.A.P.S. (but not from seminary formation); and 0.0% retain eligibility.

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

The four-year Master of Divinity (M.Div.) is an accredited graduate professional ministerial degree, is designed to be completed by seminarians while they are fulfilling the requirements of the larger configuration stage/ordination formation program. Graduate must complete the required curriculum with at least a minimum cum gpa of 2.0 and receive a grade of "pass" on the direct an indirect assessment tools designed to measure the achievement of the degree program outcomes in intellectual, spiritual, pastoral, and human formation, and generally are recommended to their sponsoring diocese for ordination. As a demonstration of the effectiveness of this degree program in preparing men for ordained ministry, the data below shows the percentages of recent M.Div. graduates by class year who, as of May 2022, were ordained and still actively engaged in pastoral ministry.

  • 100% of those earning the M.Div. degree in 2021/22 are expected to be ordained and to be involved in active pastoral ministry.
  • 100% of those who earned the M.Div. degree in 2020/21 are involved in active pastoral ministry.
  • 85.71% of those who earned the M.Div. degree in 2019/20 are involved in active pastoral ministry.
  • 87.5% of those who earned the M.Div. degree in 2018/19 are involved in active pastoral ministry.
  • 96.0% of those who earned the M.Div. degree in 2017/18 are involved in active pastoral ministry.

Master of Arts (Theology)

The degree program goals for the M.A. (theology) degree program include both the attainment of survey knowledge of theology, as well as a focus in an area of concentration for study and research writing. Successful candidates, in addition to the required coursework (min. 3.0 cum gpa), complete the capstone exercise of a three-part portfolio of directed M.A. (theology) research projects and an oral comprehensive examination designed to measure student achievement of the degree program outcomes. The program's educational effectiveness is demonstrated by the rate of completion of the M.A. (theology) degree by entering cohort who graduated in a timely manner, having successfully completed the coursework and concluding exercises; the percentage of those who maintain eligibility, along with the percentage of those who initially opted for the M.A. (theology) program by entering theology class:

  • 53.33% of 1T/entering cohort of ay-2019/2020 (s’2023) opted to enter the M.A. (theology) program in ay-2020/2021: of those 0.0% have graduated so far, and 68.75% retain eligibility for the degree as of May 2022.
  • 72.22% of 1T/entering cohort of ay-2018/2019 (s’2022) opted to enter the M.A. (theology) program in ay-2019/2020: of those 56.84% completed M.A.(theology) degree requirements within less than 3 years of matriculation and 26.92% retain eligibility for the degree as of May 2022.
  • 87.09% of 1T/entering cohort of ay-2017/2018 opted to enter the M.A.(theology) program in ay-2018/2019: of those 55.55% completed M.A.(theology) degree requirements within 3 years of matriculation and 7.40% retain eligibility for the degree as of May 2022.
  • 95.65% of 1T/entering cohort of ay-2016/2017 opted to enter the M.A.(theology) program in ay-2017/2018: of those 31.81% completed M.A. (theology) degree requirements within 3 years of matriculation, 40.90% within 4 years of matriculation, and 9.09% retain eligibility for the degree as of May 2022.
  • 21.73% of 1T/entering cohort of ay-2015/2016 opted to enter the M.A.(theology) program in ay-2016/2017: of those 100.0% completed M.A. (theology) degree requirements within 3 years of matriculation; and 0.0% retain extension/eligibility for the degree as of May 2022.

Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.)

This first-level ecclesiastical degree (S.T.B.) is offered under an affiliation agreement (approved by the Vatican Congregation de Institutione Catholica and in keeping with the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana), with The Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception (at The Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.). The S.T.B. degree program's educational effectiveness of the degree program is measured by means of the concluding exercise, a two-phase (written and oral) comprehensive examination coram professors from both institutions designed to measure student achievement of the degree program outcomes. This is demonstrated by the rate of completion of the S.T.B. degree by seminary class cohort, as shown below by the candidates initially enrolled in the S.T.B. program who graduated having successfully completed the concluding exercise; along with the percentage of those who initially opted for the S.T.B. program from the same theology class year.

  • 71.4% of the Seminary class of 2022 who initially enrolled in the S.T.B. program graduated; 30.4% of the Seminary class of 2022 initially enrolled as the ay2019/2020 S.T.B. entering cohort.
  • 100% of the Seminary class of 2021 who initially enrolled in the S.T.B. program graduated; 19.4% of the Seminary class of 2021 initially enrolled as the ay2018/2019 S.T.B. entering cohort.
  • 33.3% of the Seminary class of 2020 who initially enrolled in the S.T.B. program graduated; 16.7% of the Seminary class of 2020 initially enrolled as the ay2017/2018 S.T.B. entering cohort.
  • 62.5% of the Seminary class of 2019 who initially enrolled in the S.T.B. program graduated; 47.1% of the Seminary class of 2019 initially enrolled as the ay2016/2017 S.T.B. entering cohort.
  • 33.3% of the Seminary class of 2018 who initially enrolled in the S.T.B. program graduated; 11.5% of the Seminary class of 2018 initially enrolled as the ay2015/2016 S.T.B. entering cohort.

Overall Seminary Completion Rates, Ordination Curriculum

The data below shows the five-year graduation rate of those first-year theology students, who entered as full time students in the configuration stage of the Seminary’s ordination curriculum in the fall of a given academic year, having previously completed the prerequiste philosophy curriculum of the discipleship stage either at the Mount or elsewhere, and completed the overall ordination curriculum and its concluding exercises. For example, the majority who completed with the graduating seminary class of 2022 entered the ordination formation program in ay 2018/19 (others of their cohort may still be eligible for completion if they took a pastoral year):

  • First-year graduate theology students, who entered full-time into the Seminary's ordination formation program in fall 2018/2019 and completed the overall curriculum, achieved a 4-year graduation rate of 52.78% (Seminary class of 2022); and 19.44% retain eligibility as of May 2022.
  • First-year graduate theology students, who entered full-time into the Seminary's ordination formation program in fall 2017/2018 and completed the overall curriculum, achieved a 4-year graduation rate of 54.48% (Seminary class of 2021); and a 5-year graduation rate of 64.52% as of May 2022.
  • First-year graduate theology students, who entered full-time into the Seminary's ordination formation program in ay2016/2017 and completed the overall curriculum, achieved a 4-year graduation rate of 56.52% (Seminary class of 2020); and a 5-year graduation rate of 61.0% as of May 2021.
  • First-year graduate theology students, who entered full-time into the Seminary's ordination formation program in ay2015/2016 and completed the overall curriculum, achieved a 4-year graduation rate of 45.45% (Seminary class of 2019) and a 5-year graduation rate of 54.5% by May 2020.
  • First-year graduate theology students, who entered full-time into the Seminary's ordination formation program in ay2014/2015 and completed the overall curriculum, achieved a 4-year graduation rate of 44.11% (Seminary class of 2018), a 5-year graduation rate of 55.88%, and a 6-year graduation rate of 58.82% by May 2020.