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Pre-Theology Program

Preparing for the Theologate

The pre-theology formation certificate program provides the requisite undergraduate theology and philosophy as proscribed by the PPF (152-56, 188, and 158), in addition to the study of Latin (PPF 189), Greek, and liberal arts courses as appropriate (PPF 162).


Mount St. Mary’s Seminary is a school of faith, discipleship and learning that prepares men for the Catholic ministerial priesthood. We strive to be a spiritual place that fosters a way of life and provides an atmosphere for excellent priestly formation in all its aspects: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral.

  • Undergraduate Major
  • Undergraduate Minor
  • Graduate Degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Accelerated Undergraduate
  • Adult Undergraduate
  • Special Program

Program Purpose

This two-year program has as its purpose the preparation of candidates for entry into the theologate. Candidates who complete the program as so certified.

  • For those who have completed college but lack the philosophical and theological background necessary to enter the theologate, this two-year program will equip them with 30 credit hours of philosophy (PPF 152-160), plus Ecclesiastical Latin, Biblical Greek, and undergraduate theology.
  • Qualified bachelor degree bearing pre-theology candidates, with the permission of the seminary Academic Dean and the sponsoring diocese, may enroll in the optional Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies (M.A.P.S.) degree program administered by the university's philosophy department.
  • For those who have not yet completed an undergraduate degree, an individualized curriculum can, in most cases, allow students to complete the academic requirements for pre-theology at the same time they complete the requirements for their bachelor’s degree.


The Pre-theology Formation Program aims at an adult level of affective maturity and interpersonal skills, a practical spiritual discipline, an exposure to apostolic life, and intellectual readiness for graduate theological studies.


The primary intellectual focus is the study of philosophy, which is balanced, comprehensive, integrated, and coherent (PPF, 155). Its specific objectives are for the seminarian to:

  • Gain an introductory understanding of the main historical periods, the major figures, and the main fields of philosophy
  • Gain an introductory understanding of the major positions taken in the philosophical tradition that have significance for theology
  • Develop analytic and critical abilities
  • Develop a reflective awareness of the relation between reason and faith
  • Acquire a foundation for future theological study

Get information regarding Spiritual and Liturgical life in the Seminary, as well as details on various practices within the Seminary Community.

Download the Rule of Life (.pdf)

Program Course Content

  • First Pre-Theology - fall semester
    • LATN 950 Ecclesiastical Latin I or GREK 950 (3)
    • PHIL 202 Logic and Philosophical Method (3)
    • PHIL 311 Ancient Philosophy / crosslisted MAP 511 (3)
    • PPHL 901 Cosmology (3)
    • PTHL 001 Catechism and Catechetics I (3)
    • ORDN 001 Pre-Theology Pro-Seminar (0)
    • PAMU 001 Introduction to Pastoral Music I (0.5)
  • First Pre-Theology - spring semester
    • LATN 960 Ecclesiastical Latin II or GREK 960 (3)
    • PHIL 301 Ethics and the Human Good / cross-listed MAP 501 (3)
    • PHIL 312 Medieval Philosophy / crosslisted MAP 512 (3)
    • PTHL 002 Catechism and Catechetics II (3)
    • MAP 513 Political Philosophy or another elective (2 or 3)
    • ORDN 002 P1 Formation Seminar: Fides et Ratio (0)
    • PAMU 002 Introduction to Pastoral Music I (0.5)
  • Second Pre-Theology - fall semester
    • GREK 950 Biblical Greek I or LATN 950 (3)
    • PHIL 313 Modern Philosophy / crosslisted MAP 513 (3)
    • PHIL 321 Metaphysics / crosslisted MAP 521 (3)
    • PPHL 505 Natural Theology / cross-listed MAP 505 (3)
    • ---- --- elective (2 or 3)
    • ORDN 501 1T Formation Seminar: Celibate Witness (0)
    • PAMU 003 Introduction to Pastoral Music II (0.5)
  • Second Pre-Theology - spring semester
    • GREK 950 Biblical Greek I or LATN 950 (3)
    • PHIL 314 Contemporary Philosophy / crosslisted MAP 514 (3)
    • PHIL 318 Epistemology-Philosophy of Knowledge / crosslisted MAP 518 (3)
    • PPHL 506 Philosophical Anthropology / cross-listed MAP 506 (3)
    • ---- --- elective (2 or 3)
    • PAMU 004 Introduction to Pastoral Music II (0.5)

Educational Resources and Learning Strategies

  • Location/Duration: Pre-theology is a two-year full-time residential formation program.
  • Distinctive Resources Needed: Seminary faculty and the faculty of the College of Liberal Arts collaborate to offer this program. The spiritual, pastoral, and human formation resources are provided exclusively by the seminary faculty. Pre-theologians are seminarians with full access to the library and information technology, learning services, writing center, ESL support, and all other aspects of campus life.

Get detailed information about Formation Advising, Academic Norms, MAPS procedures, Pastoral Formation, the SGA Constitution, etc.

Download the Seminarian Handbook (.pdf)

Educational Assessment

To receive a Certificate of Completion for the Pre-Theology Formation Program, students must successfully complete the program content/curriculum with a minimum 2.9 grade point average (gpa) in their philosophy, theology, and language coursework.

Pre-Theology Admissions Requirements

  • Ordinarily applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • In particular cases, students within two years of completing their bachelor’s degree may be admitted as a “degree-completing” pre-theologian if they meet the criteria for transfer students into Mount St. Mary’s University.
  • All pre-theology formation program applicants must submit the completed and signed Seminary Application form and all of the documentation outlined in the application packet for all seminary candidates.
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