Seminary courses are available in bachelor, master and doctoral degree programs, and usually require enrollment in a course of study leading to a degree in divinity, theology, or a related field. Seminary degree programs typically include courses in liturgy, ministry, biblical studies, and theology, and some courses require fieldwork.
Advanced degree programs require more intensive study and may allow students to focus on a specific area of interest related to one's ministry or theological goals. Though several programs in this field can lead to ordination, there are courses of study available for laypeople as well.
Subjects often discussed in seminary courses:
- Biblical Interpretation
- Christian Art and Film
- Ethics and Morality
- Hebrew and Greek Language
- Practical Theology
- Religion, Culture and Society
- Religious Education
- World Religions
- Worship and Prayer
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 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. Classwork in this required seminary course usually includes the theology of good, evil, sin, atonement, suffering and salvation. Current issues in theology, like the relationship between religion and secularism, 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.
Catholic Seminary Training Programs
Seminary training programs for those intending to become Catholic priests typically require residence at a seminary. Courses culminate in a Bachelor in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.), the first step toward ordination. Seminary training programs are open to laypeople and other faith community leaders.