Intellectual Formation

Saint John Vianney College Seminary collaborates with the University of St. Thomas, a fully accredited university, to provide and encourage academic excellence and to call forth the full potential of each student. In response to the Program for Priestly Formation (PPF) and its emphasis on intellectual formation, we encourage SJV students to know that God is calling them to be the best students possible so they might more effectively serve Him in their future work and ministry. 

UST Academic Requirements

UST Core Requirements (4 credits each). Students need 132 credits to graduate from the University of St. Thomas:

  • Theology 101
  • Theology 200 or 300 level
  • Theology 400 level
  • Three semesters of a foreign language (typically Latin or Spanish for SJV seminarians. TBD by the bishop.)
  • English 121 - Composition
  • English 201-204 - Literature
  • One Math and two Lab Sciences OR two Math and one Lab Science
  • History
  • Social Analysis
  • Human Diversity
  • Fine Arts

SJV Additional Requirements

  • Catholic Studies 201 The Catechism of the Catholic Church (second year, fall semester)
  • Theology 205 Old Testament or Theology 210 New Testament
  • Any 400 level theology course (often completed in Rome at the Angelicum)
  • VIRTUS Program (to be completed first week in seminary)
  • Catholic Sexual Ethics Seminar (first January Term)
  • IDSC 284 Teaching Religious Education - Theological Field Education (2 credits)
  • IDSC 296 Intensive Spiritual Growth Program - Retreat (2 credits, second January Term)
  • IDSC 395 Intro to Pastoral Ministry - Theological Field Education (2 credits)

The University of St. Thomas requires three semesters of a foreign language or its equivalent. Seminarians are required to take three semesters of Latin, unless their diocese wishes them to study Spanish. A Latin major requires seven additional courses, plus two more for which men can get double credit. A Latin minor requires three additional courses, plus two more for which men can get double credit. These dual credits are classes also needed for Catholic Studies and Philosophy.

A Spanish major requires nine additional courses; a Spanish minor requires six additional courses.

UST Class Finder

Philosophy Major

All Saint John Vianney Seminary students major in Philosophy:

  • 115  Philosophy of the Human Person (SJV only section)
  • 220  Logic
  • 214  Ethics (SJV section to prepare men for their future ministry as pastors, confessors and spiritual directors)
  • 200  Ancient Philosophy
  • 202  Medieval Philosophy
  • 204  Modern Philosophy (Both at UST and in Rome)
  • 306  Contemporary Philosophy
  • 380  Epistemology
  • 390  Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy
  • 486  Philosophy of God

The Philosophy Department at the University of St. Thomas partners with SJV to provide the 10 courses required by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. SJV was one of the first college seminaries to provide the full complement of courses called for by the Program of Priestly Formation (5th Edition) in the best of the Thomistic and Aristotelian tradition. 

UST Class Finder

SJV Academic Expectations

  • Meet with the SJV Director of Academic Formation at least once each semester, or more as needed
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Strive for 40 academic hours per week of class and study time
  • New seminarians log and submit their hours each week to their Formation Director and the SJV Director of Academic Formation for the first semester
  • Punctual attendance at all classes
  • Strive for academic excellence according to one’s ability
  • Maintain a schedule of 16-18 credits per semester
  • Refrain from using seminarian status for special considerations from professors or university staff
  • Always treat teachers and UST staff with respect
  • Maintain academic integrity 

UST Undergraduate Policy Book

Catholic Studies

In addition to the required major in Philosophy, more than 90 percent of SJV seminarians double major in Catholic Studies. The Department of Catholic Studies at the University of St Thomas is the oldest and largest program of its kind in the world. For more than 20 years, Catholic Studies has offered students the opportunity to encounter the Catholic intellectual tradition in its richness and breadth. Catholic Studies courses integrate such disciplines as Theology, Philosophy, Literature, History, and Art, and are taught by faculty deeply committed to the encounter of faith and reason.

Catholic Studies students gain an understanding of the living Catholic tradition and will be conversant with resources from the Catholic intellectual tradition that will permit them to explore critically the history and contemporary significance of Catholicism. They will be familiar with major Catholic figures from a variety of cultural and historical settings, and they will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the complex and broad history of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

The Department of Catholic Studies

The Rome Experience

Catholic Studies majors and minors have the opportunity to study for a semester at the Dominincan Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (The Angelicum) in Rome for a semester. Courses are offered in English by professors from around the world. While the Rome program is not a requirement for SJV seminarians, more than 90 percent participate in this highly regarded program that provides the opportunity to spend a semester in the Eternal City while working toward their degree at the University of St. Thomas. All course credits and financial aid packages are fully transferrable. 

Click here to learn more about studying abroad in Rome. 

The Gift of Rome (video 7:21)