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 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
  • 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

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 collaborates with SJV to provide more than 40 credit hours of course work in the Thomistic and Aristotelian tradition. It also provides the men various opportunities to attend conferences, submit papers, give presentations and stretch their understanding of the course material.

UST Class Finder

  • 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

In addition to the required major in Philosophy, more than 90 percent of SJV seminarians earn a second major in Catholic Studies. The Department of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas is the oldest and largest program of its kind. For 25 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.

The Department of Catholic Studies

More than 90 percent of SJV seminarians participate in the highly regarded study abroad program in Rome. They study with distinguished faculty at the Dominican Pontifical University of St. Thomas (The Angelicum) for a semester while living at the Pontifical Irish College under the care of an SJV priest formator. Many of our seminarians have been privileged to serve Mass for the Holy Father at St. Peterís Basilica. All course credits and financial aid packages are fully transferable.

Click here to learn more about studying abroad in Rome. 

The Gift of Rome (video 7:21)