The primary emphasis of the Seminary academic program is on graduate theological and professional training leading to conferral of the Master of Divinity (M. Div.) degree in Orthodox Theology. It has always been the policy of St. Tikhon's Seminary, however, to also provide theological training to those who have not yet completed their college education. The advantages of taking Postsecondary courses at the Seminary prior to completing undergraduate studies are numerous and deserve emphasis: with an ambiguous societal morality and unbelief as widespread as they are in today's world, it is vitally important for the young Orthodox Christian to learn the Church's view of life first, in order to be better prepared to confront the challenge of competing philosophies and world views on the college campus, and thus bear a fuller and more effective Christian witness. Possessing the highest standard of truth, the student can extract the greatest benefit from later college level work. This open-door policy is maintained with no reduction in the quality of essential religious training. Numerous graduates of St. Tikhon's Seminary without prior bachelor degrees have successfully transferred into college programs of their choice.
Although the primary function of St. Tikhon's Seminary is to provide a theological education for those preparing for the Priesthood, the School understands that many individuals choose to participate in a formal theological program for fulfillment of other needs. Therefore, St. Tikhon's Seminary continues to support all honorable reasons for Seminary enrollment and class participation. St. Tikhon's Seminary will consider for admission all qualified applicants who desire to prepare for Priesthood in the Orthodox Church, as well as those who aspire to academic and spiritual growth and enrichment for the purpose of Church service in the fields of religious education, Church music, religious secretarial work, social service, missions, administration, and other related fields.
She Who is Quick to Hear from Mt Athos
The applicant must give evidence that he is prepared to undertake successfully the programs of study offered by the Seminary. This evidence, provided by the credentials and other documentation required with the application, is submitted to the Board of Admissions for action. The Seminary reserves the right at any time to refuse to admit or cancel the registration of any applicant who in the judgment of the Seminary Administration and Faculty lacks the necessary spiritual, religious, or mental ability or maturity of character, or physical strength and endurance, to successfully pursue the demands of academic and spiritual life. To be considered a candidate for admission, the applicant must submit to the Office of Admissions the following documents and information with the Application Form:
a recent photograph (passport size or similar);
a certified copy of the Record of Baptism and/or Chrismation;
a completed Health Examination Form;
if you are not applying for admission to the M. Div. Program, the results of the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test). This requirement is waived for M. Div. applicants (more about the SAT);
evidence of proficiency in the English language at an academic level; while all applicants whose native language is not English are tested by the Seminary for English language proficiency, it is strongly recommended that TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores (500 for the M. Div. program) be forwarded to the Seminary at the time of your application. (more about the TOEFL );
letters of reference from the applicant's Bishop and each parish Pastor from each of the past five years, to be sent directly to the Seminary;
two additional letters of reference from individuals (other than relatives) who can write specifically about the applicant's personal, academic and vocational qualifications, to be sent directly to the Seminary;
a brief 1-2 page biographical essay indicating reasons for application, interests, and professional background;
a non-refundable $55.00 Application Fee;
official transcripts of all academic work since High School, sent directly to St. Tikhon's Seminary. If the applicant does not possess Baccalaureate Degree (B.A., B.S., etc.) from a North American college or university, the High School transcript must be sent as well. If you are currently a College Senior, please have a current transcript forwarded, and a supplementary transcript showing receipt of the Degree.
Download Application Materials.
Transfer of Credit. St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary welcomes transfer students from accredited North American colleges, universities, and seminaries. Transfer credit is also awarded for courses completed at colleges, universities, and seminaries outside of the United States that are accredited or approved by the Ministry of Education (or other appropriate ecclesial or governmental agency) of the country in which they are located.
Transferability restrictions. In general, the Seminary awards credit in transfer for most graduate courses completed at such schools, subject to the following restrictions:
- Transfer credit from previously completed programs is subject to restriction; students should consult with the Dean and/or the Registrar;
- Substantially similar or parallel courses in doctrine and theology are accepted in transfer only from accredited Orthodox theological seminaries and schools of theology;
- A limited number of Scripture courses (i.e., Old Testament, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, and Acts) that are substantially similar to courses offered at St. Tikhon’s Seminary may be accepted from non-Orthodox schools, subject to departmental approval; and
- Previous courses in which the student received a grade lower than B- will not be considered for transfer credit.
Determination of transfer credit equivalencies. Initial determinations of transfer credit equivalencies are made by the Office of Registrar through a comparison of course descriptions and/or course titles. Students who wish to transfer graduate credit must submit appropriate evidence of transferability (course syllabus, college/university/seminary catalog). If a determination is made that substantial similarity exists between a course taken at another institution and a St. Tikhon’s course, transfer credit may be awarded for the St. Tikhon’s course. If substantial similarity does not exist, but the course is in an academic discipline taught at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, elective credit may be awarded in that discipline.
If the content of a course includes subject matter offered in more than one core area, or if the course description does not provide sufficient information to assign the credit to a specific prefix, general elective credit may be awarded. In some such cases, the course may be designated as applicable to a portion of the Seminary undergraduate general education requirement. Elective credits awarded for upper-division undergraduate courses taken at four-year colleges and universities will be counted for the purpose of calculating baccalaureate equivalency requirements for acceptance into the Master of Divinity program.
Transfer equivalencies are based on current policies and generally reflect course numbers from the St. Tikhon’s Seminary Bulletin at the time the evaluation is conducted. St. Tikhon’s Seminary courses and course numbers are subject to change; thus, transfer equivalencies are subject to change as well.
Currently enrolled Seminary students who plan to take courses at other institutions are encouraged to confirm transferability of such courses prior to enrolling.
(For further credit transfer information, please see the current Academic Bulletin, p. 33-36).
Many of the courses at the Seminary form part of a two-semester sequence (the prior semester constituting a prerequisite for the latter) which begins in the Fall Semester. In addition, an orientation program for new students is conducted only in the Fall Semester. For these reasons, admissions are not normally permitted in the Spring Semester. In very rare cases, however, exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Seminary Board of Admissions.
A student formerly enrolled at St. Tikhon's Seminary who wishes to re-enroll must submit, in writing, a formal request for readmission to the Rector and the Seminary Board of Admissions.
The personal and academic information supplied by the applicant forms an essential part of the admissions process. Failure to make written disclosure of all information solicited on the Application Form or misrepresentation of the information supplied constitutes a prima facie basis for denial of admission. If such omissions or misrepresentations come to light after initial admission and are reasonably believed to cast doubt upon the candidates suitability for seminary study, the applicant will be subject to dismissal from the Seminary.
It also is important that all applicants know that various canonical impediments to ordination exist. Applicants should thus recognize that fulfillment of Seminary academic requirements does not constitute an automatic basis for ordination into the Holy Orders of the Orthodox Church, since, according to canonical rule, this right is reserved only for the appropriate Diocesan Bishop.