Do I Need A Degree in Theology, or Can I Go Straight to Seminary School?

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Religious faith seems to be on many people’s minds nowadays. As we live through uncertain times with the spread of COVID-19, in addition to focusing on economic worries, people find strength and direction through religion. As a part of this, individuals pursue their “calling” in wanting to become religious leaders during such trying times.

There are many ways to become a pastor or priest, ultimately ending in heading to seminary school. Today we’ll focus on whether you need a college degree in theology, to attend seminary school.

Get your college degree.


You can go to seminary school without a college degree. You don’t need to go through the college applications process, or the overall college admissions process to become a pastor or preacher. You have the option to skip the entire college experience and directly go to seminary school.

On the other hand, you have the choice of going through the undergraduate experience at your dream school before moving on into seminary school. As with any undergraduate selections process, you’ll start your college admissions process by researching your dream school. You’ll work with admission consultants who will provide you with college admissions help.

Many of these college coaches help to provide college counseling, essay editing, and test preparation services. Once you’re admitted into a college now work towards getting your college degree in theology. This can include studying to receive your Bachelor of Arts in religious studies, your Bachelor of Ministry/ Theology, or even your Bachelor of Sciences in Religion.

Most of these undergraduate programs require three-to-five-year periods of study. The coursework includes studying Greek, Hebrew. In addition to this, you’re required to study systematic theology, biblical theology, ethics, homiletics, hermeneutics, and Christian ministry. Find a top university that offers quality courses for your degree so you can best prepare yourself for seminary school.

Head straight to seminary school.

Some seminary schools do allow you to attend their schools without having a degree in theology. In some cases, many seminary schools realized that not everyone can go to college. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree can often be a costly affair. Even after working with college admissions consultants to find financial aid, a host of high schoolers still can’t afford to go to their dream school. Sometimes members of underserved communities are left behind simply because of university costs. Many seminary schools have realized this and have opened their doors to those individuals, even accepting them as early as after high school.

This gets a prospective student that much more closer to potentially donning their priest robes. In some cases, seminaries might even choose to enroll such students based on “life experience”. This is also known as the “Fifteen Percent Rule”, where approximately 15 percent of students enrolled in a seminary program don’t have an undergraduate degree.

While in seminary school you’ll take classes focused on philosophy and theology. These can include Sacred Scripture, Gospels, Sacraments, Baptism, Acts, and the New Testament. It takes approximately 3-4 years to finish seminary school. Upon completion, you’ll be ready to perform such pastoral duties as baptisms in your priest’s robe.

It’s your choice.


In the long run, whether you seek to pursue your undergraduate degree before attending seminary school is your choice. You have to weigh the costs of going to your dream school, and then spending more money to go to another school.

On the other hand, if you decide to do post-graduate work in theological studies, you will need an undergraduate degree. Take the time to figure out what will be the best route to take. Though the end goal is to wear those pastoral robes, many paths can be taken to accomplish this.

Della Vega
Della Vega began her career in fashion merchandising before learning more about the role that sustainability plays in the industry. Now, she’s devoted to finding sustainable and earth-friendly choices without compromising on style.

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