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What seminaries are and information on various schools in the world.

Information on Seminaries
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What is a Seminary?

A seminary or theological college is a specialized and often live-in higher education institution for the purpose of instructing students (seminarians) in philosophy, theology, spirituality and the religious life, usually in order to prepare them to become members of the clergy. The English word is taken from the Latin seminarium, translated as seed-bed. In the Occident, the term historically refers to Christian educational institutes for clergy (mostly Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic, as many Protestant denominations preferred another term for their theological colleges), but in modern usage has also come to be used to refer to Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other religious centers of higher education for religious professionals and laity.

History of Seminaries

The establishment of modern seminary institutions was a direct result of Roman Catholic reforms of the Counter-Reformation after the Council of Trent which insisted on the improvement of the education of clergy through the creation of seminaries as live-in institutions under the direct control of senior clergy. This later led, when literacy was not universal, to the creation of minor seminaries to educate young boys for the priesthood. The Tridentine model of seminary was one of a live in, almost monastic community where lifestyle and prayer habits were carefully monitored and corrected as a means to reforming pre-Reformation abuses among the clergy. The seminary institutions were in contrast to the freer intellectual atmosphere of the Universities. The tridentine seminaries placed great emphasis on personal discipline as well as the teaching of philosophy as a preparation for theology; an approach that was explicitly rejected by Protestant reformers such as John Calvin.

The Tridentine model of seminary has since been adopted and adapted by other Christian denominations as well as by modern American Judaism, though now in a more open fashion than the Tridentine model, and often without the Catholic emphasis on the pre-requisite study of philosophy and the Catholic requirement to live on campus within the Christian community of the seminary.

Formation and Education

While the Tridentine seminary model was one of in-house “formation”, modern seminary institutions now sometimes co-exist with theological colleges, such as in the United Kingdom, where they are the live-in college of another tertiary institution. In this case the Academic Institutions are typically called a school of theology or divinity school. They usually offer undergraduate and graduate degrees (such as the Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Sacred Theology, M.Div., Th.M., D.Min., etc.).

Bible colleges provide a different type of religious education, specifically excluding the study of philosophy and systematic theology, and are often focused on the undergraduate level, being either evangelical or fundamentalist in orientation. Such institutions may also focus more on lay education. Some accredited Roman Catholic seminaries have their degrees conferred by a Pontifical University and through the Vatican Congregation for Seminaries and Universities.

Although the primary purpose of a seminary is to prepare and equip candidates for religious service in the church or synagogue—congregational leadership—many people not intending to become such leaders may study in seminaries. Qualifications may be obtained majoring in pastoral work and similar fields, as well as in the more academic disciplines.

Many monks and nuns attend a seminary to enhance their qualifications. It is also quite common for lay people to study in a seminary to enhance their spiritual life, to explore academic interests, or to prepare for non-ordained ministries (for example, choir directors or Sunday school teachers).

Many Christian denominations cooperate in providing theological education for students preparing for ordination and a number of consortia or other cooperative arrangements have been established, for example in Australia there are the Melbourne and Adelaide Colleges of Divinity and the Australian College of Theology comprising a number of seminaries working together. In the United States, organizations such as American Evangelistic Association, established in 1954, ordain pastors through an online seminary located in Tucson, Arizona called Tucson Theological Seminary.

Accreditation and State Laws

In the United States, besides regional accreditors to approve academics in seminaries, there are four major religious accreditors. These are the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, the Association for Biblical Higher Education, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. These four groups are recognized as legitimate accreditors by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Internationally Noteworthy Seminaries


Azusa Pacific University

Azusa, California
Azusa Pacific University is a private Christian university located in Azusa, California, USA. It was founded in 1899, with classes opening on March 3, 1900 in Whittier, California. It began offering degrees in 1939. APU holds regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Candler School of Theology

Atlanta, Georgia
Candler School of Theology, Emory University, is one of 13 seminaries of the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1914, the school was named after Warren Akin Candler, a former President and Chancellor of Emory University. Currently more than 500 students from over 50 denominations attend Candler School of Theology.

Catholic University of Leuven

The Catholic University of Leuven is the largest and most prominent university in Belgium. It was founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V, which makes it the oldest Catholic university still active.

Conception Seminary College

Conception, Missouri
In 1972 the theology school closed and it focused on being a liberal arts school. A pre-theology curriculum was added in 1982. The college now says it has educated 75 percent of the priests in the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese.

Concordia Seminary

Clayton, Missouri
The institution’s primary mission is to train clergy for the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Dallas Theological Seminary

Dallas, Texas
Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) is a conservative evangelical theological seminary located in Dallas, Texas. DTS has extension campuses in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Tampa and a multi-lingual online education program.

Duke Divinity School

Durham, North Carolina The Divinity School at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina is one of thirteen seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church. It has 39 full time and 18 part time faculty and over 500 full time students.

Fuller Theological Seminary

Pasadena, California
Fuller Theological Seminary is the largest multi denominational seminary in the world. A leading Christian theological institution known for its academic rigor and ethnic and denominational diversity, Fuller has over 4300 students from over 70 countries and 120 denominations.

Graduate Theological Union

Berkeley and San Anselmo, CA
Graduate Theological Union is a consortium of nine independent seminaries and schools of theology and eight program centers. The close relationship among these schools is meant to encourage ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. Students may take classes at any of the member schools, most of which are within a few city blocks of one another. The GTU offers the Ph.D., Th.D., and M.A. degrees, while each of the nine member schools offers the M.Div. degree in preparation for the ministry. The GTU maintains a single comprehensive library for all of its member schools. It was founded in the early 1960s and today serves approximately 1300 students.

Harvard Divinity School

Cambridge, Massachusetts
The School’s purpose is to train graduate students—either in the academic study of religion, or in the practice of a religious ministry. It also caters to students from other Harvard schools who are interested in the former field. The Divinity School’s current dean, William A. Graham, is a scholar of Islamic history. Harvard Divinity School is one of five university-based, non-denominational divinity schools in the United States. It is one of the premier theological schools in the country.

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

Brookline, Massachusetts
The Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Holy Cross) is an Eastern Orthodox Christian seminary.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven in English - also the translated name of its French-speaking sister university) or K.U.Leuven is the largest and most prominent university in Belgium.

Moore Theological College

Newtown, Australia
Moore Theological College, otherwise known simply as Moore College, is the theological training seminary of the Diocese of Sydney of the Anglican Church of Australia. The college has a strong tradition of conservative, Calvinist and evangelical theology.

Moscow Theological Academy & Seminary

Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary, located in the Troitse Sergiyeva Lavra. It is an Eastern Orthodox Seminary.

Pontifical Gregorian University

Rome, Italy
Heir of the Roman College, the Gregorian University is one of the oldest universities in the world today, and was the first Jesuit University in the world, being founded by St Ignatius of Loyola over 450 years ago. Containing faculties and institutes of various disciplines of the humanities, the Gregorian has one of the largest theology departments in the world, with over 1600 students from over 130 countries.

Pontifical North American College

Rome, Italy
The Pontifical North American College is a Roman Catholic educational institution. It was founded in 1859 by Blessed Pope Pius IX at the former Dominican Convent, the Casa Santa Maria.

Saint Meinrad School of Theology

Saint Meinrad, Indiana
The Saint Meinrad School of Theology is affiliated with the St. Meinrad Archabbey, which itself is affiliated with Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland. Saint Mainrad School of Theology is a Roman Catholic seminary which prepares priest-candidates for ordination— the receipt of and the participating in the sacrament of Holy orders. Saint Meinrad School of Theology is named in memoriam of Saint Meinrad.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Louisville, Kentucky
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is the flagship seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, or SBC. Southern Seminary or SBTS is the oldest of the seminaries in the SBC and was founded in Greenville, South Carolina in 1859 by James Petigru Boyce who served as its first president. The seminary moved to Louisville in 1877. Southern Seminary upholds the SBC Baptist Faith and Message, and its own Abstract of Principles.

St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth

Maynooth, Ireland
St Patrick’s College, Maynooth is the “National Seminary for Ireland”, a college and seminary often called Maynooth College. The college was officially established as the Roman Catholic College of St Patrick by an Act of Parliament in 1795. There are 67 men studying for the priesthood at Maynooth, in 2006, now the only seminary in Ireland.

Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

Crestwood, NY
Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary is an Orthodox Christian seminary. Although it is under the omophorion of the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America, it is a pan-Orthodox institution, providing theological education to students from different Orthodox jurisdictions worldwide.

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Berkeley, CA
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and is a member school of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU). At present, PLTS has fifteen professors and offers Master’s and Doctoral Degree programs in Theology, Ministry, Education, and other forms of Christian service.

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, founded in 1794, is a graduate theological institution associated with the Presbyterian Church USA. It is located in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and houses one of the largest theological libraries in the nation.

Princeton Theological Seminary

Borough of Princeton, NJ
Princeton Theological Seminary is a theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is independent of nearby Princeton University, despite collaboration between scholars at both schools. PTS is one of the world’s leading institutions for graduate theological education and home of the largest theological library in the United States.

Reformed Theological Seminary

Various US Locations
Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) is a non-denominational, evangelical Protestant seminary dedicated to training current and future leaders (especially its Presbyterian and Reformed branches) to be pastors, missionaries, educators, and Christian counselors. It maintains a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible and generally follows Reformed tradition, including Covenant Theology.

Talbot School of Theology, Biola U

La Miranda, CA
Talbot School of Theology is a conservative, inter-denominational seminary. Talbot is one of the seven schools that comprise Biola University. “In 1952, during his last year as Biola’s president, [Louis] Talbot worked to establish a fully accredited theological seminary. The seminary’s first dean was noted Christian scholar Charles Feinberg, who, along with his colleagues, unanimously voted to name the seminary “Talbot Theological Seminary.” In 1981, the seminary’s name was changed to “Talbot School of Theology” when Biola moved from college to university status.

Union Theological Seminary

New York, NY
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a preeminent independent graduate school of theology, located in Manhattan between Claremont Avenue and Broadway, 120th to 122nd Streets. The seminary was founded in 1836 under the Presbyterian Church, and is currently affiliated with the nearby Columbia University.

University of Chicago Divinity School

Chicago, IL
The University of Chicago Divinity School is a graduate institution at the University of Chicago dedicated to the training of academics and clergy across religious boundaries. Formed under Baptist auspices, the school today lacks any sectarian tests or affiliations, despite having a largely Judeo-Christian numerical leaning in terms of its faculty and student body in line with other University affiliated divinity schools in the United States. Along with Harvard, Yale, and Vanderbilt Divinity schools, it is responsible for training the majority of those appointed to tenure track positions in religious studies at American universities. It is ranked first in the field of religious studies according to the National Research Council’s measure of faculty quality in its survey of all doctoral granting programs in religious studies.

Western Theological Seminary

Holland, Michigan
Western Theological Seminary (WTS) is a professional and graduate school affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. The seminary (officially named “The Western Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church in America”) was founded in 1866 to fill a need for theological education on the (then) western frontier of the Reformed Church in America. Western Theological Seminary prepares students for ordination (many in the Reformed Church in America), as well as for further graduate study. Although WTS is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, it is very ecumenical and it educates students from other denominations.

Vanderbilt Divinity School

Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt Divinity School is a university-based interdenominational theological school based at Vanderbilt University. It is one of only four such schools in the U.S., and is the only such school located in the Southern U.S.

Westminster Theological Seminary

Glenside, PA & Dallas, TX
Westminster Theological Seminary is a Presbyterian and Reformed Christian graduate educational institution with campuses located in Glenside, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Philadelphia), and Dallas, Texas, and programs of study in New York City, and London. In 1982, the California branch of Westminster became an independent institution, Westminster Seminary California.

Yale Divinity School

New Haven, CT
Yale Divinity School is a professional school at Yale University preparing students for ordained or lay ministry. The nonsectarian school’s mission is “To foster the knowledge and love of God through critical engagement with the traditions of the Christian churches in the context of the contemporary world.” The school grants the Master of Divinity (M.DIV.), Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.), and Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) degrees.


Al-Azhar University

Ben Youssef Medrassa

Islamic University of Madinah


Darul Uloom Deoband

Uttar Pradesh, India

Uarul Uloom Karachi

Karachi, Pakistan

International Islamic University

Islamabad, Pakistan

University of Al Karaouine



Hebrew Union College

Various Locations

Jewish Theological Seminary

New York, NY

Leo Baeck College

London, England

London School of Jewish Studies

London, England