The Seminary, incorporated under the legal title of "Saint Joseph's Seminary and College," was empowered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York in 1908 to grant the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1921 the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, and in 1965 the degree of Bachelor of Divinity. In September 1971 Saint Joseph's Seminary was authorized by the New York State Education Department to substitute the Master of Divinity degree for the Bachelor of Divinity degree as its first professional degree. In 1976, the Board of Regents authorized the establishment of a program in religious education leading to the degree of Master of Religious Education. This program was offered through the Archdiocesan Catechetical Institute. In 1984, the Board of Regents authorized the change to a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies. This program currently is offered through the Saint Joseph's Seminary Institute of Religious Studies.
In September 1987, the New York State Education Department authorized the Seminary to resume granting the Master of Arts degree. The M.A. in Theology is available to fourth-year students who fulfill the prescribed requirements.
Accreditation of Saint Joseph's Seminary, which was granted in 1961, was reaffirmed in 1973 and again in 1983 and 1993 by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. In 1973 the Seminary was also accredited and elected to membership by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. This was reaffirmed in 1983 and 1993.
Saint Joseph's Seminary is a member of the Eastern Conference of Major Catholic Seminaries and a member of the National Catholic Educational Association. It also holds institutional memberships in various academic and library associations and societies.
Requirements for Entrance
The procedure for admission to the Seminary includes a review of academic transcripts and letters of recommendation, personal interviews with the Dean of Admissions and the Rector, psychological and medical examinations, and a personal interview with members of the Board of Admissions. An applicant for admission ordinarily must have a Bachelor of Arts degree or its equivalent and have completed twenty-seven credits in approved Philosophy courses. These courses should cover the four major periods in Philosophy, i.e., Ancient, Medieval, Modern, and Contemporary Philosophy, as well as five systematic areas, i.e., the Philosophy of Man, Logic, General Ethics, Metaphysics, and the Philosophy of God. Candidates for admission are required to have taken at least nine credits of undergraduate theology, an overview course in Church History and six credits of Ecclesiastical Latin. The admission procedures are consultative to the Archbishop of New York who accepts a person into the Seminary through the Rector.
Requirments for the Degree of Masters of Divinity
A candidate for the professional degree, Master of Divinity (M.Div.), must successfully complete all the courses listed for the first six semesters of the theological curriculum, while maintaining at least a 2.0 index. A comprehensive (M.Div.) examination is given in the Spring of Third Theology to those who have fulfilled the requirements.
A student may fulfill some of the academic requirements at another seminary or university provided he has the approval of the chairperson of the department concerned and of the Academic Dean.
Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Sacred Theology
At the end of the third year of Theology, students receive the degree of Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) granted by the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. A written comprehensive examination is required. The academic requirements are the same as the Master of Divinity degree. The S.T.B. represents an acknowledgment of our normative M.Div. program as the ecclesiastical equivalent of the "First Cycle" in a Pontifical University.
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Theology
In order to enter the M.A. program, a student must have completed the first three years of seminary course work with a grade point index of at least 3.0. This index must be maintained throughout the M.A. year. Four areas of specialization are available: Sacred Scripture, Dogma, Moral Theology, or Church History. The three elective courses available to fourth-year students must be chosen from the field of specialization. In addition to the fourth year course work of thirty-two credits, a two-credit Master's Seminar in research methodology must be completed during the first semester, and a thesis of not less than fifty pages must be submitted to the Office of the Academic Dean by April 30 of the second semester. The M.A. candidate will be required to work under the direction of a faculty member who will approve his thesis topic and direct the research and thesis preparation. A reading knowledge of Latin is required for entrance to the M.A. program. Reading knowledge of Hebrew is required for research in the Old Testament. Reading knowledge of Greek is required for research in the New Testament.