St. Mary's Seminary is the first Roman Catholic seminary in the nation: rich in tradition while focused on priestly preparation for the 21st-century.
These pages provide information on the history, personnel, environment, and formation (in the Sulpician tradition) at St. Mary's.
The three pages in this section of our site touch on the very basics of the formation process.
A major part of priestly formation is intellectual formation, accomplished through the pursuit of academic degrees.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute (EI) was founded in 1968 by St. Mary’s Seminary & University, America’s oldest Roman Catholic seminary, in cooperation with ecumenical leaders. St. Mary’s is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The Ecumenical Institute encourages people of all denominations to explore theological studies in a serious, open-minded, and supportive environment.
All EI programs are available wherever you are - on campus in Baltimore, and on-line.
The Ecumenical Institute invites people of all denominations into theological study that pursues excellence and promotes ecumenical understanding and respect.
All EI programs are available wherever you are - on campus in Baltimore, and on-line.
St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute has a rolling admissions policy. Students may apply at any time for admission by submitting the appropriate materials.
The Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological programs for two master’s degrees, several graduate certificates, and introductory explorations.
The post-master’s Certificate of Advanced Studies in Theology (CAS) is designed for individuals who possess a master’s degree in theology (e.g., MAT.), ministry (e.g., MACM), divinity (e.g., MDiv), or a related field and who desire to continue their theological education with a general or focused program of study.
The Doctor of Ministry program roots ministry in the mission of God, the ways God is working in your context, in your ministry, and in you.
Students have a host of resources available to support their theological education, from free parking and a great library to writing assistance and advising.
St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological education that is intellectually rigorous, personally enriching, and professionally empowering.
More than 750 alums of St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute are making a difference in Baltimore, in Maryland and D.C., West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and around the world.
General communication and individual contacts
It is the mission of the Center for Continuing Formation to encourage bishops, priests, deacons, and lay ecclesial ministers to engage in human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral growth and to enable processes of growth that are ongoing, complete, systemic, and personalized.
Conference space rentals include a large room that will seat as many as 58 and smaller rooms that will seat from 4 to 30.
St. Mary's Center for Continuing Formation offers and hosts a variety of continuing formation programs for priests in the spirit of the Bishops' new Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University’s Pinkard Scholars is the cornerstone of Youth Theological Studies at SMSU.
For more information about any of our conference facilities or space rentals, please contact our offices directly.
The Marion Burk Knott Library of St. Mary’s Seminary and University is the largest specialized theological library in the Baltimore area, with additional materials in the areas of philosophy, psychology, pastoral counseling and church history, among others. The library receives over 390 periodicals and maintains a collection of 20,000 volumes of bound periodicals. Other holdings include newspapers, microfilm, and audio-visual materials.
The Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University opened in the spring of 2002. Located on the campus of the nation’s first Roman Catholic seminary, this program brings together the archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (est. 1789), St. Mary’s Seminary & University (est. 1791), and the Associated Sulpicians of the United States (U.S. Province est. 1903), making it one of the most significant repositories for records relating to the early history of the Catholic Church in the United States.
Click here for more information about hours and visitor policies.
This section was created to provide researchers with a brief description of the open collections in the archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, St. Mary's Seminary & University, and the Associated Sulpicians of the United States.
The Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University has developed a genealogical policy responsive to individuals researching their Catholic roots.
We facilitate personal integration of the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions necessary for authentic priestly witness and service in the image of Jesus Christ.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute (EI) will award one full-tuition need-based scholarship to a selected United Methodist applicant who lives, works, or worships in Baltimore City to begin studies in fall 2022. The scholarship covers 100% of tuition for the 36 credits taken at the Ecumenical Institute as part of the MDiv partnership program with Lancaster Theological Seminary. Applicants not selected for the EI MDiv Scholarship will automatically be considered for the Ecumenical Institute’s Patterson Fellows program (which provides significant partial tuition scholarships).
Download the details and MDiv Scholarship Application form here or contact Galen Zook email@example.com for more information.
This fall, St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute is holding monthly Theology Town Hall meetings. You can view recordings of past town halls on the EI’s YouTube channel. For more information on upcoming Theology Town Halls, please contact Dr. Rebecca Hancock.
Outsider Within: A Womanist Reading of Hebrew Bible Narratives as the Politics of Belonging
Wednesday, November 18 2020
Rev. Vanessa Lovelace, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean
Lancaster Theological Seminary
Dr. Lovelace is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and Dean and Vice President of Lancaster Theological Seminary, a school with which the EI has a partnership providing a pathway to the MDiv. Her teaching and research interests include interpreting biblical texts using literary criticism and theory of gender and nation through a womanist lens. The November Theology Town Hall will focus on her current research project, a monograph titled Outsider Within: A Womanist Reading of Hebrew Bible Narratives as the Politics of Belonging.
Join the Town Hall
Leading Leaders in a Time of Pandemic
The Rt. Rev. Carl Walter Wright
Bishop Suffragan for Armed Forces & Federal Ministries of the Episcopal Church
The Rt. Rev. Carl Wright is Bishop Suffragan for Armed Forces and Federal Ministry for the Episcopal Church. Next semester, he will be one of the presenters for the EI’s Leading Leaders course in the DMin program. His theology town hall focuses on the topic, “Leading Leaders in a Time of Pandemic.”
Might from the Margins
Rev. Dennis R. Edwards, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of New Testament, North Park Theological Seminary
Dr. Edwards is professor of New Testament and Biblical Greek at North Park Theological Seminary and also teaches in the EI’s DMin program. He holds an MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a PhD in Biblical Studies from The Catholic University of America. He has been in urban ministry for three decades, and has started churches in Brooklyn, NY and Washington DC. In the September Theology Town Hall, Dr. Edwards discusses one of his newest books, Might from the Margins: The Gospel’s Power to Turn the Tables on Injustice
The EI provides two MDiv pathways: Dual-Degree Admission (our MDiv equivalent), and our MDiv Partnership Program with Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Prospective or current students may apply to pursue both the M.A. in Theology (MAT) and the M.A. in Christian Ministries (MACM), either simultaneously or sequentially. Applicants must meet the admissions criteria for each degree. The following guidelines should be carefully reviewed.
In accordance with accreditation standards, St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute allows up to 24 credits from one degree program to be applied to another degree program. Thus, with careful planning and advising, a student may be able to complete both degrees by earning 72 credits and completing the culminating experience for each degree. In certain instances, however, more than 72 credits may be required for the completion of both degrees.
Second-master’s students who have earned a St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute certificate (other than the CAS), and who wish to count their certificate courses toward the degree, are required to take at least 12 credits beyond the certificate. Due to the expiration of credits after 10 years, students applying for a second master’s degree will normally not be allowed to apply expired credits toward a second degree.
Each dual-degree program is individually arranged in consultation with the administration. The 24 credits normally applied to both degree programs are TH601, BS600, two biblical courses, MT600, ST601, a spirituality course, and two other courses.
Students who have earned master’s degrees in theological studies from other institutions may apply for an abbreviated second-master’s degree in either the M.A. in Christian Ministries or the M.A. in Theology program. Credits previously earned are evaluated and applied according to the criteria listed in the preceding paragraphs and the requirements of the degree program to which application is being made.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute has partnered with Lancaster Theological Seminary to create a path to the Master of Divinity. Students will take the first half of their MDiv coursework from the Ecumenical Institute, then complete the degree in Lancaster’s accessible weekend program.
Students take 12 courses (36 credits) at the EI (11 required and 1 elective), which must be completed within four years. Students then take the final 39 credits at Lancaster over a four year period. The weekend classes at Lancaster meet on Friday nights or Saturday mornings (with lodging available for those who need it).
Lancaster’s MDiv is fully accredited and is approved for United Methodists pursuing ordination. Please contact us for details or to schedule an appointment.
I have been challenged and my ministry has been enriched by the diversity of traditions and theological perspectives held by my fellow students and faculty. Derek Miller, MACM, MAT ’19
The general qualification for admission to St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute’s Master’s programs is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school with an appropriate grade point average. In certain circumstances, exceptions are allowed to the requirements of a degree or minimum grade point average.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute has a rolling admissions policy. Students may apply at any time, and may begin study in any semester (fall, spring, or summer).
St. Mary’s history begins with the history of the Society of Saint Sulpice and its founder, Fr. Jean-Jacques Olier. In 1641, Fr. Olier established a seminary outside Paris: a much-needed answer for clergy who were not known for being well prepared for ministry. When Fr. Olier was named pastor of the Church of Saint Sulpice in Paris the following year, he moved the seminary to the parish and The Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice was born.
It did not take long for bishops throughout France to see the good results that came from the Sulpician dedication to priestly formation. Soon Sulpicians were asked to oversee the operations of many seminaries. Though Fr. Olier died in 1657, the Society lived on and prospered—as did its seminaries and model of formation.
Over a century later, in the same year as the adoption of the new constitution for the United States of America, the Diocese of Baltimore was created on November 6, 1789. Its territory was vast: everything east of the Mississippi, north to the Canadian border, and south to Florida (then held by Spain). The first bishop in the United States, John Carroll found himself shepherding 30,000 Catholics with only 35 priests.
Bishop Carroll knew he would need a seminary devoted to preparing priests for the new nation. He sent a request to the Society of Saint Sulpice in France–then facing their own dangers with the violence of the French Revolution. The Sulpicians sent Fr. François Charles Nagot along with some companions and seminarians to begin the first Roman Catholic seminary in the United States.
When Fr. Nagot and his companions arrived in Baltimore, they took possession of Baltimore’s old One-Mile Tavern on the edge of the city. There, on October 3, 1791, they began the first classes with the five seminarians they brought with them from France. Since then, St. Mary’s marks October 3rd as “Founders Day.”
As the nation grew, so did St. Mary’s. In 1805, St. Mary’s was chartered as a civil university in Maryland.
Through the first half of the 19th century, a campus grew on Paca Street in Baltimore. It was anchored by a chapel designed by Maximilian Godefroy and dedicated on June 16, 1808 by Archbishop John Carroll. The chapel remains to this day as a national landmark.
Around 1806, Elizabeth Ann Seton met Abbé Louis William Valentine DuBourg when he was preaching in New York. At that time, DuBourg was president of St. Mary’s College, and was interested in establishing a small school for children. With the concurrence of Bishop Carroll, he invited Seton to Baltimore, where her sons were enrolled in the college. She arrived on June 16, 1808 and took up residence at the nearby house while she was briefly living in Baltimore during 1806 to 1809. The home was later named for her and now contains some historical and biographical exhibits on her life and work. In 1809 she moved to the new Sulpician seminary in Emmitsburg, MD and, on July 31, established the Sisters of Charity dedicated to the care of the children of the poor.
In 1822, Pope Pius VII established the seminary the country’s first ecclesiastical (pontifical) faculty with the right to grant degrees in the name of the Holy See. The seminary continues to offer the pontifical STB (Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology) and STL (Licentiate in Sacred Theology) degrees for all qualified students.
Mary Elizabeth Lange was an immigrant to the United States from Haiti. After settling in Baltimore, she saw the need for the education of African American children and opened a school for them in her home. At the same time, Sulpician Father James Joubert was teaching catechism to Haitian children in the Lower Chapel at St. Mary’s Seminary. Seeing their difficulties with reading, he, too, recognized the need for schooling. After meeting Elizabeth Lange and her friend Marie Balas, they established a new school for African American children.
Lange came to feel a call to consecrated life and spoke to Fr. Joubert. He agreed to support her and Balas and persuaded Archbishop James Whitfield to approve the new community. On July 2, 1829 Lange and three other women took first vows in the the Oblate Sisters of Providence which they founded. The order was established with the primary purpose of the Catholic education of girls. It is the first African American religious congregation.
Constructed in various stations from 1876 to 1894, a new building was erected on Paca Street. It was designed by E. F. Baldwin a Baltimore architect. The building was razed in 1975 and the property was sold to the City of Baltimore for St. Mary’s Park.
St. Mary’s most famous alumnus is Fr. Michael J. McGivney (now, Blessed Michael McGivney), class of 1877.
Following ordination, Fr. McGivney became an assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut. Fr. McGivney brought a zeal for ministry, an empathy for struggling immigrants, and a desire to aid those most on the edges of society, particularly widows and orphans. In 1882 he founded the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal society to provide aid for those in need. Today, the Knights of Columbus is a worldwide organization, renowned for its service and devotion. Fr. McGivney was beatified by Pope Francis in October 2020.
In 1929, St. Mary’s Seminary moved to its present location at the corner of Northern Parkway and Roland Avenue in the Roland Park neighborhood in Baltimore. Designed by Maginnis and Walsh of Boston, the seminary’s classic entrance and massive facade are a recognized landmark in the city. The 40 acre campus provides a park-like setting with groves of trees and winding roadways. The building is set back to the west behind a great front lawn.
Inside the main doors stands the marble statue of Mary known as the Sedes Sapientiae, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, patroness of the Sulpician order. Further on is the Main Chapel, designed in marble and oak, with its Casavant pipe organ and stained glass windows from Paris. It is a majestic, elegant, and quiet place at the very heart and center of St. Mary’s.
Because of the Great Depression, construction of the chapel did not begin until 1941—but it was again delayed after America’s entrance to World War II. Work again resumed in January 1953. The chapel was finally completed a few days before its formal dedication on Alumni Day, November 23, 1954.
Sulpician Fr. Raymond E. Brown, renowned biblical scholar, was both a graduate and long-time faculty member.
He joined the Sulpicians in 1955, following the reception of the Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from St. Mary’s. He earned a second doctorate, in Semitic Languages, from Johns Hopkins University in 1958. Following these studies he taught at St. Mary’s until 1971.
Brown became acknowledged as the foremost Catholic scholar of Sacred Scripture. He was appointed to the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1972 and again in 1996. The Knott Library at St. Mary’s houses the collected papers of Fr. Brown and features an elegant reading room named in his honor.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute (EI) was founded in 1968 as part of St. Mary’s Seminary & University, in cooperation with ecumenical leaders. Encouraged by the more ecumenical spirit of Vatican II, St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute invites people of all denominations into the journey of theological study. Its ethos is one of seeking wisdom, nourishing faith, and engaging community.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological education that is intellectually rigorous, personally enriching, and professionally empowering. Students in the diverse learning community pursue two master’s degrees, several graduate certificates, introductory explorations, and a post-master’s Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS). St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute also offers master’s level coursework leading to a Master of Divinity through Lancaster Theological Seminary.
In 1995, St. Pope John Paul II visited the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Before departing the United States, he made a short stop at St. Mary’s. At the seminary, he prayed in St. Mary’s chapel (now marked with a small plaque in the pew where he knelt) and blessed the cornerstone for the new Center for Continuing Formation then being built.
The great lawn in front of the seminary served as a landing pad for the helicopter which carried the Holy Father to his plane at the airport.
In 1996, St. Mary’s Center for Continuing Formation opens to serve bishops, priests, deacons, and lay ecclesial ministers in ongoing human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation.
St. Mary’s Center for Continuing Formation is a full-service conference/retreat center capable of hosting a variety of functions. It contains meeting rooms of various sizes as well as 30 spacious guest rooms.
In 2018, St. Mary’s took up a unique challenge: to bring a 1929 dormitory-style seminary into the 21st-Century with comfortable (but not luxurious) adult living spaces. The solution was a multi-million dollar, 3-year renovation of the community’s living spaces completed in 2021.
Hundreds of tiny bedrooms, communal bathrooms and showers, and limited space for small gatherings, meals, and exercise were transformed into 100 small suites, lounges, and a modern fitness center. Each small suite contained a private bathroom and shower along with enough space for a bed and dresser, a study area, and a comfortable chair.
It is the responsibility of the student to comply with the academic policies of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. In addition to timely registration and prompt payment of fees, it is especially imperative to complete the admission requirements and to inform the office in writing of any changes in registration, address, telephone numbers, or email addresses.
It is expected that students already have basic skills in library usage, critical reading, research, and writing term papers. Students are required to research, organize, and write their own papers, and to keep a copy of any work submitted in a course.
Graduate theological education requires a high degree of involvement in the classroom and initiative outside the classroom. Regular attendance and informed participation are expected and evaluated in all classes. A necessary absence should be cleared in advance with the professor. More than one absence from a course may result in additional work or a lower grade, at the professor’s discretion. More than three absences may result in administrative withdrawal.
Auditors are required to attend more than 50 percent of a course’s class sessions in order to have the course audit appear on their transcripts.
Students are also expected to be on time for class and to deactivate cell phones and beepers. (Exceptions are made only for physicians, pastors, and other professionals who are on call, and for persons whose immediate family medical situation requires availability.) A detailed policy on attendance and related matters may be found in the Student Handbook.
St. Mary’s is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. It is St. Mary’s policy that all such requests be made to the office of the Registrar. St. Mary’s requires supporting documentation for these requests.
The Registrar and Dean will review the request and the documentation, consult with the student and make a decision about the request. The Registrar will provide written notice of the approved accommodation to any faculty or staff member who may be directly involved in implementing the accommodation.
Most courses are designed to yield three graduate credits. Full-time study is normally nine (9) or more credits per semester. Most St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute students are part-time students taking one or two courses each semester.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University requires that all official records bear a student’s full and legal first, last, and middle (if applicable) name. If a student’s name has been changed because of marriage, divorce, legal action, etc., the student is required to provide documentation such as a driver’s license, passport, or social security card before the name can be changed in St. Mary’s records.
Grades represent the evaluation by the professor of the results of class attendance and participation, papers or reports, and written or oral examinations. More specific guidelines about grades and grading are available in the Student Handbook. Any question concerning a grade must be resolved by the student and the professor within one month of the official notification of grades. Appeals beyond this are made first to the Dean and then to the Faculty, according to procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. The decision of the Faculty is final.
The grade of “I” is a temporary notation indicating that some course work has not been completed by the end of the term due to some circumstance beyond the student’s control and that the professor has approved an extension of time. An “I” is never automatically granted; a student must submit a written petition, available for download here and from the E.I. office, that requires the approval of both the professor and the Dean. Dates for the submission of all work to remove Incompletes are published each term by the Registrar’s office. Failure to submit outstanding work to the professor by this date will result in a grade of “F” being assigned by the Registrar.
Course grades of F and XF earn no graduate credit. A student who fails a course is subject to probation or, in certain cases, dismissal. (For details, see the Student Handbook.) The grade of “F” is permanently inscribed on the student’s transcript. If a student is placed on probation and is permitted or required to repeat the course, the student may re-take the course one time, normally no more than two years following the term in which the “F” was received. If the student earns a better grade in the repeat course, the original “F” remains on the transcript but is no longer calculated in the student’s GPA, and the new grade both appears on the transcript and is calculated as part of the student’s GPA.
A student whose GPA falls below 2.7 is also placed on probation. A student on probation for this reason who wishes to repeat a course voluntarily, in order to improve his or her cumulative GPA, may petition the Dean for permission to do so. Permission is normally granted only if the course grade was less than C+ and if the Dean believes that repeating the course will improve not only the student’s GPA, but also his or her mastery of the subject. If the student earns a better grade in the repeat course, the original grade remains on the transcript but is no longer calculated in the student’s GPA, and the new grade both appears on the transcript and is calculated as part of the student’s GPA. Voluntary repeat courses must normally be taken no more than two years following the term in which the original course was taken.
A student must maintain a “B-” average, i.e., a GPA of 2.7, in order to graduate from a degree program or receive a certificate. (GPAs are never “rounded up”; a 2.69 GPA does not qualify.) Unsatisfactory grades must be balanced by higher grades to maintain the 2.7 average. A required course yielding a failing grade must be repeated by matriculated certificate and degree candidates who are permitted to remain in the program. Only grades from courses taken at St. Mary’s are used to calculate the GPA.
Because of the nature of theological research and study, students should have a command of the most recent information available when working toward a degree. Normally, credits earned at St. Mary’s or transferred from another accredited institution must have been earned within the past ten (10) years and completed with a grade of B or better to be eligible for application to a current degree. Use of these credits must be approved by the Dean and the Registrar. Grades for work in transfer courses are not calculated in the current program GPA.
The annual Dean’s List recognizes as many as 20 fully matriculated degree candidates (M.A. Theol. or M.A. Ch. Min.) with the highest cumulative GPA. Minimum requirements for consideration for the Dean’s List are (1) matriculation in a degree program; (2) completion of 17 or more credits at the E.I., including a total of five or more credits within at least two of the three terms prior to the announcement of the Dean’s List (normally about July 1); (3) a cumulative GPA of 3.85 or better; and (4) no course grade below a B. Dean’s List students receive a partial scholarship for one course during the following academic year.
All course assignments are to be done with integrity. Written work is to be the student’s own, and care is to be taken to give full documentation for all material quoted or paraphrased from other sources. The standard for written work is Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 9th ed. (University of Chicago Press). Plagiarism and the submission of work other than one’s own are viewed as serious offenses and grounds for dismissal. A detailed policy on academic integrity and honesty may be found in the Student Handbook.
Grade reports are issued at the end of each term. Grade reports will not be issued for any student who has outstanding financial or library obligations (items checked out of St. Mary’s library in the student’s name but not returned, plus any library fines).
Written, signed requests for transcripts (available for download here), which must include the student’s date of birth and years of attendance, should be addressed to the Registrar. Email messages are not acceptable as legal release of records. The charge for both official and unofficial transcripts is $5 per transcript. Transcripts will not be issued for any student who has failed to fulfill his or her financial or library obligations.
Student concerns about a course or grade may often be resolved directly with the professor. Unresolved issues should be addressed using the procedures described in the Student Handbook. The Student Handbook also contains policies for appeals concerning administrative withdrawal, probation, and dismissal.
Any student (matriculated or not) whose overall GPA falls below 2.7 will be placed on academic probation. The student must then bring his or her average back up to 2.7 within the next four courses (or the end of the program, whichever comes first) to avoid dismissal. Any student (matriculated or not) who fails a course or otherwise demonstrates an inability to meet the academic demands of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute will be placed on academic probation or dismissed. Degree candidates who fail the comprehensive exam, the Colloquium, the thesis project, or Ministry-in-Context are normally not permitted to enroll in future courses at St. Mary’s Ecumenical for credit, and may be dismissed. In addition, any student who is found guilty of academic dishonesty or other major violations of students’’ responsibilities, as indicated in St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute’s Community-Life Agreement and Community-Life Policies printed in the Student Handbook, will be subject to academic probation or dismissal. Further information is available in the Student Handbook.
All students taking courses for credit are assigned an advisor. Certificate and degree candidates are assigned an advisor based on their specific area of study. All students are encouraged to seek academic assistance from their advisors, especially in the planning of their program and course selection. Students who need specialized counseling (e.g., regarding further graduate education) should consult also with the Dean.
The average St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute student takes one or two courses per term and is often somewhat confined, with respect to scheduling classes, by other commitments. The following guidelines are given with the understanding that some students cannot follow the “ideal” program.
All degree and certificate candidates, potential degree and certificate candidates, “seekers” exploring various programs, and students who need a general introduction to theological study should take TH601 during their first or second term. BS600 is also strongly recommended early on for actual or potential degree candidates, and is required for most other biblical studies courses. Students new to theological study may also begin with courses that are part of the Explorations in Theology program.
Degree-seeking students should then normally continue with foundational courses in each of the core theological disciplines. There is no prescribed order, but the ideal sequence for the first four to six courses would be: (1) biblical core (taking Hebrew Bible before New Testament); (2) H601 Early and Medieval Church (for the M.A. Theol.); (3) ST601 Foundations of Systematic Theology; (4) MT600 Fundamentals of Theological Ethics. The required course in Spirituality may be taken at any time in the program. Additional required foundational courses (depending on the degree program) may be taken later in the program. Students may take courses only after they have completed the appropriate prerequisites.
Students in need of research and/or writing assistance are urged, and in some cases required, to contact St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute’s writing specialist. Students whose performance on the Academic Skills Assessment or in-class work suggests the need for writing assistance may be required to work with the writing specialist and/or to take a non-credit remedial course in academic writing and reading to continue as a student.
1) In addition to biographical information (name, address, state or federally mandated demographic data), St. Mary’s keeps the following information on all students and it becomes part of a student’s permanent academic record:
a) admissions and other test scores
b) diocese information (for seminarians)
c) recommendations (when required for admission)
d) dates of application, acceptance, registration, matriculation, withdrawal
e) academic program(s) information at St. Mary’s
f) all coursework, with grades, status, dates and grade point averages
g) official transcripts from other institutions
h) courses transferred for credit
i) photograph of student if needed for admission process
j) information about other language(s) studied
k) correspondence with St. Mary’s faculty and administrators relating to student’s program
l) all information on theses
m) comprehensive examinations and examination scores
n) information on degree(s) conferred
o) other pertinent documents and information (withdrawal, transfer, leave of absence, financial documents that pertain to academic status, pastoral year, dismissal etc.)
2) Restrictions are placed on student records in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and to protect the privacy rights of individuals. These documents may be inspected only by those faculty members or administrators at St. Mary’s who have a legitimate educational interest in seeing them. Others may inspect these files or obtain copies of information in a student’s record only after the Registrar’s Office has received a signed written request or permission form from the student and the student has paid a nominal fee, or as otherwise permitted or required by law. No e-mail requests are accepted. Transcripts will not be issued to any student who has not fulfilled his or her financial and/or library obligation to the institution.
3) St. Mary’s does not designate any student information as “directory information” under FERPA and therefore does not release personally identifiable information from educational records without written authorization or as otherwise permitted or required by law.
4) Students are at liberty to inspect their own academic files by making an appointment with the Office of the University Registrar. By submitting a letter of application to the University Registrar, a student may 1) inspect and review his or her records, 2) petition to seek amendment of records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights. No part of any record may be inspected by the student without the express written consent of the University Registrar. Permission will be granted within a reasonable time and in no case more than forty‑five (45) days from the date of the receipt of a written request for inspection. Any suspected inaccuracies in any of St. Mary’s records should be reported at once to the Office of the University Registrar. Since each institution is responsible for the accuracy of its own files and for correcting them when necessary, St. Mary’s will not amend academic documents from other parties which may be in its possession nor forward such records to third parties. This includes documents such as transcripts from other institutions sent to St. Mary’s as part of the admissions process.
5) Only those St. Mary’s staff members who are directly responsible for students’ accounts or billing matters may examine financial documents that relate to a student’s stay at St. Mary’s.
It is customary for students to submit exams, papers, theses and other projects to their instructors for evaluation during a course or as part of their culminating experience in a degree program. When work is submitted for evaluation, the student retains the intellectual property rights to that which has been created, but the original hand-written, typed, or word processing document (or, for a thesis, the original and one copy) or other medium of work (e.g., video tape, audio tape, electronic file) submitted becomes the property of St. Mary’s Seminary & University. In the case of course work, the instructor evaluates the submitted work and communicates the results of the evaluation to the student. The faculty member, at his or her discretion, may return the work to the student, retain the work, discard the work, or request that the administration retain the work or place the work in the student’s academic record. The administration of St. Mary’s also retains the right to request the original work from the instructor and may place it in the student’s academic record, store the work elsewhere (e.g., in the library or in a special collection of submitted projects), or discard the work if the student fails to retrieve it in a timely manner after being asked to do so.
It is St. Mary’s policy to retain all student work about which the instructor or administration has raised questions about its academic integrity.
It is the student’s responsibility to retain a copy of all work submitted for evaluation, including written materials, electronic files, and work submitted on other media such as audiotapes and video tapes.
Partner schools may have additional policies and procedures. MDiv students should see the website of Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Master’s Degree candidates must earn at least 24 of their 48 credits, including their culminating experience, in St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. In addition, they may earn credits from advanced standing, transfer of courses taken at other institutions, and enrollment in St. Mary’s School of Theology according to the policies stated below.
All credits toward a certificate must be earned within St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute.
Advanced standing without credit (no reduction in the total hours required for a degree) may be granted for core courses to candidates in the M.A. in Theology or the M.A. in Christian Ministries upon the decision of the Dean. Such advanced standing is based on undergraduate credits in theology or religious studies that were earned within the past 10 years and completed with a B or better. For each course waived, the student must substitute an elective course in the same department (as guided by the Dean). A student who desires advanced standing without credit should petition the Dean for a transcript evaluation before registering for the first class. The maximum number of credits that may be replaced with electives on the basis of advanced standing without credit is 12.
The following policy is based on the requirements of the Association of Theological Schools.
Advanced standing with credit (reduction in the total hours required for a degree) may be granted for core courses to candidates for the M.A. in Theology or the M.A. in Christian Ministries who have an undergraduate major or similar significant undergraduate work in theology or religious studies after formal assessment in the course(s) they have pursued and for which the credit is desired. Such advanced standing with credit is based on undergraduate credits that were earned within the past 10 years and completed with a B or better. A student who desires advanced standing with credit should petition the Dean for a transcript evaluation, and for formal assessment in the course for which credit is desired before registering for the first course. The maximum number of credits of advanced standing with credit that can be granted is 9.
A student transferring from another institution into the Ecumenical Institute’s M.A. in Theology or Christian Ministries degree program must complete at least 24 of his or her 48 credits, including the culminating experience, in St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute to be eligible for a degree. The decision about transfer of credit, as well as any award of advanced standing, is made by the Dean at the point of admission. The maximum allowance for the combination of advanced standing with credit and transferred graduate credits is 24 credits. Transfer credits must have been earned at an accredited school within the past 10 years and completed with a B or better to be eligible for transfer.
Matriculated students may request permission to take a course concurrently at another institution and transfer the credits into their Ecumenical Institute M.A. This transfer requires approval from the Dean prior to enrolling in the course; requests for courses underway or already completed will not be considered.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute does not belong to any consortia of theological schools, but it has working relationships with several schools in the region. Nearby institutions from which transfer credit may be earned with advance approval of the Dean include Wesley Theological Seminary, Howard University Divinity School, and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.
Under certain circumstances, Ecumenical Institute students are allowed to cross-register for specific courses in the School of Theology. They must meet the prerequisites for the classes they wish to take, and normally must request permission to cross-register from the E.I. Dean. E.I. students pay E.I. tuition when they register for School of Theology classes as E.I. students.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute welcomes students from neighboring theological schools and other graduate institutions. In recent years, we have had students from Wesley Theological Seminary, Howard University Divinity School, Lancaster Theological Seminary, the Pastoral Counseling programs at Loyola University Maryland, Notre Dame University of Maryland’s graduate program, and other programs in the region. We also encourage students from the Baltimore area who are considering attending other theological schools in any part of the country to begin their theological studies in St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute offers a hospitable environment for a diverse student body, offering accredited graduate theological education that is intellectually rigorous, personally enriching, and professionally empowering. Students in our diverse learning community pursue two master’s degrees, several graduate certificates, introductory explorations, a post-master’s Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS), and a Doctor of Ministry degree. St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute also offers master’s level coursework leading to a Master of Divinity through Lancaster Theological Seminary.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute has a rolling admissions policy. Students may apply at any time, and may begin study in any semester (fall, spring, or summer).
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Qualifications for Admission
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St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological programs for two master’s degrees, several graduate certificates, and introductory explorations. St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute also offers a pathway to a Master of Divinity degree (and the educational equivalent).
Non-degree program options include taking individual courses for credit or audit, and our non-credit “Mini-quest.” Credits earned in EI Explore can count towards a degree or certificate.
A general theological studies degree that provides foundational studies in the main disciplines of theology, including biblical studies, history, moral theology (theological ethics), spirituality, systematic theology, and ecumenical and interfaith studies.
A ministerial leadership degree designed to equip persons for ministry in congregational or other settings.
Designed primarily to serve the needs of laypersons interested in ministry in churches, schools, hospitals, and religious or community organizations.
A post-master’s certificate program designed for individuals who possess a master’s degree in theology, ministry, divinity, or a related field who desire to continue their theological education.
My journey at the EI has been very enriching… a time of great growth both spiritually and academically. Michelle Sullivan, MAT 2014
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological education that is intellectually rigorous, personally enriching, and professionally empowering. Students in our diverse learning community pursue two master’s degrees, several graduate certificates, introductory explorations, and a post-master’s Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS). St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute also offers master’s level coursework leading to a Master of Divinity through Lancaster Theological Seminary.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University does not offer courses of study leading to a professional licensure as regulated by the state or federal government.
All EI courses are now fully available online. St. Mary’s Seminary & University has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.