Pre-Theology Program

The Discipleship Stage

St. Patrick’s Seminary’s Pre-Theology Program corresponds to the Discipleship Stage, as stated in the 6th edition of The Program of Priestly Formation, #278-279. The Pre-Theology Program provides an integrated introduction into the four dimensions of priestly formation for men with either no background in philosophy or no previous seminary formation experience. It helps seminarians to develop an understanding of the fruitful relationship between faith and reason in preparation for their theological studies (PPF #279-280). STPSU’s Pre-Theology Program offers a comprehensive curriculum in the Catholic philosophical tradition. As the well-formed human intellect demands a truly liberal education, the Pre-Theology Program also features coursework in the Humanities, Introductory Theology (including Sacred Scripture and Catholic spirituality), and Latin (PPF #275 and 285).

Mark Shiffman, Ph.D

Coordinator of the Pre-Theology Program

Mark Shiffman is Associate Professor of Philosophy and the founding Director of the Institute for Philosophy, Technology, and Politics. His scholarly work spans the fields of ancient philosophy, political theory, and the Catholic tradition.

Learning Outcomes

The Pre-Theology academic program of the Discipleship Stage prepares students for theological studies in the Configuration stage. Drawing upon their studies in philosophy, theology, and the other liberal arts, students in Pre-Theology will:

  • Demonstrate a capacity for critical and charitable thinking through careful reading, clear writing, and disciplined reasoning;
  • Present central ideas of major philosophers of the ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods, demonstrating understanding of their relationship to the Christian development of the Platonic-Aristotelian tradition;
  • Articulate responses informed by the Church’s tradition of Christian humanism to questions raised by trends of life and thought in contemporary culture;
  • Demonstrate understanding of basic elements of Biblical literacy and exegesis;
  • Explain Catholic liturgy and spirituality in light of the sacraments, the Church, and the Trinity;
  • Articulate the role in the Christian life of beauty and the imagination as it is manifested in Christian music, art, Scripture and literature;
  • Acquire and utilize language skills necessary for priestly ministry.

Pre-Theology I


LA-101: Latin I (3)
PH-101: Academic Writing I (1)
PH-114: Humanities I: Arts and Ideas: Catholic Approaches to Beauty in Music, Architecture, and Art (3)
PP-101: Logic (3)
PP-112: History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy (3)
TH-105: History of Christian Spirituality (3)


LA-102: Latin II (3)
PH-102: Academic Writing II (1)
PH-115: Humanities II: Theology through Literature (3)
PP-104: Philosophy of Nature (3)
PP-113: History of Philosophy II: Medieval Philosophy (3)
TH-107: The Spirit of the Liturgy (3)

Pre-Theology II


PP-205: Philosophical Anthropology (3)
PP-206: Metaphysics (3)
PP-208: Philosophical Ethics (3)
PP-212: History of Philosophy III: Modern Philosophy (3)
TH-204: God and Human Existence (2)
TH-205: Sacred Scripture: Old Testament (2)
GR-101: Biblical Greek I (2) (Elective)
SP-101: Pastoral-Liturgical Spanish I (2) (Elective)


PP-207: Epistemology (3)
PP-209: Philosophy of God (3)
PP-214: Political Philosophy (3)
PP-213: History of Philosophy IV: Contemporary Philosophy (3)
PP-215: Capstone Seminar (1)
TH-206: Sacred Scripture: New Testament (2)
GR-102: Biblical Greek II (2) (Elective)
SP-102: Pastoral-Liturgical Spanish II (2) (Elective)

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