Master of Divinity (MDiv)


The Master of Divinity degree is for seminarians preparing for the Catholic priesthood. 

Profile of a Candidate for Holy Orders

A man who successfully completes the MDiv program at Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a man who has conformed and continues to conform, his life to Jesus Christ. Therefore, docile to the Holy Spirit, and zealous for the spread of the Gospel, he is a man

  1. of sufficient physical health, mental balance and human maturity,
  2. who possesses the requisite natural virtues,
  3. who knows Catholic doctrine, expressed in Scripture, Tradition and authoritatively interpreted by the Magisterium, and can transmit it accurately and effectively
  4. who has a love for learning,
  5. who is obedient,
  6. who lives a life of chaste celibacy,
  7. who possesses the requisite supernatural virtues,
  8. who prays,
  9. who exercises balanced judgment and effective pastoral leadership,
  10. of communio,
  11. of simplicity of life,
  12. of solidarity with the poor.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Teaches the faith, grounded in Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium, accurately and effectively. (PDV 51, PPF 163, ATS Standard 3)
  2. Demonstrates a willingness and capacity to serve people in a pastoral/clinical setting.  (PDV 57, PPF 236, ATS Standard 3)
  3. Demonstrates an understanding of and capacity for priestly pastoral leadership in the image of Christ the Good Shepherd.  (PDV 57, PPF 236, ATS Standard 3)
  4. Engages in the process of integration leading to pastoral charity and life-long learning.  (PDV 51, PPF 163, ATS Standard 3)

Course of Study (123 credit hours)

Church History (7 credits hours)

HS 510Church History I:  The First Millennium2 cr
HS 512Church History:  Christianity Divided3 cr
HS 615History of the Catholic Church in the U.S.A.2 cr
HS 700Foundations in Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue3 cr

Patristics (5 credit hours)

ST 600Fathers of the Church to Nicea2 cr
ST 605Fathers of the Church post Nicea3 cr

Scripture (18 credit hours)

SS 521Method and Pentateuch3 cr
SS 525Synoptics3 cr
SS 621Johannine Literature3 cr
SS 625Pauline Literature3 cr
SS 727Prophets3 cr
SS 737Psalms and Wisdom Literature 3 cr

Systematics (23 credit hours)

ST 530Fundamental Theology3 cr
ST 535Christian Anthropology3 cr
ST 630Theology of Trinity3 cr
ST 635Ecclesiology3 cr
ST 730Christology3 cr
SP 735History of Spirituality3 cr
SP 660Nature and Practice of Spiritual Direction2 cr

Moral Theology (9 credit hours)

MT 555Fundamental Moral Theology3 cr
MT 750Bioethics3 cr
MT 700Catholic Social and Sexual Teaching3 cr

Liturgy and Sacraments (15 credit hours)

LS 605Sacramental Theology and Eucharist4 cr
LS 645Sacraments of Initiation2 cr
LS 744Holy Orders2 cr
LS 746Sacrament of Marriage and Law3 cr
LS 748Sacraments of Healing4 cr

Applied Theology (12 credit hours)

EV 500Evangelization and Catechesis2 cr
AT 570Homiletics I2 cr
AT 660Pastoral Counseling2 cr
AT 775Homiletics II3 cr
AT 890Parish Leadership and Administration3 cr

Canon Law (5 credit hours)

AT 780Introduction to Canon Law2 cr
AT 881Sacramental Law3 cr

Field Education (8 credit hours)

FE 690Introduction to Field Education I1 cr
FE 695Field Education Placement I:  Clinical1 cr
FE 692Introduction to Field Education II1 cr
FE 698Field Education Placement II:  New Evangel.1 cr
FE 720Parish Internship I2 cr
FE 725Parish Internship II2 cr
FE 730Pastoral Internship Year (In lieu of FE 720 & FE 725)4 cr

Integrating Studies (8 credit hours)

IS 890MDiv Integrating Seminar2 cr
IS 898Integrating Seminar II S.T.B.1 cr
IS 893Integrating Practicum I2 cr
IS 894Integrating Practicum II2 cr
IS 505Theological Research and Writing1 cr

Music (1 credit hour)

MUS 549Vocal Skills/Presider's Chants (or)1 cr
MUS 551The Presider's Musical Role in the Liturgy1 cr

New Evangelization (6 credit hours)

NE 865Theology of the New Evangelization3 cr
NE 868Evangelization and Spirituality3 cr

Electives (6 credit hours)

Priestly Formation

The formation program at Sacred Heart Major Seminary follows the norms of Pastores Dabo Vobis and The Program for Priestly Formation, 5th edition. The formation of future priests focuses on all levels of development: Spiritual Formation, Human Formation, Intellectual Formation, and Pastoral Formation. Each of these is treated separately and has a particular purpose and method. They must, however, be viewed as parts of a comprehensive interrelated whole.

Human Formation

Seminary formation has “as its object to make (seminarians) true shepherds of souls after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest, and shepherd” (Optatam Totius, no. 4).

A strong appreciation for the multi faceted and challenging role of the diocesan priest lies at the root of the Human Formation Program at Sacred Heart Major Seminary’s Theologate. The seminary's mission is to develop true pastors, mature and holy men, who live, work and pray among the people in parish ministry. The complete program for human formation can be found in the Seminarian Handbook.

Spiritual Formation

“I will give you shepherds after my own heart.” The words from the prophecy of Jeremiah are etched on the cornerstone of the seminary building, and they capture the purpose of the Spiritual Formation Program of Sacred Heart Major Seminary: helping seminarians shape their hearts after the heart of Christ.

The Master of Divinity program integrates aspects of the Spiritual Formation Program at Sacred Heart.  Some of those aspects are taken from the list given in the fifth edition of the American Bishops’ Program of Priestly Formation, n. 110.  A fuller description of these aspects can be found in both the SHMS Spiritual Directors Guidelines and the SHMS Guidelines for Spiritual Formation, School of Theology.

  1. Daily Eucharist
  2. The Sacrament of Reconciliation
  3. Liturgy of the Hours and Ongoing Formation
  4. Spiritual Direction
  5. The Word of God
  6. Retreats and Days of Recollection
  7. Personal Meditation and Solitude
  8. Devotions
  9. Apostolic Dimensions
  10. Celibacy
  11. Asceticism and Simplicity
  12. Obedience, Reconciliation and Solidarity

The SHMS Spiritual Formation Program assists men seeking to do God’s will as people of faith who recognize their limitations and the limitless quality of God’s grace. For such persons, the process of conversion is ongoing and rooted in hope and confidence that what cannot possibly be accomplished on one’s own is entirely possible with God. “The whole training of the students should have as its object to make them true shepherds of souls after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest and shepherd” (Decree on Priestly Formation, no. 4). The spiritual program assists them in growing in their relationship with Christ who infuses their hearts with his love.

Pastoral Formation

Priestly Leadership

An essential element in the formation of a candidate for the priesthood is leadership. Within the context of the Master of Divinity program the students are formed in the image in the Christ the Good Shepherd who leads the sheep in the light of truth. This formation occurs through course work, formation sessions,  field education, and parish internships. Growth in affective maturity, a deeply integrated sense of self, knowledge of appropriate boundaries, and a well-developed life of virtue are among the essential foundations for effective pastoral leadership. These foundational elements are developed and formed through the Human Formation program, the details of which can be found in the Seminarian Handbook.

Field Education

Sacred Heart Major Seminary, located as it is in the heart of a large urban archdiocese, is an ideal place for the education and formation of men for the priesthood. It is in immediate proximity to the poor and the hub of a metropolitan area rich in a diversity of cultures. The seminary is an active participant in the social, political, economic and religious processes that affect the entire State of Michigan and much of Midwestern America. The entire metropolis inner city, including urban, suburban and rural, becomes the living laboratory in which the student learns.

Field education is an integral part of the seminary program. The program leads through gradual pastoral experiences to a full exercise of priestly ministry. In supervised and directed situations, the seminarian participates in ministry, works with competent professionals engaged in ministry, reflects on the personal impact of ministry, listens to parishioners and dialogs with peers. In all, he is immersed in pastoral education.

The components of field education follow the rubric of forming the candidate as one preparing to teach, sanctify and govern.  As such the Field Education Experiences reflect:

First Year:

Introduction to Field Education

Direct Catechetical/Teaching Experience


Second Year:

Direct, sustained clinical experience



Parish Pastoral Experience during the summer (or undertake a full year Parish Pastoral Experience)

Third Year:

Parish Pastoral Experience during the summer

Fourth Year:

Preparation for Diaconal Assignment

Weekend Diaconal Assignment

Parish Internships

Internship is the practical application of pastoral ministerial skills in a defined learning situation. The emphasis is to be on relating what has been learned in the academic setting of the classroom with what is lived and experienced in the pastoral setting of the parish. During the internships it is expected that the student will encounter the diversity of life in a parish community by participating in the various gatherings where people worship and carry out the service, education, evangelization and stewardship dimensions of church life.

The parish internship has been conceived:

  1. To enhance the readiness of the student for the integration of theological study and its application to priestly ministry in a contemporary setting within a local parish community.
  2. To enable the student minister and the Church to identify more accurately those attitudes and aptitudes for priestly ministry which the student possesses at this time in order to set further academic and formational goals within the whole program of study.
  3. To enable the student minister to identify and to employ a spirituality appropriate to the diocesan priesthood.

Further information on the parish internship may be found in the appropriate handbooks and materials of the director of field education.

Program Requirements

  1. A minimum of 123 credit hours must be earned through completion of the course of study.
  2. A maximum of 41 credit hours may be applied to the degree from other institutions or from other credit earning options.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 is required.
  4. This program must be completed in six years from matriculation.  Under extenuating circumstances, a student may request an extension in writing to the Dean of Stuides.
  5. Students must participate in assessment of the academic program, including completion of a Graduating Student Questionnaire in the final year of study.

See a complete list of our Graduate Course Descriptions.

See our Academic Catalogs for this and past academic years.


Admissions information for this program can be found on the Graduate Admissions page.

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