As a traditionalist Orthodox theological institution, the principal admission requirements for those wishing to attend the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary are an unwavering commitment to Scripture and Holy Tradition, the Biblical and Canonical rules of Christian moral behavior, and a sincere desire to serve the Orthodox Church.
“I think this was the best decision I ever made for myself.”
Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.)
A high school diploma or its equivalent (a General Educational Development [GED] certificate or a homeschool diploma) is required for entry into the Bachelor of Theology program. Students with the ability to benefit (ATB) from secondary education, but who have no diploma or equivalent, are not accepted. Such students should obtain a GED certificate before applying to the Seminary.
Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)
A bachelor’s degree from an approved school or an accredited college or university, with a minimum of thirty credit hours of prior coursework (or the equivalent) in Biblical and theological studies, is required for entry into the Master of Theological Studies program. A student with a bachelor’s degree lacking a theological component may acquire the thirty prerequisite credit hours in Biblical and theological studies from the Seminary as a non-degree student before beginning the Master of Theological Studies program. Though not required, it is highly recommended that applicants for the master’s degree program have results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) sent to the Seminary Registrar at the time of application.
The Seminary is currently in the applicant phase of certification with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which, upon certification, will allow the Seminary to sponsor F-1 visas for foreign students. Foreign students interested in attending the Seminary should contact the Registrar to be registered for updates regarding SEVP certification. Although the Seminary is not able to accept foreign students prior to certification, the Registrar will review applications and offer preparatory counseling to students intending to join the Seminary upon certification and acceptance.
Applicants may elect to take courses in the Bachelor of Theology program for credit, but without the goal of earning a degree. Such credits may or may not be transferable to other schools. When applying, please indicate your goals in taking courses as a non-degree student. In order to receive non-degree credits, an applicant must be able to provide evidence of a high school diploma or its equivalent (a GED certificate or a homeschool diploma).
Application materials for admission to the Seminary may be downloaded here or obtained by mail from the Office of the Registrar:
St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary
P.O. Box 797
Etna, CA 96027-0797
In partial assessment of candidates, their status, and their character, we ask that applicants for either program submit the following documents to the Office of the Registrar:
- Completed Application Form
- Check or money order made payable to “Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary” amounting to $25 (nonrefundable application fee)
- Copy of birth certificate
- Copy of Baptismal certificate
- Copy of Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Copy of Ordination certificates (if applicable)
- Official transcripts (no photocopies) from all secondary schools (high schools) or institutions of higher learning (colleges or universities) attended; applicants for the Master of Theological Studies program must demonstrate the prerequisite thirty credits of Biblical and theological studies
- Two or three letters of recommendation:
(a) One from one’s parish Priest or spiritual Father (character reference), or, if the applicant cannot obtain such a reference for some reason, the Director of Spiritual Life will interview the applicant;
(b) One from an employer or colleague, or, if the applicant is not currently employed or has not been recently employed, from a person in good standing in his or her community (character reference)
(c)For applicants who have previously completed college classes, one from an academic advisor, professor, or instructor (academic evaluation)
- Two recent passport-size photographs
- A brief autobiography, including the reasons why the applicant desires to study at the Seminary
- Proof of medical insurance coverage, valid in the United States. (Nota Bene: All students must purchase their own health insurance and are responsible for any medical expenses they may incur during their studies. Before arrival, each new student will be asked to speak with the Seminary’s Medical Advisor, in order to determine whether he has any particular health issues that might affect his studies.)
Once the Seminary has received the application and the requested supporting materials specified above, a letter of acknowledgment will be sent to the applicant, along with a request that the applicant schedule an interview with the Seminary administration and faculty at his or her earliest convenience, either in person or by teleconferencing (e.g., via Skype or Zoom).
After the review of the application materials, the applicant may be asked to submit a writing sample approximately five pages in length.
Applications are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis. The Office of the Registrar must receive all application materials for the intended program of study by July 15 of the year in which the student plans to enroll; otherwise, the application may be deferred until the following academic year.