As a traditionalist Orthodox theological institution, the principal admission requirements for those wishing to attend the Saint 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 [G. E. D.] certificate or a homeschool diploma) is required for entry into the Bachelor of Theology program. Students with the ability to benefit (A. T. B.) from secondary education, but who have no diploma or equivalent, are not accepted. Such students should obtain a G. E. D. 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 (G. R. E.) sent to the Seminary Registrar at the time of application.
International students may apply by submitting the International Student Application Form with all supporting documentation. The Seminary is certified with the Student Exchange Visitor Program (S.E.V.P.). This certification allows the Seminary to register students in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (S.E.V.I.S.), and to thereby provide the form I-20, which is an essential form for the F-1 visa application, to foreign students who are accepted to the Seminary and have presented the required documentation. Required documentation for obtaining the I-20 includes a copy of the student’s passport and documentation proving the student’s ability to afford all tuition and living expenses for one year. This may include personal fund statements, sponsor affidavits, scholarship letters, etc.
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 G. E. D. 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:
Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary
Post Office Box 797
Etna, California 96027‒0797
Application Form for US-based students
Application Form for international students
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” in the amount listed on the Application Form(nonrefundable application fee)
- Copy of birth certificate
- Copy of Baptism certificate
- Copy of Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Copy of Ordination certificates (if applicable)
- Copy of valid passport (international students only)
- High School Diploma or Certificate of Completion
- Official Transcripts and/or Certificates from all higher learning institutions attended
- Three Letters of Recommendation:
(a) from one’s Parish Priest or Spiritual Father (character reference);
(b) from an academic advisor, professor, or instructor (academic evaluation); (c) from an employer or colleague (character reference).
- A recent photograph
- Autobiography of at least 500 words, including the reasons why the applicant desires to study at the Seminary. The autobiography will serve as a writing sample for the Application Review Board. Please contact the registrar if you would like to receive a grading rubric.
- Evidence of proficiency in English language (recommended: TOEFL iBT Score Report) (international students only)
- 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.