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Why Seminary?

Considering ordination? | What can I do with a degree in theology? | How can I learn more?

Why seminary? Each person’s decision for enrolling in seminary is different, yet one thing is certain -- this decision is life changing. This short video presents several Andover Newton students, alums, and faculty discussing the different reasons why they chose to come to seminary.

The decision to enroll in theological school can be both an exciting and fearful one. It may be a desire that has been with you for many years and it just would not go away, or it may have recently and unexpectedly occurred. For many people the decision to attend seminary may come later in life after a first or second career or possibly after raising a family. For others it is something they pursued directly after college. Some experience feeling a “call” from God, or a distinct sense that this is what they must do. This sense of “call” may lead to many different vocational paths including ordained ministry, chaplaincy, campus ministry, nonprofit work, theological education and scholarship to name a few. Others may not feel a sense of “call” but have a strong desire to work toward social change from a theological and spiritual perspective. Others simply report feeling a deep desire to delve into the study of their faith and sacred texts in a much deeper sense.

The many reasons for enrolling in seminary are as diverse as the people on our campus, but no matter why you choose seminary, you will find both an academic program to suit the needs of your specific vocational goals as well as a supportive community at Andover Newton Theological School.
Discerning your sense of “call” or whether you want to attend seminary can be a difficult thing. Many people experience much love and support from their friends and family when deciding to enroll in seminary, but this is not always the case. Sometimes friends and family may not understand this desire to pursue theological education, making it a more difficult and confusing time for many. Because of this, we have provided a few resources for you as you decide whether seminary is right for you. Below are a few links that we think you might find helpful. We have also provided some definitions of the different terms often used in describing institutes of theological education.


These terms are interchangeable:
Seminary: an institution for the training of candidates for the priesthood, ministry, or rabbinate
Divinity School: a professional school having a religious curriculum especially for ministerial candidates
Theological School: No separate definition found
Seminary as defined by Wikipedia: A seminary, theological college, or divinity school is an institution of secondary or post-secondary education for educating students (sometimes called seminarians) in theology, generally to prepare them for ordination as clergy or for other ministry.

Resource links