Forming Believers in Christ to be Ministers in Christ

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As a Catholic university, grounded in the charism of Elizabeth Ann Seton, Seton Hill is committed to providing theological education, leadership development, ministry training and spiritual formation for adult laypersons. Through this program, which has operated for over two decades in partnership with the Diocese of Greensburg’s Office for Faith, Family and Discipleship, you will develop knowledge and discern your vocation in order to use your gifts effectively in service to the church. The certificate program serves the educational and formational needs of adults who are committed to the mission of Christ within the Roman Catholic Church as well as other Christian communities. 

Through this program you will benefit from:Expert Faculty

  • Faculty who are noted scholars in religious studies and theology
  • Faculty who are pastorally sensitive to the needs of the church
  • Courses in theology, scripture, ministry, spirituality, counseling and social work 
  • Supervised field experiences in ministries relevant to your interests

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What You Can Do as a Graduate of This Program

Many graduates go on to serve as lay ecclesial ministers and ordained permanent deacons. Graduates serve in a wide range of ministry roles in Catholic as well as other church communities related to: 

  • Pastoral Care
  • Religious Education
  • Catholic Secondary Education
  • Youth Ministry
  • Music Ministry
  • Service and Social Ministries
  • Hospice Care
  • Retreat Centers
  • Hospital Chaplaincy

Start Date

This year’s cohort begins August 21. (Students who are parishioners of the Diocese of Greensburg will also participate in  an Orientation Seminar and Retreat in July.) The next new cohort will begin in August 2024.

Program & Course FormatOnline Program

You, your classmates, and your professors will meet together online every Saturday for approximately 3.5 hours. As this program is cohort-based, you will enjoy learning together online with your professors and the same group of classmates throughout the program. We'll provide the software and support you need to make learning online easy.

Time Commitment & Schedule

The Online Pastoral Ministry Certificate Program takes 2 years to complete. For fall and spring terms, courses will be offered online in 8-week sessions on Saturday mornings, following Seton Hill’s S1, S2, S3 and S4 schedule. (View Seton Hill’s academic calendar for details.) Aside from the Seminar and Retreat during the initial summer mentioned above, year 2's summer session will focus on field experience placement and reflection.

Admission Process & Requirements 

Application Process for Parishioners of the Greensburg Diocese

Please apply to Seton Hill for admission. If you are accepted, you will be referred to the Diocese of Greensburg for financial sponsorship if applicable.

Application Process for Parishioners of Dioceses other than Greensburg, or Other Christian Denominations

Apply to Seton Hill.

Seton Hill University Admission Requirements

  • Complete the application form for Seton Hill University (free online application)
  • Have all colleges or universities you've attended send official transcripts to Seton Hill (email preferred)
  • If you have not attended college, or have earned fewer than 60 college credits, please also have your high school submit an official transcript to Seton Hill, or provide us with a copy of your GED
  • Submit a statement of career interest in the Pastoral Ministry Program (2-page limit)
  • Participate in an interview with the Seton Hill University Program Director

Greensburg Diocesan Admission Requirements

If seeking financial assistance through the Diocese of Greensburg, there are additional application requirements. Students accepted by Seton Hill will be referred to the Diocesan Coordinator to proceed with their portion of the application process.

Tuition Discount Program GraphicFinancial Assistance

Through Seton Hill University

If you are accepted by Seton Hill, you will receive a significant discount from the University's regular tuition. You can also apply for aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Through the Diocese of Greensburg

Through the Diocese of Greensburg’s Anselm Fund, registered parishioners in the diocese may also receive a grant for 25% of the cost of the program.

Continuing Your Education at Seton Hill

If you’d like to continue with your education after graduation, you can use the credits earned within the certificate program toward a B.A. in religious studies/theology, B.A. in behavioral health - or any Seton Hill undergraduate degree.

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