Why study for Seminary at MC?

Students who are interested in pursuing a career in ministry or graduate study in Religion in a seminary or divinity school are encouraged to consider three types of opportunities at Maryville College:

  • courses that develop academic skills and background knowledge that provide the foundation for success in graduate school,
  • service and internship opportunities that provide practical experience and exposure to the world of ministry,
  • and vocational discernment activities through the Center for Calling and Career and the Campus Minister’s Office.


Seminaries and graduate schools in Religion do not have a required curriculum that students must complete before entering. In fact, students from a wide variety of majors can and do attend seminary. What is most important is developing the ability to read texts carefully and analytically, think critically about concrete and abstract problems in relation to historical and social contexts, and communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Though a major in Religion or Philosophy is not essential, it is important to become familiar with the Bible and central themes in Christian thought, to gain an introductory understanding of basic concepts and historical background in Western philosophy, and to become acquainted with diverse religions and cultures. Every student begins to develop these skills and knowledge through The Maryville Curriculum, MC’s required core courses. Though students can hone these skills and further develop these forms of literacy in a number of different fields, majors in the humanities (religion, philosophy, history), English literature, or the social sciences (sociology, economics, political science) are particularly recommended.


Students interested in exploring ministry are encouraged to participate in worship and service activities coordinated by the Center for Campus Ministry and the Campus Minister’s office, to pursue the Certificate program in Ministry and Church Leadership, and to apply for ministry internship opportunities. 


The Center for Calling and Career offers a number of avenues for investigating one’s sense of calling and the array of possible vocations that might be a good ‘fit.’ Each fall, the Campus Minister takes a group of students considering a vocation in ministry on a seminary trip where they can become acquainted with a variety of types of seminaries and divinity schools. Members of the Religion and Philosophy faculty also welcome the opportunity to support students in their exploration of possible vocations in ministry or other fields.

Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

External Relationships

New Providence Presbyterian Church, Maryville
Independent Presbyterian Church, Birmingham
Lilly Endowment Inc. The foundation supports Maryville Adventures in Studying Theology (MAST), a program that aims to cultivate youth leaders for the church and world by helping them discover and embrace the traditions of Christian faith, put their faith into practice, and explore important questions of our time.


Outcomes of Recent Grads

Featured Graduate

Emily Brewer ’09
Currently: Executive Director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF)

A lifelong Presbyterian, Emily majored in Religion at Maryville. Following graduation, she served as a PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer in Guatemala and Nashville and then enrolled at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She graduated in 2015 and accepted a position as Executive Director with the PPF, an organization that has been working for peace through active nonviolence for over 70 years. “Maryville College helped me think outside the box about what a life dedicated to ministry and peacemaking could look like,” she said. “It also gave me relationships with professors who nurtured and challenged me and provided a community environment in which to learn about, explore and enact a commitment to social justice.”

Graduate School/Seminary Placements

Asbury Theological Seminary
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Candler School of Theology at Emory University
Columbia Theological Seminary
Duke University Divinity School
Princeton Theological Seminary
Sewanee School of Theology
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary
University of Chicago Divinity School
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary