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Certificate in Theological Studies (Independent Study)


The Certificate in Theological Studies (HEGIS 5623) is an independent study program designed for Orthodox Christian clergy and laity who wish to broaden their knowledge of the history, theology, and pastoral practice of the Orthodox Church, but are unable to enroll in the full course of study at the Seminary.  Through independent study, the students acquire competence in Orthodox theology and other disciplines in order to enrich their ecclesial and spiritual life, and to apply this learning to the proclamation of the Gospel.  


The independent study courses are available in English (except for Moral Theology, which is Russian only).   Russian-language course offerings include only Liturgics, Pastoral Theology, and Moral Theology.

Course Requirements

The Certificate in Theological Studies program requires the completion of 32 credit hours, or sixteen two-credit courses.  These can be accomplished over four semesters of independent study, with four courses taken per semester, or students may take fewer courses at a time for as many semesters as necessary to complete the curriculum.  Each course features a pre-recorded introduction by the professor and a syllabus which indicates the required readings and a reading plan over a 15-week semester. Courses may also offer additional lectures as the professor deems helpful. Students will complete assignments which may include written work, quizzes, essays, and written examination.  All assignments and examinations are administered remotely. Professors are available to answer questions by email.

Course Procedures 

At the beginning of each semester, students have access through Populi to course information including syllabi with essay topics and book lists, study guides, instructor contact information, related materials, and helpful web links.   Textbooks are sometimes provided in .pdf format or, if required to purchase, may obtained through the Monastery Bookstore at bookstore.jordanville.org, by calling (315) 858-3817 during business hours, or by e-mail at bookstore@jordanville.org.  Sometimes other sources are indicated, if not available through the bookstore.


Certificate students are expected to take their examinations during the final examination periods at the Seminary twice a year. Exams are administered online, but also may be taken in person at the Seminary.  As a normal point of order, students should submit all written work to the course instructor before taking the exam.  The application process is the same for certificate students as it is for full-time students, except that a student may apply at any time, and begin either in the fall or in the spring semester.  Please note that C.T.S. applicants have a separate application form

The course is divided into the following semesters:

First Semester:
  • Principles of Orthodoxy
  • Old Testament I
  • New Testament I
  • Liturgics I
Third Semester:
  • Patrology I
  • Dogmatic Theology I
  • Pastoral Theology
  • Comparative Theology
Second Semester:
  • Old Testament II
  • New Testament II
  • Liturgics II
  • Byzantine Philosophy
Fourth Semester:
  • Canon Law
  • Patrology II
  • Dogmatic Theology II
  • Moral Theology OR
    Church History
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When can I enroll?
A: HTOS accepts new students into the Certificate program in both the fall and spring semesters.  Applications must be received by August 1 and December 1, respectively.
Q: Can I take fewer than four courses per semester?
A: Yes.  A student can take from one to four courses per semester. 
Q: Do I have to take the courses in order?
A: Yes.  The suggested course of study is divided into "semesters" which indicate the order in which the courses should be taken. Within a given "semester," or set of four courses, a student may enroll in the order in which he desires. 
Q: If I want to enroll in the Bachelor of Theology program later, will the credit from these courses apply to it?
A: Yes.  However, the courses for the Certificate of Theological Studes program are condensed, and are not equivalent to the Bachelor of Theology courses.  A student, having completed the Certificate, will have to complete additional courses in Scripture, Liturgics, Comparative Theology, etc. of the B.Th. program.
Q: Are the credits transferrable to another institution?
A: Yes, although each institution has its own policies concerning the transferring of credits.
Q: Can women enroll in the Certificate of Theological Studies program?
A: Yes.
Q: I don't think I can come to Holy Trinity Seminary to take exams.  What are my options?
A: We are using an online proctoring system for students who cannot come to HTS to take their exams. We can arrange for an online exam on a case-by-case basis.   A student must have a high-speed internet connection and approved webcam in order to use the online proctoring system.
Q: What if I am unable, for some reason, to take the exam during the exam periods in December and May?
A: It may be possible to arrange to take an exam outside of the exam period, although it will be done at the discretion of the administration.  If a student does not take an exam by the begining of the following semester, he will receive an "incomplete" mark for the course.  An "incomplete" mark turns into an "F" after one additional semester.  Students are encouraged to make realistic assessments of how many courses they can take during a semester.
Q: If I have questions about a particular course, who can I ask?
A: Each course is assigned to an instructor at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. A student may contact a given instructor by email. 

Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
PO Box 36; Jordanville, NY 13361
1407 Robinson Road, Jordanville, NY 13361

315-858-0945 (Phone)
315-409-1422 (Fax)