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Philosophy for Ministry, B.S.

Saint Louis University's Bachelor of Science in Philosophy for Ministry offered through the College of Philosophy and Letters is primarily for priests, servants of the church and dedicated Catholics who plan further study in theology and ministry.

SLU also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy for Ministry and an archdiocesan philosophy for ministry B.A. (specifically for students on track to ordination to diocesan priesthood) through the College for Philosophy and Letters, as well as a traditional Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy through the College of Arts and Sciences. 

SLU's philosophy for ministry B.S. program, while offering a concentration in math and natural sciences, leaves considerable room for electives. Core, major and concentration requirements may simultaneously satisfy requirements for a second major, minor or certificate in other schools and colleges, provided the content is appropriate.

Curriculum Overview

SLU's Bachelor of Science in Philosophy is composed of a 33-credit program core (shared with the humanities and language concentrations of the B.A.), and a 30-credit math and natural sciences concentration. The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 120. 


This program provides both the philosophical and intellectual background needed for further studies in theology and ministry. Options for students who envision a future in areas of ministry and service to the church include:

  • For future priests, the philosophical requirements for ordination
  • For servants of the church, tools for reflecting on contexts of ministry 
  • For dedicated Catholics, opportunities to integrate your wider studies and interests with your faith


Admission requirements for each candidate’s religious order or diocese in the area of academic achievement, personal character and spiritual ideals must be met. Lay students must articulate a serious desire for Catholic ministry.

Admission Requirements

Begin Your Application

Saint Louis University also accepts the Common Application.


All applications are thoroughly reviewed with the highest degree of individual care and consideration to all credentials that are submitted. Solid academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a primary concern in reviewing a freshman applicant’s file.

To be considered for admission to any Saint Louis University undergraduate program, applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, have an acceptable HiSET exam score or take the General Education Development (GED) test. 


Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited high school or have an acceptable score on the GED.

Students who have attempted fewer than 24 semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must follow the above freshmen admission requirements. Students who have completed 24 or more semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must submit transcripts from all previously attended college(s).

In reviewing a transfer applicant’s file, the Office of Admission holistically examines the student’s academic performance in college-level coursework as an indicator of the student’s ability to meet the academic rigors of Saint Louis University. Where applicable, transfer students will be evaluated on any courses outlined in the continuation standards of their preferred major.

International Applicants

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.


Tuition/Fee Per Semester Per Credit
Undergraduate Tuition $20,460 $1,410
Newman Center $225

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

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Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need.
  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is provided through grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

Saint Louis University makes every effort to keep our education affordable. In fiscal year 2023, 99% of first-time freshmen and 92% of all students received financial aid and students received more than $459 million in aid University-wide.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, apply for admission by December 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For information on other scholarships and financial aid, visit

  1. Graduates will be able to identify connections among major thinkers and ideas that have shaped the history of Western philosophy.
  2. Graduates will be able to state and explain key philosophical ideas and methods suitable for understanding and analyzing contexts of Catholic ministry.
  3. Graduates will be able to analyze specific challenges in the contexts of Catholic ministry using philosophy and other relevant knowledge.
  4. Graduates will be able to demonstrate knowledge of relevant humanistic, social-scientific, and STEM resources for understanding today’s world, as a context of Catholic ministry.
Undergraduate University Core32-35
Major Requirements
Latin, Greek, or Modern Language9
Complete through the intermediate level; may be satisfied by a passing grade on an approved language proficiency examination.
Epistemology 3
Philosophy of Religion3
Philosophy of Human Nature3
Ancient Greek Philosophy 3
Medieval Philosophy 3
Modern Philosophy 3
Contemporary Philosophy 3
Social Analysis/Special Ethics 9
Capstone Preparation2
Capstone Project3
PLJ 4960
Capstone Project
General Electives5
Total Credits120-123

The historical period courses are normally satisfied by history of philosophy courses, but courses on appropriate historical figures and topics may also count, with approval of the dean. Contemporary Philosophy includes late 19th century to present.

The social analysis/special ethics requirements may be satisfied by courses in other disciplines, provided their content is appropriate; these courses may also simultaneously satisfy other core requirements or concentration requirements.

Math & Natural Sciences Concentration

English, American, or World Literature3
Fine Arts or Art History3
Mathematics 19
Natural Science9
Total Credits30

Students should take 9 credits of mathematics courses, MATH 1220 Finite Mathematics (3 cr) or higher. 

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a minimum 2.00 grade point average (GPA).

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
CORE 1600 Ultimate Questions: Theology 3
CORE 1700 Ultimate Questions: Philosophy 3
ENGL 1900 Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric and Research 3
Language 3
Math 3
PHIL 2050 Ethics 3
PHIL 3250 Philosophy of Religion 3
Ancient Philosophy (if needed) Normally satisfied by PHIL 4400, but other courses with appropriate content may also qualify 3
PLJ 4900 Integration Seminar (See Program Notes) 1
Theology 3
Language 3
Math/Logic (if Ancient is not taken) 3
Year Two
Medieval Philosophy (Normally satisfied by PHIL 4500, but other courses in medieval thinkers/topics may also qualify) 3
Natural Science 3
Theology 3
Language 3
Social Sciences (May count as a Social Analysis course) 3
Modern Philosophy (Normally satisfied by PHIL 4600, but other courses on modern thinkers/topics may also qualify) 3
Philosophy of Human Nature (if needed) Normally satisfied by PHIL 3300, but other courses with appropriate content may also qualify 3
Natural Science 3
History 3
Literature 3
Elective 3
Year Three
Epistemology (Satisfied by multiple offerings, including PHIL 3600 and philosophy of science courses) 3
Contemporary Philosophy 3
Social Analysis: Social Sciences 3
Natural Science 3
Math 3
Social Analysis/Special Ethics 3
Social Sciences (May count as Social Analysis course) 3
Math/Logic (if not taken in semester 2) 3
Natural Science 3
History 3
Year Four
Social Analysis/Special Ethics/Social Sciences (if needed) 3
Natural Science 3
Literature 3
Electives 3-6
Capstone Preparation 2
PLJ 4960 Capstone Project 3
Social Analysis/Special Ethics (if needed) 3
Literature 3
Art/Art History 3
Elective 3
 Total Credits126-129

Program Notes

Approval for Course Substitutions

The dean of the College of Philosophy and Letters determines "appropriate content" for course substitutions.

Integrative Seminars

These courses are required of Jesuit students only.

Social Analysis/Special Ethics Course Requirements

Courses taken to satisfy other requirements (such as the social sciences requirement) may simultaneously satisfy the social analysis/special ethics requirement, with the dean’s approval. To the extent possible, students should select courses that focus on areas of contextual analysis that are relevant to their envisioned capstone project. Social analysis courses include courses in social-political philosophy or courses in other disciplines, so long as course content is largely dedicated to understanding aspects of contemporary life, society or culture, relevant to the context of ministry for the student’s capstone. Special ethics courses are satisfied by:

PHIL 3360Medical Ethics3
PHIL 3380Business Ethics3
PHIL 3400Ethics & Engineering3
PHIL 3420Environmental and Ecological Ethics3
PHIL 3430Philosophy of Law3

Contemporary Philosophy Requirement

Satisfied by philosophy offerings that treat thinkers from the late 19th to the 21st century or contemporary treatments of philosophical topics (metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, contemporary ethics, etc.). Special ethics courses do not satisfy this requirement.