Non-Degree Programs


Do you wish to learn about this goodness of God, this beauty of the gift of his Son, this Spirit who dwells within us? Come, be immersed with your friends in the world of learning the Franciscan tradition. Come, pray, study and eat with brothers and sisters at the table of God’s food from above.

Non-Degree Programs

FST Offers a number of options for students who wish to advance their education without enrolling in a full degree program. These include certificate programs, individualized programs, and a special program just for alums.

See Apply to FST for more information about applying for our special programs.

You may also want to explore our Continuing Education courses offered during the summer, with occasional special programs during the regular school year.

Certificate in Theological Studies

Requirements for the Certificate in Theology program are:

  • Enroll in FST as a non-degree student
  • Complete 24 semester units
  • Complete all course work within two consecutive semesters
  • Complete at least one major paper for a course in an area of special interest
  • Maintain an overall 3.0 grade point average

International students seeking to fulfill requirements for a year of study abroad may qualify for this program.

Certificate in Priestly Formation

Those seeking ordination will be required to earn a Master of Divinity plus a 19.5-unit Certificate in Priestly Formation in the sciences and skills necessary for ordination. Note that completion of the MDiv and Certificate does not entitle the recipient to ordination. Admission to ordination is the decision of local diocesan ordinaries or superiors of religious orders who may have further requirements or expectations.

Special Requirements for Admission

Ordination candidates must present:

  • A letter of approval from their ordinary or religious superior
  • A certificate of completion issued by the applicant’s ordinary or religious superior stating that the applicant has taken a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of undergraduate philosophy or its equivalent as prescribed by the USCCB Program for Priestly Formation

Curriculum of the Certificate in Priestly Formation

Course Area Units
Intermediate Course in Theology of God and Trinity 3
Pastoral Counseling 3
Preaching Practicum I 3
Canon Law: Introduction and Marriage 3
Advanced Preaching, Celebrational Styles/Prayer Leadership 3
Parish Administration 1.5
Reconciliation Practicum 1.5
Theology of the Religious Priesthood 1.5

Future Degree Students

Students who intend to pursue a degree but have not yet selected a program may enroll as non-degree students in order to begin taking basic courses. Up to 24 credits may be transferred to a degree program.

Individualized Programs

FST offers individualized programs consisting from just single courses to one or more semesters of course work taken outside of a degree or certificate program. Lay persons, Religious men and women, priests on sabbatical, and all who wish to pursue courses for personal growth or theological enrichment, or to update theological or pastoral expertise may participate in an individualized program. Courses may be taken for credit or on an audit basis.

Clare of Assisi Scholars

The Franciscan School of Theology offers its graduates an opportunity to continue their Franciscan journey through the Clare of Assisi Scholar Program. As a Clare of Assisi Scholar, FST alumni may audit courses for a reduced fee. Some restrictions apply.

To request to register, complete the registration form, obtain faculty signature, and submit your form to the registrar, together with a check or money order for $450 made out to the Franciscan School of Theology. The registrar and CFO will confirm your degree and account status and clear you to attend.


  • Clare Scholars must have obtained a degree from the Franciscan School of Theology and have no outstanding balances due to the school. Degree and account status will be confirmed by the Registrar and CFO respectively before student is accepted as a Clare of Assisi Scholar.
  • Cost is $450 per course. Clare Scholars may take one course per semester.
  • Permission of professor is required. Professors are not obligated to accept Clare Scholars.
  • Clare Scholars may audit only and are not registered as students at FST. Grades are not given, and no transcripts are produced or available.
  • Student services are not provided, (e.g., orientation, mail box, career counseling, etc.)

Global Theological Education

The purpose of the Global Theological Education Initiative is to:

  • Prepare students to be globally conscious leaders
  • Foster intercultural learning and formation in relationships of mutuality, respect, and justice according to the Franciscan ideal
  • Develop skills in theological reflection and social analysis

Summer 2016 Immersion

Apache Life and Culture in White River, Arizona

May 31 – June 7, 2016 John Kiesler, OFM, PhD Eligible students who meet the requirements for this course will be challenged by active participation in several areas of life at the White Mountain Apache Tribe Reservation in Arizona. Students come away with a transformed sense of mission and deeper intercultural skills. They witness and learn directly from the struggles and resilience of the Apache people, and the Franciscans who serve them. The papers they write after this Immersion often reflect new insights and a deepened commitment to the service of others.

Previous Immersions

Death and the City

Fall 2012 Darleen Pryds, PhD; Tom West, OFM, PhD; Rev. Jana Drakka Students in the Spirituality of Death and Dying class will explore death and dying among the urban poor of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. They will

  • Engage with religious leaders who minister to the poor through presence with the dying and memorial services for the deceased
  • Discover the pastoral needs of the impoverished dying and their survivors
  • Learn about and experience the Gubbio Project offering sacred sleep to the urban poor

Asian American Immigration and Social Transformation

Intersession 2013 Fr. Franklin Fong, OFM and Rev. Larry Jay Participants will

  • Explore the history of Chinese immigration and detention on Angel Island
  • Discover the rich cultural, social, and religious heritage of Chinatown, San Francisco
  • Learn about Chinese Catholic presence in the Bay Area
  • Enjoy the culinary traditions of Chinese Americans
  • Tour the Asian Art Museum’s excellent collection of Chinese-American art