A Collaborative Seminary
Bishop White Seminary is a collaborative rather than a stand-alone institution. This simply means that seminarians receive a portion of their academic formation, including the academic credits and degrees, from other institutions including Gonzaga University, St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, Spokane Community College, and the University of Mary. Other collaborative seminaries include: St. John Vianney Seminary in Minneapolis-St. Paul; Theological College in Washington, DC; and, the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Bishop White Seminary utilizes the Region XII Common Seminary Application with several forms specific to this institution (e.g., Attestation, Authorization, and Release Form). Initial contact with the seminary is made by the Vocation Director of the potential seminarian who will alert the Rector that he would like a seminarian to apply.
Often, application to the seminary is preceded by a visit of one or two days. Those visits, too, are to be arranged by the Vocation Director of the sending (Arch)diocese.
Once the application process is underway, Bishop White Seminary will work closely with both the potential seminarian and the Office of Vocations of the sending (Arch)diocese to ensure that all required forms are submitted. After the forms have been submitted, the seminary will arrange an interview with the applicant. Following that interview, the seminary will inform both the Vocation Director and the applicant whether he has been accepted.
In order to prepare for more advanced theological studies, all college seminarians are required by the Program of Priestly Formation to earn at least 12 credits of undergraduate theology to provide them a thorough understanding of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and an initial familiarity of Sacred Scripture. The professors for these courses must have made a Profession of Faith and an Oath of Fidelity to the Catholic Church and have asked for and received the mandatum (i.e., the authority to teach theology) from the local bishop.
Bishop White Seminary collaborates with St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park to provide fully accredited courses in undergraduate theology which both fulfill the requirements of the Program of Priestly Formation and which may be transferred to Gonzaga University in partial fulfillment of the graduation requirements.
Seminarians at Bishop White will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (Kossel Concentration) from Gonzaga University. The application process for Gonzaga is separate from that of Bishop White Seminary.
Spokane Community College
Some seminarians may begin their college career by studying at Spokane Community College (SCC). This provides an opportunity for them to develop a stronger academic record built upon effective study skills while simultaneously engaging in seminary formation. In addition, Gonzaga University and SCC have established 1- or 2-year pathways to enable the seminarian to register for classes confident of a smooth transfer from SCC to the Philosophy Major at Gonzaga.
The application process for Spokane Community College is separate from that of Bishop White Seminary.
Academic Quarters vs. Academic Semesters
As a general rule, the BWS calendar follows that of Gonzaga University. While GU follows a semester system, SCC utilizes academic quarters. This causes some challenges in the calendar for those students at SCC, most notably in the starting and ending dates for classes and vacations.