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Frequently Asked Questions

The Catholic Biblical School (CBS) will help you read and understand the Bible, teaching you skills and giving you practice in interpreting and praying with the Bible. These practices will enrich your faith not for a day or a weekend, but for a lifetime. The nationally-acclaimed Catholic Biblical School curriculum focuses on balancing faith formation, knowledge, and Bible study and prayer skills. You will increase your understanding of Christ and will engage the Bible within its cultural and literary context, enabling you better to live and witness to your Catholic faith today. Our more than 500 graduates tell us that because of their studies in CBS they get more out of the Liturgy of the Word at mass and their faith is deeply enriched by reading and understanding the Bible.

Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford, recommends the Catholic Biblical School, saying that the program “provides adults the opportunity to encounter the Word of God in prayerful, in-depth and faithful ways that prepare them to become evangelizing leaders in their faith communities.”

Class Meetings

Every class includes time for prayer, small group discussion with other adult learners, and information presented by the instructor. Students will be responsible for leading prayer at least once per year and for arranging hospitality, if desired. (Coffee and snacks are optional and subject to class site restrictions. CBS does not provide hospitality, but students may be allowed to arrange it for themselves.)

Assignments/ Homework

Every student brings different goals and abilities to the CBS programs, and this affects how much time they choose to spend on homework assignments. Some students spend as little as 3 hours per week on homework; most students spend much more. CBS students report, on average, spending 5 - 7 hours per week on homework. Students enrolled in the accredited Saint Thomas Seminary Certificate in Biblical Studies program usually spend more time on the coursework (perhaps 10 hours per week, on average) than their counterparts in the Catholic Biblical School because the Saint Thomas Seminary program requires more coursework and involves higher academic standards. Your individual learning goals and how you enroll in CBS (whether for credit or not) will determine how much time you choose to spend on assignments outside of class.

Tests

"Tests" in the CBS programs are also known as "memory exercises." There are three of these per year. The purpose of these exercises is to help you retain in your memory more of the material covered. You don’t need to pass any tests to continue forward in the Biblical School, but you will only achieve certificates (see below, 6. Certificates Awarded) if you successfully complete all course requirements (including passing memory exercises). “Memory exercises” in the Catholic Biblical School are graded on a Pass/Fail basis, with 60% required to pass. It is rare for a student not to pass the tests, and “not for credit” students are allowed to take the exact same test as often as needed to pass. Other standards, though, apply to students taking courses for college credit. A grade of “C” or better (73%) is required to progress toward the Saint Thomas Seminary Certificate of Biblical Studies. (See the syllabus for each course for details here.)

Grades

For students who are attending “not for credit”:
  • “Memory exercises” in the Catholic Biblical School are graded on a Pass/Fail basis, with 60% required to pass.
     
  • Homework assignments are marked “complete” or “incomplete” and are not assigned grades. For students enrolled in the Saint Thomas Seminary Certificate in Biblical Studies program, all assignments are graded on a full grading scale, A to F. More stringent standards apply for students taking courses for college credit.

Papers 

On the one hand, assignments and “memory exercises” for non-credit students in the Catholic Biblical School do not take the form of standard college “papers.” All written assignments are organized in a question-and-answer format. Weekly homework assignments typically feature six open-ended questions.

On the other hand, students taking the Saint Thomas Seminary Certificate in Biblical Studies courses for college credit must complete, in addition to weekly homework assignments, 1-5 projects (which often involve writing a brief paper, 2-3 double-spaced pages in length).

  • A student who completes 1-2 papers, is not eligible for a grade higher than a C in the course.
  • A student who completes 3-4 papers, is not eligible for a grade higher than a B in the course.
  • Students who complete 5 papers are eligible for an A.

Eligibility does not guarantee the desired grade. Grades on all assignments will determine final grades, as indicated in the Saint Thomas Seminary Catalogue and Course Syllabus