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A Certificate in Orthodox Christian Theology


The St. Athanasius Certificate is a non-degree program for those pursuing education in Orthodox theology. This program is open to all students from all backgrounds. This two-year program is completed during four semesters.



To provide an educational and/or vocational path for non-traditional students who are interested in learning more about the Orthodox faith OR are interested in becoming a deacon in the Orthodox Christian Church. 

Program Summary

An online program where adult students take one course at a time for approximately 24 months to obtain A Certificate in Orthodox Christian Theology. Students take four practicum courses, four leadership courses, and seven courses on Orthodox Theological Studies. Our cohorts have a maximum of 20 students, so APPLY today to reserve your spot.


Our curriculum focuses on three key areas

  • Orthodox Theological Studies: An applied approach to ancient wisdom

  • Leadership Development: Vision, Alignment, & Execution are key leadership values

  • Project Management: Planning, execution, and evaluation of projects

Students will start with module one and complete the required courses before progressing to the next module. All classes are taken online, but the word “online” does not adequately represent the engagement and hands-on experience expected to take place with each student.


Certificate Requirements

The certificate will be awarded upon the completion of the following requirements:

  • A minimum of 59 semester credit hours in courses numbered 100 and higher.

  • Minimum GPA requirements for course work in the major and a minimum GPA of 2.0 overall in work taken at SAAOT.

  • Completion of four practicums (projects).

  • 80% or higher attendance to all classes.


Theological Studies

The curriculum requires the student to learn and engage with Orthodox theology, scripture, canons, dogma, liturgical theology, and spiritual life.


Credit Class

Each module is made up of 15 credit hours: 12 are from courses plus three from the practicum.


*Asterisk indicates the content is different for WR students.

Semester 1

  • PC 101: Practicum-Chanter's Stand*

  • LDR 301: Leadership Development

  • SG 101: Salvation & Spiritual Growth

  • PM 301: Introduction to Parish Ministry

  • LDR 101: Christian Perspectives on Leadership


Semester 2

  • PC 102: Practicum-Chanter's Stand*

  • CHST 101: Pentecost to 313

  • BIB 101: Introduction to Old Testament

  • SG 102: Humility & Spiritual Guidance

Semester 3

  • PC 301: Practicum-The Altar*

  • TH 407: St Athanasius of Alexandria

  • LDR 201: Incarnational Leadership

  • BIB 102: Introduction to New Testament

  • TH 205: Apostolic Fathers Part 1

Semester 4

  • PC 302: Practicum-Small Groups

  • TH 409: Survey of the Latin Fathers

  • CHST 201: The seven Ecumenical Councils

  • LTS 204: The Sanctification of Life

  • SG 310: A Study of the Spiritual Direction of St. John Climacus


60 Credit Hours 

Program Schedule

The cohort meets on Zoom every Tuesday. Class sessions are four hours long from 6 PM to 10 PM Eastern. At 6:45, 7:45, and 8:45, a 15-minute break will take place. 

The Practicum course runs concurrently during the semester. All of the needed information to begin, execute, and complete the practicum course is available in the syllabus. The instructor is always available by messaging or Zoom to assist.

Each semester is self-contained. That means you can start with any semester and continue until you have fulfilled graduation requirements.

When a U.S. Holiday or Eastern Orthodox Major Feast occurs on a Tuesday, the cohort will usually not meet. However, if the Holiday occurs the day before or after, the cohort will meet. A break is also given for Eastern Orthodox Holy Week.
An important part of the school is regular engagement between t
he professor and students. This can be accomplished in many ways. Some of the examples will be shared here: a pre-recorded video by the professor with responses from the students, weekly asynchronous chat, lengthy responses to assignments (more than a smiley face), discussion forums (professor posts discussion question, students respond in time).
The goal is to have regular engagement between the professor and the student. The more engagement, the better. Some professors may decide to offer a live video/audio conference call. Due to the nature of our self-paced structure, lack of participation should not hurt the student’s grade. 
All engagement should take place within our online learning management system (LMS). 

Grading Policy
Faculty will assess the achievement of the student and assign grades according to a collegial GPA: 4 (A, excellent), 3 (B, above average), 2 (C, average), 1 (D, below average), 0 (F, requirements not met). Every effort will be given by the faculty to help students succeed, but laziness and lack of achievement cannot be ignored. Also, it is unfair to give two students the same grade who did not apply themselves equally. Therefore, grades will be at the discretion of the instructor.

Tuition, Fees, and Finances

Each course is $425. Our program is 60 credit hours which equals a total cost of $8,500. We also put a limit of no more than $75 on the cost of textbooks per course. At the beginning of each semesters, the student enrolls in two courses at $425 each (for a total of $850). Then students take one course every five weeks until the end of the semester. 

Refund Policy: Refunds for students who withdraw after the beginning of classes will be calculated as follows:
• 100% refund for withdrawal within five days of registering for a class, which is day one of the class.
• No refund will be made after five days.


SAAOT is not required to have accreditation due to California State Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009, California Education Code (CEC) Section 94874 (e) of the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).



Successful completion of this program prepares the student theologically for ordination to the diaconate and other ministry-related vocations. Graduation does not guarantee ordination or job placement. All decisions regarding ordination remain with the student's jurisdictional hierarchy. If a student is seeking ordination, we highly recommend confirming with the respective hierarchy before enrolling​.

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