SAN DIEGO — “Mission” is core to the identity of the Franciscan School of Theology.
The school “finds inspiration in the missionary zeal and educational heritage of St. Junípero Serra, who founded the first Franciscan mission” in San Diego, according to its website.
The school’s roots date back to 1854, when its precursor opened at Mission Santa Barbara. And more recently, the school was housed at Mission San Luis Rey. These days, it’s located at the University of San Diego, where it moved in 2019.
The FST is both a theology school and a seminary, which is used by the Diocese of San Diego for the intellectual formation of its seminarians. Other religious orders, like the Franciscans, also send their men there for this education.
The school offers a variety of graduate-level degrees, all grounded in Franciscan theology. Its mission is to prepare men and women for professional ministry in the Church, for careers in religious education, “and for living a life dedicated to solidarity with those on the margins of society,’’ according to the website.
The degrees include a Master in Theological Studies, Master in Arts, and a Master of Divinity, which has a lay track and one for seminarians.
The school’s director, Father Garrett Galvin, OFM, said that though the school has a service and a curricular affiliation with the USD, it is completely independent, with its own enrollment, accreditation and fundraising.
The affiliation allows FST students to take courses that USD offers, such as non-profit management and counseling, useful today in ministry work, he said.
Father Galvin said that the school was able to tap USD’s expertise with online learning to be able to develop a completely online degree that started in September, the Master in Theological Studies: Franciscan Theology.
“This degree is the result of a great partnership between USD and the FST,” he said. “We both contributed a lot to make this work.”
He said the online degree is perfect for those individuals who can’t attend traditional classes on campus for any number of reasons. He added that the school is certified to teach the online degree in 33 states.
In previous years, students from countries such as Korea, Vietnam and Mexico have studied at FST.
The school also offers non-degree programs and continuing education courses, open to the public and online, that explore Franciscan thought.
Information about the Franciscan School of Theology is available online at fst.edu and by phone (619) 374-7727.