Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA
The Vilatte Theological Seminary is the official seminary program of the Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA. The program is associated with the Vilatte Institute of O'Fallon, Missouri. The program is Internet based and provides each student a mentor to assist in studies as the student goes through the program.
Note that credit will be awarded for prior related coursework and students may receive approval for taking courses at other colleges, universities and seminaries.
The Seminary Catalog lists the courses currently required for the deaconate and the priesthood. There are really two different sides to this course work listing. The first is that the list shows the requirement for each sacred order; the second in the same list shows the requirements for the advanced ecclesiastical degrees (i.e., M.Div; D.Min.).
The doctoral degree requires that the student complete the actual courses or have equivalent coursework required for the deaconate and the priesthood. A bachelors degree (or equivalent) is the prerequisite for the Masters degree and the Masters degree (or equivalent) is a prerequisite for the doctoral degree.
So, a deacon can earn a Master of Divinity degree or even the Doctorate of Ministry without being ordained as a priest. A lay person, too, can take any course and earn any degree without being ordained a deacon or a priest. A person can be ordained a deacon or priest without earning a degree, but needs to have completed the required coursework or equivalent.
Finally, the research paper is what raises the coursework completed to the level of a Masters or Doctoral degree. We are talking about a Master level thesis and a doctoral level dissertation. These are not twenty-five page papers; they are documents which demonstrate rigorous research skills and expository writing skills.