St. Mary's Seminary & University

Doctorate in Sacred Theology Degree (S.T.D)

The Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) is the ecclesiastical degree enabling the holder to teach in an ecclesiastical faculty. The goal of the degree program is to train a scholar who has a broad knowledge of theology, a critical competence in theological methodology, and a specialization in a field of theology where he or she can do original research. The S.T.D. thesis “makes a real contribution to the progress of science” (Sapientia Christiana, 49, iii).

While St. Mary’s is authorized by the Holy See to grant the S.T.D. degree, it chooses to proceed very cautiously in admitting only those candidates of clear promise whose research interests coincide with that of faculty members capable of and interested in doctoral direction. Applicants must possess the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) degree or equivalent work done within an ecclesiastical faculty, with a G.P.A. of 3.50.

The Doctoral Program

  1. Successful completion (3.50 G.P.A.) of twelve credits, which include at least two 800-level seminars with the remaining credits done in directed research taken during at least one year of residence;
  2. Competency in Latin and two modern languages other than English that are useful for scholarly research; the requirement may be satisfied either by a high school transcript showing three (3) years’ work in the area or a college level transcript showing two (2) years’ work in the area or by competency examination;
  3. A student concentrating in the area of Biblical Theology must fulfill language requirements in both Biblical Greek and Biblical Hebrew. Greek and Hebrew requirements may be fulfilled by a year’s work in the language area.
  4. Two semesters of dissertation guidance, leading to completion of a doctoral dissertation not to exceed 80,000 words; the dissertation is ordinarily defended within five years, with the possibility of extension granted by the Admissions Committee of the Ecclesiastical Theological Faculty;
  5. Defense of the dissertation before a committee appointed by the Praeses and consisting of the director, two readers, and the Praeses or his delegate as Chair.

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