USML | Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.)

Pontifical Faculty of Theology

Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.)

The first cycle of theological studies is a three-year introduction to the study of theology in the Roman Catholic tradition that leads to the Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology. The S.T.B. represents ecclesial certification that a person has studied and is knowledgeable in all the major areas of Catholic theology.

Admission Requirements 

  • An accredited bachelor's degree with: 

1) a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 

2) twelve semester hours of theological or religious studies (including introductions to the Old and New Testaments) 

3) thirty semester hours of philosophical studies oriented toward Catholic theology (including an introduction to philosophical questions and method, medieval philosophy, and modern or contemporary philosophy). 

  • Official transcripts of undergraduate and post-college academic work 
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers in theology or philosophy 
  • A personal essay explaining the applicant’s intellectual interests and reasons for pursuing the degree 
  • Application forms for admission to the S.T.B can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.

 Program Requirements 

  • Completion of all coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.2 
  • Completion of the Schedule of Courses. 
  • Research Requirement: A student enrolled in the S.T.B. program will select three courses (nine hours) from the existing 3-hour courses that are required by the Dogmatic Theology, Biblical Studies, Spiritual Theology, or Moral Theology departments and that are not introductory courses. In addition to the regular coursework required for each of these courses, the student will write a 15-20 page research paper. The course instructor must approve the topic of the paper.  A list of introductory courses are designated below in the schedule of courses. 
  • Successful completion of a Comprehensive Exam that demonstrates the candidate’s mastery of theology.  A list of topics for the exam is listed below. A student passes this exam by earning at least a B (85%), and passes “with distinction” when each question receives a grade of A (95%) or higher.   A student fails the exam if one question receives a failing grade.  Those who fail the examination may be retested once in the area(s) in which they failed.

 


S.T.B. Schedule of Courses

Those courses marked with an * are designated introductory courses and may not be used for the research requirement.  

Biblical Studies & Homiletics (18) 

* Introduction to Biblical Studies, Psalms and Wisdom (3)
Pentateuch and Histories (3)
Pauline Literature (3)
Synoptic Gospels and Acts (3)
Prophets (3)
Johannine Literature (3)

Dogmatic Theology (22) 

* Fundamental Theology (2)
* Doctrine of God, One and Three (3)
Christology and Soteriology (3)
Anthropology, Creation, Grace and Eschatology (3)
Ecclesiology and Mariology (3)
Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue (2)
Sacraments of Eucharist, Baptism, and Confirmation (3)
Sacraments of Healing and Vocation (2)
Doctrine of Priesthood (1)

Church History (12)

Foundations of the Catholic Tradition 33-763 (3)
Medieval & Early Modern 800-1500 (2)
Age of Reformation and Revolution (3)
Modern Church History (2)
American Church History (2)

Moral Theology (11)

Fundamental Moral Theology (3)
Medical Ethics and Suffering (3)
Sexuality and Vocation (3)
Social Justice (2)

Spiritual Theology (3)

* Spiritual Theology (3)

Canon Law (4) 

Canon Law I (2)
Canon Law II (2)

Liturgy and Music (3)

Principles of Sacred Liturgy and Music (3)

 

Topics for S.T.B Exam

The topics that are to be mastered in preparation for the S.T.B. examination are the following:

Biblical Studies & Homiletics 

Pentateuch

1. The historical-critical method according to the official documents of the Church.

2. The authorship of the Pentateuch and implications regarding inspiration.

Johannine Literature

3. What are some of the major ways in which the Gospel of John differs from the synoptic gospels in its narrative, portrayal of Jesus, and its theological emphases?

4. What was going on in the Johannine community?

Introduction to St. Paul

5. The New Perspective on Paul: How does it contrast with the old perspective?

6. The background, structure, and major themes of 1 Thess, Gal, and Phil.

Synoptic Gospels

7. What do we find when we compare the Synoptic gospels? What is the best explanation for their relation ship?

8. What are some of the distinctive theological and literary features of each of the synoptic gospels?

Prophets

9. Description of biblical prophecy and of the prophetic task

10. Why the historical critical method is essential for under standing accurately prophetic tasks.

Wisdom/Psalms

11. Discuss the “ecumenical” aspect of Hebrew Wisdom literature; in what ways does it share forms and interests with the larger ancient near eastern world. 

12. Discuss the literary genres found in the Psalter, particularly Hymns of Praise, Laments and Psalms of Thanksgiving and Trust. How does the knowledge of a literary genre help in understanding the background of the psalms and their exegesis? How can in help in modern applications of these texts?                                 

Dogmatic Theology

Fundamental Theology

1. Catholic Approaches to Inspiration (especially Dei Verbum).

2. Scripture and Tradition (Trent and Vatican II) Doctrine of God

3. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one God and three distinct persons.

4. The relationships among the persons.

5. The "filioque."

6. The divine attributes.

7. Arguments for God’s existence

8. God and the problem of evil

Christology

9. The development of the dogma of the person of Christ in the responses of the first six ecumenical councils to doctrinal propositions on the relation of the divine and human natures of Christ.

10. The central concepts of Catholic soteriology: objective redemption, subjective redemption, solidarity, substitution, satisfaction; the satisfaction theory of Anselm as foundational theory and the Protestant theory of vicarious penal substitution as deviant development from Anselm.

Ecclesiology

11. The marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic, apostolic

12. The one Church of Christ subsisting in the Catholic Church

Sacraments of Initiation

13. The development of the Church's understanding of sacraments in general and the Seven Canonical sacraments.

14. The influence of twentieth century theology on the contemporary understanding of sacraments. 

Sacraments of Healing and Vocation

15. Ecclesial penance in the early Church and the developments beginning in the 6th century

16. The sacramental character received in Holy Orders Sacrament of Holy Orders

17. Name and describe the four pillars of priestly formation

18. The development of the Church’s doctrine on the Sacrament of Holy Orders from the Council of Trent to the present day

Theological Anthropology

19. God's creation of the universe and human beings (Creation and science; evolution; humanity in creating; humanity's imaging of God).

20. The entrance of sin in the world and its effect today (peccatum originale originans and peccatum originale originatum: the state of the doctrine in tradition and to day).

21. The human person as spirit and body.

22. Grace as a call to participation and growth in God's own life.

23. The justification of the sinner by grace (Council of Trent).

24. The priority of divine freedom over human free will (including the genuineness of human freedom).

Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue

25. The relationship of the Catholic Church to other churches and ecclesial communities

26 The theological status of non-Christian religions

Church History 

1. How has the interaction between the Church and State contributed to the development of the Church (institutionally, socially, intellectually, and spiritually) in history?

2. How has the concept of reform shaped the history of the Church?

3. How has Episcopal authority, but especially papal authority, developed and evolved in the Latin West? Reformation and Catholic Response

4. How was epistemology central to the lasting divisions of Christianity? 

5. How did the Catholic Church benefit from the various intellectual and religious movements of the Late Modern Church History

6. The social, political and religious issues that are back ground factors for ecumenical councils.

7. The reforms of the councils and the effects of the councils on the Catholic Church.

Moral Theology 

1. Objective morality and the natural law

2. The four sources of moral theology

3. The four cardinal and three theological virtues and op posing vices

4. The human person: dignity, freedom, human rights, the common good, economic justice

5. Artificial contraception, NFP, and the virtue of chastity

6. Sexual sins: pornography, masturbation, fornication, homosexual acts, adultery

7. Ordinary and extraordinary means in life saving medical treatment

8. The notes of conjugal love and the relationship of the conjugal act to conjugal love.

Spiritual Theology 

1. Definition of Holiness, the Four Marks of Apostolic Charity

2. Apatheia and the Triple Way

3.  The Stages of Prayer

4. Definitions of asceticism, mysticism, contemplation

Liturgy & Music

1. The Eucharist as source and summit of the Christian life

2. The theological elements of liturgy

3. The work of Christ in the Church’s liturgy.

4. Christ continues his saving work through the Church and the sacraments.

 

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