USML | S.T.L. Program Requirements

Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.)

S.T.L. Program Requirements

  • Completion of the S.T..L. Curriculum with maintenance of a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2:
History of Christian Thought I: 33-381 (3 cr.)
History of Christian Thought II: 381-800 (3 cr.)
History of Christian Thought III: 800-1500 (3 cr.)
History of Christian Thought IV: 1500-1900 (3 cr.)
History of Christian Thought V: 1900-present (3 cr.)
S.T.L. Elective (3cr.)
S.T.L. Elective (3cr.)
S.T.L. Elective (3cr.)
S.T.L. Elective (3cr.)
Thesis Proposal (2nd semester) (3 cr.)
Thesis Writing (3rd and 4th semesters) (2 cr.)
Ongoing Thesis Writing  (1 cr.)

  •  Comprehensive Exam
    1. Students are examined in the areas of concentration of the S.T.L. program: the Doctrine of God, Christology, and one of the following areas - Theological Anthropology, or Sacramental/ Liturgical Theology, or Spiritual Theology.  Students are responsible for the theological methodologies used in all areas.

    2. Since Sacred Scripture is the soul of theology, all students are responsible for the biblical foundations for each area of concentration.  Students will demonstrate knowledge of the biblical genres relevant to these foundations as well as the ability to employ the various Church sanctioned exegetical methodologies.  

    3. For this exam, each student will select six theologians, one from each of the following periods:

      Patristic (33 - 800)
      Monastic and Scholastic (800 - 1500)
      Reformation (1500 -1700)
      Early Modern (1700-1900)
      Twentieth Century to Vatican II (1900 - 1965)
      Contemporary Period (1965 – present)

      At least three of the theologians must be from the Catholic tradition.  A list of approved theologians can be found below, under the Reading List for S.T.L. Exam.

    4. Of the six theologians selected, the candidate is responsible for  two theologians in the area of Doctrine of God, and two in the area of Christology, and  two theologians from one of the following areas: Theological Anthropology, Sacrament / Liturgical Theology, or  Spiritual Theology.  

    5. Students should demonstrate competency not only in the selected texts listed in the Reading List, but also in the theological method, intention, and overall context and structure of the author’s thought.  Students may consult the secondary sources listed below.

    6. The student has a choice of either a written or an oral examination. The oral examination will last one hour with three examiners. The written examination will last three hours and will be based on three questions chosen from a list of five. Questions will be based on the criteria given above.  If a student is unable to take the oral exam on the days scheduled, he or she must take a written exam. 

    7. For those completing the STL program in the summer, the comprehensive exam will be given during the last week of classes.

    8. A student passes the S.T.L. comprehensive by earning at least a B (86%) based on the average of the grades given by each examiner. A student passes “with distinction” when each examiner gives a grade of 95-100%. A student fails the exam if any examiner gives a grade lower than 74%. Those who fail the examination may retake the exam once.

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