USML | S.T.L. Course Descriptions

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

S.T.L. Course Descriptions

Required Courses

DT811 History of Christian Thought I (3 cr)

During this semester, we will make a close examination of the emergence and development of the Catholic Tradition in both the East and West from the New Testament to 381 AD. We will emphasize a critical reading of texts from significant authors that highlight the major themes of Christology, Trinitarian Theology and Theological Anthropology. The texts will be set in the context of the general history of the Christian Church during these centuries. We will place particular emphasis on the disputes over the doctrine of God in the course of fourth century Christianity.


DT812 History of Christian Thought II (3 cr)

In this course, we will continue our close examination of the development of the Catholic Tradition in both the East and West from 431 to 800 AD.  We will again emphasize a critical reading of texts from significant authors that highlight the major themes of Christology, Trinitarian Theology, and Theological Anthropolo­gy.  The texts will be set in the context of the general history of the Christian Church during these centuries.  We will begin with a survey of the doctrine of Christ as it emerged from the great Patristic conciliar tradition (Ephesus, 431 to Nicaea II, 787), and then move to a survey of the theological contribution of the foremost Latin Father, St. Augustine of Hippo (353-430).    The texts of St. Augustine will be set in the context of Peter Brown’s classic biography, Augustine of Hippo.


DT813 History of Christian Thought III: Monastic and Scholastic Period (3cr)

This course surveys the development of Catholic doctrine in from the 8th century to the 15th century, focusing on how Augustinian, Dionysian and Thomist theological paradigms functioned as the basis for the variety of theological schools and methods which formed the theological landscape of medieval Christendom.  Theological developments in the doctrine of God, Christology, and Christian anthropology will be discussed, with special emphasis on progress in understanding in the doctrines of the human person and the dynamics of salvation.


DT814 History of Christian Thought IV (3 cr)

This course explores some of the major themes in the history of Christian theology from 1500 until 1900.  It engages Martin Luther and John Calvin and discusses the Catholic response, especially as expressed in the Council of Trent.  It presents the Age of Enlightenment as also the logical outgrowth of these religious contestations. Taking Immanuel Kant and G.W.F. Hegel as the points d’appui, it discusses next the contributions of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Johann Adam Mohler,Søren Kierkegaard, Vatican I, John Henry Newman and Matthias Scheeben.

de Gaal/Fall

DT815 History of Christian Thought V:  Classics for Contemporary Theology (3 cr)

This course will cover influential texts from the period of the Modernist Crisis in the early twentieth century to recent debates over the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, concentrating above all on controversies surrounding grace and the Church’s relation to the modern world. Texts covered will include selections from Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s attack on the so-called nouvelle théologie, Henri de Lubac’s writings on supernatural grace, and Hans Urs von Balthasar’s classic of ecumenical theology, The Theology of Karl Barth, as well as more recent reactions to these works in the last two decades. Works written before the Second Vatican Council will be chosen because of the signal contribution they made to the teachings of Vatican II. Postconciliar texts will be chosen according to their influence in continuing that same debate: how does the Church best relate to the modern world?


DT817 Theological Research and Method Seminar (2 cr)

The goals of this seminar are to give students practice performing the essential steps that comprise a written theological work and the opportunity to identify and shape the topic they will explore in their License Thesis. Sessions will cover: the types & weight of various sources; effective scriptural contribution; theological methodologies; theological argument; rhetorical strategies; and, library research and style issues.


DT818 Teaching Assistantship (3 cr)

A student may be apprenticed to a professor who is teaching a theology course in the seminary curriculum. Though credit is given for this assistanceship, it does not fulfill any course requirements of the curriculum, nor may it substitute for any of the required courses.  This course is optional.

Faculty Fall/Spring

DT819 Thesis Guidance (2 cr)

In their 2nd semester, the student will choose and meet every three to four weeks with a director to develop a proposal for the licentiate thesis.                                   Faculty/Fall/Spring

DT820-21 Thesis Writing  (2 cr)


DT822-828 Ongoing Thesis Writing (1 cr)

The Licentiate paper is completed in the final term of study. By exception, students may extend the work for up to three years, during which time they must register for this course each semester until the project is complete.

Faculty Fall/Spring

Elective Courses 2013-2014

DT831 Classics of Mystical Theology (3 cr)

In the late fourth century, the noted theologian and spiritual guide Evagrius of Pontus claimed, “a theologian is one who prays, and one who prays is a theologian,” articulating the intimate and necessary connection between knowing and speaking about God, and seeking a personal encounter with Him. This course will examine the integration of mystical experience and theological understanding through a study of texts that grounds their description of Christian mystical path to God, and the mystical encounter itself, in a profound theological understanding of the faith. In order to explore the diverse traditions of Christian mystical theology, we will engage with writings from both the Christian East and West, with a focus on primary, supplemented with secondary, texts.


DT832 Pauline Christology (3 cr)

St. Paul was the Church’s first theologian, and the history of Christian theology begins with him and can never wander far from his inspiration. Paul, however, wrote letters in response to pastoral problems. He did not leave any systematic essays. Therefore, there have been many attempts to summarize his theology using many different organizing principles. Our attempt will proceed by taking “Living in Christ” as Paul’s central concept. We will try to uncover the elements of Paul’s Christology by following the thread of this theme through the Pauline corpus of thirteen letters.


DT833 Soteriology (3 cr)

This course considers the dynamics of salvation in the Roman Catholic tradition.  It attempts to answer the questions: How does the death and resurrection of Christ initiate a dynamic of transformation and renewal in human history?  How do Christians participate in and how does the mission of the Church cultivate and apply this dynamic of transformation?  Emphasis will be placed on the contemporary appropriation of the classical tradition including theological, psychological and social dimensions.


DT834 St. Augustine: On the Trinity (3 cr)

The course consists of a critical reading and discussion of St. Augustine’s theological classic, De Trinitate - On the Trinity---its context, the structure of Augustine’s arguments, his theology, and the significance of this work in the Latin Catholic Tradition.



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