The Master of Sacred Theology (STM) degree is a post-MDiv degree that provides the opportunity for students to develop more fully an area of expertise in a theological discipline through seminar courses and research (with or without a thesis). Some students may wish to pursue this degree in order to prepare for doctoral research in a PhD program.
Students may choose to concentrate on a particular traditional field of theological study (Church History, New Testament, Old Testament, Theology) or they may choose to concentrate on a particular topic (i.e., the Trinity, the atonement, baptism, Christianity and the arts, etc.), examining that topic in a cross-disciplinary manner, using the resources of several traditional theological disciplines.
- The language of instruction in this program is English. Students whose first language is not English must demonstrate the ability to do graduate study in English.
- Students concentrating in Church History must demonstrate adequate knowledge (at least 6 credits or the equivalent) of primary languages needed for the study of the period or text in which the student will concentrate (i.e., Greek, Latin or Coptic for the Patristic period; Latin for the Medieval period, etc).
- Students concentrating in NT studies must demonstrate adequate knowledge of Greek (at least 9 credit hours or equivalent) and sufficient knowledge of Hebrew (at least 6 credit hours or equivalent) before beginning the program.
- Students concentrating in OT studies must demonstrate adequate knowledge of Hebrew (at least 9 credit hours or equivalent) and sufficient knowledge of Greek (at least 6 credit hours or equivalent) before beginning the program.
- All students wishing to complete a thesis must demonstrate the ability to use at least one secondary research language (usually French or German) before the thesis semester.
Students who wish to complete a thesis must complete RW701 – Theological Research and Writing Skills or an equivalent course.
Credits and Duration
- Thirty credits of study (normally one year of full-time study).
- Students who have completed a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent (a theological program of at least three years in duration post-baccalaureate) may be accepted into the STM program. Those who have completed a three-year undergraduate program in religious studies or theology, or who have earned a two-year Masters degree in theology may be admitted into a Qualifying Year in order to qualify as having the equivalent of the MDiv.
- The STM program may be taken part time but all requirements must be completed within four years.
On Campus (residential) Courses
At least half of the courses must be completed on campus. These may be taken during the regular Fall or Spring terms or the Winter or Summer intensives terms. Some transfer credit (up to 6 credits) may be allowed, but this credit may not replace any of the residentially-based courses.
No more than one-half of the seminar courses (5 courses = 15 credits) for the STM may be taken online. At least half of the courses must be 800-level courses.
Thesis and Non-Thesis Tracks
- The STM thesis (RW850) will be awarded 12 credits (normally a semester of work for those studying full time). The other 18 credits will be completed through seminar courses.
- The non-thesis track will require 27 credits of seminar courses and a 3 credit summary course (RW849).
Upon entering the program each student will be assigned a faculty advisor. Before finishing the first 15 credits, students should, in consultation with the advisor, approach a member of faculty who will then become the student’s supervisor.
Typical STM timetable (if done full-time)
Thesis Option Non-Thesis Option
Semester one: 15 credits of course work Semester one: 15 credits of course work
Semester two: 3 credits of course work Semester two: 12 credits of course work
12 credits thesis (RW850) 3 credits (RW849)
30 credits total 30 credits total