Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)

Program Description

The Sacrae Theologiae Licentiatus (STL) program is a graduate program (Second Cycle) in theology designed to enable students to teach theology in a major seminary or equivalent institution and to participate in theological debate as scholars in their own right. It entails the advancement of academic research and inquiry in theology, concentrating in one area of theology through a thesis and lectio coram. Our STL program offers the opportunity to deepen one’s understanding of theology as a unified whole.


There are several particular objectives of the STL program. It seeks to provide an environment where a student has sufficient time to engage in a thorough inquiry into a theological matter. It is structured to grant students the opportunity for personal, direct, and accessible advisement in their scholarly investigation. Another goal is to form an academic community of researchers and writers in which each respective thesis writer can take part. Lastly, it hopes to open new avenues of theological interest and inquiry.

Prerequisite for the Licentiate

To enter the STL one must have successfully completed the STB/STM (first cycle) or have completed theological studies that are at least equivalent to the first cycle of pontifical theological studies.

Requirements for the Licentiate

  1. 60 credits of courses and tutorials, divided over six trimesters, to be determined with the head of program.
  2. 30 credits for Thesis of 80-90 pages, with public defense:
    • The licentiate thesis is an integral part of the STL curriculum, requiring planning, research, analysis, exposition, revision, and discussion. It entails both the independent investigation of some significant question arising from the work of the program and a defense of the conclusions reached. It should give evidence of training in research and make a contribution to theological knowledge involving a limited, yet significant, problem of investigation. It must prove the student`s familiarity with basic methods and techniques of research, mastery of the limited subject matter, and ability to exercise sound theological judgment and formulate accurate conclusions.
    • The thesis is to be composed in English, German, or in another language agreed upon by the adviser.
    • Defense: The STL thesis defense takes place in the presence of the advisor, readers, and the Dean. All faculty and students are invited. The student opens with a presentation of no more than 15 minutes in which he or she summarizes his or her thesis and outlines its principal parts. Afterwards, beginning with the advisor, each member of the board has up to 15 minutes of time for comments and questions directed to the candidate. When the last board member has finished, the Dean opens the discussion to others who are present at the defense.
  3. The candidate is responsible for preparing and delivering a lecture of 45 minutes (lectio coram) followed by 45 minutes of discussion and questions in the presence of the faculty and students, on a topic to be determined in consultation with the Dean.
    • 10 ECTS for one-hour lectio coram (lecture to assembled faculty) followed by discussion.

STL Language Requirements

Knowledge of Latin and Greek, as well as one modern language in addition to one’s native language, is required. The licentiate candidate should have before beginning of his or her studies a basic knowledge of Latin and New Testament Greek to be tested by a proficiency exam. If necessary, during the first year of the licentiate, one of the classical languages may be taken. (Language study is not included in the credits.)

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