The School of Theology and Religious Studies offers both ecclesiastical and civil degrees. The Master of Divinity degree is a civil professional degree, recognized in the United States and Canada by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The Pontifical Sacred Theological Baccalaureate degree is a first level graduate ecclesial academic degree. The offering of the joint degrees serves to accentuate both the professional and academic realities together with a recognized civil and ecclesial degree program.


  1. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Superior achievement and the ability to pursue graduate work as indicated by official transcripts from previous institutions of study.
  3. The results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT). However, GRE scores (vs. MAT or TOEFL) are necessary for applicants to be considered for most university scholarships.
  4. Non-native English-speakers must demonstrate evidence of English proficiency through submission of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores or through some other means.
  5. At least three academic letters of recommendation must be submitted.
  6. An undergraduate foundation in philosophy (18 credits or equivalent), which includes a demonstrated background in the following areas: history of philosophy, logic, metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of God, and philosophical anthropology.
  7. An undergraduate background in religious studies that has provided: (6 credits or equivalent) an introduction to Old Testament literature and an introduction to New Testament literature. Students who have not already had these courses at the undergraduate level must take TRS 504A (Introduction to Old Testament) and TRS 504B (Introduction to New Testament) to fulfill this prerequisite in their first academic year.
  8. A reading knowledge of Latin.

Coursework (99 credits)

All of these courses are existing courses that are normally offered. No new courses are envisioned as the result of this joint degree proposal.

  1. Proseminars.
  2. Foundational- twenty-one (21) credits: Introduction to History and Method in Theology (3), Foundations of Christian Moral Life (3), Introduction to Patristic Theology (3), Introduction to Liturgy and Sacraments (3), Pastoral Theology (3), Introduction to Christian Spirituality (3), Basic Principles of Canon Law (3). In addition, Introduction to History and Method in Theology and Foundations of Christian Moral Life must be taken by S.T.B./MDiv students during the first year in the program.
  3. Systematic theology - fifteen (15) credits, selected from: Revelation and Faith (3), Theology of God (3), Christian Anthropology (3), Christology (3), Theology of the Church (3), Christian Eschatology (3).
  4. Liturgical studies and sacramental theology - six (6) credits, selected from: Sacraments of Initiation (3), Eucharist (3), Ordained Ministries(3), Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing (3).
  5. Moral theology - nine (9) credits: Marriage (3), Christian Social and Political Ethics (3), Biomedical Ethics (3).
  6. Scripture - fifteen (15) credits: two courses from Old Testament offerings (6), two courses from New Testament offerings (6), one course chosen from either set of offerings (3). These courses are to be chosen from the following: Pentateuch; Prophets; Psalms; Wisdom Literature; Synoptics; John; Pauline Letters.
  7. Church history (3) - three credits: one course chosen from the appropriate offerings.
  8. Academic electives (9) – nine credits.
  9. Pastoral ministry (15) fifteen credits - (Pastoral Theology already in the foundational courses above). All students are ordinarily required to take six credits of Basic Supervised Ministry.
  10. Ministry seminars (6) – six credits.
  11. Students who are candidates for priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church must take one course in a non-Roman Catholic ecclesial tradition during the course of studies.

Language Requirement

Students are expected to have a reading knowledge of Latin. Since Latin is considered a prerequisite, it must be satisfied by the end of the first fall semester in the program.

Course Load

No student may carry a course load beyond 15 credits. With the approval of the dean, and under the condition that the course is not being offered in a given term, one course per term may ordinarily be taken outside the school. To ensure the academic integrity of the degree, only one course from each academic area may be taken outside the school.

Grade Point Average

The student must maintain a grade point average of 2.75 or above.

Transfer Students

Students transferring into the School of Theology and Religious Studies from another institution may ask to have up to 45 credits applied to their joint S.T.B./M.Div. degree from their former institution, provided that these credits are at the grade level B or higher and are comparable to those required by the M.Div. degree as administered by the school. The associate dean for seminary and ministerial programs will make the final decision about the number of credits to be applied.

Comprehensive Examination

To qualify for the comprehensive examination, the student must have satisfied the Latin requirement and have a grade point average of 2.75 or above. The awarding of the S.T.B. degree also depends on the successful completion of the comprehensive examination.

Usually the student takes the comprehensive examination in the last semester of study. The subject matter of the examination is material covered in the courses in systematic and sacramental theology, moral theology, and Scripture. Past exam questions and a list of themes and readings for review are available from the Chair of the Ecclesiastical Degrees Committee.

Students may choose either three hours of written examination or one hour of oral examination before three members of the faculty. In order to pass the comprehensive exam, a student must receive an average grade of 2.5 (on a scale of 0 to 4.0) on the exam. A candidate for the S.T.B. degree may not continue candidacy after two failures in the comprehensive examination.

S.T.B. and M.Div. in Hispanic Ministry Degree

Requirements: The joint S.T.B. and M.Div. degrees have one possible concentration in Hispanic Ministry. This concentration focuses the standard S.T.B. and M.Div. degree through the selection of graduate courses in these three areas:

  1. Language proficiency
  2. Hispanic theology and culture
  3. Pastoral theology (three credits in Hispanic Ministry plus field placement and competency in sacramental ministry)