Special Information for International Applicants
school of theology and ministry
Updated June 2016
As an international theological center, the STM represents the changing landscape of the Catholic Church on the global stage by training priests, lay ministers, and theologians from over 40 nations. While we continue to attract and train students from North America and Europe, more and more, the future leadership of the Church is emerging from South America, Africa, and Asia. The STM is a part of this movement, training some of the first indigenous professors of seminaries, universities, and theological centers in those regions.
We encourage clergy, religious men and women, and lay students from all countries to apply to our programs. Please review our admission policies and procedures before applying. Additionally, important information regarding admissions requirements and processes for international students is included below.
Evidence of English Proficiency
All applicants for whom English is not their native language must demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Students will not be admitted into any STM program without an acceptable demonstration of English proficiency. This must be done in the following ways:
- Written Essay
In addition to the personal statement, international applicants are required to submit a 250 word essay in English in response to the question below. This essay cannot be written or edited by anyone but the applicant himself/herself. Please respond to the following question: From a theological and/or pastoral perspective, why is Christianity important today?
After submitting your written essay, the STM admissions office will follow up with you to conduct a short interview. In addition to discussing your background and goals, we will also discuss your essay response. The interview can be conducted in one of the following ways: in person, via phone, or via Skype.
- TOEFL Exam
All applicants for whom English is not their native language must also provide TOEFL test score results. An acceptable TOEFL score is 85 or above on the internet-based test. When taking the exam, include STM’s institutional code – 3971 – so that your scores may be sent directly to the school. You can register for the TOEFL here: www.toefl.org.
The TOEFL requirement will be waived if:
- You are a citizen of Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Guyana, an Anglophone country of Africa, or an English-speaking country of the Caribbean.
- You earned your prior college or university degree in the U.S.A., in one of the countries listed above in section 1, or at a college or university where the official language of instruction is English.
- You are currently enrolled as a full-time student in a degree-granting program in the U.S.A. or at an English-speaking school in one of the countries listed above in section 1 and will have the completed at least two academic years of college/university work before beginning your studies at Boston College.
Before being accepted
No work on the part of the international applicant needs to be done toward a Visa until after they receive a letter of admission, have confirmed intent to enroll, and have proven financial ability for studies.
After being accepted
After being accepted, the Admissions Office will send you the Certification of Financial Support form for the I-20 document. Filling out and returning these forms to the STM Admissions Office will start the process of obtaining an F-1 visa to study in the United States, as long as you meet the financial and English language requirements. International students, who are also Diocesan priests, must obtain priestly faculties to serve as priest in the Boston Archdiocese. The student’s Bishop or Major Superior must write to the Archbishop of Boston, requesting housing and facilities to function as a priest in the area. A copy of this letter should be sent to STM. Boston College can only issue an I-20, after such facilities have been secured.
Standardized Test Requirement
All master's applicants must submit a standardized test score. The TOEFL exam fulfills this requirement. For applicants whose TOEFL requirement has been waived, GRE or other similar standardized test scores must still be submitted. The TOEFL may still be taken and submitted for the standarzed test requirement even if TOEFL has been waived. The standardized test requirement can be waived if the applicant has previously completed a graduate degree. To inquire, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For S.T.L. and Th.M. applicants whose TOEFL requirement has been waived, no standardized test score is required.
All Ph.D. and S.T.D. applicants must submit GRE scores. Please note: These scores are required in addition to TOEFL exam results. Additionally, Ph.D. and S.T.D. applicants are not exempt from taking the GRE if they possess a graduate degree.
Our GRE code is 2508. You can register for the GRE here: www.gre.org.
The United States Government requires all international students to prove that they have the financial means to support themselves while studying in the United States. If you are a member of the clergy or a religious, you need to document by either a bank statement or letter of support from your bishop or congregation that you have funds to live and study in the U.S. The U.S. Embassy will not issue you a visa if you do not have the necessary funds. Any tuition costs not covered by STM scholarship funds must be documented.
For information regarding international wire payments please visit Boston College's Wire Transfer Page at /offices/stserv/financial/billinfo/wiretransfer.html.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
The cost of higher education in the United States is high. STM awards tuition grants to international students depending on availability, to help ease their financial burden. Partial tuition grants are available for international students. Students must be enrolled in a degree seeking programs. Students must exhibit an exemplary academic record and personal potential. Students should be aware that, even if receiving a tuition grant, they still must obtain support to pay for their living expenses. Unfortunately, federal loans are not available to those who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
All international students must show that they have sufficient funds or resources to pay for their tuition and living expenses during the course of their studies, whether support comes in the form of scholarships, grants, and support from a religious order or from a personal bank account. Applicants do not need to supply evidence of sufficient resources with their applications. Once accepted, the admissions office will send a form where one can document resources.
Members of religious orders usually find housing with area parishes or religious communities. The assistant director of admissions can assist placing religious in such communities, though placement and housing is not guaranteed. International lay students are encouraged to contact the admissions office to learn about off-campus housing options close by.