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School of Theology and Ministry

Formation

school of theology and ministry

The heart of the STM experience is not simply education, but formation -- the honing and flourishing of one's intellectual, spiritual, ministerial, and human facets of self. These dimensions of formation are the foundation of life and culture here, and the integration and synthesis of these pillars make the STM a truly unique place to study.

Rooted in the Catholic and Jesuit theological traditions, rigorous scholarship is central to our mission. At the STM, this intellectual formation does not occur in a vacuum — students are academically prepared with a view that what they are learning has an impact on/implications for the rest of the world. Our faculty engages students in theological scholarship that encourages both dialogue and collaboration.


Faculty

There are 29 full-time faculty members at the STM, acknowledged for their scholarship, teaching, and commitment to the mission of the church in the world. Boston College has an additional 32 faculty members in the Department of Theology, which is part of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Combined, the theology faculty at Boston College has scholarly expertise in theological ethics, Biblical theology, religious education, pastoral ministry, comparative theology, historical theology, and systematics, and is one of the largest Catholic theology faculties in the world.



theology and ministry library

The Theology and Ministry Library is an unmatched resource in Catholic theology in the U.S.A. This resource is enhanced by the collections held by the additional seven libraries at Boston College and the universities in the greater Boston area.


Boston Theological Institute

The Boston Theological Institute (BTI) brings together the resources of 10 universities and divinity schools throughout the greater Boston area. Because the STM is a member, students can cross-register for over 700 courses each year and have full access to the theological libraries at all member schools.


boston college resources

As a graduate professional school within a major research university, the STM receives many additional academic benefits. Boston College offers lecture series, continuing education programming, and other University centers and departments enrich the academic life of our students by allowing for integrative dialogue and research. The graduate schools of Social Work, Education, Business, and Nursing create an interdisciplinary educational experience with the STM through our dual-degree programs.

STM students are challenged to refine their ministry skills and to grow through new pastoral experiences. They serve as mentors and leaders on campus for a variety of undergraduate programs, and beyond BC in parishes across Boston, leading Confirmation, RCIA, and other faith formation programs. STM students bring diverse experiences, interests, and degrees into the classroom, which shape and inform their conversations. Future pastoral ministers are invited to delve more deeply into the theology behind the ministry they hope to provide, while pre-doctoral and doctoral students are challenged to connect their research and scholarship to real concerns facing people and communities of faith.


In Service to the Church and the World

The faculty approaches the study of theology as something that can have real impact on the world, posing questions like:

  • How does the study of the development of Christological doctrine affect the lives of teenagers in America today?
  • How do our life experiences shape our understanding of Christian faith, and how can that faith transform how we live our lives?
  • Does the way we understand ecclesiology - the study of the church - change the way we see the church relating and addressing the needs of the world?
  • Can the Eucharist change how people live together as a family? a neighborhood? a community?


University Opportunities

STM Students serve as mentors and leaders for a variety of undergraduate programs, including:

  • Kairos encounter retreats
  • The Arrupe International Immersion Program
  • The Graduate Peer Ministry Program
  • RCIA program and Confirmation preparation


A Diverse Classroom

An STM classroom is populated with a diversity of experiences, interests, and degrees.  Students preparing for full-time ministry study alongside those preparing for doctoral studies, challenging each other to remain both academically and pastorally grounded.

This combination of degree programs in the classroom is also enhanced by a variety of other demographics:

  • 30% of the student body is ordained and/or members of religious orders, 70% are lay students
  • 25% of the student body is international, with over 30 different countries represented
  • 53% of the student body is female
  • 20% of the student body is not Catholic
  • Students range in age from 22-70 years old

Theology is not just an academic study -- it's a personal, spiritual pursuit that concerns one's whole being. Within the STM, to support our students in their spiritual growth, opportunities for growth and reflection through prayer, worship, retreats, and spiritual direction are offered for all students. Additionally, many degree programs include an intentional spiritual formation component. Students join faith communities at parishes across the Boston area and serve with their many ministries. Additionally, 20% of our students are not Catholic, and we invite these integral members of our community to continue growing in their own faith traditions and to share that faith with the larger community.


Liturgical Life

Central to the spiritual development of our students is the liturgical life at the STM. Daily liturgy is offered in the STM chapel. Our all-school liturgy is celebrated every Thursday, followed by all-school lunch provided by the STM. Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are offered daily, and Eucharistic Adoration is offered monthly. Taize Prayer, Lessons and Carols, and other liturgical events are offered at various times throughout the school year.

Spiritual development

The STM also provides several opportunities for spiritual development. Spiritual Formation for Ministry is a year-long one-credit course that invites students to reflect upon how their personal, spiritual life nurtures and informs their academic and professional work and calling. Resources, including financial support, for spiritual direction, retreats, and development are available through the STM's associate dean of student affairs. Students lead different prayer and Bible study groups, and constantly welcome new members. The STM's formation approach has created a thriving community at the School.

At the STM, there is also a focus on how our students grow as people. Questions like “how do you want to serve?” “how do you wish to lead?” and “who do you want to become?” pervade the culture here. There is an attentiveness to how students balance their vocational responsibilities. Professors, administrators, and peers know that students are serving, working, and invested in life beyond STM — the hope is that students will bring those experiences back to the STM to inform classroom dialogue.

Community

The STM's formation approach has created a thriving community at the School.

  • Service opportunities, including the STM Week of Service and El Salvador Spring Break Immersion Trip, allow students to spend time in service with others and for others.
  • Open mic nights showcase the wide range of talent in the student body.
  • Trivia nights allow our students to show their prowess over non-theological material.
  • Off-campus social events allow students to unwind after a long week of classes.