Bachelor in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.)

The Bachelor in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) is a first-level, three-year ecclesiastical degree that provides both lay students and ordination candidates with an enduring foundation from which to improve their ministerial practice or pursue further study.

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At a Glance

Program Duration

This program typically takes three years. Students complete 81 credits of coursework.

Language Requirement

Students aquire proficiency in Latin, demonstrated through recent coursework or passing an exam.

Two Tracks

We offer customized programs of study for Lay Students and Ordination Candidates.

Comprehensive Exam

A degree requirement, the S.T.B. comprehensive examination is given in the final semester of the program.

Meet Our Faculty


Typically completed over three years of full-time study, this 81-credit program provides students with a thorough grounding in Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology, and the history of Christianity. The S.T.B. can be particularly useful for those who intend to apply for admission to S.T.L. programs abroad, where the S.T.B. (and not an equivalent course of studies), is often required for application and admission.

Biblical Studies

18 credits

Course NameCourse NumberCredits
Core Narrative: Genesis to Kings TMOT70143
Prophets**Choose course3
 Wisdom Literature OR PsalmsTMOT8120 OR TMOT80033
 Synoptic  GospelsTMNT70053
John: Gospel and Letters TMNT70473
Apostle PaulTMNT70463


Systematic Theology

18 credits


Course NameCourse NumberCredits
Fundamental Theology TMST70093
The ChurchTMST70203
Introduction to Patristic TheologyTMST71513
Trinity** 3
Elective** 3

Canon Law

6 credits


Course Area Course NameCredits
Introduction to Canon Law  TMPS81213
 Canon Law of the Sacraments TMPS81223

Sacramental Theology

12 Credits

Ordination Candidates

Course NameCourse NumberCredits
Introduction to LiturgyTMPS70543
Priesthood: Theology and PraxisTMST80213
Eucharistic TheologyTMST70913
Sacraments** 3

Lay Students

Course NameCourse NumberCredits
Introduction to LiturgyTMPS70543
Ecclesial MinistryTMST80173
Eucharistic TheologyTMST70913
Sacraments** 3

Pastoral Studies

9 Credits

Ordination Candidates

Course NameCourse NumberCredits
Liturgical Preaching for Ordained MinistryTMPS81193
Liturgical Presiding for Ordained MinistryTMPS80083
Elective** 3

Lay Students

Course NameCourse NumberCredits
Liturgical Preaching and Presiding for Lay MinistryTMPS81353
Elective** 3
Elective** 3

History of Christianity

9 Credits

Course NameCourse NumberCredits
History of Western Christianity ITMHC70263
History of Western Christianity IITMHC70273
History of Western Christianity IIITMHC71793

Moral Theology

9 Credits

Course NameCourse NumberCredits
Fundamental Moral: Theological Ethics TMCE80023
Introduction to Social EthicsTMCE70083
Bioethics or Sexual Ethics** 3

**Students should consult their advisor to determine which course is most appropriate to their course of studies. 


Application Requirements



Spring 2024: November 15, 2023

Fall 2024 Priority Scholarship Deadline: January 11, 2024. Applications are still accepted after this date as space allows.

Application Form

Please note you can submit your application form once it is completed; you do not need to wait for all of your supplemental materials to arrive. We are able to schedule your interview once we have received your submitted application 

Application Form

Since the S.T.B. is granted through the Holy See, S.T.B. students are not eligible for federal loans through the U.S. government. S.T.B. students are still eligible for STM scholarships, which are awarded at the time of admission.


Religious Applicants

Applicants who are Catholic diocesan priests or deacons or members of religious orders must submit a letter of approval and financial support from their bishop, major superior, or Provincial. Please select "Bishop/Major Superior" as the recommender type on the application form.

International Applicants


Application Fee

A non-refundable fee of $75 is required for every degree and non-degree application submitted.  

Payment Options

  • Pay by credit or debit card via the web; You can pay the application fee at the same time your submit your application form.  However, if you do not pay the fee at the same time you submit your application, you can pay online at a later date through the Agora Portal. You must use your BC Username and password to log in.

  • Pay by check or money order made payable to Boston College, via regular mail.  Please include your check with a copy of your application form submission confirmation page and include your name and intended degree program.

Please note: The application fee cannot be refunded for any reason. If you qualify for a fee waiver, you should not pay the fee when you submit the application form. Fee waivers are granted to the following applicants: Jesuits, veterans, applicants currently completing a year of service or who are Pell Grant-eligible, and current STM students. Email the admissions office at to request a waiver.

Standardized Tests

The GRE is optional, but preferred. We especially recommend applicants submit scores if 1) they feel their undergraduate transcript is not indicative of their capacity for success in graduate studies, OR 2) they do not have a strong background in the humanities. We review all applications holistically. Applicants who choose not to submit GRE scores will not be penalized in the admissions process.

Applicants who do send GRE scores should have them sent directly from ETS. Our GRE code is 2508.

English Proficiency Exam

All applicants for whom English is not their native language must also provide TOEFL or IELTS test score results. Read more about special instructions for international applicants here. This webpage will also indicate under with criteria a waiver may be granted. Waivers must be approved in writing by the admissions office.


We require transcripts from all colleges, universities, seminaries, or theological schools that you have attended. Each transcript should contain a list of all coursework taken, grades/marks received, and, if applicable, degree granted and date of degree confirmation. If your college or university will send official transcripts electronically, they can be emailed to  Otherwise, transcripts must be mailed and be contained in a sealed, signed envelope. If the official transcript is not English, a translation should be provided with the official document. Please alert us if your transcript will be arriving with a different name than the one you are using on your application (e.g. your maiden name). Please note that a transcript is only considered official if received directly from the institution issuing it.

Please note that your application may be reviewed with unofficial copies of your transcripts. If you send unofficial copies, know that if admitted, you must sent official copies before you begin coursework. In addition, if you are currently finishing a degree, you must send a final, official version of the transcript upon graduating, and before beginning coursework at STM.

Mailing Addresses
For applicants using the U.S. Postal Service:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Simboli Hall
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

For applicants using FedEx or UPS:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Simboli Hall
9 Lake Street
Brighton, MA 02135-3841


S.T.B. applicants are required to submit three recommendations using the online application system. 

At least two recommenders should be familiar with the applicant’s academic background and promise. For applicants who have been out of school for a significant amount of time, recommenders should be familiar with the applicant's professional competence.

Applicants who are Catholic diocesan priests or deacons, or members of religious orders must submit a letter of approval and financial support from their bishop, major superior, or Provincial. This is in addition to the other three recommendations. Please select "Bishop/Major Superior" as the recommender type on the application form.

Please be sure that your recommenders are aware of the application deadlines and online process, and choose them carefully to ensure that they can write on your behalf in a timely manner.


The admissions office interviews all master's applicants. All interviews take place remotely.


Your résumé must be uploaded as part of the application. It is helpful if you highlight relevant ministry, service, research, teaching, and leadership positions you have held.

Personal Statement

The personal statement must be uploaded as part of the application.  The personal statement should be three pages in length, double-spaced.

Your statement should address the following:

  • The academic, professional, and personal development that has motivated you to apply to STM. Include a sketch of your educational background and interests, any experience you have in ministry and/or religious education, and any other relevant professional and volunteer experience
  • Your understanding of theological education and/or ministry in the context of the Church’s mission, as well as the roles and responsibilities of a theologian and/or minister today.
  • How you plan to apply your theological education
  • Given your experience, how you assess your principal strengths for theological education and/or ministry as well as your areas of needed development

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