Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.)
One of Boston College School of Theology and Ministry’s unique offerings, the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.), is an ecclesiastical degree offered only by Catholic ecclesiastical faculties. The S.T.L. is the second degree in a three-degree progression of ecclesiastical degrees that begins with the Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) and ends with the Doctorate of Sacred Theology (S.T.D.), which is also granted by STM.
The S.T.L. enables students to build upon previous work and focus more on a particular subject or field within a Catholic context. An advanced degree, it provides students with two full years of work above and beyond the S.T.B. or M.Div.
The S.T.L. is a thesis-driven degree. All work culminates in a thesis of approximately 100 pages. Upon entering the program, S.T.L. students focus on a specialized topic area in a particular branch of theology, such as Biblical Studies, Systematic and Historical Theology, Moral Theology, Spirituality Studies, or Church History. Students usually enter the program focused on one of these branches and then narrow down their area of interest within that branch to concentrate more deeply on a specific area. Course work is focused on supporting the student’s thesis.
2 years of full-time study
24 credit hours completed, in addition to nine credit thesis
Half of credits taken in student’s concentration
One year in residence at STM
Proficiency in Latin (or, Hebrew or Greek for Scripture concentration)
Proficiency in one modern research language (German, French, Spanish), in addition to English
Successful defense of an 80-100 page thesis
Students use the S.T.L. to continue work in Catholic theological studies, prepare for doctoral work, teach or build competence for working within the Church. Officially, it is the academic degree which enables one to teach in a major seminary or equivalent school.
The S.T.L. can open many doors for service in the Church, in a number of official capacities within dioceses, religious communities and institutions of higher learning.
The application to STM must be completed online.
Admission Prerequisites for the S.T.L.:
A non-refundable fee of $75 is required for every degree and non-degree application submitted.
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 automatically granted to the following applicants: Jesuits, veterans, applicants currently completing a year of service, and current STM students. We do not waive the application fee for other reasons.
GRE scores are wavied for S.T.L. applicants.
All applicants for whom English is not their native language must also provide TOEFL or IELTS 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.
To request a TOEFL waiver, you must email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One copy of each transcript is required 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 email@example.com. 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).
For applicants using the U.S. Postal Service:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
For applicants using FedEx or UPS, please use this address:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
9 Lake Street
Brighton, MA 02135-3841
S.T.L. applicants are required to submit three recommendations using the online application system.
Each recommender should be familiar with the applicant’s academic competence. For applicants who have been out of school for a significant amount of time, the recommenders should be familiar with the applicant's professional competence. Applicants to our certificate programs are required to submit one letter of recommendation. 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 may contact applicants to set up an interview by Skype.
The resume 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.
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: