Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.)

Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.)

The S.T.D. is the culminating step in the three-degree ecclesiastical program, which starts with the Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.), progresses to the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.), and ends with the successful completion of the S.T.D. STM is one of only seven ecclesiastical faculties within the United States empowered to offer the Doctorate in Sacred Theology.

Why an S.T.D.?

The purpose of the S.T.D. program is to create scholars who combine broad knowledge of a certain area, a critical knowledge of theological methodology, and an ability to contribute original research in a chosen field of study. Most students who complete the S.T.D. go on to teach in university faculties, seminaries, and theological centers. They also contribute to Church administration and pastoral work, using their extensive study, training, and expertise as resources for their community. Students interested in the S.T.D. usually have discerned a vocation of working within the Catholic Church or a related environment. As with the S.T.L., the S.T.D. can open many doors for service in the Church, in a number of official capacities within dioceses, religious communities, and institutions of higher learning.

Focus of the S.T.D.

Under the S.T.L., students refine their focus on a particular branch of theology and, then in the S.T.D., an even more specialized area of theology. After the extensive work required to obtain the two previous ecclesiastical degrees, S.T.D. students work even further to create an expertise in a specific area and to critically master the issues and methodologies of their area and discipline. The culmination of the S.T.D. is the doctoral thesis, which the student must defend at the end of his or her program. The thesis should be approximately 300 pages and "make a real contribution to the progress of science" and theological studies. In addition to the thesis and academic rigor, there is an important formation component to the degree. S.T.D. students spend at least two semesters as teaching assistants, learning the craft of teaching on the graduate level. Doctoral students also participate in the S.T.D. colloquium and other events intended to introduce them professionally and vocationally to the life of faculty and teaching within higher education.

Our Faculty

These are the faculty members who can direct doctoral dissertations at the Ecclesiastical Faculty of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Bible

Andrew R. Davis

Associate Professor of Old Testament

Angela Kim Harkins

Associate Professor of New Testament

Christopher R. Matthews

Research Professor

History of Christianity

Francine Cardman

Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Church History

André Brouillette, S.J.

Associate Professor of Systematic and Spiritual Theology

Brian Dunkle, S.J.

Associate Professor of Historical Theology

Franklin T. Harkins

Professor of Historical Theology and Church History

Catherine M. Mooney

Associate Professor of Church History

Moral Theology

Daniel J. Daly

Associate Professor of Moral Theology

Mary Jo Iozzio

Professor of Moral Theology

Andrea Vicini, S.J.

Professor of Moral Theology

Spirituality Studies

André Brouillette, S.J.

Associate Professor of Systematic and Spiritual Theology

Angela Kim Harkins

Associate Professor of New Testament

Catherine M. Mooney

Associate Professor of Church History

Barton T. Geger, S.J.

Assistant Professor of the Practice

Systematics

John F. Baldovin, S.J.

Professor of Liturgy

André Brouillette, S.J.

Associate Professor of Systematic and Spiritual Theology

Dominic F. Doyle

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Brian Dunkle, S.J.

Associate Professor of Historical Theology

Margaret Eletta Guider, O.S.F.

Associate Professor of Missiology

Richard Lennan

Professor of Systematic Theology

O. Ernesto Valiente

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Faculty members of the Boston College Theology Department and of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry can serve in doctoral committees.


STM is one of only seven ecclesiastical faculties within the United States empowered to offer the Doctorate in Sacred Theology.


 

Application Information

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Deadlines

Fall 2023
January 13, 2023
Important Note
Students are generally only permitted to begin the S.T.D. degree in the fall semester. If there are extenuating circumstances that would require you to start in a different semester, please reach out to the admissions office.

Application Form

The application to STM must be completed online.

Application Form

Admission Prerequisites for the S.T.D.:

  • An S.T.L. degree (completed or near completion)
  • 3.7 G.P.A. (or its equivalent) in S.T.L. coursework


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


Additional Requirements:

International applicants

Religious 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, and current STM students. We do not waive the application fee for other reasons.

Standardized Tests

The GRE is optional, but preferred.

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.

Transcripts

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 stmadm@bc.edu.  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

Recommendations

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

Each recommender should be familiar with the applicant’s academic competence and their capacity for success in a doctoral program. 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.

Writing Sample

A writing sample must be uploaded as part of the application. The sample should be an academic paper of around 25 pages. S.T.D. applicants are also required to submit a copy of their S.T.L. thesis upon its completion.

Résumé

The resume must be uploaded as part of the application.  It is helpful if you highlight relevant research, teaching, ministry, service, 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 and the S.T.D. program. Please be specific as possible.
  • How do you plan to apply your theological education? Please specifically address what you envision an S.T.D. will allow you to do that the S.T.L. alone will not.
  • Information outlining your specific area and field of academic interest and how your previous academic, professional and/or pastoral experience has prepared you for studies within that particular field and the topic(s) you would address with your thesis.
  • How do you understand the role and responsibilities of a theologian and/or educator in the Church and the world?