The Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degree offered by Sacred Heart Major Seminary is an ecclesiastical degree conferred by the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum) through the faculty of SHMS.


The goals for the S.T.B. are reflected in the M.Div. degree program. In addition, "the theological disciplines must be taught in such a way that what is presented is an organic exposition of the whole of Catholic doctrine, together with an introduction to theological scientific methodology" (Sapientia Christiana, 72a). The students will demonstrate a thorough knowledge of fundamentals of Catholic doctrine.

Course of Study

The course of study for the S.T.B. normally takes four years. Because the S.T.B. degree is offered through aggregation by the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the course work required for the program is not subject to dual degree status.

At the end of the course of study, a student must successfully pass written and oral examinations.

The program requirements for the STB can be completed in one of two ways:

M.Div. Track

The courses of the M.Div. program fulfill the program requirements for the S.T.B. (please see the curriculum for the M.Div.) At the end of the course of study, the student must successfully pass S.T.B. written and oral examinations.

Commuter Track (79 credit hours)

Church History (8 credit hours)

HS 512 Church History: Christianity Divided 3 cr
ST 600 Church Fathers to Nicea 2 cr
HS 700 Foundations in Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue 3 cr


Scripture (18 credit hours)

SS 521 Method and Pentateuch 3 cr
SS 525 Synoptics 3 cr
SS 621 Johannine Literature 3 cr
SS 625 Pauline Literature 3 cr
SS 727 Prophets 3 cr
SS 737 Psalms and Wisdom Literature 3 cr




Systematics (15 credit hours)

ST 500 Theological Methodology* 2 cr
ST 5351 Human Person and Grace 2 cr
ST 650 Trinitarian and Christological Foundations of the Christian Faith 3 cr
ST 6351 Nature and Mission of the Church 2 cr
SP 735 History of Spirituality 3 cr
*ST 500 must be taken in conjunction with IS 505 Theological Research and Writing, 1 cr.



Moral Theology (7 credit hours)

MT 675 Foundations of the Christian Moral Life 3 cr
  An Independent Study course in specialized Moral Theology 2 cr
  An Independent Study course in Catholic Social Teaching 2 cr


Liturgy and Sacraments (11 credit hours)

LS 575 Sacramental Life of the Church 2 cr
LS 645 Sacraments of Initiation 2 cr
LS 746 Sacrament of Marriage and Law 3 cr
  An Independent Study course in Eucharist 2 cr
  An Independent Study course in Holy Orders 2 cr



Applied Theology (6 credit hours)

EV 500 Evangelization and Catechesis 2 cr
AT 780 Introduction to Canon Law 2 cr
SP 690 Human and Spiritual Adult Development 2 cr


Integrating Seminar (1 credit hours)

IS 898 Integrating Seminar II STB 1 cr


Electives (16 credit hours)

Program Requirements

  1. A biennium in Philosophy required for admission
  2. A minimum of 79 credit hours must be earned through completion of the course of study.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 is required. The final GPA is calculated based
    80% on academic coursework and 20% on the comprehensive examination.
  4. A maximum of 40 hours may be applied to the program from other institutions or from other credit earning options.
  5. The program must be completed in six years from time of matriculation. Under extenuating circumstance, a student may request an extension in writing to the dean of studies.
  6. Reading ability in Latin must be shown during the first year of the program, and reading ability in a modern language pertinent to the student's course of studies must be done before completion of half of the degree program. Language competency can be demonstrated by the following:
    1. SHMS provides a course called Latin for Graduate Students that satisfies the Latin language requirement.
    2. Students can demonstrate competency in either Latin or a modern language through successful completion of a three credit hour undergraduate course with a pass grade of 'C' or better, or a two credit hour graduate course with a 'pass' or grade of 'C' or better. Courses must be taken for credit from an accredited institution of higher learning.
    3. Students may also study a language on their own. The student should contact the Dean of Studies when ready to be tested. The Dean of Studies will arrange with an instructor to conduct the examination. 
    4. The language examination will consist of a written translation of a theological text. The student will have 90 minutes and may use a dictionary to translate the pages. The student will also compose a paragraph summary of the two pages to demonstrate comprehension. Judgment of pass/fail will be based primarily on comprehension. An examination fee applies.
  7. Comprehensive Examination: At the end of the course of study, the student must successfully complete a written and oral comprehensive examination spanning two days earning a grade of a C (2.0) or better. If a student receives a grade lower than a 2.0 on the exam, he/she is permitted to re-take the S.T.B. exam once more. The examination is normally held in April, and students are required to register for the exam with the Office of the Dean of Studies at least a semester in advance. A study guide will be given to all students who register for the exam. Students must enroll in IS 898, the S.T.B. Integrating Seminar, during the semester in which they plan to take the S.T.B. exam. An examination fee applies.
  8. Students must complete a one credit course in graduate theological research, IS 505: Theological Research and Writing. This course must be done in conjunction with ST 500: Theological Methodology, and should be done within the student's first year of study. The course is graded pass/fail; credits earned do not count toward the 48 credits required in total for the degree.
  9. Students must participate in program assessment, including completion of a Graduating Student Questionnaire during the final year of study.

See a complete list of our Undergraduate Course Descriptions.

See our Bulletins for this and past academic years.


Admissions information for this program can be found on the Graduate Admissions page.