Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) Program


The S.T.L degree offered by Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a post-graduate ecclesiastical degree in pastoral theology with a focus on the New Evangelization. The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome confers the degree through the faculty of SHMS.

Admissions Requirements

For the admissions process and requirements for the S.T.L. degree, please refer to the admissions section below. 


  1. Have an advanced understanding of biblical, theological, and magisterial principles of the New Evangelization. Demonstrate the ability to apply these principles in analyzing scholarship and in assessing both existing and proposed programs of evangelization.
  2. Have an advanced understanding of the principles of spirituality that are essential for evangelization. Based on this understanding of both the sanctifying and charismatic dimensions of the Spirit’s work, be able to apply this understanding in assessing programs of evangelization.
  3. Have an advanced knowledge of how the theological, spiritual, and methodological components of evangelization express themselves in various times, places, and cultural settings.
  4. Have an advanced understanding of the cultural milieu in which evangelization takes place. Be able to evaluate positive and negative features of the cultural environment. Be able to articulate what inculturation and transformation of culture would mean in such situations.
  5. Be familiar, both on a theoretical and pastoral level, with contemporary models, programs, and movements of evangelization and be able to analyze and assess them from theological, spiritual, and methodological perspectives.
  6. Be familiar, both on a theoretical and practical level, with leadership skills necessary for evangelization, including actual experience in the field. 

Course of Study (48 credit hours)

Required Courses - 24 credits:

STL 865

Theology of the New Evangelization

3 cr

STL 868

Evangelization and Spirituality

3 cr

STL 872

Models of Evangelization: Historical and Contemporary

3 cr

STL 977

The Letters of Paul and the New Evangelization

3 cr

STL 912


2 cr

STL 878

Contemporary Apologetics

2 cr

STL 874

The Social-Cultural Milieu of the New Evangelization

2 cr

STL 954

Catholic Social Teaching on Sexuality 

2 cr

STL 876

Evangelization Practicum

2 cr


Two Seminar Courses (2 credits each)

4 cr

Elective Courses - 22 credits

Thesis - 2 credits:

STL 989Integrating Thesis 2 cr
STL 9891Continuing Thesis Guidance1 cr

STL 989 Integrating Thesis
Students are required to complete a thesis of 75-100 pages in length under the direction of a faculty member.

STL 9891 Continuing Thesis Guidance
(1 credit; credit not applicable toward degree completion) is provided for the student who does not complete the thesis during the semester for which he registered for STL 989. The course is required for each semester until the thesis is completed.

Lectio Coram - non-credit bearing 

The Lectio coram is the final requirement for the STL degree. A Lectio coram is an academic lecture before a panel of three examiners from the faculty. Before a student is eligible to schedule and present the Lectio coram, the thesis and all its requirements must be complete. The Lectio coram is completed during the student’s final academic semester.

The thesis and the Lectio coram must represent a substantial and sustained intellectual endeavor related to the New Evangelization.

STL thesis and Lectio coram guidelines are available from the Office of the Dean of Studies as well as from the SHMS website. Early in their program of study, STL students are advised to obtain these guidelines and to discuss thesis plans with their thesis director and Lectio coram proposals with the designated STL faculty member.

Program Requirements

  1. A minimum of 48 credit hours must be earned through completion of the course of study.
  2. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 is required.
  3. A maximum of fifteen hours may be applied to the degree from other institutions or from other credit earning options.
  4. The program must be completed in six years from time of matriculation.  Under extenuating circumstances, a student may request an extension in writing from the Dean of Studies.
  5. Students must participate in program assessment, including completion of a Graduate Student Questionnaire during the final year of study. 
  6. Successful completion of the Lectio coram.

See a complete list of our Graduate Course Descriptions.

See our Academic Catalogs for this and past academic years.


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

STL Degree Prerequisites

Checklist of requirements needed to be accepted into the STL degree program - click here.

STL Writing Rubric

To ait students in writing papers, click here for the STL Writing Rubric.

Thesis Directors

For a list of the current faculty qualified to direct the thesis  - click here.

Thesis Guidelines

Information about how to proceed with the thesis - click here.

Lectio coram Guidelines

Click here: A sample of lectio coram proposals can be requested from the lection coram coordinator.

Evangelization Practicum

Information about how to proceed with the Evangelization Practicum - click here.

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