Pontifical Faculty of Theology

Welcome to the Pontifical Faculty of Theology

The international academic degrees of the Catholic Church are the baccalaureate, the licentiate, and doctorate in theology. These are abbreviated as STB (Sacred Theology Baccalaureate), STL (Sacred Theology Licentiate) and STD (Sacred Theology Doctorate).

On September 30, 1929, the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities (now known as the Congregation for Catholic Education) established a Pontifical Faculty of Theology at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois. The Faculty was authorized to grant Pontifical degrees initially for a period of five years, and on September 21, 1934, this authorization was made permanent.

The Statutes of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology set forth the governance and policies of the faculty. They were revised in light of the apostolic constitution, Gaudium veritatis, and were approved ad decennium by the Congregation for Catholic Education in 2017.

These pages outline the S.T.B., S.T.L., and S.T.D. programs offered by the Pontifical Faculty at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake.

The S.T.B. is open only to those in the Seminary.

Licentiate in Sacred Theology

The Licentiate of Sacred Theology is a research degree, open to clergy and laypeople. In the civil system, the S.T.L. would be similar to the course work and exams of a Ph.D. program. It is structured around a cycle of four courses that provide in-depth study of the Christian theological tradition from the New Testament to the present. A graduate of the S.T.L. program is equipped to teach theology in a college, seminary, or university, to function as a chaplain to various professional groups, and to act as a theological resource for diocesan agencies.

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

The doctoral program is a two-year program of specialized research in either Dogmatic Theology or Sacramental/Liturgical Theology. Its purpose is the completion of a student’s scientific formation, especially through the writing of a doctoral dissertation. The program presumes superior achievement at the licentiate level. The Doctorate in Sacred Theology is the terminal research degree and requires previous completion of the Licentiate in Sacred Theology. It aims to perfect the skills of the candidate in the study of theology and to develop the research skills necessary for treating theological questions in depth. The doctorate prepares students to be university professors, researchers and expert resource persons.

If you have any questions about the new online STL program or the STD, please contact Fr. Brendan.

Fr. Brendan