USML | S.T.D. Program Requirements

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

S.T.D. Program Requirements

Length of Program and Residency Requirement 

The program is normally two years in duration with at least one year in residence devoted to full time research. According to article 37 of the statutes, “no ordinary student in this faculty may be at the same time an ordinary student in some other faculty.” 

Residency also means a quality of presence, which is spelled out in part in article 37 of the statutes: “Students enrolled in the faculty are expected to observe all the regulations of the faculty... (See Graduate Student Handbook). They should moreover, comport themselves in a professional, ethical, and Christian manner consonant with the goals and purposes of the Pontifically recognized faculty of theology of which they are a part.”

While a student who is a cleric may offer sacramental assistance to local parishes on an occasional basis, his principal task must be participation in and completion of the degree program in which he is enrolled. 


Two S.T.L. Electives (6 cr.) [for those whose S.T.L. is from outside of USML]
Dissertation Proposal (3 cr.)  [First Semester]
Dissertation Writing (3 cr.) [Second Semester]
On-Going Dissertation Writing (1 cr)  [Subsequent Semesters]

A minimum grade of a B (86%) is required in all courses. 


The doctoral colloquium, held once each semester, is designed to assist the candidate in writing of the dissertation and in its defense. All doctoral candidates are required to attend these colloquia during their year in residence and to make one presentation. Candidates are encouraged to attend the colloquia and present their work while they continue to complete their dissertation. 

Dissertation Proposal    

Guidelines for the Dissertation Proposal can be found in the Pontifical Faculty of Theology Scholar’s Manual which can be accessed under “Writing Helps” link of the USML Library Web site. 

During the DT 951 Dissertation Proposal course, the student will choose a professor who agrees to direct the dissertation. With this director, the student will develop a dissertation proposal. With the approval of the director, the student will submit the proposal to the President of the Pontifical Faculty at least one month before the end of the semester. The President will then ask a second reader to review the proposal. Once this professor accepts the proposal, the student is officially enrolled as a Doctoral Candidate in the Pontifical Faculty.  If a proposal is not approved by the end of the semester, the student will not be admitted to the doctoral program.

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