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Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) (online or in person)

Eligibility & Admission Requirements

Degree Requirements

  • S.T.B. Degree
  • or S.T.B. equivalence

STB Core Curriculum consists of:

Psalms and Wisdom
Pentateuch and Histories
Pauline Literature
Synoptic Gospels and Acts
Johannine Literature

Fundamental Theology
Doctrine of God, One and Three
Christology and Soteriology
Anthropology, Creation, Grace and Eschatology
Ecclesiology and Mariology
Sacraments of Initiation
Sacraments of Healing and Vocation
Doctrine of Priesthood

American Church History
Formation of Catholic Tradition
Medieval Church History
Reformation and Revolution
Modern Church History

Fundamental Moral Theology
Medical Ethics and Suffering
Sexuality and Vocation
Social Justice

Spiritual Theology

Canon Law I
Canon Law II

Principles of Sacred Liturgy and Music

Language Requirements

There are three ways to fulfill the classical language requirement. (1) Present a transcript with 6 university level credits of Latin/Greek with at least an A- average. The courses must have been taken within the last ten years. (2) Complete 6 credits of Latin/Greek at Mundelein Seminary with at least an A- average. (3) Pass a Mundelein Seminary Latin/Greek translation exam.

There are two ways to fulfill the modern research language require- ment. (1) Present a transcript with 6 university level credits of a Modern Research Language with at least an A- average. The courses must have been taken within the last ten years. (2) Pass a Mundelein Semi- nary Modern Language translation exam.

Program Requirements

When are courses offered?
They are offered during the Fall, Spring Semesters. Also, each summer they are offered during a 6 week intensive. If the student is working part time on the degree and works in a pastoral capacity, he/she is eligible to take up to six courses online. The online courses are available both during the academic year and in the summer. The remaining 3 courses need to be completed in person. All courses are offered in person and online. If you have any questions, please contact, Sr. Caroline Onuoha, conuoha@usml.edu.

Required Courses

This course will make a close examination of the emergence and development of the Catholic Tradition in both the East and West from the New Testament to 786 AD. It will emphasize a critical reading of texts from significant authors that highlight the major themes of Christology, Trinitarian Theology and Theo- logical Anthropology. The texts will be set in the context of the general history of the Christian Church during these centuries. There will be a particular em- phasis on the disputes over Trinitarian Theology and Christology.

This course surveys the development of Catholic doctrine in from the 8th century to the 15th century, focusing on how Augustinian, Dionysian and Thomist theological paradigms functioned as the basis for the variety of theological schools and methods which formed the theological landscape of medieval Christendom. Theological developments in the doctrine of God, Christology, and Christian anthropology will be discussed, with special emphasis on pro- gress in understanding in the doctrines of the human person and the dynamics of salvation.

This course explores some of the major themes in the history of Christian the- ology from 1500 until 1900. It engages Martin Luther and John Calvin and discusses the Catholic response, especially as expressed in the Council of Trent. It presents the Age of Enlightenment as also the logical outgrowth of these religious contestations. Taking Immanuel Kant and G.W.F. Hegel as the points d’appui, it discusses next the contributions of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Johann Adam Mohler, Soren Kierkegaard, Vatican I, John Henry Newman and Matthias Scheeben.

This course will cover the issues and theologians from the period of the Mod- ernist Crisis in 1860 through the twentieth century and the recent debates over the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. The integrating theme will be theolo- gy’s engagement with the intellectual currents of the Modern world. The course will examine the emergence of so-called “liberal theology” and trace the various reactions across the years.

Elective Courses

This course will focus upon reading the key documents of the Councils of Trent and Vatican II. We will inquire also into the history and theological background of these Councils, and we will take note of the way in which Vati- can II receives Trent. We will ask what the future holds for the teachings of Trent and Vatican II. The goal of the course is to offer insight into the ways in which the Catholic Church understands divine revelation (including such major theological topics as the nature of the Church, the nature of Scripture and Tra- dition, the nature of the sacraments, and the Church in relation to the world) in our post-Renaissance, historically conscious, and increasingly globalized world.

A review of twentieth-century developments in sacramental theology and prac- tice is given. The influences of Mediator Dei and Sacrosanctum Concilium are examined. The liturgical theology of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is reviewed. Attention is given to the transition to the 1970s Missale Romanum, and issues regarding its subsequent revision and translation into the vernacular.

As a Dominican, a mendicant priest, and a medieval Magister in Sacra Pagina, Thomas Aquinas dedicated a significant amount of his life and ministry to in- terpreting the Word of God–both for university students in the classroom, as well as for wider congregations in the Liturgy. This course will acquaint stu- dents with Thomas the exegete and preacher by studying the content of his Biblical commentaries and sermons, as well as the method he followed as he moved from the sacra pagina to exegesis, and from exegesis to preaching. In the process, the picture of Thomas that emerges is the portrait of a saint and scholar who applied his knowledge to the prayerful study of the Word of God, and a priest and urban preacher who understood well the importance of Scrip- ture study and dynamic preaching in the evangelization of society. The course will also pay particular attention to lessons that can be drawn from Thomas for preaching and evangelization today.

Many fundamental theological questions meet in the study of Mariology: Christology, Christian Anthropology, the Church, the questions of the Refor- mation. This course will review the Church’s teachings regarding Mary and will investigate how they are received in ecumenical and feminist theology.

Hans Urs von Balthasar was indisputably one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, and his influence has only increased over time. This course focuses on von Balthasar’s great trilogy, comprising 15 volumes plus an Epilogue. Von Balthasar structured his theological trilogy around the transcen- dentals: the beautiful, the good, and the true. The trilogy displays vast erudi- tion and acquaintance with the full spectrum of biblical and theological thought over the centuries. It also displays extraordinary theological and philosophical creativity. Since one course cannot grasp the fullness of all the volumes of the trilogy, we will undertake a close reading of the first volume of each of the three parts of the trilogy (corresponding to the beautiful, the good, and the true). We will also read the Epilogue. The goal is to gain an introduction to von Balthasar’s purposes and strategies in his masterwork.

Augustine is a seminal thinker for Western Christianity, and perhaps the great- est theologian who has ever lived. This course will undertake careful readings of three of his most important works: Confessions, City of God, and De Trini- tate. We will focus on appreciating the ways in which these three works are interrelated. At the heart of our inquiry will be Augustine’s understanding of God and Christ.

The purpose of this course is to explore seven theological and philosophi- cal paths that Aquinas offers for knowing (and loving) God. Responding to divine revelation as well as to the traces of God’s presence in the created order, Aquinas follows the following seven paths: philosophical contemplation of God in his unity; theological contemplation of God the Trinity; theological and philosophical reflection on God the provident Creator; knowing God as Christ the Redeemer; knowing God through his redeemed human images; knowing God through the Eucharist; and knowing God eschatologically. We will attend to an array of texts drawn from his entire corpus, including the Summa contra gentiles, the Summa Teologiae, his biblical commentaries, his commentaries on Aristotle, and his Commentary on the Sentences.

The purpose of this course is to introduce contemporary Catholic spiritual theology, with a focus on the English-speaking world. The course proposes that the interaction between theology and spirituality can be seen by looking at key spiritual theologians from the 1950s (Thomas Merton), the 1970s (Henri Nouwen), and the 1990s (Robert Barron). Some attention will also be paid to more recent spiritual theologians and to the revival of spiritual theology in the 1930s. The purpose of the course is to learn about spiritual theology with special attention to the ways in which theological currents influence spirituality.

The licentiate thesis is written in the area of specialization and may be compared to a substantial scholarly essay, its length is typically sixty to eighty pages. The thesis demonstrates the student’s ability to do theological research, to present this research in a coherent way, and concludes with a personal assessment of the findings.

Schedule for S.T.L. Thesis Research and Writing

During the second semester of the S.T.L. program, the student will enroll in DT 819 Thesis Proposal, during which he or she will choose a director. The student will work with the thesis di- rector to develop a proposal. At this time, the director will select a second reader. Once the director has approved the proposal, he/ she will forward it to a second reader for his/her approval, which must be done at least one month before the end of the semester. With the proposal accepted by the second reader, the director will notify the President who will then inform the student that his/her proposal has been accepted. If the final proposal has not been accepted by the end of the second semester of the S.T.L. pro- gram, the student may not continue in the program without the consent of the President of the Pontifical Faculty.

The content of the Thesis Proposal is as follows:

  • Working title
  • Working thesis statement
  • The theological context of the thesis (status quaestionis)
  • A description of a the student’s proposed methodology
  • Working list of up to 10 primary sources
  • Working list of up to 20 secondary and tertiary sources
  • Outline of the argument

In the third and fourth semesters of the program, the student will enroll in Thesis Writing. In order to graduate by the end of the fourth semester, the thesis must be approved by the director and submitted to the President of the Pontifical Faculty two months before the end of the semester. Both the director and the second reader will submit a grade for the thesis to the President. Final approval of the thesis requires an average score of at least 86%.

Students are examined in the three areas of concentration of the S.T.L. program: (1) the Doctrine of God; (2) Christology; (3) one of the following areas: Theological Anthropology, Sacramental/ Liturgical Theology, or Spiritual Theology. Students are responsible for the theological methodologies used in all areas.

For this exam, each student will select six theologians, one from each of the following periods:

  • Patristic (33 – 800)
  • Monastic and Scholastic (800 – 1500)
  • Reformation (1500 -1700)
  • Early Modern (1700-1900)
  • Twentieth Century to Vatican II (1900 – 1965)
  • Contemporary Period (1965 – present)

Pricing Overview

Housing (per semester) $3,423.00
Meal Plan (per semester) $3,590.00
Room and Board (summer term) $2,970.00
Tuition per credit hour (resident) $1,153.00
Tuition per credit hour (non-resident) $1,153.00
Audit Fee (per credit hour) $692.00
Matriculation fee (one-time fee) $50.00
Technology fee (per semester) $175.00
Late registration $15.00
Transcript Request $15.00
Ongoing Thesis/Dissertation Writing (per semester) $1,153.00
S.T.D. Dissertation Defense Fee $3,459.00

Health care insurance, books, and personal items are not included in the above charges. A Seminarian Health Care Insurance Program is available to all full-time students. Students not covered by family health care policies are advised to take advantage of this program. Students are also expected to assume responsibility for auto, fire, theft, and personal possession insurance.

Some housing is available for single students who are enrolled in the Pontifical Faculty, in the Conference Center of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. A chapel and a lounge with kitchen facilities are available for their use. While they are not members of Mundelein Seminary, they are welcomed guests at many events at the Seminary and the Center, and are invited to share in the daily celebration of the Eucharist with the Seminary community.

The staff of the Conference Center’s Office of Guest Services attends to the material needs and general welfare of the students who reside in the Center. They serve as contact persons between resident students and the University.