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The Sacred Theology (STM) degree is a one-year program (24 credit hours) for advanced study within a particular theological discipline. The program is open to students of all denominations and may serve a variety of aims: to further graduate study in preparation for doctoral work, to prepare one for teaching a particular theological discipline, or to provide disciplined reflection on a specialized function of ministry.

The faculty will teach, form, and nurture STM students so that graduates exhibit the following competencies:

  • An advanced understanding of a focused area of theological study and the ability to articulate this in both written and oral form.
  • The ability to use research methods and resources in the discipline of concentration.
  • The ability to analyze and evaluate scholarly literature and to integrate various scholarly perspectives into one’s own argument.




Full-time STM students take 12 credit hours per semester for a total of 24 credit hours. Six of these hours come from two required courses, while the remaining 18 are electives.

The two required courses are the Research Seminar (STM 700) and the Research Project (STM 701). Students take the Research Seminar in the fall semester, learning and practicing skills in academic research and writing. Students take the Research Project in the spring semester in the form of an independent study led by the faculty advisor, completing a final project based on the research begun in the fall semester.

Students choose their 18 elective hours in consultation with their faculty advisor. Twelve of these 18 hours must be in the student’s area of concentration. Courses at the 700-level are deemed “advanced” and therefore appropriate for STM students. No more than 12 hours of 600-level courses may be credited towards the STM degree. 500-level courses do not count towards the STM degree.

Students may enroll in a 799 Special Topics course in order to pursue advanced graduate work appropriate to the STM degree. Students are allowed to take multiple Special Topics courses to meet their STM course requirements, so long as each Special Topics syllabus outlines a discrete research area.

Students may use a Special Topics course in one of two ways. First, they may use it as a conventional independent study for researching an area not otherwise covered in the curriculum. Second, they may use it in conjunction with an existing 500- or 600-level course, fulfilling some or all course requirements, but with sufficient enhancements that achieve an advanced graduate workload and allow the student a degree of academic specialization. A Special Topics course should not repeat introductory material that the student has already learned in previous degree programs.

STM students may, but are not required to, take January term courses. Because the disruption of a long break can compromise the flow of research and project preparation, STM students are expected to maintain an appropriate level of work between semesters.

A student may transfer in up to 3 courses (9 credit hours) from an advanced level post-MDiv or post-MAR program at an accredited institution if the courses have been completed within 10 years of admission to the STM program. The Dean will assess both the course(s) and the student's performance for concordance with the degree program outcomes and the student’s prescribed curriculum.

Program Contact

Dr. Brent Driggers

Professor of New Testament
LTSS Campus