The Catholic University of America

Ecclesiastical Degrees

The School of Theology and Religious Studies is an ecclesiastical faculty. In virtue of its accreditation by the Holy See, programs leading to ecclesiastical degrees in theology are recognized as having canonical effects. Such programs satisfy both the norms established by the Holy See and the usual university requirements.

Since 1931, the sequence of Baccalaureate (S.T.B.)Licentiate (S.T.L.), and Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) degrees has been regulated by uniform norms observed by Catholic faculties and universities throughout the world. In 1979, Pope John Paul II promulgated an Apostolic Constitution, Sapientia Christiana which currently governs the granting of ecclesiastical degrees. By offering these degrees, the program preserves a theological heritage and strives for eminence in a developing community of Catholic faculties and universities aspiring to academic cooperation that transcends national and cultural boundaries.

The ecclesiastical degrees provide a theological education that is focused upon research. For many years they were awarded almost exclusively to those preparing for the reception of Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church and those wishing to acquire further theological competency after ordination. For several decades, however, all qualified men and women have been welcomed into the program and have earned these academic degrees in theology in order to prepare themselves for a wide variety of roles and ministries in the Church and world.