The Catholic University of America

Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology General Requirements

     The S.T.B. degree provides the student with the opportunity to attain a basic theological education and competency. This is a prerequisite for the further specialization of the licentiate (S.T.L.) which in this degree sequence presupposes familiarity with the wide variety of subject matter and disciplines that constitute the Christian theological tradition as reflected in the S.T.B. curriculum.


  1. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Superior achievement and the ability to pursue graduate work as indicated by official transcripts from previous institutions of study.
  3. The results of the Graduate Record Examination, GRE, or Miller Analogies Test, MAT. However, GRE scores (vs. MAT or TOEFL) are necessary for applicants to be considered for most university scholarships.
  4. Non-native English-speakers should demonstrate evidence of English proficiency through submission of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores or through some other means.
  5. At least three academic letters of recommendation.
  6. An undergraduate foundation in philosophy, which includes a demonstrated background in the following areas: history of philosophy, logic, metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of God and philosophical anthropology.
  7. An undergraduate background in religious studies that has provided an introduction to Old Testament literature and an introduction to New Testament literature.
  8. A reading knowledge of Latin.


     Students must maintain at least a 2.75 GPA.  No student may carry a course load beyond 15 credit hours per semester.  To ensure the academic integrity of the degree, one course per term and one per area may be taken outside the School.

A minimum of 69 semester hours of credit is required according to the following distribution:

  1. The Pro-seminar for master's students ordinarily should be taken in the first semester.
  2. Foundational--21 credits: Introduction to History and Method in Theology (3), Foundations of Christian Moral Life (3), Introduction to Patristic Theology (3), Introduction to Liturgy and Sacraments (3), Pastoral Theology (3), Introduction to Christian Spirituality (3), Basic Principles of Canon Law (3). Introduction to History and Method in Theology and Foundations of Christian Moral Life must be taken by S.T.B. students during the first year in the program. 
  3. Systematic theology--15 credits, selected from: Marriology (3), Revelation and Faith (3), Theology of God (3), Christian Anthropology (3), Christology (3), Theology of the Church (3), Christian Eschatology (3).
  4. Liturgical studies and sacramental theology--six credits, selected from: Sacraments of Initiation (3), Eucharist (3), Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing (3), Ordained Ministries (3).
  5. Moral theology--nine credits: Marriage (3), Christian Social and Political Ethics (3), Biomedical Ethics (3).
  6. Scripture--15 credits: two courses from Old Testament offerings (6), two courses from New Testament offerings (6), one course chosen from either set of offerings (3). These courses are to be chosen from the following: Pentateuch; Prophets; Psalms; Synoptics; John; Pauline Letters.
  7. Church history--three credits: one course chosen from the appropriate offerings.
  8. Students who are candidates for priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church must take one course in a non-Roman Catholic ecclesial tradition during the course of studies.


     Students are expected to have a reading knowledge of Latin. Since Latin is considered a prerequisite, it must be satisfied by the end of the first fall semester in the program.

Comprehensive Exam

     To qualify for the comprehensive examination, the student must have satisfied the Latin requirement and have a grade point average of 2.75 or above.  Usually the student takes the comprehensive examination during the sixth semester of study.  The subject matter of the examination is material covered in the courses in systematic and sacramental theology, moral theology, and Scripture.  Past exam questions and a list of themes and readings for review are available from the office of the Associate Dean for Seminary and Ministerial Studies.  Students may choose either three hours of written examination or one hour of oral examination before three members of the faculty.  In order to pass the comprehensive exam, a student must receive an average grade of 2.5 (on a scale of 0 to 4.0) on the exam. A candidate for the S.T.B. degree may not continue candidacy after two failures in the comprehensive examination.

Six Year Ph.B. - S.T.B. Program

     In conjunction with the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, the School of Theology and Religious Studies offers a six-year joint Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B.) and Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degree program for qualified students. This six year joint Ph.B. - S.T.B. program is an integrated program of 64 three-credit courses leading to the two degrees. To complete the program in six years requires a total of 4 courses distributed in the first two summers of the program. For more information please contact the office of the Associate Dean for Seminary and Ministerial Programs .