The Dominican House of Studies

Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.)

The degree of Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology provides the student with a solid, organic, and complete instruction in theology at the basic level, enabling graduates to pursue further studies in the sacred sciences.

Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.)

This is a prerequisite for the further specialization of the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (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.

Program Facts


Enrolled Students

2 years

Average Duration


Average Total Cost*

Learning Objectives

Upon the successful completion of this degree students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a general and integrated foundational knowledge of Catholic doctrine in the areas of Sacred Scripture, Systematic Theology, and Moral Theology.

  • Manifest a basic knowledge of theological scientific methodology from a Thomistic perspective.

  • Engage in further studies in the sacred science of sacred theology.

Getting Started


The S.T.B. program is open to qualified students who are not candidates for the M.Div. or the ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. The following prerequisites for admission will be evaluated by the Committee on Admissions which may, in individual cases, allow the student to remedy particular deficiencies during the first year of the program


  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

  • Superior achievement and the ability to pursue graduate work as indicated by the transcript of previous studies (with a minimum GPA of 3.00).

  • Three letters of recommendation by persons who are in a position to judge the applicant’s ability in this academic area, along with a current photo and a completed application form.

  • Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) indicating aptitude for graduate studies in theology if one has no previous graduate work. The PFIC is listed under Dominican House of Studies, code 2498.

  • An undergraduate foundation in philosophy, consisting of a minimum of 36 credit hours in all the systematic and historical tracts: i.e., logic, philosophy of nature, metaphysics, philosophy of knowledge, philosophical anthropology, philosophical ethics, ancient philosophy, introduction to Thomas Aquinas, medieval philosophy, modern philosophy, and recent philosophy.

  • A reading knowledge of Latin.

Philosophical Preparation

To prepare students for the study of theology according to the apostolic constitution for ecclesiastical faculties, Veritatis Gaudium, all students will be required, unless they present an unusually strong preparation in philosophy, to follow two full years (a minimum of 36 credit hours) of courses in historical and systematic philosophy.

Course Work

A minimum of 87 semester hours of credit is required according to the following distribution:

Foundational (15 credits)

  • Nature and Method of Theology (3)
  • Principles of Christian Moral Life I and II (6)
  • Introduction to Church Law (3)
  • Liturgiology (3)

Systematic Theology (15 credits)

  • Triune God (3)
  • Creation and the Human Person (3)
  • Theology of Grace (3)
  • Christology (3)
  • Ecclesiology (3)

Sacramental Theology (9 credits)

  • Sacraments: Theology and Initiation (3)
  • Eucharist (3)
  • Orders (3)

Moral Theology (9 credits)

  • Theological Virtues (3)
  • Cardinal and Moral Virtues (3)
  • Christian Social and Sexual Teaching (3)

Scripture (18 credits)

  • Three courses from Old Testament offerings (9)
  • Three courses from New Testament offerings (9)

Church History (6 credits)

  • Two courses chosen from the appropriate offerings

Electives (15 credits)

  • Five courses chosen from the appropriate offerings

Language Requirements

Students are expected to demonstrate, either by written examination or six credits of coursework, a reading knowledge of Latin and New Testament Greek. Since Latin is considered a prerequisite, this requirement must be satisfied within the first year of study. Reading knowledge of New Testament Greek must be satisfied by the end of the second year. Language proficiency exams are offered twice per semester. Candidates for the licentiate are also encouraged to study the languages necessary for the S.T.L. program.

Grade Point Average

The student must maintain a grade point average of 3.25 or above during the S.T.B. program.

Comprehensive Examination

To qualify for the comprehensive examination, the student must have satisfied the Latin and Greek requirements and have a grade point average of 3.25 or above. The awarding of the S.T.B. degree depends upon the successful completion of the comprehensive examination and a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or above from all required courses. Usually the student takes the comprehensive examination during the sixth semester of study. The subject matter is material covered in the courses in systematic and sacramental theology, moral theology, and Scripture. In order to pass the comprehensive exam, a student must receive an average grade of 3.25 on the exam. A candidate for the S.T.B. degree may not continue candidacy after two failures in the comprehensive examination.

The examination has two parts:

Part One: Written Component. A three-hour written examination in which the candidate for the S.T.B. will be asked to write on three themes (theses), one each from the assigned areas of sacred scripture, systematic theology, and moral theology. In each area the candidate will be able to choose from three possible questions. The principal purpose of the written component of the S.T.B. examination will be to test the candidate’s ability to expose theological materials, with the special emphasis (as appropriate) on the pertinent contributions of historical and positive theology. A candidate must score a 3.25 on the written component before being admitted to the oral component.

Part Two: Oral Component A three-quarter-of-an-hour examination before three faculty members who will examine the candidate in the three assigned areas. Questions may be drawn from any of the twenty-sx themes. The principal purpose of the oral component of the examination will be to test the candidate’s ability to order these materials towards a reasoned theological judgment or conclusion.

Students who fail the first attempt of either their written or oral exam will be able to take the exam a second time. However, they will only be able to receive the minimum required passing average grade of 3.25 on their second attempt and will be ineligible for academic honors. If a student receives below a 2.0 in any of the three areas on the oral exam, the entire oral component of the exam will need to be taken again in all three areas.

The themes for the Bachelor of Sacred Theology comprehensive exam can be found here.


The residency requirement for the S.T.B. degree is six semesters.

Model Curriculum

Pre-Theology (Fall Semester)

  • Elementary Latin I
  • Early and Medieval Church History
  • Elementary Greek I

Pre-Theology (Spring Semester)

  • Elementary Latin II
  • Reformation and Modern Church History
  • Elementary Greek II

I Theology (Fall Semester)

  • Pentateuch
  • Nature and Method of Theology
  • Principles of Christian Moral Life I
  • Synoptic Gospels

I Theology (Spring Semester)

  • Prophets of Israel
  • Triune God
  • Principles of Christian Moral Life II
  • Johannine Writings
  • Catholic Social and Sexual Teaching

II Theology (Fall Semester)

  • Wisdom Literature
  • Creation and the Human Person
  • Theological Virtues
  • Sacraments: Theology and Initiation
  • Basic Elements of Christology

II Theology (Spring Semester)

  • Ecclesiology
  • Theology of Grace
  • Cardinal and Moral Virtues
  • Sacrament of the Eucharist
  • Elective

III Theology (Fall Semester)

  • Sacrament of Orders
  • Introduction to Church Law
  • Elective
  • Elective

III Theology (Spring Semester)

  • Pauline Letters
  • Liturgiology
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Comprehensive Exam

*Total or average cost does not include books, materials, or living expenses. This cost also assumes that appropriate philosophy studies have been completed.


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