Master of Sacred Theology (STM)


The Master of Sacred Theology (STM) is an advanced graduate professional degree for those who wish to pursue a year of more advanced coursework focusing on a particular discipline. The degree is not considered probationary for the doctorate. Applicants must hold a first-level graduate degree in theology, religion, or other discipline appropriate for advanced theological study and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

STM candidates withdrawing from the STM program to apply for the PhD must submit a new application and may not transfer STM credits if they were deemed ineligible for admission to the doctoral program at the time of their initial STM application. Only 900-level courses will be considered for transfer, by petition to the Advanced Studies Committee (ASC).

Curriculum Requirements

The STM program requires eight semester courses (24 credits). A minimum of five semester courses are required in the primary discipline, plus three electives. Six of the eight required courses must be taken at Boston University. All courses must be taken at the 800 or 900 level. Courses at the 700 level are not open for credit to STM students.

A maximum of three of the eight semester courses may be fulfilled through directed studies (including one for thesis writing, by approved Thesis Petition).

Students in the STM program may enroll in formal study of any biblical, classical, or ancient Near Eastern languages appropriate to their major for full credit toward the degree, up to a maximum of 9 credits (the requirement of 800-level or higher courses does not apply in these cases).

STM students who are registered full-time must complete the degree within two semesters. In all cases, STM students must earn the degree within two years (four semesters) of the semester of matriculation.

For all classes, a minimum grade of B− is required. No grade lower than B− is acceptable for use in satisfying the requirements for the Master of Sacred Theology.

Tuition Scholarships: Tuition Scholarships are awarded for the academic year, September to May. All awards are for a maximum of one academic year of full-time STM study.

All STM students are required to either pass a written, two-hour comprehensive exam or to write a thesis. The presumed culmination for all admitted STM students is the written comprehensive exam. Students who want to write a thesis must petition to do so using the STM Thesis Petition Form (Appendix A in the STM Handbook). Students must complete this form, which includes the signature of an advisor willing to support the thesis-writing process. Each student must submit the completed Petition Form, a brief proposal of the topic of the thesis (up to two pages in length), a one-page bibliography, and an academic writing sample (fewer than 20 pages) to the School of Theology thesis coordinator during the first semester of STM coursework. The deadline for submission of the Petition Form is December 5 for students who matriculate in the Fall Semester, and April 5 for students who matriculate in the Spring Semester. The thesis coordinator will file the request with the thesis advisor and the ASC. Students pursuing the thesis option may count it as equivalent to one course (3 credits) if they register for a directed study with the major advisor/professor. The thesis is graded; a minimum grade of B− is required. The thesis must be submitted in approved format.

Further courses may be required for certain disciplines. For example, candidates in biblical studies may be expected to have at least one year of Hebrew or Greek before admission or to include it in their course of study and receive one-half the credit for the number of hours.