(Four-Year Academic Degree in Affiliation with the Pontifical University of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome)
This degree is offered under an affiliation agreement (approved by the Vatican’s Congregatio de Institutione Catholica and in keeping with the Apostolic Constitutions Sapientia Christiana and Veritatis Gaudium), with the faculty of the International Benedictine University in Rome, Italy – the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo. This degree program may be pursued independently or as a dual degree alongside of the M.A. or M.Div. degree programs.
The educational effectiveness of the degree program is measured by the successful completion of the coursework with a 3.25 GPA each semester and cumulatively, as well as the two-phase comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is comprised of a one-hour oral examination by a panel of five ecclesiastical professors, and the successful production of a directed thesis of 10,000-12,500 words which is graded by the director and second reader. Their grades and a copy of their graded thesis are then sent to Sant’ Anselmo where a professor from that University also reads and grades the thesis. The final grade and honors are determined by the faculty of Sant’ Anselmo which then grants the diploma.
The S.T.B. Degree Goals are:
- Students will acquire an organic exposition of the whole of Catholic doctrine, together with an introduction to theological scientific methodology (Sapientia Christiana, 72).
- Students will obtain a solid, organic, and complete basic instruction in theology, which will enable them either to go on to the next cycle of higher studies or to exercise some office in the Church (Norms for the Application for the Implementation of Sapientia Christiana, # 52).
Achievement of these goals is measured by means of the Comprehensive Exam process.
The Bachelor in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) is a first-level, four-year, ecclesiastical degree granted in the name of the Holy See through Saint Vincent Seminary in affiliation with the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. By virtue of its affiliation with the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Sant’ Anselmo, Saint Vincent Seminary is accredited by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education. The S.T.B. prepares one to pursue the second-level, research-oriented ecclesiastical degrees—the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.), the Licentiate in Sacred Scripture (S.S.L.), or the Licentiate in Canon Law (J.C.L.). These second-level degrees are necessary for acceptance into the third-level terminal ecclesiastical degrees—the Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.), the Doctorate in Sacred Scripture (S.S.D.), or the Doctorate in Canon Law (J.C.D.).
The S.T.B. Program at Saint Vincent Seminary is open to ordination students only. This four-year program consists of courses in five major areas: Sacred Scripture, Systematic Theology, Church History, Pastoral Studies and Languages. As such, its aims are more academically oriented than the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, which is a graduate professional degree. Courses in the S.T.B. program are designed to present an introduction to the scientific and academic study of theology and to enable each graduate to pursue further studies in the sacred sciences and to exercise appropriate responsibility in the Church.
The Learning Outcomes of the S.T.B. Program
- The theological disciplines must be taught in such a way that what is presented is an organic exposition of the whole of Catholic doctrine, together with an introduction to theological scientific methodology. (Veritatis Gaudium, Article 74. The curriculum of studies of the Faculty of Theology).
- The theological disciplines are to be taught in such a way that their organic connection is made clear, and that light be shed upon the various aspects or dimensions that pertain intrinsically to the nature of sacred doctrine. The chief ones are the biblical, patristic, historical, liturgical, and pastoral dimensions. The students are to be led to a deep grasp of the material, at the same time as they are led to form a personal synthesis, to acquire a mastery of the method of scientific research, and thus to become able to explain sacred doctrine appropriately. (Article 53 of the Norms of Application of The Congregation for Catholic Education, for the Correct Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium: Part Two: Special Norms, Section I: Faculty of Theology (Apostolic Constitution, articles 69-76)).
To receive the S.T.B. Degree at Saint Vincent Seminary, a student must be enrolled:
— solely in the Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degree program,
— in the dual Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and the S.T.B. programs.
The S.T.B. Program is an eight-semester (four-year) program of studies. M.Div. students may apply and be accepted into the S.T.B program. in the second semester of the M.Div. Program, and the S.T.B. courses from their first year of M.Div. studies may be applied to the S.T.B. Degree Program only if they have first fulfilled all the requirements of the Philosophical Formation Program according to the standards found below. Once accepted into the S.T.B. Program, a student must fulfill all the requirements of that program before the degree may be granted.
Prerequisites for the S.T.B. Program
Seminarians must satisfy the following before enrolling in the S.T.B.:
- Hold an undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree (B.A., B.S.) or equivalent.
- Completion of the application process (see below) and the payment of the application fee.
- Successful completion of an acceptable Philosophical Formation Program. By “acceptable” is meant a program of philosophical formation that meets all the requirements of The Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies in Philosophy issued by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education on January 11, 2011.
NOTICE: For those applying to the S.T.B. Program, strict rules apply as to which and how many courses may be accepted for transfer (see below: Guidelines for Transfer Credit). For those students who transfer credits to Saint Vincent Seminary for other degree programs and subsequently decide to apply for the S.T.B., all transferred credits, including their philosophical formation (pre-theology) credits, must be reevaluated and exams or remedial courses may be required before a student is accepted into the S.T.B. Program.
For those who apply directly to the S.T.B. Program, strict limits and conditions apply to all transfer credits, including those from their Philosophical Formation Program (Pre-theology). A comprehensive examination may have to be taken and some remedial courses may have to be taken.
- Acceptance by the Admissions Committee.
S.T.B. Guidelines for Transfer Credit
** No more than 25% of the S.T.B. credits may be accepted as transfer credit following the criteria below:
- There is an automatic transfer of credits from Catholic ecclesiastical faculties (or similar institutions: aggregated, or affiliated theological institutes). In this case students must complete only those courses that are lacking.
- There is no automatic transfer of credits from non-Catholic schools of theology (i.e., non-ecclesiastical faculties or civil or denominational schools). Depending on the degree the student earned there (Doctorate, Masters, etc.), students should do the entire (or at least most) of our Philosophical Formation Program/S.T.B. Program, as determined by the Academic Dean of the Seminary.
- There is no automatic transfer of credits from nonaffiliated seminaries (i.e., seminaries that do not have ecclesiastical faculties). In this case students should do at least the major part of the Philosophical Formation Program/S.T.B. Program at Saint Vincent. They will be given an oral examination by the Saint Vincent faculty members who teach the course/s being considered for transfer. If they do not achieve at least a “B” grade on these exams, then the credit may not be transferred and the course/s must be retaken at Saint Vincent.
- There is a nearly automatic transfer of credits from affiliated seminaries (i.e. seminaries who have their faculties through affiliation with other Catholic ecclesiastical faculties). Once more, the curriculum of the student will be considered by the Academic Dean, and any gaps must be filled.
Requirements while in the S.T.B. Program
Seminarians must satisfy the following:
- The required S.T.B. curriculum (comprised primarily of courses from the four-year M.Div. curriculum).
- Successful completion of one year (two semesters) of Latin or Greek language study.
- A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in S.T.B. coursework (no rounding up of GPA).
- Successful completion (86% = “B” or better) of two seminar research papers of at least 3,750 words (approximately 15 pages), not including footnotes or bibliography, written for Saint Vincent Seminary courses, which are to be submitted with the application for S.T.B. oral examinations.
- Successful completion of the two-part comprehensive exam:
– The writing of a 40 to 50 page thesis (see description below).
– Oral comprehensive examinations* (see description below).
The S.T.B. Curriculum (2021)
(the number following each course title is the credit hour total for that course)
- SC 810: The Primary History of Ancient Israel 3
- SC 811: Wisdom Literature and Psalms 3
- SC 812: Prophetic Literature 3
- SC 806: NT Exegesis, Mark and Matthew 3
- SC 807: Luke-Acts and the NT Epistles 3
- SC 816: Writings of Saint Paul 3
- SC 817: Johannine Literature 3
Total: 21 Credits
- TH 820: Fundamental Theology 3
- TH 821: Christian Anthropology and Grace 3
- TH 832: Christology 3
- TH 833: Trinity 3
- TH 834: Ecclesiology, Missiology, and Ecumenism 3
- TH 835: The Sacraments of Initiation 3
- TH 840: Fundamental Liturgy 2
- TH 850: Principles of Moral Theology 3
- TH 851: Catholic Biomedical Ethics and Medical Ethics for Priestly Ministry 3
- TH 852: Catholic Sexual Ethics 3
- TH 853: Catholic Social Ethics 3
- TH 864: Mariology 2
- TH 865: Theology of Priesthood and Celibacy 3
- TH 866: Sacraments: Mysteries of Healing 3
Total: 40 Credits
Pastoral and Spiritual Theology:
- PST 750: Pastoral Theology 3
- PST 734: Introduction to Canon Law 3
- PST 740: Pastoral Care of Marriage and Families . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
- PST 735: Canon Law and Sacraments 3
Total: 11 Credits
- HS 870: Patrology 3
- HS 871: Medieval to Counter-Reformation Church History 3
- HS 872: Modern Church History 3
- HS 873: Catholic Church in the U.S. 3
Total: 12 Credits
TWO 3-credit elective seminars, one of which must be in Sacred Scripture
and one in Systematic or Moral Theology.
Total 6 Credits
- PA 712: Catechetics 2
- PA 722: Homiletics I 3
- PA 723: Homiletics II 3
Total: 8 Credits
Total Credits: 98
(Equivalent to 196 ECTS)*