Santa Clara University

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


The Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) is a two-year Roman Catholic ecclesiastical degree in advanced theological study which gives students two full years of study beyond the Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) and Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree. The STL degree is suggested for lay, clergy and religious to further theological expertise for service in official capacities in religious communities and dioceses, and for teaching in higher education, diocesan schools and seminaries.


JST-SCU welcomes the application of all qualified persons who wish to pursue the STL program. For detailed admission application information, please click here.


  1. The M.Div. or S.T.B. must have been completed, with an overall 3.0 (B) average, within the previous five years at the Jesuit School or at a comparable theological center.  Requests for exceptions will be considered by the Admissions Committee and the Academic Dean.
  2. A "suitable knowledge of the Latin language" is required.  This is understood to be a working reading knowledge sufficient to use ecclesiastical documents in Latin.  This requirement can be met either by coursework, generally two semesters, or by an examination. 
  3. The completion of 24 hours of philosophy.

Degree Requirements

Two year's residence is required in the STL program, even though students may complete all degree requirements in less time. All work for the STL program must be completed within four calendar years from the date of initial registration in the program.

  1. The student must choose an area of specialization at the time of admission to the program. The specialization may be in any area of concentration within JST-SCU, i.e., Biblical, Historical, Systematic, Moral, Pastoral or Liturgical theology, or Christian spirituality.
  2. Twenty-four semester units of course work are required in addition to the courses counted toward the STB degree. One of these courses should be in the methodology appropriate to the area of specialization. Normally, courses must be 4000 level or above. A procedure for upgrading courses at the 2000 or 3000 level is outlined in the Guidelines for Advanced Master's Degrees.
  3. Demonstration of skill in one modern language other than the student's native language. This may be done by evaluation in course work or by taking the language exams provided for the MA and Graduate Theological Union (GTU) doctoral students. For specialization in Biblical studies, the student must also demonstrate a suitable knowledge of one of the Biblical languages.
  4. Demonstration of a working reading knowledge of the Latin language sufficient to use ecclesiastical documents in Latin. This is a prerequisite for the program, but students will be allowed to complete the Latin prerequisite while in STL studies at JST-SCU.
  5. In consultation with the advisor, students will select one of the following two options for completing the program.
  • The student is responsible for registering for 9 semester units of research work which culminate in a thesis (of at least 75 pages) directed by a full-time permanent member of the JST-SCU faculty. The thesis director should also serve as the student's academic advisor for most of the degree program, including course work.
  • With the advice of the director, the student chooses one other competent reader for the thesis, and submits his or her name to the Academic Dean for approval. The grade for the thesis units will be the average of the evaluations given by the director and the other reader. In particular cases, a third member may be appointed to the thesis committee.
  • A one-hour oral examination on the STL thesis will be administered by the thesis committee.
Comprehensive Exam and Extended Research Paper
  • 6 units of comprehensive preparation.
  • 3 units of preparation for the extended research paper.
  • Successful completion of a written comprehensive examination which may be supplemented with an oral examination if the student's Comprehensive Committee deems it necessary in light of the written examination.
  • The production and oral defense of a 30-50 page extended research paper, representing an outgrowth of a research paper written in an advanced level course demonstrating familiarity with the relevant methods of the field, with the scholarly literature of the field, and demonstrating a thesis statement.
  1. Students who complete an STL degree can also receive a Master of Theology (ThM) degree concurrently by submitting a request to the Academic Dean. No extra academic work is necessary.
  2. All work for the degree must be completed within four years after the first registration.
Program Brochures
Contact Information

Please refer all inquires, including requests for application forms, directly to:

Admissions Department

Maureen Beckman

Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management and Marketing
Phone: 510-549-5016

Grace Hogan
Associate Director of Enrollment Management
Phone: 510-549-5013


Mailing Address:
1735 LeRoy Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709