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Master of Sacred Theology (STM)

Master of Sacred Theology | S.T.M.

The Master of Sacred Theology is a research degree for students holding the M.Div. or an M.A. in Theology or equivalent degree who want to delve deeper into a particular area of theological study. The program requires 30 hours of coursework, including a thesis. The program is very flexible, allowing students to design a course of study aligned with their own research interests.

Program Overview

Zero Student Debt

Our goal is for every student to graduate with no debt. Our donor-sponsored financial assistance makes that possible.


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Total: $0.00


$480 per Credit Hour
*Tuition cost is subject to change. Additional costs may apply.

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Total: $14,400


Students emphasize one area of study in preparation for a final thesis project. The program consists of 7 courses and a thesis year.

Total: 30 Credits

Expected Timeline

Full-time students can finish the program in 3 years and part-time students can take up to 5 years.

Total: 3-5 Years

*Additional costs may apply. (Application fee, books, costs associated with researching and producing the independent projects or the final project or thesis, etc.) are also the responsibility of the participant.

Course of Study

Students in the STM program emphasize one area of study in preparation for a final thesis project. Students can focus on Biblical Theology, Philosophical Theology, Ethics, Historical Theology, or Systematic Theology.

Course Requirements Credit Hours
A Total of 30 Credits from the Following:
PTE 750: Methodology and Approaches to Graduate Study 3 Credits
Six (6) Courses at the 700 or 800 Level 18 Credits
Thesis Proposal 3 Credits
STM Thesis 6 Credits

*All work must be in the student’s field of study.

Thesis Requirements

Language: S.T.M.-level Old Testament courses require basic competency in Hebrew (BT 508 or equivalent) and S.T.M.-level New Testament courses require basic competency in New Testament Greek (BT 505 or equivalent).

STM Thesis course (BT 799, HST 799 or PTE 799): If the thesis committee approves the proposal, the student enrolls in the STM Thesis course as an independent study. This course can be continued through the following semester, if needed. The student completes the research and writing of the thesis during this time, in consultation with the advisor. The thesis should use the Chicago Style (guidelines are available from the Librarian.) The thesis must include:

  • Title page
  • Copyright page
  • Signatory page
  • Librarian Certification page
  • Table of Contents
  • Text of thesis
  • Bibliography

Library Access: Because students at the S.T.M. level will be expected to write research papers for their classes, as well as complete a thesis paper, students will be expected to work closely with library services, which will aid in the finding and use of research materials.

Thesis Requirement: A 50-75 page (12,000-20,000 word) thesis paper is required for completion of the degree.

Thesis Research Course (BT 798, HST 798 or PTE 798): This is a readings course on the student’s proposed thesis topic. The student and his or her advisor agree on a reading program before the start of the semester. The student reads independently, meeting with his or her advisor regularly for consultation.

Thesis Proposal: In consultation with a thesis advisor, the student develops a thesis proposal (900 words). At least 60 days prior to the first day of classes in the semester when the student will enroll in the STM Thesis course, the student submits the proposal to a thesis committee. The thesis committee consists of 2-3 faculty members (including the advisor), at least one of whom should be a member of ILT’s permanent faculty.

Thesis Defense: When the thesis is completed and approved by the advisor, the student schedules a defense of the thesis. The defense occurs before the last day of classes within the semester. The student should supply the members of the committee with a copy of the thesis in good time to allow them to read and comment on it. The Thesis Committee determines the final grade for the thesis, which is the grade for the Thesis course. The student provides a bound copy of the completed thesis to the ILT Library. (Consult the Librarian for guidelines on printing and binding the thesis.)

After completing this program, students will be able to:

  • Analyze and critique primary and secondary texts with respect to their underlying assumptions and presuppositions, along with their logical consistency and coherency.
  • Articulate their own tradition’s perspective within their area of specialization, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of other biblical and theological traditions.
  • Ground theological interpretations pertaining to their stated areas of focus upon the biblical texts, in historical dogmatic developments, and within the contemporary intellectual and cultural context.
  • Formulate useful research questions and develop research strategies using standard scholarly tools and methods in their stated areas of focus.
  • Undertake graduate level, theological research and writing, culminating in a capstone thesis.
  • Exhibit a spirit of openness in theological discourse and interaction.
Application requirements include:
  • Prior completion of an M.Div. degree, an M.A. in theology or closely related field of study, or a related degree demonstrating preparation for advanced theological work.
  • Completion of online application for Masters of Sacred Theology degree. Three recommendations from individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s academic performance.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions. Applicants are required to have their official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions from all of the institutions attended. Transcripts must demonstrate a minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 point scale or equivalent. (Applicants with a GPA of less than 3.00 may be admitted on Academic Probation.)
  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) that is not more than two years old. Normally, minimum acceptable scores for the TOEFL are 26 on the speaking section and 24 on the writing section. Minimum acceptable scores on the IELTS are 8 on the speaking section and 6.5 on the writing section. Please request that your score be sent to ILT. ILT’s DI Code for the TOEFL is 5745. More information concerning TOEFL can be accessed at the Education Testing Services website. Information regarding the IELTS can be found at their IELTS website.
  • Non-Refundable Application Fee
  • Copy of official photo ID.
  • An admissions interview with the Director of S.T.M. Program.

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