The Master of Sacred Theology (STM) provides advanced training for those who have already graduated with a standard MDiv degree or its equivalent.
The Master of Sacred Theology degree designed for those who have graduated from a standard three-year seminary program and desire an additional year of advanced studies in preparation for Christian service and advanced theological study including doctoral work.
STM students can study in one of two options: the academic track or the ministry track.
Sample academic track courses include:
- Hebrew Exegesis
- New Testament Exegesis
- History of Doctrine
- History of Philosophy
- Interpretive Progressive Revelation
Sample ministry track courses include:
- Pastoral Theology and Leadership
- Advanced Expository Preaching
- Dynamics of a Christian Marriage
- Theological and Psychological Foundations of Counseling
- Spiritual Disciplines
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The program leading to the Master of Sacred Theology degree is open to those who have graduated from a standard three-year seminary program and hold the degree of Master of Divinity or its equivalent. The STM is designed to provide opportunity for additional and advanced studies in the theological disciplines in preparation for Christian service and advanced theological study.
To enable students to:
- interpret competently the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible;
- understand the major areas of systematic theology and their historical development;
- demonstrate Christlike leadership;
- communicate the Bible and/or theology effectively;
- critically address contemporary issues within their chosen area of study; and
- charitably interact with the ideas of others.
To enable students to evidence an increasing likeness to Christ as manifested in love for God, love for others, and the fruit of the Spirit.
To enable students to:
- communicate the Bible effectively
- demonstrate skills in various ministries
- lead a local church or other group by means of biblical exposition, leadership skills, evangelism, and service; and
- be prepared for advanced theological education
Admission requirements and application procedures for the STM program are the same as for all programs of study at the seminary with three exceptions: (1) students who desire to pursue studies toward this degree must present at the time of application approved college and seminary degrees or their respective academic and theological equivalents; (2) transcripts of this work must show a grade point average of at least 2.5 on a scale of 4.0; and (3) applicants must provide a research paper, in English, previously written at the master’s level that shows an acceptable level of competency in research and writing.
Each applicant’s evaluation for admission to the STM program will include a review of the applicant’s completed MDiv (or equivalent) coursework to ensure the appropriate breadth of preparation necessary to pursue the STM degree. Identified deficiencies must be completed in addition to the following program requirements. On acceptance, STM students will receive a preliminary degree plan outlining how many hours will be required for their program.
All STM students must demonstrate exegetical proficiency in Greek and Hebrew. Students who do not have the appropriate Hebrew and Greek courses at the Master of Divinity level will also be required to take the prerequisite Hebrew and Greek courses as necessary (OT5101-5102, NT5101-NT5103).
Students who have had Hebrew or Greek at the MDiv level will need to pass a Hebrew or Greek proficiency exam before enrolling in OT5103 or NT5104. Failure to pass the exams will require the student to enroll in first-year language courses. Prerequisite courses in Hebrew or Greek, if required, will not count toward the 32-hour requirement for the STM degree.
The STM degree normally requires 32 semester hours of coursework. Students pursuing this degree individually customize their program for their intended ministry goals by selecting courses from one of the following departments of choice (selected in conjunction with Academic Advising): Biblical Counseling, Bible Exposition, Educational Ministries and Leadership, Historical Theology, Media Arts and Worship, Pastoral Ministries, Systematic Theology, or World Missions. For a description of courses offered, please see the catalog.
Transfer of Credit
Transfer of up to six credit hours is allowed towards the STM degree from accredited graduate theological schools. Only courses completed after the conferral of the MDiv degree, and in which a grade of C or better is earned, will be eligible for transfer. Transferability of credits earned at this institution and transferred to another school is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the Registrar’s Office for further information.
Of the 32 semester hours of coursework required for graduation, 14 hours must be taken face-to-face. In most cases it will be necessary for STM students to be enrolled in a minimum of three semesters of study, which can include summer school.
All work leading to the STM degree must be completed within six years from the time of matriculation. Extension requires approval by the Credits Committee. Reinstatement in the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree.
Admission to Candidacy
Students may be admitted to candidacy by action of the faculty for the STM degree in the fall or spring semester prior to the semester/term of degree conferral or the semester prior to their participation in the Commencement ceremony after these requirements have been met: (1) grade point average of 2.5; (2) evidence, to the satisfaction of the faculty, of proven Christian character and adherence to the following doctrines: the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the spiritual lostness of the human race, the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and the physical return of Christ; (3) provision of a written statement of church involvement from the local church regularly attended while in seminary; and (4) provision of a reference form completed by a pastor or spiritual overseer.
Admission to candidacy is valid for one year. Students who postpone degree conferral beyond one year from original admission to candidacy or who postpone participation in the commencement ceremony until the following spring will be required to reapply for admission to candidacy.
Candidates for the STM degree must have completed the required 32 semester hours of coursework with a grade point average of at least 2.5, and must evidence, to the satisfaction of the faculty, ability and acceptability in Christian ministry, proven Christian character, and adherence to the doctrines stated in the Admission to Candidacy section.
Diplomas will not be released, transcripts issued, or placement assistance provided unless all financial obligations to the seminary and/or student loan program are current.