The Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) in Historical Theology is an academic degree conferred only after a student with a basic theological competence in a specialized area of historical or systematic theology has demonstrated ability for further scholarly research and publication.

The S.T.D. program consists of a limited number of seminars chosen with a possible dissertation topic in mind, ongoing direction from a faculty adviser, and the preparation and defense of a dissertation that contributes to theological scholarship.


  • Possession of the S.T.L. degree from the School of Theology and Religious Studies or from another ecclesiastical faculty; in the case of an S.T.L. earned elsewhere, additional seminars may be required so that a student’s preparation will be equivalent to the S.T.L. at Catholic University.  Students whose preparation is in an area of concentration other than Historical or Systematic Theology will be required to take additional courses and/or pass the licentiate comprehensive examination in the area of historical and systematic theology
  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3 for the S.T.L. or its equivalent.
  • A letter of intent stating the proposed area of concentration, previous preparation in that area, and anticipated achievements.
  • Submission of Graduate Record Examination scores or Miller Analogies Test score; in the case of students whose first language is not English, the results of TOEFL must also be submitted.
  • Three letters of recommendation sent to the admissions office by persons who are in a position to judge the applicant's ability for doctoral studies in historical and systematic theology.


  • During their first year, all students are required to attend the four proseminars that are offered for licentiate and doctoral students; students who fulfilled this requirement in the S.T.L. program are not required to repeat these proseminars.
  • Each S.T.D. student must complete a minimum of four doctoral seminars (12 credits) at the 800-level); all of these courses require a substantial research paper (of approximately 5000-7000 words).  S.T.D. students must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. No more than six credit hours of theology courses plus dissertation guidance may be taken during any of the four semesters in the STD program.
  • S.T.D. students must register for dissertation guidance (997) for each of their four semesters in the S.T.D. program.  Students should choose a dissertation director, with the approval of the area chair, as early as possible in their S.T.D. program. S.T.D. students must maintain continuous registration until completion of all their requirements or obtain a leave of absence. The directives for research guidance on the doctoral level also apply on the licentiate level.
  • Latin: Successful completion of the Latin Proficiency Examination, administered by the Historical/Systematic area.  The Latin requirement should ordinarily be satisfied by the end of the first fall semester in the program.
  • Greek: Successful completion of a reading course in either biblical or patristic Greek or passing an examination in either biblical or patristic Greek, depending on the student’s area of concentration.
  • Modern Language: [1] A reading ability in both German and a romance language (French, Italian, Spanish) must be demonstrated by successful completion of the university modern language examination or by an intensive language course (500: "Reading for Comprehension"). [2] In addition, a student must demonstrate  knowledge of the theological usage of these modern languages by satisfactory translation of a theological passage through a test administered by the Historical/Systematic area.   The requirement in theological usage in German may also be fulfilled by passing TRS 504 "Theological German.