Liturgical Studies

The Sacred Theology Doctorate in Liturgical Studies focuses primarily upon the liturgical historical development of services with an accentuation upon the theological development through the centuries as the vehicle of a living theology of Christian Worship.

The Doctor of Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) is an academic degree conferred only after a candidate with a basic, tested theological orientation and proven competence in one area of specialization has shown ability for achievement in scholarly research and publication.

Sacramental Theology

The Sacred Theology Doctorate in Sacramental Theology focuses primarily upon the theological understanding of liturgical services in light of their historical development. This concentration attends to these matters with a focus on issues in sacramental theology as these relate to the method and content of historical/systematic theology.

The Doctor of Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) is an academic degree conferred only after a candidate with a basic, tested theological orientation and proven competence in one area of specialization has shown ability for achievement in scholarly research and publication.


  • Possession of the S.T.L. degree from The Catholic University of America or from another ecclesiastical faculty or university or a graduate degree in theology that demonstrates equivalency to the S.T.L. requirements. Students whose preparation (S.T.L. or equivalent) is in an area of concentration differing from that proposed for the S.T.D. will be required to take additional courses and/or pass the licentiate comprehensive examination in their new academic area of study.
  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or better in S.T.L. work or that which has been accepted as its equivalent.
  • A letter of intent stating the proposed area of concentration, previous preparation in that area, and anticipated achievements.
  • The results of the Graduate Record Examination, GRE, or Miller Analogies Test, MAT. However, GRE scores (vs. MAT) are necessary for applicants to be considered for most university scholarships.
  • Non-native English-speakers should demonstrate evidence of English proficiency through submission of Test of English as a Foreign Language, TOEFL, scores or through some other means.
  • At least three academic letters of recommendation.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in Latin and biblical Greek. In addition, the student should have a reading proficiency in either French or German.


  • 12 semester hours of credits selected from the doctoral seminars relevant to the student's area of concentration/proposed research topic. Normally, these will be 800-level courses in the student's academic area. Any course taken to fulfill this requirement must require (or make provision for) a substantial research paper.
  • The Proseminar in Research and Dissertation Methodology (noncredit) is required of all candidates in their first semester in the program (except those who have the S.T.L. from the School of Theology and Religious Studies).
  • No more than six credit hours of coursework in the academic area plus dissertation guidance may be taken during any one of the four semesters of work in the S.T.D. program, for a total of nine semester hours per semester.
  • The student must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in Latin, Biblical Greek, and one modern language are prerequisites. Any student entering the S.T.D. program without them must satisfy these requirements by the end of the first fall semester in the program. Reading proficiency in a second modern language, i.e., French or German, must be demonstrated through successful completion of the school's modern language requirements (in both general and theological usage). This is ordinarily done during the first semester of matriculation. It is expected that all language requirements be satisfied by the end of the semester in which the student's dissertation proposal is submitted to the faculty for approval. Exceptions to this rule can be made only with the approval of the associate dean for graduate studies.
  • Four successive semesters of dissertation guidance over and above the 12 credit hours of doctoral seminars are required. The candidate may choose (or, if circumstances require, will be assigned) a faculty adviser upon entering the program. The faculty adviser chosen or assigned may be changed with the approval of the academic area director.
  • Prior to defense of the doctoral dissertation, the student must pass a comprehensive oral examination (lectio) based on the origins, history, and contemporary status of the entire major area suggested by the topic of the dissertation.
  • Each candidate must prepare and successfully defend a dissertation written under the guidance of a director. The dissertation is expected to demonstrate technical mastery of the subject and the ability to engage in scholarly research and to formulate conclusions significant to the academic theological community.
  • The residency requirement for the S.T.D. is four semesters in full-time enrollment. Students who have completed the S.T.L. at The Catholic University of America or in an institution with requirements judged equivalent by the Admissions Committee require only two semesters of residence, followed by such extended residence as is needed during the preparation of the dissertation.