THE MASTER OF SACRED THEOLOGY (STM)
The STM program is an academic, interdisciplinary, graduate-level degree in theological studies, intended to enable students to deepen their theological understanding through advanced study. The candidate for the STM will be a student who holds a first theological Master’s degree, normally the MDiv, or its academic equivalent. The STM degree program offers persons contemplating an academic career in theological study an opportunity to test such a vocation before making a commitment to a doctoral program. As a continuing education resource, the STM Program challenges students to undertake serious study of a kind not generally available to the clergy: academically rigorous, focused within the unique tradition of Anglicanism, and grounded in the daily prayer of the Church.
The STM course offerings include seminars in areas such as biblical studies, church history, theology, liturgy, and Christian spirituality. The research component of the STM program is a thesis of approximately 25,000-35,000 words. The students are guided through the thesis preparation process and trained in the skills necessary through a two-part, non-credit seminar in which the student is equipped with the necessary skills for writing a thesis.
The STM is an interdisciplinary graduate-level degree in theological studies culminating in a thesis. Appropriate areas of study include biblical studies, the history of the Church and its theology, liturgy, and spirituality. Students must complete 18 hours (6 courses) of coursework and 6 credit hours of thesis research and preparation. There is no required area of concentration in the STM program. Courses are offered in areas such as the following:
Biblical Studies. Courses in this area typically offer in-depth exegesis of particular books or particular corpora of Scripture. The emphasis of such courses will fall broadly in the category of canonical hermeneutics or theological interpretation. Thus, the purpose will be both to penetrate the message of the text in its historical context as well as to consider other contributions of the text to the contemporary life and needs of the Church: its theological and ethical emphases, its potential for proclamation, and its liturgical appropriation. The student who desires to concentrate in Biblical Studies must demonstrate proficiency with the Biblical languages.
Church History. Seminars in this area of study will offer in-depth examinations of particular topics and themes in church history, especially as they have had an impact on Anglicanism. Particular emphasis will be placed on the catholic tradition within the Anglican Communion.
Theology. Seminars in this area provide an opportunity to examine developments in Christian theology and their impact on the Anglican tradition—as well as distinctive contributions of the Anglican tradition to the whole of Christian theology.
Liturgy. Courses in this area emphasize the history of Christian worship, particularly as it is seen in the Anglican tradition. Seminars reflect the whole breadth and depth of Anglican worship in both its historic and contemporary expressions. In keeping with Nashotah House’s unique history and ethos, particular emphasis will be placed on the history and practice of worship in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. The student who desires to concentrate in Liturgy must have a minimum of 6 credit hours in Liturgical studies. This requirement can be met by completing Nashotah House’s Distance education Liturgy Module.
Christian Spirituality. Courses in this area afford an opportunity for a deeper exploration of the history and literature of Christian spirituality. Seminars examine the process of spiritual formation as it has been viewed in both eastern and western Christianity. Seminars in this area explore the relationship between spirituality, theology, and liturgy. The student who desires to concentrate in Christian Spirituality (Ascetical Theology) must have a minimum of 6 credit hours in Ascetical Theology. This requirement can be met by completing Nashotah House’s Distance education Ascetical Theology Module.
Coursework. The STM degree program is designed for those students who wish to earn an advanced theological degree and who are available to take residential courses of two-weeks in length during the summer months. STM courses are also offered in a one-week intensive format during Epiphany (January) Term.
The STM student is required to complete 18 semester hours of coursework and six hours of thesis work for a total of 24 semester hours. Students are encouraged to make course selections to coordinate with the area of their intended thesis. The STM program can be completed with no fewer than two Petertide Term residencies and over no more than six years without specific permission for an extension. First year students can register for no more than two courses in one four-week Petertide term (July). Returning students may take three courses in one four-week Petertide term if a petition has been approved by the graduate committee. If the request for a three course Petertide is granted, the student may register for only six credits of the nine credits in any one two-week session. Each course meets for three hours each day—either in the morning, afternoon, or evening—for two weeks. Each course will consist of 30 contact hours and will carry three-semester hours credit.
Thesis. Thesis preparation constitutes 6 credit hours of work. The thesis will be 25,000-35,000 words in length. The STM thesis is a focused and advanced piece of academic research on a theological topic of consequence and of interest to the student. The thesis demonstrates the student’s competency in research, critical analysis, synthesis, and the ability to construct a cohesive argument. As such, the STM thesis is both a fitting culmination to the program and excellent preparation for further graduate study.
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