Master of Sacred Theology Program at Concordia Seminary

Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.)

The purpose of studying for the degree of Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) is to acquire a special competence in some field of theological learning, and to gain skill in effectively using the tools and results of theological research.

The Master of Sacred Theology degree is appropriate for clergy who hold a Master of Divinity degree and seek to do further work. It is more general than the Ph.D. A student who completes the S.T.M. Program may apply for admission to the Ph.D. Program. Before completing the S.T.M., a student also may request a rollover into the Ph.D. Program.


Applications are considered by the Advanced Studies Committee (ASC) at set times throughout the year. All application materials must be received, in their entirety, by Feb. 28 (Nov. 30 for international students) each year in order for an applicant to be considered for admission.

General Procedures

  • All applications presenting adequate qualifications for acceptance are considered by the ASC and are approved or declined by it.
  • All applications are considered in their totality. It should be noted that a student who meets stated requirements is not in any way assured of admission.
  • Neither grade-point average nor GRE scores are the sole consideration. It should be noted, however, that a grade-point average below the minimum standard or GRE scores below the 50th percentile constitute sufficient cause for declining admission to any of the graduate programs. Scores more than 5 years old may not be submitted for consideration.
  • The procedure for the acceptance of Ph.D. students is more complex than that for the other degrees. The following is the regular procedure:
    • The ASC will rule on the general qualifications of all applicants. All will be placed into one of three categories:
      • Highly qualified and highly recommended
      • Basically qualified
      • Unqualified and declined
    • To develop a greater understanding of the various theological disciplines and how they relate to each other.
    • That department will judge on the possibility of accepting new students into the doctoral program and will report its judgment to the director of the Graduate School. Key will be the availability of an appropriate Doktorvater (doctoral supervisor). Normally, unless the department rules otherwise, each doctoral supervisor should have no more than three active students at any one time.
    • The department may, for various reasons (e.g., manpower), recommend that the applicant consider another department in which to undertake doctoral work.
    • Certain entry-level work also may be required of the incoming student as deemed necessary by either the ASC or the department.

For more information, review the academic catalog and entrance level competency exam requirements.

To be considered a Graduate School applicant, please submit the following items:

  1. Statement of background and intention
  2. A brief essay written in English, on a theological topic of your choice
  3. Academic reference letters or letters of recommendation
  4. Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate credits you have earned. Request an official transcript from each institution and have the registrar mail it to: Graduate School, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105 or
  5. If planning to write a thesis for an S.T.M., please submit a written statement describing in detail a topic you have an interest in pursuing.
  6. A document explaining how you intend to finance your degree work, including living expenses
  7. A recent photograph of yourself. All international applicants to the Seminary must include a clear photocopy of the identification and picture page of their passport.
  8. Statement of previous employment or ministry experience
  9. All applicants are required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), which include the analytical writing section. These scores may be no more than 5 years old. The Concordia Seminary number for the GRE is R-6115-0

To apply:

  1. Complete the online application.
  2. Submit a $100 nonrefundable application fee. (The fee is waived for Concordia Seminary graduates and international applicants.)
  3. For applicants whose native language is not English, please submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test scores. The Concordia Seminary number for the TOEFL is R-6115-0.

Submit documents as attachments when submitting your application or send to

There is a size limit of 10MB for each document uploaded with this application and a limit of 10 total documents that may be attached.

All submissions will be acknowledged by our office and recorded in SemNet.

Questions? Contact the Graduate School at 314-505-7100 or

The student must complete a minimum of 24 semester hours of credit beyond the M.Div. degree or its equivalent with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

Each student must declare a major and a minor, choosing from Exegetical, Systematic, Historical, and Practical Theology.

The student may not fail more than two courses in either the major or the minor and still successfully complete the major or the minor. If the major or minor is Exegetical Theology, the student must earn at least two semester hours of credit in Old Testament and two semester hours of credit in New Testament.

While the S.T.M. degree does require a certain number of credit hours, there is not a specific configuration of courses that must be taken. S.T.M. students should seek graduate advising through the program director. Language proficiency must be demonstrated as described in the Academic Catalog.

Each student will complete the S.T.M. using either the examination option or the thesis option, subject to departmental approval.

S.T.M. Comprehensive Examinations

Students must pass a written comprehensive examination that tests their knowledge and understanding in the major area. There is no examination in the minor field. Comprehensive exams may be taken at any time but are normally taken during the last semester of course work or after all course work has been completed.

Master of Sacred Theology

Major 16 credits
Minor 8 credits
Comprehensive Exam in Major or Thesis 0 credits
Language Requirement: German prior to completion of 12 credits  
Total Credit hours for Master of Sacred Theology Degree 24 credits

All courses of the S.T.M. degree are taken at the 900 level (two credits each).

After completion of 12 hours of 900-level courses, students may apply to the Ph.D. Program (roll-up).

Master of Sacred Theology with Dual Credit Option (M.Div./S.T.M.)

Major 12 credits
Minor 6 credits
Free electives 6 credits*
Comprehensive Exam in Major or Thesis 0 credits
Language Requirement: German prior to completion of 12 credits  
Total credit hours for Master of Sacred Theology degree 24 credits

*Students in the dual-credit program may take up to 12 hours of approved courses (required or not for the M.Div. Program) that may be upgraded to the S.T.M. Program. They will not take 900-level courses while still M.Div. students. The rest of their courses in the S.T.M. Program will be at the 900-level.

Additional Programs and Opportunities