Master of Sacred Theology Degree
The degree is open to pastors serving in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and church bodies in fellowship with the WELS (the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference), and who hold a M.Div., B.Div., or B.Th.
The revised STM requires that students earn a total of 32 academic credits: 4 core course credits, 16 credits in their declared area of focus, and 12 elective course credits.
NOTE:All the requirements of the revised STM would apply to those beginning their study for the degree from the summer of 2015 on. For those who are already well on their way to a degree, we would allow them to follow whatever path would prove most helpful to them in pursuing their degree. That means there would be a time of transition in which advisees might be operating somewhat under the old STM and somewhat under the revised STM For example: we would not require those already well on their way to their degree to take the two new required courses. We would permit someone who has already amassed 32 credits (including 16 in his area of focused study) to move quickly to finishing up his degree with a final thesis or test.
Core Course Requirements
4 credits must be earned in two courses required of all STM students
- Pastoral Theological Research (2 credits)
- Maintaining a Confessional Lutheran Identity in the 21st (2 credits)
Once students have decided they wish to pursue the STM, they are encouraged to take both of these courses as soon as possible. Both courses will be offered annually either face-to-face or online.
Declared Areas of Focus
16 credits must be earned in one of ten areas of declared focus:
- Biblical Theology: Old Testament
- Biblical Theology: New Testament
- Systematic Theology
- Church History
- Preaching & Worship
- (Education – this area of focus will not be available until later.)
- Pastoral Care
- Missiology & Evangelism
- Pastoral Leadership
- Interdisciplinary Theological Studies
At least 9 credits in the declared area of focus must be earned from the established repeating core curriculum in that area.
At least 6 credits must be earned in areas of focus other than the student’s declared area. This does not count the four credit hours in the two courses required of all STM students. Counting those two courses a total of at least 10 hours must be earned outside their area of focus.