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. Program. After successfully completing 12 hours of course work and demonstrating competency in a modern foreign research language, the S.T.M. student may submit an application to the Advanced Studies Committee to roll up to 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.

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

In order for an application to be considered, the following are required:

  • Concordia Seminary, as part of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), adheres to the doctrinal belief and practice that women may not be ordained as pastors. Accordingly, women are not eligible for application to the S.T.M. Program.
  • An applicant must have earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree (or its educational equivalent) from an accredited theological seminary with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
  • There are no general requirements for foreign language proficiency for the S.T.M. Program. However, a student whose major is Exegetical Theology will be required to demonstrate proficiency in biblical Greek and biblical Hebrew in order to attend courses conducted in these biblical languages.
  • Previously established language proficiencies expire after five years. The director of the Graduate School must approve the transfer of the established proficiency and report to the registrar at the time of matriculation.
  • An applicant is required to submit scores for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), which include the analytical writing section. These scores may be no more than five years old.

For more information, review the Academic Catalog and Entrance Level Competency Exam requirements.

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Submit a $100 nonrefundable application fee. (The fee is waived for Concordia Seminary graduates and international applicants.)
  3. Statement of background and intention: Please include a detailed response as to why you want to attend Concordia Seminary, why you are pursuing this program of study and how you plan to use your degree (limit your response to one-half page).
  4. A brief essay written in English, on a theological topic of your choice: Please provide an essay that represents your theological understanding on a theological topic of your area of interest (depth of topic is more valuable than length).
  5. Three academic references (Concordia Seminary, St. Louis graduates need only submit two academic references): Use the writeable PDF to request academic references.
  6. Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate credits you have earned: Please request an official transcript from each institution where you have earned undergraduate or graduate credits. A hard copy of the transcript may be sent to: Admissions, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105 or an electronic copy may be sent to
  7. 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.
  8. A document explaining how you intend to finance your degree work, including living expenses: Please provide a detailed document, explaining how you will finance your degree, including mortgage payment, car payment, living expenses, previous student loans and consumer debt.
  9. A recent photograph of yourself. (International applicants, please provide a photocopy of the identification and picture page of their passport.)
  10. Statement of previous employment or ministry experience. A copy of the applicants resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is acceptable.
  11. All applicants are required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Exam. These scores may be no more than five years old. Information and registration for the GRE can be found at The Concordia Seminary number for the GRE is R-6115-0. For Spanish applicants, the Examen de Admisión a Estudios de Posgrado (EXADEP) is required (
  12. For applicants whose native language is not English, please submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test. The Concordia Seminary number for the TOEFL is R-6115-0. The Graduate School also accepts IELTS or Duolingo English Test scores in place of the TOEFL.

Documents may be uploaded as attachments when submitting your application (limit of 10 total documents, 10MB each.), or documents may be sent 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.

Questions? Contact Admissions at 314-505-7222 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, choosing from Exegetical, Systematic, Historical, or Practical Theology.

The student may not fail more than two courses. If the major 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.

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. 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 12 credits
Free Electives 12 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
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 six hours of approved courses (required or not for the M.Div. Program) that may be upgraded to the S.T.M. Program. They may 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.

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