A two-year course of specialized studies in systematic theology, moral theology, biblical theology, pastoral theology, church history, missiology, or oriental religions and culture that ends with the conferment of the degree of Licentiate in Sacred Theology, and upon fulfillment of the requirements of the Graduate School, the corresponding civil degree of Master of Arts in Theology. It covers special courses and special training in scientific research.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the second cycle, a student must:

  1. Be a graduate of an Ecclesiastical Bachelor in Sacred Theology degree from any Center of Higher Studies approved by ecclesiastical authorities. Those who completed a two-year philosophy and a four-year theology program may also be admitted on the condition that they will be willing to complete the required number of bridging courses.
  2. Submit a written permission from his/her Major Superior or Local Ordinary. Lay applicants must be able to present a certificate of good moral character and a written recommendation from his/her superiors and local ordinary.
  3. Must take and pass the entrance examinations, which include Latin. Applicants without background in Latin will be required to take Latin courses. This covers even applicants from UST-G.S. (for STL-MA in SPC) and ICLA (for STL in Missiology).
  4. International applicants must have all the legal documents required for them to pursue their studies in the University.
  5. Successful international non-English speaking applicants are required to take and pass an English proficiency examination. Otherwise, they shall be required to attend English proficiency classes.


Curricular Offerings

The Faculty offers six (6) Areas of Specialization in the Licentiate Program with the following requirements:

Common Subjects 12 units
Major Subjects 24 units
Elective Subjects 9 units
Thesis Writing 9 units
Total 54 units


Requirements for the Degree

The degree of Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) is conferred only when the following requirements are met:

  1. The student has taken and passed, with an average of 2.00, a total of 54 units which include: 12 units of common subjects, 24 units of major subjects, 9 units of electives, and 9 units of thesis writing. Any course that has a grade of 2.00 shall not be credited in the program and must be replaced by another course of the same area in the curriculum. The grades of these courses are however included in the computation of the general weighted average;
  2. Have taken and passed the written comprehensive examination which will cover all the courses credited for the program;
  3. Have successfully defended their theses and submitted them with the necessary corrections, if any;
  4. Have submitted all the post-defense requirements.
  5. The final grade for Licentiate in Sacred Theology is composed of: General weighted average (40%), written comprehensive examination (20%), Evaluation of the written thesis (20%) and Thesis Oral Defense (20%).

Note: A corresponding academic civil Master’s Degree in Theology (M.A. in Theology) is granted by the University upon fulfilment of the UST Graduate School requirements. However, students who have already earned a Master of Arts in Theology degree for the major courses taken from the Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia are no longer eligible for this degree. Students who do not have any Bachelor (Civil) degree may not be eligible to pursue the Master of Arts in Theology degree.

Thesis Writing Guidelines:

At an opportune time (after completion of at least the major courses), the student may enrol in Thesis Writing I (THW1-A). This course requires the students to submit both the Thesis prospectus and the Thesis proposal.

The Dean’s approval on the thesis prospectus (which contains the Title, Background of the Study, Statement of the Problem, Methodology, Bibliography, Outline and the name of the Proposed Moderator) is a major requirement for the appointment of the moderator. When a moderator is appointed for a particular student, the latter must proceed to the writing of his/her thesis proposal with the help of the former. The student will be required to pay an adviser’s fee every semester, starting from the semester of the adviser’s appointment until the completion of the thesis. The adviser must be formally appointed by the Dean.

When the thesis proposal is completed, the student must secure the endorsement form from the Office of the Ecclesiastical Faculties. S/he must submit three (3) copies of the thesis proposal (with the signed endorsement form). The same proposal will then be forwarded by the Office to the examiners who were appointed by the Dean.

After the evaluation of the proposal, the student must accomplish the required revision and must secure the adviser’s approval of the revised proposal. S/he then, secures the approval sheet (for the proposal) from the office of the Ecclesiastical faculties and presents the revised proposal and the approval sheet to each of the examiners. After completing the approval sheet, the student must submit a copy of it to the Office of the Ecclesiastical Faculties, who in turn will release the student’s Certificate of Candidacy. The Certificate of Candidacy is a requirement for the student’s admission to Thesis Writing II (THW2-A). If the student is not able to secure the certificate of candidacy on the same semester when s/he enrols in THW1-A, s/he will have to re-enrol the course via TWIB (if s/he has no assigned mentor yet), or THW1-B (if s/he already has a mentor).

Enrolees in THW2-A are expected to complete the entire thesis. The thesis is considered completed only when it finally obtains the endorsement (see no. 6 below) of the moderator for the public presentation and defense. If the thesis is not completed within the semester, the student is required to re-enrol the course through THW2-B. Any student who does not wish to enrol in a semester must secure a Leave of Absence from the Dean’s office, otherwise the student is charged with an Absence Without Leave (AWOL). Students charged with AWOL must be ready to abide with the corresponding sanctions (like refresher courses) upon re-admission.

Any student who intends to defend his/her thesis on a given semester, must enrol in THW3-A during the registration period of that semester. To apply for thesis defense, the student must fill up the application form for both the Written Comprehensive Examination and Oral Defense, and must secure from the Office of the Ecclesiastical Faculties the endorsement form for the public presentation and defense of his/her thesis. The same form must be signed by the adviser and the dean and be attached to the completed thesis, four (4) copies of which would have to be submitted to the Office of the Ecclesiastical Faculties at least six (6) weeks before the desired date of defense. Any student who already enrolled in THW3-A, but failed to defend the thesis on a given semester, may re-enrol for thesis defense through THW3B. Any student is given only three enrolments in THW3B, after which the Dean may decide to give him/her refresher courses. No Licentiate Candidate is admitted to the Thesis defense without having passed the Written Comprehensive Examination, which must be completed at least a week before the schedule of the Thesis defense.

The examination of the completed thesis must be done in public in front of three members of a Tribunal. Upon submission of the completed thesis to the Office of the Ecclesiastical Faculties, a copy is sent to each member of the examining tribunal and the adviser. The date of the defense shall also be set by the Dean (four to six weeks after the submission of the final draft). The examiners are given until not later than ten (10) days before the date of the defense to submit their written comments and evaluation of the thesis. These comments shall only be kept in the Office files and shall only be forwarded to the student after the public defense (unless the examiner requires the revision of the thesis before the public defense). Upon the return of the evaluation forms:

  1. If no examiner has raised any objection on the contents of the thesis on the given deadline, then the thesis defense will proceed as scheduled. The candidate may however also be permitted to rewrite the thesis if in the judgment of the examiners such rewriting is necessary. If an evaluator requires the candidate to rewrite the thesis, the grade for the evaluation of the written thesis must be submitted first and will be based on the original version of the work. The revised thesis will no longer be graded and will only be needed to qualify the candidate for the public presentation and defense.
  2. The public presentation and defense of the thesis may only continue if all examiners have agreed to admit the candidate. Any objection must first be addressed before the public defense is pursued. The defense may be re-scheduled when necessary.

In the case of a need to rewrite the thesis, the student must be given time to discuss the comments with his moderator and revise the thesis as needed. The date of the defense will be deferred until an understanding between the examiner/s and the student (with the adviser) is reached. If no understanding is reached, the Dean shall decide on the issue and may recommend for the reconstitution of the examination tribunal or the disqualification of the student from the degree. Any examiner who may decide to vacate his post as an examiner must submit a formal notice to the Office of the Dean.

The public presentation and defense of the thesis shall not be less than one and a half hours. The public defense will start with an opening prayer to be led by the student, who is 20-25 minutes to present the problem, findings, and conclusions of the thesis. Each of the examiners is also given 10-15 minutes to cross-examine the student on the content of the thesis. The student is required to answer the examiners’ questions, and to take note of the suggestions that would have to be reflected on the revised thesis that will be finally kept in the library.

After the presentation, the examiners shall secretly cast their votes, which will be of two parts:

  1. The members of the Tribunal are given one white ball and one black ball each. They are to decide on whether the candidate passes or not. The candidate is considered failed in the Thesis Defense if majority of the examining tribunal give black votes. Otherwise, the student is considered passed.
  2. If the student passes in the first voting, the examiners shall proceed to the voting for the student’s grade. Each member of the Tribunal is given five balls, and they shall vote according to the following criteria:
    1. 5 – Summa Cum Laude
    2. 4 – Magna Cum Laude
    3. 3 – Cum Laude
    4. 2 – Bene Probatus
    5. 1 – Probatus

After the voting, the candidate shall lead the concluding prayer and the meeting shall be adjourned by the Chairman. The grade of the thesis defense (which is only 20% of the final grade) is determined according to the following grading system:

  1. 14 – 15: Summa Cum Laude
  2. 11 – 13: Magna Cum Laude
  3. 8 – 10: Cum Laude
  4. 5 – 7: Bene Probatus
  5. 2 – 4: Probatus

The post-defense requirements must be submitted to the Office of the Ecclesiastical Faculties not later than six (6) months after the defense of the thesis. No candidate will be entitled to the rights and privileges of the Licentiate degree unless all the post-defense requirements are completed. Those who qualify for the conferral of the MA in Theology degree by the UST Graduate School are required to complete the post-defense requirements before their records are endorsed to the UST Graduate School. If they wish to join the UST Graduate School’s Solemn Investiture Ceremonies, they must personally facilitate their application to the UST Graduate School and must notify the Office of the Ecclesiastical faculties for any deadline that would have to be met. Failure to submit the post-defense requirements six (6) months after the defense will require the candidate to re-defend his thesis and will forfeit his privilege of being recommended for the MA in Theology degree.

Post-defense requirements

After the Oral Defense, the concerned student must comply the following:

  1. Revise the thesis according to the instructions of the members of the examination tribunal.
  2. Secure from the Office of the Ecclesiastical Faculties the approval sheet and have it signed by the Adviser, the members of the Tribunal, and the Dean.
  3. Submit to the Office two (2) hard bound copies [3 hard bound copies for those with MA in Theology degree] of the revised thesis containing all the required revisions, the approval sheet (as signed), Certificate of Originality (as signed), and the abstract of the thesis. The student’s curriculum vitae must also be placed on the last pages of the work (see no. 2 below for more instructions).
  4. Submit to the Office two (2) soft copies (in separate CDs) of the thesis with all parts mentioned in item “c” above.
  5. Submit three (3) separate hard copies of the thesis abstract.
  6. Submit an abridged version of the thesis (an article length excerpt of 6,000 – 15,000 words) both in hard and soft copies; such excerpt may be included in the Veritatis Amor, the Official Publication of the Faculty of Sacred Theology.

The hard bound copies must have the following: the cover should be white and the texts on the cover are printed either in Gold or Black. The text of the cover shall be the same as the text of the title page. The spine of the hard bound thesis should contain the following information: year of graduation (top), the title of the Thesis (in capital letters, in the middle), and the last name of the author (bottom).

After completing the post-defense requirements, the students may already apply for original copy(ies) of their Transcript of Records and diploma. It takes 7 working days to obtain the Transcript of Records, and 30 days for the Diploma.

The post-defense requirements must be submitted to the Office of the Ecclesiastical Faculties not later than six (6) months after the defense of the thesis. No candidate will be entitled to the rights and privileges of the Licentiate degree unless all the post-defense requirements are completed. Failure to submit the post-defense requirements within 6 months after the defense may disqualify the student from his/her application for the MA in Theology degree and shall require the student to redefend his/her work.