Master of Sacred Theology | S.T.M.

The Master of Sacred Theology is a research degree for students holding the M.Div. or an M.A. in Theology or equivalent degree who want to delve deeper into a particular area of theological study. The program requires 30 hours of coursework, including a thesis. The program is very flexible, allowing students to design a course of study aligned with their own research interests.

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Zero Student Debt

ILT, through the generosity of donors, supplies financial aid and tuition payment programs to assist students in the payment of tuition. ILT is committed to making an affordable education available to all who are accepted to any educational program. Because of this commitment, ILT students graduate with no debt.

Total: $0.00

Cost of Courses

Tuition is $450 per credit hour or $1,350 per 3-credit course. Tuition cost is subject to change. Additional costs (application fee, books, costs associated with researching and producing the independent projects or the final project or thesis, etc.) are also the responsibility of the participant.




Total: $13,500

Courses to be Completed

The S.T.M. is a research degree for students holding the M.Div. or equivalent degree who want to delve deeper into a particular area of theological study. The program consists of 7 courses and a thesis year. The program is very flexible, allowing students to design a course of study aligned with their own research interests.




Total: 30 Credits

Total Timeline

The program has two parts: 7 courses and a final thesis. Students have the flexibility to choose coursework from a list of available courses. These courses will be conducted online using live, interactive video conferencing. No travel is required for this program, though students may choose to participate in week-long onsite courses. Fulltime students can finish the program in 3 years and part-time students can take up to 5 years.

Total: 3 - 5 Years

Program Learning Outcomes

Admissions Requirements

The Program

Rev. Andrew Christiansen

As a first-year Master of Sacred Theology (STM) student, I can say I absolutely love Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT). I am an ordained transitional-deacon in the Episcopal Church and doing a full-time curacy in Louisiana. I have been blessed with this great ministry that keeps me busy. When I spoke with Dr. Jonathan Sorum last fall as I started to entertain the idea of doing a STM, I remember strongly resonating with something he said about his own academic career, “After my MDiv, I was just thirsty for more, and I wanted to learn more.” He told me about how ILT is an excellent place for people in full-time ministry to study, especially for people who need it in a distance learning program. I have experienced ILT a great and rare to find mix of rigor and flexibility that allows balance and empowers me in my ministry while still “keeping me sharp.”


Many things attracted me to ILT. One thing is an incredible faculty. For instance, in the recent edition of Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions (Baker Academic, 2017), ILT faculty contributed nine entries. Also, few seminaries anymore can boast the curriculum ILT offers. I’m currently in a course “History of Christian Thought III: 1700-1900” which challenges us (the MDiv students as well, as this course is originally for them) to explore the great depths of the Enlightenment, 19th century German Idealism, French Ultramontanism, Catholic and Protestant Tubingen schools, and right and left-wing Hegelian critiques. These types of cultural forces are barely discussed in many core historical theology courses, and yet they are immensely important in seeing why Christianity is what it is today. Many seminaries today are shedding the kind of historical and systematic electives where one would even learn about these topics, under some kind of notion that this kind of theological education isn’t relevant. Nothing could be further from the truth.


ILT also offers true diversity. As an Episcopalian and only non-Lutheran in my class setting, the professor gave me the floor for a few minutes when we covered the Oxford Movement in class. I am welcomed and not shunned, even though I am not a Lutheran. Also, I can’t think of many seminary settings anymore where I can look at two faculty members in a room togetherwho I know take very fundamentally different positions on a typically hot-button theological and social issues (and both feel free to share their view), but yet are highly collegial with each other. Many institutional settings today are sadly torn apart when there isn’t like-mindedness. Not ILT. They value diversity, and they overcome differences to model a Biblical example of community, hearkening both to Pauline exhortation and to Jesus’ wish for us all to be one.


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