Degree Programs
Degree Programs

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Master of Arts in Diaconal Ministry

M.A. in Theology, Development & Evangelism (T.D.E.)


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

Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest
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Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) Degree Program 

NOTE:  The following was originally extracted from the 2004-2006 seminary catalog and may be subject to change.  Students who begin a degree program at Wartburg Theological Seminary will normally be expected to complete the degree requirements as published for the year and semester they begin their study for that degree.

The S.T.M. is a second-level masters program intended primarily for church leaders interested in advanced theological study.  It is a thesis-centered program of inquiry and research completed by participants during a common two-year period. Applications for this degree program are reviewed at any time, but new students begin the first year of their work only during even-numbered calendar years (2004, 2006, etc.).

Wartburg’s S.T.M. seeks specifically to cultivate an appreciation of and enhance the skills for becoming a public theologian.  That is, theological research and teaching are directed toward a more robust witness in particular settings of the church.  Wartburg’s historic strength in congregational ministry is thus central to the S.T.M. program, whose interdisciplinary research focus is entitled Learning Communities. The title implies two broad movements. In the first year of the program, students will seek to understand more deeply the communities in which they serve. In the second year, students will work to use these insights about the community to enrich the church’s wisdom and mission. In other words, this S.T.M. promotes learning from and for community.

The program places a premium upon intensive, student-driven research under faculty direction within this twofold learning rubric of the program. Students might choose research topics such as: evangelism in changing communities; a comprehensive vision for stewardship; ecumenical contributions to local mission; relationships between worship, preaching, and culture; bridging social ministry and daily life; teaching the riches of Scripture and tradition in light of contemporary concerns. Faculty specialties and interests are then drawn upon to refine and deepen these research topics.

Each year of the program includes on-campus and off-campus aspects, the former being residential coursework in which all S.T.M. students are enrolled, and the latter consisting of independent study courses and thesis project work in the students’ own communities. On-campus courses utilize block scheduling to facilitate participation by those in full-time parish ministry.

Specifically, the curriculum involves a cycle of two distinct but related years. In the first year, an intensive research colloquy (on-campus during the course of the summer) will teach students to shape their own interests into research questions and introduce them to tools for exploring those questions through site research. The fall semester offers seminars attuned to student interest areas as well as significant occasion for independent study off-campus. The first part of a thesis project follows during the spring semester, a chance for students to apply what they have learned to the research questions emerging from their own communities.

In the second year, an intensive research colloquy (on-campus during the course of the summer) gives a place to share research results and to review significant educational methods and strategies. The fall semester consists of students intentionally designing an educational program for their own communities. This becomes the second part of the overall thesis project. The program concludes in the spring with additional seminars and independent study for pursuing new directions for further engagement in the community. As a result of this program, a student will have successfully completed a major research and teaching project. The results of the project could then be applied to future academic research and teaching, as well as ministry initiatives.

A detailed description of requirements for admission to and completion of the degree program, course offerings, degree costs, and the teaching specialties of the core faculty is available by contacting the director for admissions.

S.T.M. Graduation Requirements

The requirements of the Master of Sacred Theology degree are:

  •  A minimum of 18 credit hours of S.T.M.-level coursework
  •  A thesis
  •  A recommendation by the faculty to the Board of Directors and the board’s approval

Students must file an “Application for Degree” with the Registrar at the beginning of their final semester. A student must be in good standing with the business office, bookstore, library, and student services office in order to receive a diploma.

Master of Sacred Theology: Learning Communities






Research Colloquy
(3 credit hours)

Teaching Colloquy
(3 credit hours)





Topical Seminar
( 2 credit hours)
( 2 credit hours)

Thesis 1:
Learning for Community






Focus Colloquy
(1 credit hour)

Review Colloquy

(1 credit hour)



Thesis 1:
Learning from Community

Topical Seminar

( 2 credit hours)

( 2 credit hours)




            Total credit hours 18          

*The Independent Study may, with approval, be replaced by an upgraded 300-level, 3 credit hour course that is offered on-campus during the same semester.

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