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Doctoral Degree in Divinity
The STD (DD) is a canonical doctorate in Theology. In contrast to the PhD in Theology, the DD demands that candidates develop the deep theological synthesis necessary for the teaching of theology in Catholic seminaries and centres of formation.

Like the PhD in Theology, the DD is completed under the supervision of a member of the Faculty of Theology who guides the candidate to delineate and investigate a research question in a way that permits her or him to acquire an overarching mastery and competence in their chosen theological discipline, write a dissertation thereon, and thus contribute to the development of theological understanding.

Currently the DD may be undertaken in Fundamental Theology, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Sacred Liturgy, and Sacred Scripture.

Entry requirements

In order to register for courses leading to the Doctoral Degree in Divinity (DD/STD), a candidate must hold at least a Licentiate in Divinity (STL) second class honours, Grade I (magna cum laude) or what, in the judgement of the Faculty, is regarded as an equivalent standard of theological study.

A basic knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is required, and an appropriate knowledge of two modern languages.

Doctoral candidates entering the Faculty of Theology shall be required to sit a qualifying examination in at least two of the following: Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. A syllabus for this examination is provided on the Faculty website.
• Candidates who do not pass the above qualifying examination, are required to attend and pass qualifying courses in at least two of the following: Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. In certain circumstances an advanced course in one language may be accepted in lieu of a second.
• Candidates who have successfully completed a one-year full-time University course in Hebrew, Latin or Greek are exempt, as are candidates who have successfully completed theological language courses in the Pontifical University.
• The language(s) requirement is merely qualifying and does not form part of the final assessment.

Candidates whose first language is not English will be required to satisfy the English language requirements.

Candidates must successfully complete the Postgraduate Induction Week.


Duration: A Doctoral Foundation Year, generally followed by 3 years full time research and writing.

Careers or further progression

Career Outcomes
Most students who complete the STD (DD) go on to teach in university faculties, seminaries, and theological schools. They also contribute to Church administration and pastoral work, using their extensive study, training, and expertise as resources for their community.

Further enquiries

St. Patrick's College
Co. Kildare
W23 TW77
+353 (0)1 708 3600

Subjects taught

Programme of Study
• The doctoral dissertation, which forms the basis for granting the degree, must be a substantial and original piece of research in a theological area, offering a notable contribution to the advancement of the theological sciences.
• The dissertation must be prepared under the direction of a member of the Faculty on a topic approved by the Faculty.
• Candidates who have completed the STL programme in the Faculty are required only to take two further seminar courses in the Doctoral Foundation Year (or semester).
• Candidates who have not taken any special courses at the Faculty but have a Licentiate of the required standard must undertake the full Doctoral Foundation Year.
• At the end of the Doctoral Foundation Year, doctoral candidates will provide sufficient evidence of progress in the preparation of the dissertation to warrant continuance.
• Dissertations submitted by 30th November are accepted for examination by early spring. Those submitted by 15th May are accepted for examination in early summer. Examination at any other time may be considered only in exceptional circumstances, and by express leave of the Faculty.
• The dissertation shall be presented to the Director of Postgraduate Studies at least two months before the candidate may be admitted to defend it. In exceptional cases the Council of the Faculty may shorten the period required.
• Three copies of the dissertation are to be submitted in the first instance; these may be ring-bound. A hard-bound copy, incorporating any corrections which the examiners may require, must be submitted to the Library following successful defence of the work.
• All dissertations shall remain the property of the Pontifical University.

Publication of Doctoral Dissertation
Before the Doctorate in Divinity can be conferred, the dissertation, or at least a substantial part thereof, must be published. Publication may take any of the following forms:
• Appearance as a book, or as an article in a recognised theological journal.
• Circulation of copies of the dissertation, or of a major excerpt, in printed form, or electronically, to the main ecclesiastical Faculties of Theology.
• Deposition of a copy of the dissertation in the John Paul II Library at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, together with notification of the fact through appropriate means of inter-library exchange.

Assessment method

Public Examination (Doctoral Defence)
The public examination shall comprise the following elements:
• A lecture by the candidate for half-an-hour on the topic, arguments and conclusions of the dissertation
• A defence of the dissertation for an hour against objections.
• An examination for half-an-hour on nine propositions chosen by the candidate and approved by the Council of the Faculty. Three propositions will be chosen from each subject area, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology and Sacred Scripture.
• At the end of the Defence, the Faculty shall vote firstly on whether the degree of doctor is to be awarded and secondly on what mark shall be given. Separate marks are given for the thesis and the propositions; the minimum mark is 65%. The marks are counted and an aggregate mark is awarded. This is not communicated to the candidate. The number of examiners from the Faculty at the examination shall be at least five.

Application date

Application Deadline: 12th June 2020
Late applications may be considered from those living on the island of Ireland and from the EU.

Enrolment and start dates

Course Start Date: September 2020

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