The Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Sacrae Theologiae Licentiatus) is a pivotal postgraduate degree in the Pontifical University, as the STL qualifies candidates to teach theology in a major seminary, and in the canonical programmes of a Roman Catholic university. The Pontifical University awards the Licentiate in Fundamental Theology, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Liturgy, and in Philosophy (LPh or PhL)
Since the STL qualifies candidates to teach theology as described above, it provides both the necessary skills and knowledge to permit candidates to acquire mastery in their field of interest, and offers a demanding cycle of seminars and reading courses that ensure a rigorous grounding in a particular theological discipline.
The programme takes at least 4 semesters, during the final two semesters of which the candidate undertakes a dissertation, which is examined viva voce.
To obtain the Licentiate in Divinity (STL), two years' full time specialised study is required. The course and degree are designed for candidates who have attained honours standard in their previous theological studies. Part-time candidates may, with the approval of the Director, take the course over three or four years.
The STL degree is suggested for lay, clergy and religious to further theological expertise for service in official capacities in religious communities and dioceses, and for teaching in higher education, diocesan schools and seminaries. Officially, it "is the academic degree which enables one to teach in a major seminary or equivalent school." It also serves as a preparation for doctoral work.