1. All students pursuing the STB Program at Saint Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate are to take the Comprehensive Examination of Theology after having finished its curriculum. This examination aims to determine whether students have attained sufficient Christian theological knowledge for the fruitful exercise of their ministry.
  2. In general, this examination is organized in the last semester of the four-year Seminary Program.
  3. The Dean of Theological Studies together with his team at Saint Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate is to compile and determine a standard list of theological themes which covers comprehensively the STB Program. This list should be re-evaluated periodically according to the updates made to the program. In order to ensure the equal level of academic performance andteststandards, the Compiling Committee should compare its own theological themes with those of other Jesuit schools of theology.
  4. The current list of theological themes covers all articles of faith and the Catholic Church’s Catechism as they are underlined in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. Those themes aim to help the examinees, during their period of review and synthesis, bring together all their knowledge on the Holy Scripture, Systematic Theology, Patrology and Church History, Moral Theology, Spirituality and Pastoral.
  5. All theological themes and matters to be prepared for the examination should be distributed to the examinees three months prior to the examination date.
  6. Besides, the examinees must prove a healthy judgment capacity in Moral Theology and Applied Canon Law in a separate examination right after they have finished the course on Hearing Confessions (Ad Audiendas Confessiones).
  7. The period of preparation is the major target of the Comprehensive Examination, in which the students should manage to work in groups for the review and preparation for the examination. They can also take initiative to contact their professors for special guidance or additional
  8. Depending on thesituation and aiming to prevent students from getting panic during the period of review and synthesis, the names of the jury should not be announced till two days before the examination.
  9. Depending on their academic performance, students will be assigned to either type of the comprehensive examinations:

Type-I: The Ordinary Comprehensive Examination

The ordinary comprehensive examination lasts 60 minutes before a board of three professors. The basis of this examination is based on the list of theological questions and themes which, despite their ordinary appearance, maintain their comprehensive nature. Each professor questions the examinee for 20 minutes.

Type-II: The Honors Comprehensive Examination

The honors comprehensive examination lasts 90-minute before a board of three professors. The preparation for it affords the students an opportunity to achieve more thoroughly the STB Program, and to assimilate the whole program in a more personal and creative way.

a. Qualification for the Honors Comprehensive Examination

  • Students in the STB program with a 3.5 – 4 weighted average (equivalent to Grade A-, or 85% or 17/20 marks and upper) take the honors comprehensive examination.
  • Students in the STB program with a 3 – 3.4 weighted average (equivalent to Grade B+, or 80% or 16/20 marks) can appeal to the Dean to be allowed to take the honors comprehensive examination.
  • In order to evaluate the academic performance of an approved scholastic of the Society of Jesus in view of discerning his capacity to pursue graduate studies or take final vows, the Provincial and the Dean may consider for that scholastic, if needed, to take the Comprehensive Examination Type-
  • Students who are registered at Saint Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate but have taken 4 courses upward at another institution, are allowed to take only the ordinary comprehensive examination.

b. Procedure of the Honors Comprehensive Examination

i. This examination consists of two parts:

  • The candidate is examined by each of the three professors for 20 minutes each, on the basis of the ordinary comprehensive examination theses list.
  • After a break, the candidate presents his synthesis within ten minutes. He is then questioned on the synthesis’ details by the examiners for 20 minutes.

Each examiner gives a mark based on the total performance of the candidate. The first part counts for 2/3 and the second for 1/3 of the final grade for the examination. The grading scheme with 20 marks in maximum should be used.

ii. The Synthesis

The synthesis of the honors comprehensive examination is intended to help  students personally integrate the main themes of their study of theology by articulating it in relation to a particular focus. The students can include in that synthesis all the main areas of Christian message mentioned in the list of themes for the preparation of the comprehensive examination. During the writing period, they should also consult their mentors in order to bind the synthesis’ topic with the themes of the Catholic faith in a creative way, then present the synthesis coherently and persuasively.

iii. The Synthesis should comply with these characteristics: Written, Personal, Positive, and Synoptic.

  • Written: The synthesis is at least 15A4-sized pages in length but not more than 20 pages; double spacing is required with normal margins; the type size should be 12 point in Times New Roman font. The synthesis must be concise and coherent. The writer should take into account the emphasis of the Second Vatican Councilon the adaptation of theological presentation: “From the beginning of her history, the Church has learned to express the message of Christ with the help of the ideas and terminology of various philosophers, and has tried to clarify it with their wisdom, too. Her purpose has been to adapt the Gospel to the grasp of all as well as to the needs of the learned, insofar as such was appropriate. Indeed this accommodated preaching of the revealed word ought to remain the law of all evangelization.” (Gaudium et Spes 44).
  • Personal: The students are free to start the synthesis with any topic on the doctrine of faith rooted in biblical, patristic, theological thinking, or a prominent argument of professional theologians … . In the development and argumentation, the students must be able to link that topic in a coherent, attractive and convincing way to all the major themes in the teachings of the Catholic faith, professed in the Creed.
  • Positive: The synthesis is considered as insufficient if the students just enumerate a list ofproblems as opposed to the Christian faith. The core of the doctrine should be developed, built in an argumentative and creative way.
  • Synoptic: As a general theological synthesis of the student, the dissertation should be brief, with a coherent plan, a concise content, and its ideas must fit together.

iv. The students must submit the synthesis to the mentor three weeks before the examination; then three days prior to the examination, they print five typed copies of the synthesis, approved by the mentor, and submit them to the Dean of the Theology Department.

v. During the defense session of the synthesis, the examinees need to prepare to:

  • Clarify the implications o robscure points left in the synthesis.
  • Defend or discuss on their points of view.
  • Indicate Biblical bases for their claims.
  • Comment on important declarations of the Magisterium related to the doctrinal points endorsed by the candidates.
  • Refer to important resolutions of the Church to major themes on doctrines and the liturgy, which had been long discussed during the Church’s history.

c. The grade obtained during the Honors Comprehensive Examination constitute 30 percent of the overal QPI. The following honors are to be indicated in the seminary diploma:

Marks Grade Point Value Honors Awarded
18

17.5

17

A

 

A-

4

 

3.5

(18 and Above) Summa cum Laude

(17.5 – 17.9) Magna cum Laude

(17 – 17.4) Cum Laude 

 

[1] One Credit requires 15 hours of class/seminar