Pastoral Studies (M.A.)

This program is offered online or on campus.


The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in pastoral studies prepares students to serve in parishes, denominational offices, schools, hospitals, and other such organizations where leadership depends on skilled cultivation of religiously informed practice. This degree is also designed to meet the requirements for pastoral ministers set out by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association for Lay Ministry. Courses include scripture, theology, spirituality, pastoral care and counseling, religious education, and ministry. This degree provides a solid foundation for students seeking to follow many different career paths that benefit from bringing religion scholarship to service.

Students admitted to the program are expected to have sufficient academic background to complete the program. Additional coursework may be required for students with insufficient background, raising the total number of credits required to complete the program to 42 or more. Additional coursework may include the following:

  • A religious education elective consisting of any course with the REGR course code numbered 5000-7999, as listed on our course listings page.

  • A pastoral ministry elective consisting of any course with the PMGR course code numbered 5000-7999, as listed on our course listings page.

Students with sufficient academic background are waived from these additional course requirements.

Course Requirements

Course Title Credits
PMGR 6510Theology of Ministry3
RLGR 6010Old Testament3
RLGR 6011New Testament3
RLGR 6030Christology3
PMGR 8030Capstone:Pastoral Studies (MA)3
One of the following Intercultural requirement courses3
Ministry with Latinxs
ST Tutorial-Pastoral Ministry (An approved section)
Another course approved the Pastoral Ministry faculty committee
One Systematic Theology course:3
Theology of Human Person
Church and Society
Sacraments: Theology and Rites
One Moral Theology course:3
Education for Peace and Justice
Moral Education/Develop
One Spirituality course:3
Ignatian Spirituality for Ministry
The Ignatian Way
Discernment in the Christian Tradition
One Pastoral Counseling course:3
Human Growth and Development
Theology of Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Care
Psychology and Religion/Spirituality
Death, Dying, and Bereavement
Two Free electives 16
Total Credits36

Final Project

The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in pastoral studies program concludes with a capstone course (offered each spring). The course involves a terminal group research project on a topic determined by the faculty.