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The Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program and its concentration in religious education is designed to prepare men and women for service to the Catholic Church and its parish and school communities. Centered in a commitment to adult faith formation, the program welcomes individuals who feel called to deepen their faith and to acquire the knowledge and skills essential for leaders in the pastoral life of faith communities. Because it is designed to integrate the academic, human, and spiritual dimensions of faith formation, the pastoral ministry program seeks to provide students with the theological and spiritual backgrounds that are foundational to pastoral ministry. A critical component of this master’s program is the formation of a community of learners within a coherent and developmental model of education. In academics, this model enables students to progress through a degree program with their peers and enhances not only the educational and spiritual aspects of the program but also reinforces a sense of community among adult learners. This program will support the development of the intellectual competencies listed in the current National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers. As of November 2011, these topic areas of intellectual development include:

  • Scripture and revelation

  • Dogmatic theology
  • Church history

  • Liturgical and sacramental theology. 

  • Moral theology and Catholic social teaching
  • Pastoral theology

  • Spirituality

  • Canon law

  • Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue

  • Social sciences and humanities

  • Culture and language studies
  • Program Learning Outcomes 


Students who successfully complete the graduate program in Pastoral Ministry, obtaining a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministry, will be able to: 

  • incorporate intellectual and spiritual perspectives on service and leadership with their formation in pastoral ministry. 
  • reflect their scholarly and professional familiarity with the theological and spiritual foundations of faith development through written and oral engagement across the curriculum. 
  • demonstrate integration of the academic, pastoral, and spiritual dimensions of life through culminating assignments which might include a thesis, project, portfolio, or examination.


Degree Requirements 

Thirteen courses (39 credits) are required for the degree:

  • Eight courses in foundational theology
  • Two courses in spiritual formation
  • Three courses in pastoral skills, including a pastoral project in the student’s chosen area of ministry. 
  • The program can be completed in two academic years. 
  • An overall grade-point average of 3.0 (B).