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Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies


Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies

This traditional curriculum, designed to provide a solid first-degree experience in education for ministry includes courses in scripture, pastoral theology, and ministerial skills, as well as numerous concentrations, including one in Healthcare Ministries. This MA in Pastoral Studies forms the basis for the MDiv degree. Students have the option at any point during their degree program or upon completion of their degree program to apply for the MDiv degree, and all of these courses will count toward their MDiv degree. 

36 semester credit hours: 12 course:

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Intellectual Development

Intellectual development seeks to expand the pastoral minister's understanding and appreciation of faith. It consists in theological studies, and draws also upon a wide range of other disciplines: philosophy, the arts, psychology, sociology, culture, and language studies.


The Core Curriculum


Ministerial Development

Ministerial development cultivates the knowledge, attitudes and skills that directly pertain to effective functioning in the ministry setting, or to the pastoral administration that supports direct ministry and draws also upon a wide range of other disciplines: counseling, medical ethics, business administration, leadership, organizational development, and law.

Three courses - 9 hours

Chosen from course offerings to address elements in pastoral ministry competencies in areas such as:


Contextual Development

The contextual development is where the ministry student brings together all four developmental aspects of the degree program. It is the place to integrate the theological, ministerial, personal and spiritual learnings of this degree in the context of the lived everyday ministry setting. Here, in a structured program that combines on-site mentoring and supervision located in actual ministry practice with peer and faculty weekly reflection sessions, the student achieves and realizes that sense of professional and personal competency as minister.

These field learning settings can be directly related to the student's present work situation or can be selected from placements IPS has cultivated. Because of the ability to operate in a blended and on-line teaching manner, these placements can be located in the resource rich area of Chicago or other settings around the nation or the world.

Contextual Education is the experience during the student's ministerial education that directly engages pastoral practice in the context of ministerial studies. Simultaneously, the student refines pastoral skills, ministerial theology and vocational identity. Contextual Education consists of 10-15 hours per week of ministry at a site, reflection with a site supervisor and as well as a weekly peer reflection seminar on campus. In the weekly seminar students review learning contracts, prepare and reflect on pastoral events, and exercise peer evaluations. Students may choose to do one unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) at an accredited CPE site in place of field education.



Human Development

Human development seeks to enhance the pastoral minister's human qualities and character, fostering a healthy and well-balanced personality, for the sake of both human growth and ministerial service.


Spiritual Development

Spiritual development aims to arouse and animate true hunger for holiness, desire for union with God through Christ in the Spirit, daily growing love of God and neighbor in life and ministry, and the practices of prayer and spirituality that foster these attitudes and dispositions.


Integration Project

The program also requires an Integration Project at the conclusion of study. This project is similar to a Masters’ thesis, but it involves personal integration of one’s course of studies and one’s research into one’s personal ministerial identity and application of one’s research to one’s ministry. The Integration Project typically takes the form of a paper, approximately 30-35 pages in length. Once participants secure a faculty reader for their Integration Project, they must fill out a Final_Integration_Project_Form, have the faculty member and IPS director or associate director sign it.

A suggested outline for the Integration Project follows:  

Part I

This section of the paper introduces your focal point and should be approximately 5-7 pages in length.

Part II
This section of the paper is the major research portion of the paper and should be at least 15 pages in length. Review the various courses you have taken at IPS in light of what you have identified in Part I, and use the resources from those course to form the major core of your bibliography for this section.  Additional research specific to your focus will also be necessary.

Part III
This section of the paper should integrate the research material and IPS coursework into your own ministerial identity and spiritual life, as well as apply the research to your specific ministerial context. In this concluding section, you will also address the larger contextual implications of your research for ministry in general in the church and/or world. This section should be approximately 10-15 pages in length.

N.B. This paper should be about 30-35 pages in length, using Times New Roman, 12 pt. font and should be double-spaced. Citations should be done using the Chicago Manual Citation style.


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