Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Advanced Standing

Persons who have participated in specific ministry education programs may be eligible to receive advanced standing for those programs. The total combination of transfer credit and advanced standing must follow the guidelines outlined below. However, certain programs approved by the IPS, such as diocesan diaconal training programs or the Center for Ministry Development, may be counted for up to 9 credits of advanced standing toward any of the master's degree programs. A list of eligible programs can be obtained from the IPS Coordinator of Student Services.

Students accepted into IPS programs may request advanced standing with the following restrictions:

  • Only programs/certificates taken within the past 8 years are eligible for consideration.
  • For 36-credit MA degrees (MA in Pastoral Studies, MA in Social Justice, MA in Spirituality, MA in Health Care Mission Leadership, MA in Counseling for Ministry), up to 6 credit hours may be granted in transfer credit and/or advanced standing. That is, the combination of transfer credit and advanced standing may not exceed six credits.
  • For the MA in Pastoral Counseling, up to 18 credit hours may be granted in transfer credit and/or advanced standing. That is, the combination of transfer credit and advanced standing may not exceed eighteen credits.
  • All classes for certificate programs MUST be taken at Loyola University Chicago. There is no advanced standing available for certificate programs.

Ordinarily, requests for advanced standing must be made in writing to the IPS Director during the student's first semester of coursework, and must be accompanied by documentation of completion of the approved program. The IPS Director will make a judgment regarding the quality and quantity of the previous learning and its relevance to the specific degree requirements.

Notes Regarding Advanced Standing:

  • Please attach student’s official documentation from advanced standing experience
  • Advanced standing applications must be made in the students’ first semester of enrollment
  • Advanced standing is not used to satisfy core course requirements

Advanced_Standing (PDF)

Guidelines Pertaining to Students Pursuing More Than One Loyola Degree

Some students may choose to pursue two Loyola master's degrees simultaneously in cases where no "dual degree" program exists. Sometimes these programs will both be housed within the IPS—e.g., the MDiv and the MA in Contemporary Spirituality. Sometimes they will be housed in different departments—e.g., an MA in Contemporary Spirituality and an MA in Theology. The policy articulated above applies to these situations as well:

  • Up to 36 hours can be counted toward or "transferred into" the Masters of Divinity. Determinations of which courses in a particular MA degree can be counted toward the MDiv degree will be made by the program advisor, subject to the approval of the Director of the IPS. Students may need to complete more than 72 credit hours to earn both degrees.
  • Courses intended to count toward a completed 36-hour MA degree—whether that degree is in the IPS or another unit—cannot be counted toward or "transferred" into any of the 36-credit hour IPS degrees. Students intending to earn two separate non-terminal MA degrees must complete the requirements for both degrees independently.

At times there may be substantial overlap between courses students have taken in a previous or concurrent degree program with a course required for an IPS degree, but for the reasons outlined above, the courses cannot be counted or transferred into the IPS program. For example, the student may have taken an MA level New Testament course in a previous degree program. In those instances, students may be offered the option of taking a different course as a substitute.