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Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry is a 48-credit degree program that provides, in a systematic way, the opportunity to consistently think through the relationship between theology and pastoral life. The degree program incorporates an integrated program in formation designed to prepare students for service in the Church. Graduates serve in various lay ecclesial ministries, including parish catechetical leaders, youth ministers, pastoral associates, and parish life coordinators.

The program is grounded in the understanding of the integral role of lay ministers as complementary to and in support of the priesthood and meets the competencies set forth in the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers.

Program Goals

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Program seeks to integrate intellectual, pastoral, spiritual, and human formation in order that our graduates:

  • Intellectual formation prepares the student with the unified theological understanding of the Catholic faith, rooted in God's revelation and embodied in the living tradition of the Church, for the purpose of exercising effective and informed ministry within the Catholic Church. 
  • Pastoral formation equips the student with the practical skills needed to serve the mission and ministry of the Church in a manner proper to the laity's share in Christ's role as priest, prophet and king.
  • Spiritual formation supports the student's develop of a personal ecclesial relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit by promoting the attitudes, personal disposition, and habits of prayer required for Christian discipleship.
  • Human formation assists the student's development of an integrated life and Christ-like character that fosters healthy ministerial leadership and service.

Program Requirements

In addition to the application requirements, these additional items are required for a complete application to the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry degree program.

  • A personal statement of 500-800 words describing the applicant’s interest in the degree and reasons for pursuing study in this area.
  • For applicants whose last academic degree was achieved within the last 7 years:
    • Submit a writing sample of approximately 10-12 pages from one of your courses. It should demonstrate skills in critical thinking, logical development, and writing style. Two shorter pieces may be submitted, if a longer writing sample is not available.
  • For applicants whose last academic degree was achieved more than 7 years ago:
    • Write a 3-5 page paper on a question based from the pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). This gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to grapple with a basic topic from the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. It should demonstrate skills in critical thinking, logical development, and writing style. Questions can be found in the online application.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can assess the applicant’s academic and ministerial abilities.
  • If the applicant is currently involved in ministry in a setting other than their home Parish, a fourth letter of recommendation addressing that ministry.

Degree Requirements

Core Courses - 30 credits

Elective Courses - 12 credits

Human, Spiritual and Pastoral Formation - 4 credits

Internship and Project - 2 credits

Course Distribution

Core courses

DVDT 530 Nature and Mission of Church - 3 credits

DVDT 561 Christian Theology of God and the Human Person - 3 credits

DVMT 602 Fundamentals of Moral Theology and Catholic Social Teaching - 3 credits

DVPT 510 Theology of Pastoral Ministry - 3 credits

DVPT 605 Canon Law and Civil Law for Pastoral Ministry - 3 credits

DVPT 612 Prayer Leadership for Lay Ministry - 3 credits

DVPT 618 Community and Mission in a Diverse Church - 3 credits

DVSS 501 Old Testament - 3 credits

DVSS 505 New Testament - 3 credits

DVST 605 Catholic Sacramental Worship - 3 credits

DVPT 719 Spiritual and Human Formation - 2 credits

DVPT 732 Pastoral Formation - 2 credits

DVPT 999 Internship/Project - 2 credits

Elective Courses - Total 12 credits

Electives in pastoral ministry may be chosen from the complete course listing for The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity with the approval of the student's academic advisor. Students may also select additional courses in theology or other related disciplines, provided the student has met the necessary prerequisites for a particular course.

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