MA in Pastoral Theology

The MA in Pastoral Theology Program engages the student in critical theological reflection on ministerial practice as preparation for active ministry in a pluralistic society. The program provides theological foundations in pastoral theology, especially in the Roman Catholic tradition, and integrates the formation of persons preparing for pastoral ministry with their study of the Christian theological tradition (spirituality, liturgy, faith and culture, ethics, as well as biblical, historical, and systematic theology, and ecumenical and interreligious dialogue). Throughout the program there is a stress on the holistic relationships between pastoral theology, faith seeking critical understanding, and faith that does justice.

This MA in Pastoral Theology Program provides a theological foundation in methods of biblical, historical, systematic, and moral theology with special emphasis on the Roman Catholic tradition.
The MA in Pastoral Theology includes courses in:

  • Faith Formation
  • Faith and Culture
  • Hispanic Ministry
  • Sacramental Theology and Liturgy
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Spirituality
  • Theology of Ministry


MA in Pastoral Theology Course Requirements

Students who enrolled BEFORE Fall 2009 (36 semester hour track):


Students who enrolled AFTER Fall 2009 (42 semester hour track):



MA in Pastoral Theology – 42 Unit Program


All students must complete 42 semester hours, maintaining a minimum grade point average of "B" (3.0). All courses are 3 semester hours, unless otherwise noted.

Core Courses (24)
The following eight courses (24 semester hours) are required:

  • THST 600 Foundations of NT Theology or THST 603 Foundations of OT Theology
  • THST 630  Introduction to Systematic Theology
  • THST 660  Foundations of Christian Moral Life or One Course from the Historical Area (620’s)
  • THST 670 Foundations of Pastoral Theology
  • THST 675 Spiritual Formation for Pastoral Ministry
  • THST 692 Graduate Pro-Seminar (taken in the first semester)
  • THST 689 Supervised Pastoral Field Education
  • THST 691 Pastoral Synthesis Project (taken after completion of 36 hours)

Elective Courses (18)
Pastoral Theology students are required to take one three unit course in either Liturgy, Religious Education, or Spirituality and select other elective courses offered by the Department of Theological Studies after consultation with their advisor. The program is designed to allow students to pursue general interests or a particular concentration. Concentrations are offered in two areas: (1) Pastoral Leadership and (2) Spiritual Direction. Under special circumstances, students may take up to two courses (six semester hours) outside the department.

Concentration in Spiritual Direction
This concentration is designed for anyone in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology who would like to acquire the art of Spiritual Direction, a ministry of accompanying others in their spiritual journey. The purpose of the concentration is to provide a course of studies that integrates Theology, Scripture, Psychology, Spirituality, skills acquisition and supervision in the art of Spiritual Direction. Students who wish to concentrate their elective in a spiritual direction would take the following four courses in sequence:

  • THST 685 Theory and Practice of Spiritual Direction
  • THST 686 Ignatian Spirituality
  • THST 687 Psychological Foundations of Pastoral Ministry
  • THST 688 Practicum and Supervision in Spiritual Direction

Concentration in Pastoral Leadership
This concentration is designed to educate those who will serve (or who currently serve) as leaders in pastoral settings, either as leaders in specialized ministries or as leaders in general ministry positions. Examples of leaders in specialized ministry: Directors of Religious Education, Directors of Youth Ministry or Campus Ministry, Directors of Catechumenate/RCIA. The concentration is deliberately open to the students to design under the guidance of the academic advisor. In this way, students who find themselves actively engaged in, or aspiring to, leadership ministries within schools or parishes will choose courses for the concentration that fit their current or aspired ministry commitments. Students who choose to do this Concentration are required to take:

  • THST 674 Pastoral Leadership

In addition, students are required to take two (2) of the following (or other courses approved by the academic advisor):

  • THST 650 Liturgical Theology: History and Interpretation
  • THST 652 The Rites
  • THST 671 Pastoral Approaches to Religious Education
  • THST 673 Faith and Culture: Catechesis in Southern California
  • THST 677 Pastoral Liturgy
  • THST 678 The Theology of the Parish
  • THST 679 Special Topics in Pastoral Theology
  • THST 687 Psychological Foundations of Pastoral Ministry


Capstone Experience
Students who will began their program in or after the Fall 2009 semester (42 semester hour track):