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


MA in Pastoral Theology

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 6010 Foundations of New Testament Theology or THST 6000 Foundations of Old Testament Theology
  • THST 6030 Introduction to Systematic Theology
  • THST 6060  Foundations of Theological Ethics or One Course from the Historical Area (6020s)
  • THST 6070 Foundations of Pastoral Theology
  • THST 6074 Spiritual Formation for Pastoral Ministry
  • THST 6078 Supervised Pastoral Field Education
  • THST 6090 Graduate Pro-Seminar (taken in the first semester)
  • THST 6091 Pastoral Synthesis Project (taken after completion of 36 hours)

Elective Courses (18)
Pastoral Theology students are required to take one course (3 semester hours) 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 (6 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 6051 Theory and Practice of Spiritual Direction
  • THST 6052 Ignatian Spirituality
  • THST 6053 Psychological Foundations of Pastoral Ministry
  • THST 6054 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 6070 Foundations of Pastoral Leadership 


  • THST 6073 Theory and Practice of Pastoral Theology

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

  • THST 6040 Liturgical Theology: History and Interpretation
  • THST 6041 The Rites
  • THST 6071 Pastoral Approaches to Religious Education
  • THST 6043 Faith and Culture: Catechesis in Southern California
  • THST 6075 Pastoral Liturgy
  • THST 6076 The Theology of the Parish
  • THST 6077 Special Topics in Pastoral Theology
  • THST 6053 Psychological Foundations of Pastoral Ministry


Capstone Experience

Admission to Program

  • Click here for information on how to enroll in the program