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MA Pastoral Studies

This program combines on-campus and online learning

Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies Program

Program Director: Fr. Dominic Anaeto


Summary of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies Program

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Pastoral Studies program is a professional degree program designed to prepare students to serve competently and effectively in contemporary ecclesial ministries and lay leadership, especially within parish settings. This includes religious education at all levels, catechetical leadership, and youth ministry. A primary objective of the program is to develop in students an understanding of ministry within the life and mission of the Roman Catholic Church. Fifty-percent of the program may be taken online.

The student must take 36 semester hours of graduate course work and complete the degree requirements with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better. All students must take two propaedeutic courses, four core courses, four courses within the chosen concentration and two electives. All students must complete a 6-credit Special Project by the close of their program. There is a six-year time limit from entry into the program for completion of the degree requirements.

Admission Requirements for the M.A. in Pastoral Studies Program

  1. Applicants should follow the College Division Admissions Procedure as described in the Holy Apostles College and Seminary Catalog.
  2. Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0.
  3. Applicants must be able to show proficiency in English, either evidenced by previous college experience or by proficiency exam.
  4. Applicants must demonstrate an undergraduate-level of competency in philosophy, scripture, dogmatic theology, moral theology, and Church history. Applicants who do not meet this standard of competency may be conditionally accepted and required to take specific undergraduate level introductory course work and complete it with a grade of 3.0 or better, prior to being considered for acceptance into the Pastoral Studies Program.
  5. Applicants must submit three (3) letters of recommendation from individuals who can assess the applicant’s academic and ministerial abilities.
  6. Applicants must submit an autobiographical essay that includes a history of the applicant’s religious and spiritual development and a resume of previous experience in ministry or other professional work, as well as a personal assessment of strengths and weaknesses for ministry.
  7. Applicants will receive an entrance interview with an admissions committee.

MAPS Degree Program Goals:

  1. To educate students in the discipline of pastoral theology, with attention to Catholic social and missiological teaching, sound morals and doctrine, and worthy contemporary scholarship
  2. To equip students with current knowledge of relevant pastoral resources of all kinds, and with a practical familiarity with those resources most likely to be useful to each student’s own role of service in the Church.
  3. To foster in students a love for pastoral ministry and an appropriate confidence in their own vocations to participate in the Church’s mission.

MAPS Degree Program Learning Outcomes:

Students completing the MAPS program will be able to

  1. represent Catholic doctrine and morals appropriately and accurately in a pastoral setting, including catechesis, adult faith formation, and basic instruction in prayer and discernment
  2. interpret magisterial, theological, and ritual texts accurately, insofar as these bear on common questions in religious education and on practical concerns in ministry
  3. engage in and articulate mature pastoral-theological reflection, demonstrating prudence, knowledge of the faith, and a realistic appraisal of concrete pastoral/ministerial circumstances
  4. collaborate maturely and respectfully with others in ministry, including pastors, religious, laity, and non-Catholics
  5. demonstrate competence in one of the program specializations, namely (a) pastoral counseling or (b) pastoral theology, by performing adequately in an appropriate exercise developed for each specialization by the MAPS program director, administered by qualified faculty, and approved by the Academic Dean
  6. communicate effectively in the work of evangelization and ministry in a practical and popular way, whether by ordinary speech and writing or via the new media of social communication

A student enrolled in the M.A. in Pastoral Studies Program may elect one of the following areas of concentration:

  1. Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Counseling
  2. Marriage and Family


Propaedeutic Courses

Two propaedeutic classes are required of all students when they first matriculate into the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies program, and these are PAS 601 Fundamentals of Pastoral Theology and SAS 601 Introduction to Scripture.

Core Curriculum

The 12-credit hour core curriculum required for the M.A. in Pastoral Studies Program is as follows:

  1. CHH 613 The Church in America
  2. PAS 511 Mission and Evangelization
  3. PAS 985 Pastoral Issues Concerning Human Sexuality
  4. MTH 841 Catholic Social Teachings

Concentration Curriculum

In addition to the 12 credit core curriculum, students in the M.A. in Pastoral Studies Program must successfully complete twelve credit hours of coursework in their concentration area follows:

Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Counseling

Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Counseling
Concentration Chair: Fr. Dominic Anaeto

Concentration Goals:

  1. To equip students with technical skills and practice for spiritual direction and pastoral counseling
  2. To educate students on the role of social sciences especially psychology in spiritual direction and pastoral counseling
  3. To foster in students the need for the education and integration of human emotion
  4. To educate the students on the necessity and implications of self-awareness.

Concentration Outcomes:

Students with concentration in Spiritual direction/Pastoral Counseling at the Completion of Maps will be able to:

  1. Respectfully guide pastors, religious, laity and non-Catholics in spiritual, personal and communitarian discernment or decision making
  2. Guide the people of God on how to cope with crisis in life
  3. Demonstrate competence in resolving psycho-spiritual problems
  4. Engage maturely people of all cultures, ages and religions in making vocational choices

Marriage and Family

Concentration Chair: Fr. Dominic Anaeto

Concentration Goals:

  1. To rediscover the meaning and values of marriage and family
  2. To acquire technical skills for guiding the children of the family with both mental and physical disabilities
  3. Equip the students with spiritual/pastoral help to be offered to those going through the trauma of abortion

Concentration Outcomes:

Students with concentration in Marriage and Family at the Completion of Maps will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate marriage as a wedding with the Transcendental Other
  2. Show mastery for preparing those to embrace the sacrament of matrimony from remote and proximate stance
  3. Prudently offer support to marriages and families in crisis.

Students must complete an additional 12 credit hours of electives within their concentration area for a total of 36 credits, six of which are provided through the completion of a summative evaluation project. Summative evaluation is the capstone of the student’s academic work in the M.A. program at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. All candidates for the M.A.P.S. degree complete a Special Project. Full descriptions of the Summative Evaluation exercise are available on the Summative Evaluation page.

For more detailed course descriptions, please visit the Graduate Course Descriptions page.

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