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M.A. in Pastoral Studies

The M.A. in Pastoral Studies program is ideal for lay individuals who want to enhance their ministry. Through a curriculum grounded in academic, theological and pastoral perspectives, you will develop the knowledge and skills to serve the Church and your community.

Program Overview

Inspired by the transformative work of St. Francis of Assisi, whose ministry embodied peace and good for all he met, this 30-credit Master of Arts (M.A.) in Pastoral Studies program enables men and women to be formed as disciples of the Church in 21st century American society. Classes are offered in an 8-week, face-to-face format. Through a curriculum that provides solid theological and pastoral grounding, you will receive an integrated formation that is especially suited for lay ecclesial service and the New Evangelization. Through Franciscan seminars, an internship and a concluding portfolio, you will acquire the practical skills, resources and personal contacts that make ministry effective. Retreats, spiritual direction and other formational opportunities allow students to grow in friendship, fellowship and faith, and to develop in their identity as members and ministers in the Body of Christ.

Application Process and Requirements

Application Requirements include:  a BA from an accredited college or university; a grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale; at least 12 undergraduate credits in Religious Studies OR other areas such as Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, or other humanities (Literature or History); a statement of purpose; and an interview with the chair of the Pace e Bene MAPS program.
Transfer Credits:  A maximum of 9 graduate credits may be transferred from another accredited degree-granting institution. 
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Career Opportunities

The Pace e Bene MAPS program provides opportunities for those who wish to enhance their current ministerial career, as well those who seek a new career in ministry or a related field. Completion of the program qualifies graduates for a variety of Church ministries including careers as a: Lay Minister, Parish Administrator, Pastoral Associate, Director of Religious Education, Catholic Educator, and Chaplain in a variety of contexts. The academic and pastoral nature of the Pace e Bene MAPS program makes it a highly desirable companion degree for those whose work includes: Public Advocacy and Policy, Non-profit Fundraising, Counseling, and Social Service.

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Did you know that...

  • Stritch graduates in Religious Studies (both undergraduate and graduate) occupy a wide range of positions in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee such as, Religion Teachers in Catholic High Schools, Chaplains in medical institutions, Pastoral Associates in parishes, Campus Ministers in Catholic Schools, and much more
  • one of the eight Parish Directors of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee graduated from Stritch with an MA in Religious Studies
  • deacons in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee can audit, or take courses for credit in the MAPS program, and pay for the course with continuing education funds
  • those who are currently employed in ministry can audit or attend courses in the MAPS as professional development
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Program Outcomes

  • Develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of the Christian tradition
  • Practice various scholarly methods in the study of Christianity (e.g., historical-critical, philosophical, pastoral, etc.)
  • Apply various critical lenses (e.g., historical, cultural, contemporary, ethical, spiritual, scientific, secular) in religious thinking and ritualizing
  • Connect religious and theological understanding to contemporary issues and problems of human concern
  • Develop the knowledge, skills and aptitudes for service to the life of the Church and its mission to the world within the context of one’s own ecclesial community and ministerial activities
Interested in scholarships and tuition discounts for the Masters in Pastoral Studies, click the tabs for more information.

Semillas de Esperanza Scholarship  

Tuition Discount

  • "Catholic Educators Incentive" ~ expands it to any employees of Catholic parishes in the archdiocese

For additional information contact admissions or program faculty.