Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies

Inspired by the transformative story of St. Francis of Assisi, whose ministry embodied peace and good for all he met, Pace e Bene is a 30-credit Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies program that enables men and women to be formed as disciples in the service 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, students 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, students 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.

Courses Are Available

Face to Face
Main Campus

Program Details

●  Credits: 30
●  View Tuition and Fees

About Our Pastoral Studies Program

Read the expert perspective of the Rev. Stephen Lampe, S.S.L., S.T.D., associate professor of religious studies, in “Multiple Lenses,” a feature that appeared in the Summer 2018 digital issue of Stritch Magazine. He and three other faculty members use the lens of their academic disciplines to weigh in on factors that shape identity.

Course Requirements

  • RS 500: Developing a Pastoral Identity
  • RS 509: The Beginning of God’s plan for salvation – The Old Testament OR RS 511: God’s Plan revealed in the person of Jesus Christ – The New Testament
  • RS 506: The Church – Living as the People of God OR RS 505: Jesus Christ – Mediator and Savior of the world
  • RS 550: Living Virtue, Avoiding Vice – Living the Moral Life OR RS 573: Serving God’s People in Ministry
  • RS 513: The Community United with Christ – Theology of Worship and Sacrament OR RS 545: Christian Spirituality: Living the Call to Holiness


Choose four additional courses from the following list:

  • RS 505: Jesus Christ – Mediator and Savior of the world
  • RS 506: The Church – Living as the People of God
  • RS 509: The Beginning of God’s plan for salvation – The Old Testament
  • RS 511: God’s Plan revealed in the person of Jesus Christ – The New Testament
  • RS 513: The Community United with Christ – Theology of Worship and Sacrament
  • RS 514: The Mission Ad Gentes – Seeking Unity, Promoting Peace
  • RS 545: Christian Spirituality: Living the Call to Holiness
  • RS 550: Living Virtue, Avoiding Vice – Living the Moral Life

Franciscan Seminars

Each student completes four Franciscan seminars. Offered for one week during the summer, and repeated in January, these one-credit seminars take as their general theme one of the four Franciscan values that guide the mission of Cardinal Stritch University: creating a caring community, making peace, showing compassion, and reverencing creation. Together, students examine short reading assignments and engage both within and beyond the classroom in activities specially chosen by experienced faculty. The practical and discussion-oriented format of the seminars integrates theological ideas with pastoral issues and ecumenical concerns, and provides community networking opportunities and effective resources for ministry.


Each student will engage in a semester-long supervised pastoral experience, utilizing either the student’s current ministry or an internship arranged by the student and the university. Theological reflection on this experience in light of the student’s spiritual and ministerial goals will form part of a pastoral studies portfolio presented to faculty in the final semester of study.

  • Lay Ministers
  • Parish Administrators
  • Pastoral Associates
  • Directors of Religious Education
  • Chaplains
  • Catholic Educators
  • Business Leaders

Transfer Credits You Already Earned

A maximum of nine graduate credits may be transferred from another accredited degree-granting institution. Download our guide that explains credit acquisition.

Application Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree 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 equivalent competencies such as philosophy, psychology or sociology
  • A statement of purpose
  • An interview with the Religious Studies Department program chair

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.For international students, a course-by-course evaluation is required to determine if the applicant has the required 12 credits of undergraduate work in Religious Studies, Theology or similar program.

Funding Your Education

Stritch is competitively priced to make graduate education affordable. Counselors in our Financial Aid Office know that each student is unique and they are dedicated to helping identify ways to help students fund their education. Learn more about our tuition and the financial aid process.


Alumni Network

More than 38,000 Stritch alumni are recognized worldwide for their leadership roles in businesses, health care organizations, corporations, educational institutions, entrepreneurial ventures and non-profit organizations. Responsive to the needs of their communities, Stritch graduates are critical thinkers, ethical decision-makers and lifelong learners.

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