Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies
This traditional curriculum, designed to provide a solid first-degree experience in education for ministry includes courses in scripture, pastoral theology, and ministerial skills, as well as numerous concentrations, including one in Healthcare Ministries. This MA in Pastoral Studies forms the basis for the MDiv degree. Students have the option at any point during their degree program or upon completion of their degree program to apply for the MDiv degree, and all of these courses will count toward their MDiv degree.
36 semester credit hours: 12 course:
- 8 core theology courses - 24 hours
- 3 elective ministry area courses - 9 hours
- 1 contextual practicum
- Intellectual Development
- The Core Curriculum
- Ministerial Development
- Contextual Development
- Human Development
- Spiritual Development
- Integration Project
- On-line Curriculum
Intellectual development seeks to expand the pastoral minister's understanding and appreciation of faith. It consists in theological studies, and draws also upon a wide range of other disciplines: philosophy, the arts, psychology, sociology, culture, and language studies.
The Core Curriculum
- 570 Introduction to Theology and Ministry 3 hours
This course explores the interplay among tradition and ministry, theology and practice. In this course students clarify and articulate the theory of ministry and the method of ministry from which to operate. You will explore the history of ministry and confront the challenge of relating its foundational traditions to the present array of ministers and ministries. This history will include the development of theology and the experience of critically thinking about the tradition and relating it effectively to ministry contexts today. Grounded in experiences of ministry, the course allows you to become more certain and deliberate about the skills that constitute ministerial practice and ministerial (pastoral) theology. At the heart of the course is your self-confidence in your ministerial capacities as a professional.
- 417 Literature of Ancient Israel 3 Hours
This course is an introduction to the Old Testament, the sacred literature of both Christians and Jews. We will examine texts from the Pentateuch, the historical and the prophetic books, and the wisdom books that contain the record of Israel's relation with its God, a record that for Christians forms the prelude to the Christ event. In order to reconstruct the meaning of Old Testament texts for their original audiences, we will employ the methods of modern critical biblical scholarship. The aim of our efforts to recover the ancient cultural, religious, and literary contexts of the Old Testament is the authentic appropriation of this literature in our present-day contexts of pastoral ministry and personal spiritual growth.
- 416 Christian Origins: An Exploration of the New Testament 3 hours
This course serves as an introduction to and overview of the New Testament. Students explore the world of Jesus and his interpreters from both an historical and a biblical perspective and learn about the religious and cultural world of Palestinian Judaism during the Roman occupation. The course considers the life and teachings of Jesus in Galilee in the twenties; the beginnings of the Christian movement in the revelatory experience of Christ risen and the preaching of the gospel focused on his life, death, and resurrection; the missionary movement of the Church into the Greco-Roman world (the life and writings of the apostle Paul); and finally the development of the four canonical gospels, each with their unique portrait of Jesus Christ and the path of discipleship. Throughout the course, students make connections between then and now, Christian origins and the world of today.
- 531 Christian Doctrine & Its History: Grace, Christ, & the Spirit 3 hours
Today many Christians have little or no understanding of how the New Testament experience became translated into Christian doctrine; many have little or no insight into how Christian theology today understands the dynamics of sin and grace, the notion of salvation, the role of Jesus Christ as understood by Christian faith. This course is an overview of fundamental Christian theology, focused on the core doctrines of grace, Christ, and Trinity. Students will pursue an understanding of the experiential foundations of core Christian doctrine and see the evolution of interpretation from early centuries to the present. Much of the course will explore contemporary, pastoral understandings of Christian doctrine. We will move between experience and doctrine and back to experience, helping students gain insight into both as they come to understand the dynamic process that leads from experience to doctrine-and, in theology, back again to experience and to ministry. What theologians refer to as "soteriology"--theology of salvation-is the heart of this course.
- 402 Church and its Mission 3 hours
This course involves us in communion as the heart of church, with attention to authentic human development. It examines the relationships of community and institutional structure and highlights the mission of the church to society. We focus on the church as an evolving experience of reform and its aftermath. Jesus to Augustine, Christendom, Tridentine Reform and Vatican II are the historical periods that anchor this course. The church is both product and transformer of culture--each age bringing new challenges, up to and including our contemporary context. We’ll explore how the resources and the tradition of the Church can be used to respond creatively to these challenges, enabling us to teach and minister in new times, and identify new resources as needed.
- 541 Liturgy and Christian Sacraments 3 hours
This course will examine the seven Catholic Sacraments as specific encounters with the great mystery that is God, whose saving presence and action break into our lives through our experiences of Christ in and through the Holy Spirit. As liturgical celebrations of Christ's Body, the Church, the Sacraments not only express our faith in God's love and presence, but also, by their very celebration, bring us into an encounter with God's grace and work to form and shape us more and more into the image of Christ in the world. This course also examines the complicated theological, religious, and cultural origins of the liturgy and the sacraments. We will analyze how these elements developed and changed as a pastoral response to the needs of the Church communities throughout time. Finally we will look at the liturgy and sacraments in our own day and envision how the Church can respond pastorally to our own times and how it might respond in the future.
- 553 Christian Moral Theology and Ethics 3 hours
This course examines the fundamental insights of Christian ethics as they relate to everyday living as disciples of Christ and citizens in this time/place. Topics covered will include: history of Christian ethics, formation of a Christian ethical community discipleship, theological anthropology (including human dignity, rights, agency, freedom, natural law, stages of moral development and commitment), models for decision-making, resources for ethical living (Catholic traditions, the scriptures, human experience, social and human sciences), conscience, methods of ethical thinking, (social) sin, conversion and virtue. These foundational issues and Catholic social teachings will be integrated with pastoral application through the use of case studies on economic justice, violence, human sexuality, environmental justice and biomedical ethics.
- 555 The Human Person and Psychological Development 3 hours
Human beings are created to grow and mature into their full humanity. Every phase of life carries particular psychological and spiritual agendas with which the minister needs to be acquainted. While each person is unique, our developmental story from birth to death is also our universal human story with particular variations, sharpened around gender and cultural differences. We will explore these differences even as we seek to discover reliable markers for ministry to persons throughout the life cycle.
Ministerial development cultivates the knowledge, attitudes and skills that directly pertain to effective functioning in the ministry setting, or to the pastoral administration that supports direct ministry and draws also upon a wide range of other disciplines: counseling, medical ethics, business administration, leadership, organizational development, and law.
Three courses - 9 hours
Chosen from course offerings to address elements in pastoral ministry competencies in areas such as:
- Promoting or organizing action on behalf of justice
- Youth ministry
- Pastoral presence and care for the sick and the dying
- Parish ministry
- Health ministries
The contextual practicum is where the ministry student brings together all four developmental aspects of the degree program. It is the place to integrate the theological, ministerial, personal and spiritual learnings of this degree in the context of the lived everyday ministry setting. Here, in a structured program that combines on-site mentoring and supervision located in actual ministry practice with peer and faculty weekly reflection sessions, the student achieves and realizes that sense of professional and personal competency as minister.
These field learning settings can be directly related to the student's present work situation or can be selected from placements IPS has cultivated. Because of the ability to operate in a blended and on-line teaching manner, these placements can be located in the resource rich area of Chicago or other settings around the nation or the world.
- IPS 580-Field Education (3 Hours):
Field Education is the experience during the student's ministerial education that directly engages pastoral practice in the context of ministerial studies. Simultaneously, the student refines pastoral skills, ministerial theology and vocational identity. Field Education consists of 10-15 hours per week of ministry at a site, reflection with a site supervisor and as well as a weekly peer reflection seminar on campus. In the weekly seminar students review learning contracts, prepare and reflect on pastoral events, and exercise peer evaluations. Students may choose to do one unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) at an accredited CPE site in place of field education.
Human development seeks to enhance the pastoral minister's human qualities and character, fostering a healthy and well-balanced personality, for the sake of both human growth and ministerial service.
Spiritual development aims to arouse and animate true hunger for holiness, desire for union with God through Christ in the Spirit, daily growing love of God and neighbor in life and ministry, and the practices of prayer and spirituality that foster these attitudes and dispositions.
The program also requires an Integration Project at the conclusion of study. This project is similar to a Masters’ thesis, but it involves personal integration of one’s course of studies and one’s research into one’s personal ministerial identity and application of one’s research to one’s ministry. The Integration Project typically takes the form of a paper, approximately 30-35 pages in length. Once participants secure a faculty reader for their Integration Project, they must fill out a Final_Integration_Project_Form, have the faculty member and IPS director or associate director sign it.
A suggested outline for the Integration Project follows:
This section of the paper introduces your focal point and should be approximately 5-7 pages in length.
- Develop an initial presentation of your focal point.
- How did this focal point emerge for you?
- What are some of the major dimensions of this focal point?
- Why do you consider this focal point significant for the church, the world and yourself?
This section of the paper is the major research portion of the paper and should be at least 15 pages in length. Review the various courses you have taken at IPS in light of what you have identified in Part I, and use the resources from those course to form the major core of your bibliography for this section. Additional research specific to your focus will also be necessary.
- What topics and themes from what courses would you highlight as contributing to your own education and understanding of your identified focus?
- If you have had other courses or experiences which have contributed to your identified focus, feel free to bring them into the paper.
- Do not try to be exhaustive by summarizing each course; be selective in what you choose to relate to your established focal point.
This section of the paper should integrate the research material and IPS coursework into your own ministerial identity and spiritual life, as well as apply the research to your specific ministerial context. In this concluding section, you will also address the larger contextual implications of your research for ministry in general in the church and/or world. This section should be approximately 10-15 pages in length.
- What are the implications for my life, both personally and professionally?
- How have I changed, grown, developed as a result of my learnings that have been identified in Part II?
- What are the implications for the future, in terms of my own spirituality, in terms of my ministry, and in terms of the church and the world? Think in terms of specific ministry plan/program.
N.B. This paper should be about 30-35 pages in length, using Times New Roman, 12 pt. font and should be double-spaced. Citations should be done using the Chicago Manual Citation style.