Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies


IPS has six graduate programs and offers four post-graduate certificates. To pursue a post-graduate certificate, applicants are required to have completed a master's degree in a related area of study.

Yes. All Loyola degree programs are accredited through North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

To apply to IPS, an applicant must have (at minimum) completed a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in any area of study.

IPS does not require any standardized test scores. However, international students may be required to take the TOEFL.

No. However, if you have concerns about your previous academic record, IPS encourages you to apply and to complete the Academic Explanation essay as a qualitative supplement to your transcripts. This brief explanation should be 1 - 2 paragraphs long, detailing the factors contributing to your previous academic performance.

Each of the six master's degrees and four post-graduate certificate programs have different sets of criteria. Contact the IPS Enrollment Advisor for more information.

Students educated outside the United States must meet the same requirements as all IPS applicants. This means that they must have completed the equivalent of a four-year U.S. bachelor's degree. To determine equivalency, you must submit your transcripts for review. You may also be required to take the TOEFL.

The minimum TOEFL score required for admission candidates is 550 (paper-based) or 79 (Internet-based).  The minimum IELTS score is 6.5.


Yes. IPS welcomes interested persons for Sabbatical time, whether it is for spiritual nourishment or intellectual stimulation.

Yes. IPS offers two degree programs entirely online: the MA in Pastoral Studies and the MA in Spirituality: Contemporary Spirituality concentration. If students are not interested in completing an entire program, they can enroll as a non-degree seeking student and take our online classes for continuing education, sabbatical opportunities, and/or personal renewal and development. Our online course offerings are updated each semester.

If you would like to sit in on a class without fulfilling the requirements for credit, you can register as a workshop participant. To register, contact IPS directly. As not all courses are available to workshop participants, the instructor will need to approve this request.

Yes. You may apply as a non-degree seeking student. This means you take courses while not pursuing a specific degree. However, non-degree applicants need to meet certain criteria and must submit a completed application form. Although non-degree seeking students may take an unlimited number of courses, no more than nine credit hours from those classes may be counted toward a degree program to which the student may be admitted later.

We encourage interested students to attend an open house, schedule an individual appointment with our Enrollment Advisor, or attend a class. To learn more about these options, please review our Visit Us page.

Please complete this form to receive information about IPS programs.

IPS has a rolling admission process and accepts new student each term: fall, spring, and summer. IPS strongly recommends submitting materials for admission at least one month prior to the start of a term to ensure time to process the application.

If you apply online, no application fee is required. Applicants who submit a paper application must submit a $50 application fee.

By applying online, you can save your information and log in later with a username and password. Once all sections are complete, click "Submit" and the application will be immediately sent to the processing office. You also may return to the application after submission to upload additional documents.

Yes, you must identify a program (or select the non-degree option) and a term of entry to apply to IPS.

Yes, but you must submit a separate application for each program you wish to apply to.

Yes. If you were known by a different name at another institution, note that name in the appropriate place on the application.

No! Please be mindful if you are pasting anything into the online application, as sometimes it will automatically insert unnecessary characters. Be sure to proofread!

Once we have received all required application materials, we should reach a decision within 2 - 3 weeks.

You may submit your application materials all at once or piece by piece. When we receive documents, each piece is scanned into your electronic file so they are easy to track. Supporting materials may be sent to: 

Graduate and Professional Enrollment Management
Loyola University Chicago
820 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Official university/college transcripts bearing the official seal of the institution and the signature of the registrar are required for all previous post-secondary education. Certified copies are acceptable; photocopies are not.

Yes! Official transcripts are required for international applicants, even if the transcripts are not written in English. International applicants are also required to complete a course-by-course evaluation through Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE). This process verifies whether the degree earned is the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree. It also translates a U.S. GPA, which is a factor of the admissions decision.

You must list all institutions you have attended where you took courses for credit. If you audited a class, or took a class for no credit, it is not necessary to list that institution on your IPS application. If you neglect to list all institutions where you took courses for credit, that is considered academic fraud. Please be thorough and accurate when listing institutions.

The letters of recommendation may be professional or academic in nature. You should choose people who can speak genuinely about why you are a good candidate for IPS.

No specific guidelines need to be followed, but the letter should be one page in length, detail the reasons why the recommender thinks you would be a good fit for IPS, and explain why (based on experiences shared with you) the recommender believes you will be an asset to our highly-interactive IPS classrooms.

No, please do not submit more than two letters of recommendation. Only two letters will be read.

The statement should be approximately 5 - 6 double-spaced pages in length.

Information about tuition and fees can be found on the Bursar Website.

Loyola and IPS offer a number of opportunities for financial assistance. Get information on IPS financial assistance programs, and also visit the Office for Student Financial Assistance Website.

Although scholarships and matching grants are available, IPS does not offer graduate assistantships. However, Loyola's Office of Campus Ministry is always seeking applicants for a two-year graduate assitantships. Graduate chaplains serve in a variety of capacities, from supervising peer ministers in the residence halls to working with retreats, Christian Life Communities and service learning trips, among other opportunities. For more information or to apply, please contact Director of Campus Ministry, Lisa Reiter at 773-274-3000 or at lreiter1@luc.edu. 

Any student admitted to IPS can be considered for very limited scholarship awards. However, if an admitted student receives an offer, it will not cover the full tuition or cost of attending Loyola.

Each of the six master's degrees has a different curriculum; therefore, completion of the program varies. Generally, full-time students carry a course load of three to four courses per semester. These students can typically complete any of 36-credit hour degree programs or the 42-credit degree in five semesters. Part-time (or half-time) students can take up to five years to complete the program. With 72-credit hours, the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree is the most comprehensive and longest program. Full-time M.Div. students take three to four years to complete this degree.

Typically, IPS offers core courses at least once a year. Elective courses are made available annually or every other year. To review the courses being offered by semester, visit the IPS Academics page.

Depending upon the degree program, an integration project or thesis may be required.

IPS courses are offered year-round. To meet the needs of working adults, IPS offers evening and weekend as well as daytime courses. True to its heritage, IPS continues to provide classes during the summer months. Class schedules are available online for some IPS degree programs.

Depending on the degree and the amount of previous study, students may transfer graduate credits up to one-third of the total credits necessary for the degree. Requests for transfer credit are reviewed on an individual basis by the Graduate Program Director.

Similar to transfer credit, students may receive up to one-third of the total credits necessary for the degree. Requests for advanced standing are reviewed on an individual basis. To inquire about specific questions regarding advanced standing, contact the IPS Enrollment Advisor for the name of the appropriate faculty advisor.

To defer, an admitted student should contact her/his faculty advisor stating the reason/s for the deferral and the term they wish to be begin their studies.

IPS collaborates with the Office for International Programs (OIP) regarding visas and other specific concerns. Visit the OIP Website to learn about obtaining a visa, seeking employment while in the U.S., and more.

IPS graduates serve in many different fields. The arenas for employment are closely related to the degree program the student pursues. To learn more about employment opportunities typically available for our degree programs, contact IPS directly.

Loyola's Career Development Center is available to assist current IPS students and alumni with their careers.