Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Academic Policies

Academic Advising

Each degree-seeking student is assigned a faculty academic advisor to assist them throughout the period of graduate study. The faculty academic advisor plays a major role in working with the student to ensure a planned, disciplined and well-supervised approach to graduate study. The relationship between advisor and advisee is reciprocal and requires mutual effort in the planning and execution of all aspects of the student's progress. The faculty academic advisor, as a mentor, is to be diligent in providing guidance by being available for regular consultation.  The student is likewise responsible for actively seeking the guidance of the faculty advisor and other IPS faculty members for all matters pertaining to the student's progression through the program including degree completion.

Academic Integrity

Academic honesty is an expression of an ethic of interpersonal justice, responsibility and care, applicable to Loyola University Chicago faculty, students and staff, which demands that the pursuit of knowledge in the university community be carried out with integrity.

Academic dishonesty is characterized by the failure to apply this ethic; i.e., any action whereby faculty, student or staff misrepresents the ownership of academic work submitted in her or his name. A student's failure to practice academic honesty, depending upon the seriousness of the misconduct, will result in a sanction ranging from the grade of F for the assignment to expulsion from the university.

Boundaries of Academic Honesty and Dishonesty

The following sections, which are illustrative rather than exhaustive, discuss specific expressions of academic honesty and dishonesty.

Examinations: Obtaining or distributing materials prior to the scheduled examination without the intention of the teacher; providing information to or obtaining information from another student during the examination; or attempting to change answers after the examination has been submitted are violations of the examination process.

Papers: Plagiarism is the use of ideas, language, or work of another without sufficient public acknowledgement that the material is not one's own. The following acts are regarded as such violations:

  • Submitting another person's work as one's own
  • Submitting a rewritten or paraphrased version of another person's work without attribution
  • Allowing another or paying another to write a paper for one's own benefit

Research Procedures: Data misrepresentation or fabrications are clearly unethical. Ownership of data and programs and privileged information and confidentiality of data need to be clarified and respected by all those involved in the research process.

Authorship: In all cases of joint authorship, individuals working together should establish ahead of time the criteria for their co-authorship. Final determination of authorship should reflect effort and contribution, not rank or status. Final program papers and projects may not be co-authored.

Copyright: Laws of the United States and the university need to be respected. Faculty and students are responsible for knowledge and implementation of university policy in this area.

Teaching: Intellectual honesty characterizes the teaching endeavor. Teachers have the responsibility of clearly stating at the beginning of a course, any and all responsibilities of the course and specifying in percentages how the final grade is to be calculated. Furthermore, teachers will inform themselves of appropriate guidelines for the composition of course syllabi and ground rules.

Failure to Practice Academic Honesty

An attempt to claim another person’s ideas or writings as one’s own is a serious offense against the academic community. Such intellectual theft or misrepresentation constitutes an act of plagiarism. Plagiarism is not mitigated by a paraphrase or even by an extensive editing of another’s work. Whenever ideas or words are used, the student must give credit by citing the source. The same principle of honesty applies to the use of modern technologies like the computer or media such as the internet— sources of information must be accurately credited.

A student submitting work that includes plagiarism or does not otherwise practice academic honesty is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including failure in the course or dismissal from the IPS/Loyola University. An instructor who discovers a failure to practice academic honesty, for example, that plagiarized work has been submitted in fulfillment of course requirements, shall immediately inform the student, allowing him or her the chance to explain the circumstances. If, after conferring with the student, the instructor still considers the student’s work to be academically dishonest, or plagiarized, then the instructor will compile the materials of the case, including the piece of work that may have been plagiarized, any sources from which the student plagiarized, and a written report of the instructor’s conversation with the student.

The instructor will submit these materials to the Associate Dean.  If the student acknowledges in writing that he or she has plagiarized, a letter—noting the penalty determined by the professor in consultation with the Associate Dean—will be placed in the student's file. 

If the student does not acknowledge the plagiarism, the Associate Dean will submit the case, with all relevant materials, to the Academic Disciplinary Committee. That disciplinary committee will conduct its own investigation and will hold a hearing at which the student, representing him or herself, will be invited to present his or her case and to respond to the committee’s questions. The committee will decide solely on whether the student did plagiarize and will base its decision only on the evidence, not on mitigating or extenuating circumstances.

If the committee finds that plagiarism did occur, it will convey its findings to the instructor and to the Associate Dean. The instructor will assign a grade to the material in question and a grade for the course, up to and including failure in the course and shall report these grades to the Associate Dean. The Dean shall hold a show-cause hearing with the student on why he or she should not be dismissed from the University and shall decide on any penalties beyond the grade, up to and including dismissal from the University.

Academic Standing

Good Standing

A degree-seeking student is in good academic standing if he or she: 1) meets the standards of quality of his or her academic program and the Institute of Pastoral Studies; 2) makes satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements within the established time limit; 3) fulfills the Institute of Pastoral Studies' requirement regarding continuous registration; and 4) fulfills the Institute of Pastoral Studies' requirement regarding grade-point average. Students who are not in good academic standing are not eligible to receive a degree.

Continuous Registration

All students, including those who have completed all coursework, are required to maintain continuous registration during the regular academic year (not including summer sessions) until all degree requirements are met, unless they have received a leave of absence. Continuous registration means registration during both fall and spring semesters of the academic year (unless the student receives a leave of absence).

Attendance Policy

Students who are absent from ¼ of the semester in a given course, whether excused or not, will be administratively withdrawn or will automatically fail the course at the discretion of the professor.

Master's Study

(IPS 605—Graduate students who have not completed their degree are required to be continuously enrolled in a course until their degree is completed. This 0 credit hour course fulfills that requirement for those who are finished with their coursework but not their final projects.

This is a 0 credit hour course. Fee: $500 (on tuition bill).

Registration in Master's Study is limited to two consecutive semesters:

Full-time Status

In the Fall and Spring Semesters students are considered full time if they are enrolled in at least eight credit hours of coursework. In the summer sessions students are considered full-time if they are enrolled in at least six credit hours of coursework. Enrollment in either CPE (IPS 530) or Master's Study (IPS 605) is considered full-time regardless of the semester.

Half-time Status

In the fall and spring semesters, students are considered half-time if they are enrolled in at least four but fewer than eight credit hours of coursework.

In the summer sessions, students are considered half-time if they are enrolled in at least three but fewer than six credit hours of coursework.

Part-time Status

Students are considered part-time if they are enrolled in three or fewer credit hours of coursework.

Full and part-time status are reported to loan companies and to the U.S. government, including the INS. Full and part-time status are not necessarily related to eligibility for health insurance, or to Loyola’s fees.

Inactive Status

Students who do not meet the requirement of continuous registration are considered inactive and not in good academic standing. To request reinstatement to active status, the inactive student should discuss the matter with the academic advisor and send the IPS Dean a written Reinstatement_Request_form, which must include the following information: 1) the academic semester/term for which the student is requesting reinstatement; 2) information as to why the student discontinued her/his studies and information on the nature of any academic or professional work undertaken since the discontinuation of her/his studies; and 3) a proposed time line for completion of outstanding degree requirements.

Reinstatements are not automatic, and students whose requests are denied will not be permitted to continue in their programs. Repeated failure to maintain continuous registration is itself grounds for denying a request for reinstatement.

The program may require additional information from the student as it reviews her/his request. The program may recommend completion of additional requirements (e.g., coursework) as a condition of reinstatement because of the time that has elapsed since discontinuation of studies at Loyola.

Grade Point Average

The transcript reflects a student’s actual academic record and the GPA includes all grades earned during the pursuit of the degree.  Students must maintain at least a 3.0 or higher GPA for all graduate-level and undergraduate-level courses required for the degree.
If a student, with the authorization of the Dean, retakes a course, only the most recent grade earned for the course will be used when calculating the student's grade-point average for the purposes of graduation.

Probation and Dismissal

Students who fail to maintain a grade-point average of at least a 3.00 may be placed on academic probation. In such cases, if the student does not raise the grade-point average to at least 3.00 during the next two consecutive terms in which the student registers, the student will be dismissed for poor scholarship.

Students who are near the end of their programs must raise their cumulative GPAs to 3.00 in order to receive a degree. Students will not be permitted to continue taking courses after they have completed all of their program hours in the hope of raising their cumulative GPAs.

A student who earns multiple grades of C or lower, or who otherwise fails to maintain good academic standing, is subject to review and possible dismissal from the program.

Grade Requirements

No more than one core course and one elective for which a student receives a final grade of C+ (2.33) or C (2.00) respectively, may be applied toward the fulfillment degree or certificate requirements. No course for which a student receives a final grade of less than a C (2.00) may be applied toward the fulfillment degree or certificate requirements. Such grades, however, will be used in the calculation of a student's grade point average.

Communication from the Institute of Pastoral Studies

Official notices are presented to students through the Institute of Pastoral Studies website or via Loyola e-mail. Students are individually responsible for this information and should check their email and the Institute of Pastoral Studies website regularly. For reasons of confidentiality, as well as efficiency, communications to students will be sent to students’ Loyola email accounts and not to any other email address. Students are responsible for checking this account and/or setting up a forwarding system. The Institute of Pastoral Studies may refuse to provide confidential information using a non-Loyola email account.

Outlook is Loyola’s network-based electronic mail program that provides a wide range of messaging and organizational features. It is fully supported by the University and by Information Technology Services. Loyola students, faculty and staff can access their Outlook e-mail accounts via the Web, either from a networked campus computer or from a home computer. The Web version has nearly all of the features of the network version. More information.

Coursework Requirements

Course Levels

IPS students taking courses within Loyola University but outside of IPS may receive credit toward a degree or certificate from: 1) courses at the 400-level and above, and 2) certain 300-level courses.

Regarding 300-level courses (i.e., undergraduate courses), approval of the student's academic advisor and the IPS Dean is required for the application of such courses toward a graduate degree. No more than two 300-level courses may apply toward a master's degree.

Other undergraduate courses, including all 100- and 200-level courses, do not apply toward fulfillment of graduate coursework requirements; such courses may, however, be used to fulfill prerequisites. These courses do not count in a student’s cumulative graduate GPA.

Integration Project

Students in most IPS degree programs are required to complete an Integration Project during their final or penultimate semester of coursework.  The Integration Project is ordinarily a written work of 35-50 pages in length that demonstrates integration of the students' IPS coursework with a question relevant to the student's ministerial context. The project also demonstrates the student’s ability to research major issues of life and faith, and the student’s skill in linking contemporary needs with tradition.

The zero-credit Integration Project (IPS 593) is required for students in the following degree programs and concentrations:

  • MA in Health Care Mission Leadership
  • MA in Counseling for Ministry
  • MA in Pastoral Studies (all concentrations except Health Care Chaplaincy which requires IPS 493)
  • MA in Social Justice
  • MA in Christian Spirituality
  • Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Students complete the integration project based on guidelines for MA students (MA_Integration_Project_Guidelines) or for M.Div. students (MDiv_Integration_Project_Guidelines).  Prior to registering for IPS 593, students must complete an Integration Project Proposal (Integration_Project_Proposal_Guidelines) and an (Integration_Project_Registration_Form).

Students in the MA in Pastoral Counseling complete their Integration Project as part of their two-semester Internship taken during their final year of studies.


Degree Conferral and Annual Graduation Ceremony

Students are to apply to receive an MDiv or MA at the end of the term during which they expect to complete all degree requirements through LOCUS. If the degree is not conferred as of the date noted on the application, a new application is required for a subsequent degree-conferral date.

Please read the following steps first and then complete them by initiating the Apply for Graduation process in LOCUS:

  1. Enter your expected graduation term and verify your degree. If your degree is not correctly identified, please contact the IPS Office immediately.
  2. Verify your Permanent Address as recorded in LOCUS. Your diploma will be mailed to your Permanent Address in LOCUS. Please verify that your Permanent Address in LOCUS is accurate. If you wish to have your diploma mailed to another address, please complete the Temporary Diploma Mailing Address form (PDF) and e-mail it to diploma@luc.edu.
  3. Verify your Diploma Name. The name that will appear on your diploma will be your Primary Name recorded in LOCUS. If any changes are required, you are asked to enter those changes inLOCUS. If your Diploma Name differs significantly from your Primary Name, a notarized Name_Change_Request must be filed in the Office of Registration and Records. (For example, if you are adding or changing a Name—First, Middle, Last—or if you are adding a suffix such as Jr., Sr., I, II, III, etc., a Name Change Request must be completed.)
  4. Check LOCUS for any Holds that would delay the conferral of your diploma.

Remember: In preparation for the Final Degree Audit, go to LOCUS to verify that all transfer credits and Advanced Standing have been posted to your academic record.

IPS Students are asked to enter the following information in the Apply for Graduation process in LOCUS:

Prior Education, including degree(s), date degree(s) conferred, institution(s) from which the degree was awarded

You will be charged a $100 matriculation fee in your first semester of studies at IPS. This covers your graduation fee.

Degrees are conferred in May, August and December. However, there is only one commencement ceremony at the end of the spring semester.

Visit Commencement for ceremony dates/times/locations.


The grades (and associated grade-point values) in the Institute of Pastoral Studies are as follows:

Grade Value

WF—Withdrawal, Failure
NP—No Credit

Incomplete Grades

The Institute of Pastoral Studies expects students to complete all coursework by the end of the term during which the courses were taken. However, if a student and the instructor make arrangements in advance, a student may receive a grade of I (Incomplete) at the end of the term. The student is to complete the outstanding work and submit it to the instructor by the last day of the semester following the term in which the I grade was assigned. If the student does not turn in the work by the deadline, the Incomplete will automatically become an F. The Institute of Pastoral Studies will not approve a change of grade if the student does not complete and submit the work to the instructor within one term of the assignment of an Incomplete grade.

For purposes of incomplete grades, the various Loyola University summer sessions are counted together as one semester. In other words, an Incomplete from the spring semester would need to be completed by the end of the summer semester. An Incomplete from the summer semester would need to be completed by the end of the fall semester. An Incomplete from the fall semester would need to be completed by the end of the spring semester.


Credit/No Credit

Master's Study (#605), and certain other graduate courses (i.e.: Pastoral Counseling sessions, Spiritual Direction sessions, Identity-Integration, Crisis Management, M.Div. Project, MDiv, MARE and MASJ internships/practica) are graded on a credit/no credit basis. A grade of P (pass) indicates that the student made satisfactory progress toward completion of course or degree requirements. A grade of NP (no pass) indicates that the student did not make satisfactory progress toward completion of course or degree requirements.


The Pass/Fail option is not available for courses taken for graduate credit, with the occasional exception of designated internship courses. The Pass/Fail option is available for other courses (e.g., foreign-language courses taken to fulfill a research-tool requirement).

Grievance Procedures

Financial Disputes: Questions or concerns regarding students’ tuition and fees or financial aid can be resolved by contacting either the Office of the Bursar or Financial Aid.

Students with Disabilities: Loyola provides procedures for resolving disputes related to services for students with disabilities, including complaints that a student has been discriminated against because of his or her disability.  To review information about how to file an incident report and about the procedures used to resolve student complaints, visit the File a Report page from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

Sexual Harassment: Loyola University Chicago is committed to maintaining an environment which respects the dignity of all individuals. Accordingly, Loyola University will not tolerate sexual harassment by or of its students, faculty, or employees.  For sexual harassment policy and reporting procedures, please visit this site: http://www.luc.edu/hr/policies/policy_sexualharassment.shtml.

Ethicsline: The University strongly encourages all faculty, staff, students, administrators or other concerned parties to use this Reporting Hotline to report suspected or wrongful acts of conduct by Loyola University Chicago community members. No University administrator, faculty, staff or student may interfere with the good faith reporting of suspected or actual wrongful conduct; no individual who makes such a good faith report shall be subject to retaliation, including harassment or any adverse employment, academic or educational consequence, as a result of making a report.  For more information, visit https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/34712/index.html.

Academic Grievances:

Students, faculty members, staff, and administrators are strongly encouraged to attempt to resolve informally problems arising from academic matters. The Institute of Pastoral Studies hopes that open communication between all parties and mutual confidence in one another's goodwill will lead to the resolution of problems in this manner. Student complaints regarding an academic grievance should follow the procedure outlined below:


Students, faculty members or administrators may invoke the following procedures when academic grievances arise. Allegations of misconduct in the design, conduct or reporting of research supported by federal funds shall be handled through the procedures described in the university's policy concerning misconduct in scholarship (published by the Office of University Research Services). Problems arising from clearly non-academic matters fall within the jurisdiction of the university's Division of Student Development, Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution.

In cases in which the jurisdiction is unclear or mixed, the Dean of the Institute of Pastoral Studies and the vice president for student development will determine the appropriate jurisdiction.

Regarding evaluation of students, the academic grievance procedure applies only to those cases in which the evaluation of the student is alleged to be capricious, in significant violation of clearly established written school policies, or a result of improper procedures. An evaluation of a student is capricious if the evaluation is: 1) based partially or entirely on criteria other than the student's performance; 2) based on standards different from those standards of evaluation applied to other students; or 3) based on a substantial departure from announced standards of evaluation. In cases other than those noted above, an evaluation of a student is not a basis for an academic grievance.

The Institute of Pastoral Studies retains copies of all documentation related to the management of grievances under its jurisdiction.


Request for a Hearing: The grievant is to make a written request for a hearing to the Dean of the Institute of Pastoral Studies. The request must specify the nature of the grievance and prior attempts to resolve the matter. The request must be made within thirty days after the beginning of the term following the event leading to the grievance.  The Dean will determine if the grievance falls under the jurisdiction of the policy.

Hearing Board

The Dean of the Institute of Pastoral Studies will appoint a hearing board as needed when grievances are filed consisting of at least three members, including one student. Only members of the IPS full-time faculty or IPS students are eligible to serve on the hearing board. The hearing board is to have a chairperson, appointed by the Dean, who is responsible for managing all procedures related to the hearing.  The chairperson will be a tenured member of the faculty.

Hearing Procedure

The purpose of the hearing is to ensure that all parties have full opportunity to present their views to the hearing board, and to allow the hearing board to assure itself that it fully understands the parties' views. The conduct of the hearing is informal; it is not bound by rules of evidence or court procedures. All matters of procedure are to be decided by the chairperson of the hearing board in accordance with the following guidelines.

The chairperson of the hearing board is to set the date, time and location of the hearing. The hearing is to take place within 30 days of the request for a hearing, if practicable. All involved parties are to receive timely written notice of the hearing and the matters to be considered. All supporting documentation relating to the matter is to be submitted to the hearing board at least one week prior to the hearing; the hearing board will distribute it in a timely manner to all involved parties prior to the hearing.

The hearing and material submitted to the hearing board are private, and all parties involved in the grievance are to consider their contents confidential; however, if a party disseminates their contents, the party's interest in confidentiality is deemed waived. Electronic recording of the hearing is prohibited.

A party may obtain the assistance of members of the university community in preparing written documentation or in presenting information to the hearing board, provided that the assistants are not attorneys; individuals from outside the university, including attorneys, are not permitted to serve as assistants. The party must notify the chairperson of the hearing board of the names of the assistants at least one day prior to the hearing.

Each party may present information, both orally and in writing, to the hearing board. All parties are to be present throughout the hearing. Each party may call witnesses at the hearing (the party is to submit to the chairperson of the hearing board the witnesses' names at least one week prior to the hearing; the hearing board will notify all parties of the names of witnesses in a timely manner prior to the hearing). The board may direct questions to any party or witness. All individuals presenting information to the hearing board have the responsibility of presenting truthful information.

After the hearing board has gathered all information necessary to understand fully the parties' views, the board will deliberate in private. In reaching its decision, the board will examine all documents and other exhibits and consider fully statements of all parties and witnesses. The decision of the board will be determined by a majority vote of participating board members.

The chairperson of the hearing board will notify the parties in writing of the board's decision within two weeks of the hearing.


A party may appeal the decision of the hearing board to the Dean of the Institute of Pastoral Studies. The party is to request an appeal in writing within 30 days of notification of the hearing board's decision; the request must include an explanation of the basis for the appeal. The Dean will notify all parties of the request for an appeal and will provide an opportunity for a response. The Dean will obtain from the parties and the hearing board information necessary to consider fully the parties' views and the hearing board's decision.

The Dean may affirm, modify or reverse the hearing board's decision. The Dean will notify the parties of the disposition of the appeal within 30 days of receiving the appeal, if practicable. The Dean's decision is final in all cases, except those involving possible expulsion from the university (i.e., a permanent prohibition of enrollment at the university); the penalty of expulsion may be imposed only by the university's provost or senior vice president for health sciences.

Leaves of Absence

Official leaves of absence are intended for students who wish to discontinue temporarily their graduate studies due to special circumstances (e.g., medical, personal or professional reasons). Students who are on a leave of absence may not use University resources. A leave of absence postpones all deadlines concerning completion of degree requirements for the duration of the leave of absence. A student requesting a leave of absence is to complete a Leave_of_Absence form and contact the academic advisor. The academic advisor is to then make a recommendation on the student's behalf to the IPS Dean. Decisions regarding the approval of leaves of absence rest with the academic advisor in consultation with the Dean; when reviewing requests for a leave of absence, additional information or documentation from the student may be required. In cases where the academic advisor recommends that the leave of absence not be granted, the student may petition the Dean to consider her/his request. International students admitted to the United States on temporary visas must also receive approval from the university's Office of International Programs for information regarding eligibility for a leave of absence.

Leaves of absence are limited to a period of one full academic year. If a student is not prepared to return to active status after one year, the student may request a renewal of the leave of absence for a period of up to one year; in such cases, the academic advisor and the IPS Dean will review the student's record and future plans to determine whether an additional leave is in the best interests of the student and the IPS program.

In order to be reinstated to active status, the student must notify the IPS Dean in writing upon returning from a leave of absence. Unless the student is granted a renewal of a leave of absence, the student must return to active status in the semester following the expiration of a leave of absence; failure to do so may result in dismissal from the program. If a student does not return from a leave of absence after two consecutive years, s/he must complete an Application for Re-Admission to the program.


LOCUS is Loyola's online connection to university services. Student, faculty, and staff each have unique centers in LOCUS designed to provide a "one stop shopping experience" that enhances one's educational record keeping and support services experience.  LOCUS allows students to enroll in courses, view and process financial information, change addresses and phone numbers, request official transcripts, and more. Also through LOCUS, faculty can enter grades from home. More information.

Military Service

Students who have been called into the armed services of the United States and who are consequently withdrawing from the university before the end of the withdrawal period will receive a refund of all tuition and fees paid for the period in question but no academic credit. If they withdraw after the end of the withdrawal period, they will receive full academic credit for the semester with grades as of the date of withdrawal but no refund of tuition.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects in Research

A graduate student preparing to conduct research involving the use of human or vertebrate animal subjects, whether or not such research is pursued in connection with a final project, must secure approval of the university's Institutional Review Board for Protection of Human Subjects (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to undertaking the research. Please consult LUC.edu/ors/compliance.shtml for complete information.


In order to be certified as active students and to have access to university resources, both new and continuing students are to register before each term in which they are taking courses, working on a thesis or dissertation, completing a practicum or internship or otherwise engaged in graduate study. Applicants must be officially admitted to the Institute of Pastoral Studies before they will be permitted to register. Students are responsible for registering for courses in a timely manner through the university's registration system. Students are also responsible for maintaining the accuracy of their enrollment and understanding the academic and financial consequences of adding or withdrawing courses.

No one is permitted to attend any class without first officially registering for that class. A fee is charged for late registration. Students may not register for classes after the late registration period.

Registration at Loyola University Chicago is done through the LOCUS on-line registration system. For specific information on registration, please refer to http://www.luc.edu/regrec.

Registration for Guided Study

Guided study (IPS 499) facilitates the pursuit of interests for which there are no corresponding courses offered in IPS. Guided studies may take the form of supervised practica, directed reading and research, or a capstone. No core courses may be taken by independent study. Students must initiate the request for an independent study well in advance of the registration period. Only those who hold doctoral degrees in their field may direct independent study courses, and IPS faculty are not obligated to direct such courses. If a faculty member agrees, a detailed agreement must be developed and signed by the student, the faculty member, and the IPS Dean no later than three weeks prior to the start of classes.


Cross-Registration within Loyola University

Students intending to take a course outside the academic unit that includes their program must obtain approval from the course instructor and the "host" unit. Fill out the Inter-Program Course Enrollment Form. Students should contact the host unit for information about registration procedures. They should also consult with their home program to see if these courses will count toward the degree.

Auditing IPS courses

Students wishing to take a course without receiving credit may audit a course. Class attendance is required of auditors and a final grade of "AU" will be assigned. If they do not attend class, the final grade of "W" will be assigned. Assignments, including examinations and term papers, are not required, but auditors have the right to participate in class discussion. A course that is audited does not count as hours attempted. Required courses may not be converted to audit status. A course may not be converted to audit status after the first two weeks of the semester or one week of a summer session. The cost to audit a course is 50% of current tuition rate.

Registration in a particular course is governed by the ordinary approval applicable to any graduate course and is further limited by the availability of space in the desired class.

Students should apply to IPS through the Graduate and Professional Enrollment Management (GPEM) Office as a non-degree seeking student. If the student is an IPS graduate, please fill out the Reapplicaton Form and submit it to the GPEM office. After being admitted, the student must officially register for the class they'd like to audit and then contact IPS and request auditor status. A form will be submitted on the student's behalf to the Office of Registration and Records and then the for-credit course will be converted to audit status.

Withdrawal from a Course

After the drop/add period at the beginning of each term, students may withdraw from a class with the final grade of "W." At a certain point in the semester, according to the calendar established by the registrar, only a "WF" is available to those who withdraw. Any tuition refund available to a student who withdraws is reduced throughout the semester so that at a certain point there is no refund. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of these dates and deadlines: Calendars/Schedules

Students who stop attending a class but who have not officially withdrawn will receive the final grade of "WF" and will incur full financial obligation to the university. Voluntary and repeated unofficial withdrawals from class may result in the student being barred from further attendance in the university.

Students contemplating official withdrawal from a class and receiving or expecting to receive financial assistance should consult with the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Adding a Course

Students who would like to add a course after the regular registration period must complete a Change of Registration form and obtain the approval of their academic advisor. The form is then submitted to the IPS Office for approval. Such requests are approved only in extraordinary circumstances.

Number of Courses Allowed

Registration for nine credit hours per semester is considered the normal full-time course load. The maximum course load for Institute of Pastoral Studies students is 12 credit hours per semester and six credit hours per summer session.

Registration of Undergraduate Students in Graduate Course

Undergraduates who are judged capable of pursuing graduate studies may be admitted to IPS courses with the approval of the course instructor and the Dean of IPS. Such courses are ordinarily applicable only toward the student's undergraduate degree; however, under certain circumstances such courses may be applied towards a IPS graduate degree (see the policy on transfer credit below).

Repetition of Course

Students may repeat a course in which they previously received a passing grade only with the specific authorization of the Dean. Authorization to repeat courses merely to improve the grade will rarely be given.

In an authorized repetition of a course the student will not receive credit hours toward graduation for both courses. The student will only receive credit hours toward graduation for the most recent attempt, and only the last grade received will be counted in the student’s GPA.

A student who repeats a course without written permission of the Dean earns neither credit hours nor quality points for the repeated course.


Sakai is Loyola’s online course management system. At Loyola, Sakai acts as an electronic extension of classroom teaching. With it, faculty post course materials online, facilitate discussion between students via electronic message boards, and administer tests and quizzes remotely.

More information
Student Resources

Students with Disabilities

At times, students with disabilities may wish to avail themselves of the university's ancillary services. Students who would like accommodations at the university need to contact the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities. Contact information is available at LUC.edu/sswd.

Support for Student Travel and Conference Expenses

IPS provides funds to support student travel/conferences. Please see the application form for more information and to apply for these funds.

A faculty committee reviews applications and makes determinations.


Time Limit for Completion of Degree Requirements

Master's Degree

Students must complete all master of art's degree requirements within five years of beginning the first course at Loyola University Chicago taken as a degree-seeking student. Students must complete the Master of Divinity degree requirements within seven years of beginning their first course at Loyola University Chicago taken in that degree program.

Extensions of Time Limits

A student may request an extension of the time limit for completion of degree requirements due to special circumstances (e.g., medical, personal, professional, or research related reasons). A student requesting an extension shall complete an Extension of Time Limit for Completion of Degree Requirements form, attach required information, and contact the academic advisor.

Extensions are ordinarily limited in duration to one full academic year. If a student has not completed all degree requirements by the extended deadline, the student may request an additional extension for a period of up to one year; in such cases, the Dean may review the student's record and future plans to determine whether an additional extension is in the best interests of the student and the program. Students who do not complete all degree requirements within the required time limit are subject to dismissal from the program. If a student receives such an extension, she/he must either take a Leave of Absence or be enrolled in Master’s Study (IPS 605).

Transcripts of Graduate Work

All courses taken by the student and other relevant academic information are included on the student's official academic transcripts, which are maintained by the university's Office of Registration and Records. Students can access their unofficial transcripts (and grades) through LOCUS.

Transfer Credit & Advanced Standing

Students accepted into IPS programs may request transfer of credits previously taken in an accredited graduate program with the following restrictions:

  • Only courses earning a grade of B or better and taken within the past 8 years are eligible for consideration.
  • Courses transferred to meet program requirements must substantially align with the course descriptions of the corresponding IPS course. Courses transferred to meet program electives should align with overall program competencies and outcomes. Students should submit syllabi for the courses for which transfer credit is requested.
  • For 36-credit MA degrees (MA in Pastoral Studies, MA in Social Justice, MA in Spirituality, MA in Health Care Mission Leadership), up to 6 credit hours may be granted in transfer credit and/or advanced standing. Courses that counted toward a previously completed degree program are not eligible for transfer to the 36-credit MA degrees.
  • For the MA in Pastoral Counseling, up to 18 credit hours may be granted in transfer credit and/or advanced standing.
  • For the Master of Divinity degree, advanced standing or transfer credit follows the same pattern as Loyola doctoral programs. Up to one-half of the total number of hours (36 credit hours) may be transferred from an approved MA program.
  • All classes for certificate programs MUST be taken at Loyola University Chicago.

Persons who have participated in specific ministry education programs may be eligible to receive "advanced standing" for those programs. The total combination of transfer credit and advanced standing must follow the guidelines outlined above. However, certain programs approved by the IPS, such as diocesan diaconal training programs or the Center for Ministry Development, may be counted for up to 9 credits of advanced standing toward any of the master's degree programs. A list of eligible programs can be obtained from the IPS Coordinator of Student Services.

Ordinarily, requests for advanced standing or transfer credit must be made in writing to the IPS Dean during the student's first semester of coursework, and must be accompanied by an official transcript of those credits; or, in the case of approved ministry education programs, by documentation of completion of the program. The IPS Dean will make a judgment regarding the quality and quantity of the previous learning and its relevance to the specific degree requirements.

Transfer Credit—Form

Advanced Standing—Form

Guidelines Pertaining to Students Pursuing More Than One Loyola Degree

Some students may choose to pursue two Loyola master's degrees simultaneously in cases where no "dual degree" program exists. Sometimes these programs will both be housed within the IPS—e.g., the MDiv and the MA in Contemporary Spirituality. Sometimes they will be housed in different departments—e.g., an MA in Contemporary Spirituality and an MA in Theology. The policy articulated above applies to these situations as well:

  • Up to 36 hours can be counted toward or "transferred into" the Masters of Divinity. Determinations of which courses in a particular MA degree can be counted toward the MDIV degree will be made by the program advisor, subject to the approval of the Dean of the IPS. Students may need to complete more than 72 credit hours to earn both degrees.
  • Courses intended to count toward a completed 36-hour MA degree—whether that degree is in the IPS or another unit—cannot be counted toward or "transferred" into any of the 36-credit hour IPS degrees. Students intending to earn two separate non-terminal MA degrees must complete the requirements for both degrees independently.

At times there may be substantial overlap between courses students have taken in a previous or concurrent degree program with a course required for an IPS degree, but for the reasons outlined above, the courses cannot be counted or transferred into the IPS program. For example, the student may have taken an MA level New Testament course in a previous degree program. In those instances, students may be offered the option of taking a different course as a substitute.

Withdrawal from the University

An enrolled student who wishes to withdraw from the university during any semester must notify the Dean of IPS and his or her academic advisor in writing (email is sufficient). A student is considered to be in attendance until such notice has been received. All financial refunds or obligations are dated from the date of the formal notice of withdrawal and not from the date of the last class attended (see Schedule of Classes for tuition refund policy). It is the student's obligation to inform the academic advisor promptly of the intention to withdraw. Telephone messages or non-attendance in class are not official notification.

A student may be required to withdraw from the university because of academic deficiency, lack of sufficient progress toward completion of degree requirements, failure to adhere to university requirements, degree requirements and/or regulations for conduct or failure to meet financial obligations to the University.