Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies


Application Process

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

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


No application fee is required.

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!

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

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.

Yes.You may apply as a non-degree seeking student. This means you take courses while not pursuing a specific degree. Non-degree applicants have an abbreviated application process. They must submit an online application form, all official transcripts from any undergraduate or graduate work they have pursued, and a short, 1-2 page statement of purpose. 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.

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

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

Yes, a GPA of 3.0 or above is required for admission.

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


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.

Two (2) letters of recommendation are required for admission, ordinarily: (1) an academic or professional recommendation; and (2) one ministerial recommendation.


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.

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

Yes. IPS offers three degree programs entirely online: the MA in Pastoral Studies, the MA in Christian Spirituality, and the Master of Divinity. 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.

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.

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 visit the Office for Student Financial Assistance Website.

IPS typically has two to three graduate assistantships available per year. As these positions become available and open for application, they are announced to all students, current and prospective via email. There are also some positions available outside of IPS through the broader Loyola University Chicago open to prospective and current students through the Division of Student Development.

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.

The time it takes to complete a degree will vary based on the number of credits required for completion in combination with whether it is pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. 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 in four 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 on average 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 Resources/Courses page.

All IPS degree programs require an integration project, completed via the zero-credit course IPS 593.  While no degrees require a research-based thesis, students have the option of writing a thesis as a 3-credit guided study.


IPS courses are offered year-round, fall, spring, and summer terms. To meet the needs of working adults, IPS offers classes in the late afternoons and evenings, online, in Chicago, and even in Rome, Italy each summer.


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

Students accepted into IPS programs may receive advanced standing for previous studies with the following restrictions: Advanced Standing

Admitted students are encouraged to start their degree programs in the term they are admitted.  To defer, an admitted student should contact the Associate Dean of the IPS stating the reason/s for the deferral and the term they wish to begin their studies.  Students with good reasons for deferring may do so for one year.  Under unusual circumstances, student deferral requests may be approved for a second year.  Any student wishing to defer more than two years will be required to reapply for admission.

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. TOEFL/IELTS scores are also required for consideration of admission. If an applicant is a citizen of or has completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the US, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, or New Zealand, they are exempt from the language exam

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

Yes! Official transcripts are required for international applicants, even if the transcripts are not written in English. International applications are also required to complete a transcript evaluation by one of two approved agencies: Educational Evaluators, Inc. (ECE) or Educational Perspectives (EP). If you have pursued any education in a theological or seminary setting, we recommend you use Educational Perspectives to evaluate your documents. Please request a general grade report.

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.

Admission Requirements

Program Expectations

International Applicants