Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Which Program is Right for Me

The Institute of Pastoral Studies is a premier educational setting for students seeking faith-based leadership roles.  Whether you have a specific objective in mind or don’t know where to begin, IPS has a program to help you explore where your spiritual and professional paths converge.  Some key areas to help you decide which program might be right for you include:

  • Ministry: Our well-rounded MA in Pastoral Studies prepares you for a broad range of ministry paths in institutional church and faith-based settings including hospitals and health care facilities.  Students can further specialize their ministerial training by incorporating one of four concentrations in church management, health care chaplaincy, religious education, or digital communication.
  • Professional Therapy: Acquire critical counseling and listening skills in our MA in Counseling for Ministry or prepare to be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) through our MA in Pastoral Counseling.  Students benefit from Loyola’s rich network of relationships with clinical and cultural resources throughout the city of Chicago for practicum and internship opportunities.
  • Activism: Become an agent of change—our MA in Social Justice prepares you for community service and human rights advocacy.  Graduates from our program account for top talent in non-profit organizations, advocacy and legislation, faith-based administration, social justice agencies, and in ministries and churches.
  • Church and Parish Leadership: Our Masters of Divinity degree is a comprehensive program that prepares you for professional leadership roles in a church or parish.  Designed primarily for lay leaders, the MDiv program welcomes members of religious communities, clergy, and participants from the Catholic tradition and other denominations who are committed to working toward creative, compassionate, and courageous service to church and society.
  • Spirituality and Spiritual Direction: Infuse your faith and ministry with the spiritual depths of the Christian tradition. Learn more about prayer, discernment and spiritual formation and gain the skills and experience to become a Spiritual Director.  Develop a more comprehensive perspective on being human and Christian with an MA in Christian Spirituality.  Students will gain aptitude in personal reflection and discernment as well as effective pastoral work.  In addition to core foundational knowledge, students can also specialize in Spiritual Direction.

In addition to the graduate degree programs, students can also explore our six different graduate certificate programs that provide practical skills to supplement past or present education or professional experience.  While some of these certificates can be obtained without an advanced degree, others require an advanced degree to support the additional scholarly study.  Please review each certificate program for additional prerequisite information.

Students can take classes in a variety of formats including full time, part time, on-site in Chicago, in Rome, entirely online, or a combination thereof.  IPS offers three programs that can be completed entirely online if desired: MA in Pastoral Studies - General & Four Concentrations, the MA in Christian Spirituality, and the MDiv (Master of Divinity). The Church Management and Religious Education Certificates can also be taken entirely online.

Interested in studying abroad?  IPS offers coursework in Rome each summer where you can immerse yourself in the rich spiritual, historical, and cultural components of the city.  At least two courses are offered each summer and may be taken for graduate credit or audit.

Students may also take online classes on a non-degree basis for personal renewal and development, continuing education, sabbatical opportunities, the Rome experience, or as a way to 'test the waters’ at IPS. Come explore with us!

To learn more about the opportunities listed above, please complete our request for information form, attend an information session, or contact IPS Enrollment Advisor, Noah Perry, at 312.915.8900 or nperry4@luc.edu