Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

IPS Scripture School

Important links:


Interview with Dr. Brian Schmisek, on April 28, 2017


Welcome to the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago!

At the request of the Office of Lifelong Formation at the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) became the new home for the Chicago Catholic Scripture School (CCSS) in the fall of 2017. This has broadened IPS’ mission to educate and form the lay faithful through adult Scripture Studies by offering courses in English and Online as well. IPS has been teaching CCSS courses in Spanish since the fall of 2014. In December 2019, this program was renamed and is now the Institute of Pastoral Studies Scripture School (IPS-SS). The new name reflects the reality of the program's goals, diverse participants, and reach beyond Chicago.

The IPS Scripture School provides in-depth knowledge of the Bible within a Roman Catholic framework. The lay faithful, parishioner leaders, catechists, parish staff, or anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of Sacred Scripture will benefit from this program.

Students may take courses toward certification or they may qualify for our Senior Citizen Audit Program (students 60+ years young). IPS will provide certificates of completion for students (excluding Audit students) who complete the two-year Basic or four-year Advanced tracks of study.

If you're a current student, please let us know your level and location.
If you're an alumnus of the program, we'd also love to know about you so we can keep you informed about the IPS-SS events and learning opportunities as they become available. Just let us know you're an alumnus.

For questions or assistance, please contact Director, Kevin Pease: kpease@luc.edu or 312-915-7457.

The IPS Scripture School (IPS-SS) is a center for comprehensive formation in the area of Scripture for Catholic adults including: laypersons, Deacons, parish catechetical leaders, catechists, RCIA leaders, pastoral associates, youth ministers, parish Bible study leaders, lectors, and others who work with Scripture in various parish ministries.

Our goal is to help bring students into a closer relationship with God's revealed Word in the Roman Catholic tradition. Empowerment of the Word, and one's response, transforms lives.

Program Description
The IPS Scripture School (IPS-SS) uses the Catholic Biblical School Program published by Paulist Press.  The program guides students through every book of the Bible in four years (or twelve units of study, each 10 weeks in length). Students may register for one unit at a time or one year at a time , three units per year.

The IPS-SS can be undertaken in two phases:

Basic Scripture Studies
The first two years (or six units) focus on methods of biblical interpretation and spirituality with the Bible in the Roman Catholic tradition, including a comprehensive study of some major books of the Old and New Testaments. Students who fulfill the requirements of the first two years receive a Certificate of Basic Scripture Studies from the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago.

Advanced Scripture Studies
The remaining two years (an additional six units of study) delve more deeply into the Old and New Testaments, covering all other books in the Bible. Students who complete this phase receive a Certificate of Advanced Scripture Studies from the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago. PLEASE NOTE: Currently, this phase of study is only available Online.

Current Site Locations and Course Offerings:

First Year Class

Basic Old Testament Studies:

St. Joseph Parish (121 E Maple Ave, Libertyville, IL 60048) -- Tuesdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Sts. Joseph & Francis Xavier Parish (1747 Lake Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091) -- Tuesdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

  • Unit 1:  "The Exodus Experience," September through November (Fall Term 2019)
  • Unit 2:  "Reflections on the Origins," January through March (Spring Term 2020)
  • Unit 3:  "Taking, Governing, Losing the Land," March through June (Summer Term 2020) 

Second Year Class

Basic New Testament Studies

St. Anne Parish (120 Ela St, Barrington, IL 60010) -- Tuesdays, 7:00 - 9:00 PM

St. John of the Cross Parish (5005 S Wolf Rd, Western Springs, IL 60558) -- Wednesdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Old St. Patrick Parish (625 W Adams St, Chicago, IL 60661) -- Tuesdays, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

  • Unit 1:  "Jesus: Two Synoptic Views," September through November (Fall Term 2019)
  • Unit 2:  "Jesus: A Pauline View," January through March (Spring Term 2020)
  • Unit 3:  "Jesus: Johannine Views," March through June (Summer Term 2020)

Third & Fourth Year Class

  • Continuing Scripture Studies Available ONLINE!  Please contact Director, Kevin Pease: kpease@luc.edu or 312-915-7457, for more information.

Course Fees:

Certification Program
$195.00 for one unit of study
$585.00 for one year (3 units of study)

Senior Citizen (60+ Years Young) Audit Program
$95.00 for one unit of study
$285.00 for one year (3 units of study) 

Program Requirements

  • Access to a computer with Internet 
  • An individual (not shared) email address
  • Purchase of course student workbook (one per year, each covering three units of study and other required texts)
  • Optional purchase of recommended reference books




Academic Year 2019 - 2020 Calendar

Year One


Year Two


Year Three


Year Four