Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

MA in Pastoral Counseling


Pastoral counseling at IPS is understood as professional therapeutic ministry.  This ministry is pursued with a vision of the human person that includes insights from the human sciences as well as religious and spiritual dimensions of life.  Often, but not always, pastoral counseling takes place in a setting that reflects a spiritually-oriented environment.  The purpose of the M.A. in pastoral counseling is to prepare caregivers and counselors for this work.

This degree program prepares pastoral clinicians to provide therapeutic services in faith-based contexts. A multidisciplinary curriculum and peer learning groups are among the distinguishing characteristics of this degree.

Students in this program will find an understanding of pastoral counseling incorporating both the best of psychological theory and the riches of contemporary theology. They will find educational and spiritual approaches that combine both theory and practice. They will discover a vision of the counselor that reflects both individual and relational work, supportive and intensive therapies, psychological competence and theological congruence. And they will find a methodology that is consistently committed to the achievement of personal and professional integration.

In order to meet the current licensure requirements of the state of Illinois (LPC* as a base for moving toward LCPC*), and to respond to developing nationwide trends toward interstate licensure portability, while continuing to provide the integrative pastoral focus of Loyola’s MA Pastoral Counseling degree, the degree has moved to a three year, 60-hour design.

  • LPC = Licensed Professional Counselor
  • LCPC = Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

The Master's in Pastoral Counseling program can also be completed half time over four or five years. The half time student's curriculum is determined with their advisor.

A diverse number of internship sites are available from non-profits, governmental organizations, schools, counseling, mental health and faith-based sites. Students apply for these internships and are selected by the sites. Students may submit a site of their own choosing, but it must be approved by IPS.

Below is a sampling of some of the organizations where students in the MA in Pastoral Counseling program have recently completed their internships:

  • Access Community Health Network
  • Alexian Brothers Interfaith Parish Support Services
  • Asian Human Services
  • Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually-Impaired
  • Christ the King Jesuit Preparatory School
  • Claret Center
  • Haymarket
  • Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center
  • Am. Able Family Center
  • Isaiah Counseling Center
  • Life Works Psychotherapy Center, LLC
  • Lorene Replogle Counseling Center
  • Loyola University Medical Center
  • Loyola University Ministry
  • LUHS Department of Psychiatry
  • Marjorie Kovler Center
  • Methodist Medical Center
  • Midwest Palliative
  • North Park University Counseling Center
  • North Shore Hospice
  • Providence Family Services
  • Rainbow Hospice
  • Rape Victim Advocates
  • St. Anthony Home
  • Turning Point Behavioral Health Care
  • United Stand Family Counseling Center
  • Vietnamese Association of Illinois
  • Wheaton Youth Outreach

To learn more about the master's degree in pastoral counseling, please visit our request for information form or attend an online information session.

To learn more about state and international authorization of programs, please refer to our State and International Authorization page. To learn more about the accreditation of Loyola University Chicago and its schools, as well as information about professional licensure, visit our Accreditation page.

The Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago (IPS), is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. The Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) granted full accreditation to IPS on June 10, 2019.
The Association of Theological Schools
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh PA 15275-1110
Telephone: 412-788-6505
The following IPS degree programs are approved by the Commission on Accrediting: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality (Professional MA), Master of Arts in Counseling for Ministry (Professional MA), Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling (Professional MA), and the Master of Arts in Social Justice (Professional MA) were also approved, as were our comprehensive online (distance education) programs.