IPS Core Curriculum
IPS 400 - Introduction to Graduate and Professional Writing
If required at the time of admission
IPS 570 - Introduction to Theology and Ministry: 3 hours
This course explores the interplay among tradition and ministry, theology and practice. In this course students clarify and articulate the theory of ministry and the method of ministry from which to operate. You will explore the history of ministry and confront the challenge of relating its foundational traditions to the present array of ministers and ministries. This history will include the development of theology and the experience of critically thinking about the tradition and relating it effectively to ministry contexts today. Grounded in experiences of ministry, the course allows you to become more certain and deliberate about the skills that constitute ministerial practice and ministerial (pastoral) theology. At the heart of the course is your self-confidence in your ministerial capacities as a professional.
IPS 417 - Literature of Ancient Israel: 3 Hours
This course is an introduction to the Old Testament, the sacred literature of both Christians and Jews. We will examine texts from the Pentateuch, the historical and the prophetic books, and the wisdom books that contain the record of Israel's relation with its God, a record that for Christians forms the prelude to the Christ event. In order to reconstruct the meaning of Old Testament texts for their original audiences, we will employ the methods of modern critical biblical scholarship. The aim of our efforts to recover the ancient cultural, religious, and literary contexts of the Old Testament is the authentic appropriation of this literature in our present-day contexts of pastoral ministry and personal spiritual growth.
IPS 416 - Christian Origins: An Exploration of the New Testament: 3 hours
This course serves as an introduction to and overview of the New Testament. Students explore the world of Jesus and his interpreters from both an historical and a biblical perspective and learn about the religious and cultural world of Palestinian Judaism during the Roman occupation. The course considers the life and teachings of Jesus in Galilee in the twenties; the beginnings of the Christian movement in the revelatory experience of Christ risen and the preaching of the gospel focused on his life, death, and resurrection; the missionary movement of the Church into the Greco-Roman world (the life and writings of the apostle Paul); and finally the development of the four canonical gospels, each with their unique portrait of Jesus Christ and the path of discipleship. Throughout the course, students make connections between then and now, Christian origins and the world of today.
IPS 531 - Christian Doctrine & Its History: Grace, Christ, & the Spirit: 3 hours
Today many Christians have little or no understanding of how the New Testament experience became translated into Christian doctrine; many have little or no insight into how Christian theology today understands the dynamics of sin and grace, the notion of salvation, the role of Jesus Christ as understood by Christian faith. This course is an overview of fundamental Christian theology, focused on the core doctrines of grace, Christ, and Trinity. Students will pursue an understanding of the experiential foundations of core Christian doctrine and see the evolution of interpretation from early centuries to the present. Much of the course will explore contemporary, pastoral understandings of Christian doctrine. We will move between experience and doctrine and back to experience, helping students gain insight into both as they come to understand the dynamic process that leads from experience to doctrine-and, in theology, back again to experience and to ministry. What theologians refer to as "soteriology"—theology of salvation-is the heart of this course.
IPS 402 - Church and its Mission: 3 hours
This course involves us in communion as the heart of church, with attention to authentic human development. It examines the relationships of community and institutional structure and highlights the mission of the church to society. We focus on the church as an evolving experience of reform and its aftermath. Jesus to Augustine, Christendom, Tridentine Reform and Vatican II are the historical periods that anchor this course. The church is both product and transformer of culture—each age bringing new challenges, up to and including our contemporary context. We’ll explore how the resources and the tradition of the Church can be used to respond creatively to these challenges, enabling us to teach and minister in new times, and identify new resources as needed.
IPS 541 - Liturgy and Christian Sacraments: 3 hours
This course will examine the seven Catholic Sacraments as specific encounters with the great mystery that is God, whose saving presence and action break into our lives through our experiences of Christ in and through the Holy Spirit. As liturgical celebrations of Christ's Body, the Church, the Sacraments not only express our faith in God's love and presence, but also, by their very celebration, bring us into an encounter with God's grace and work to form and shape us more and more into the image of Christ in the world. This course also examines the complicated theological, religious, and cultural origins of the liturgy and the sacraments. We will analyze how these elements developed and changed as a pastoral response to the needs of the Church communities throughout time. Finally we will look at the liturgy and sacraments in our own day and envision how the Church can respond pastorally to our own times and how it might respond in the future.
IPS 553 - Christian Moral Theology and Ethics: 3 hours
This course examines the fundamental insights of Christian ethics as they relate to everyday living as disciples of Christ and citizens in this time/place. Topics covered will include: history of Christian ethics, formation of a Christian ethical community discipleship, theological anthropology (including human dignity, rights, agency, freedom, natural law, stages of moral development and commitment), models for decision-making, resources for ethical living (Catholic traditions, the scriptures, human experience, social and human sciences), conscience, methods of ethical thinking, (social) sin, conversion and virtue. These foundational issues and Catholic social teachings will be integrated with pastoral application through the use of case studies on economic justice, violence, human sexuality, environmental justice and biomedical ethics.
IPS 555 - The Human Person and Psychological Development: 3 hours
Human beings are created to grow and mature into their full humanity. Every phase of life carries particular psychological and spiritual agendas with which the minister needs to be acquainted. While each person is unique, our developmental story from birth to death is also our universal human story with particular variations, sharpened around gender and cultural differences. We will explore these differences even as we seek to discover reliable markers for ministry to persons throughout the life cycle.