Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Pastoral Leadership Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Leadership provides students with a foundational and broad understanding of pastoral care, Christian theology, and scripture. The curriculum is flexible to accommodate each student’s experience and vocational goals. It includes a wide range of elective course options trading on the expertise of IPS faculty and existing course offerings, allows students to discern in community and with intention their vocational goals, and provides a graduate-level credential that can be rolled directly into a master’s degree program for those who decide to continue their education and formation for ministry.

The Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Leadership provides a flexible course of study for

  • Persons discerning a call to pastoral ministry and who want to do so intentionally and in community
  • Those who seek to explore a new career path in ministry
  • Ministers seeking to supplement their education, expanding their knowledge and skill base
  • Volunteers or part-time professionals who seek to advance in their ministry


The Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Leadership requires completion of five courses (15 credit hours). One course is required (IPS 564 - Foundations of Pastoral Care) and four courses may be chosen from among a number of electives. One of those must be a theology elective and one of them must be a scripture elective. Students will work with their academic advisor to choose elective courses that best suit their background, experience, interests, and goals.

The Institute of Pastoral Studies offers a large number courses online every year, including the required course for this certificate. It is possible, therefore, to complete this certificate entirely online depending on which elective courses a student chooses within the options that satisfy the curricular requirements.

Click here to download the Curriculum Planning Worksheet for the Certificate in Pastoral Leadership

To learn more about the Certificate in Pastoral Leadership, please visit our request for information form or attend an online information session.