Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership is a 36-credit degree program that prepares men and women for leadership and service in the Church as lay ecclesial ministers and religious educators. It is intended for teachers and administrators in Catholic education, catechists, directors of religious education, counselors, youth ministers, those involved in ministries of mercy or prayer, or any other lay leader. Our students dedicate their professional and personal lives to be instruments of God’s work so that the Church will flourish.

The degree program’s curricular and co-curricular elements are designed to prepare candidates to demonstrate competence in the criteria included in the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers. They also incorporate guidelines and directives from the National Directory for Catechesis, The National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, and other ecclesial documents that address Catholic education and lay ecclesial ministry.

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership Program seeks to integrate human, intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral formation. 

  • The goal of human formation is to assist the student’s development of an integrated life and Christ-like character that fosters healthy ministerial leadership and service.
  • The goal of intellectual formation is to prepare students with a unified theological understanding of the Catholic faith, rooted in God's revelation and embodied in the living tradition of the Church, for the purpose of exercising effective and informed pastoral leadership within the Catholic Church.
  • The goal of spiritual formation is to support the student’s development of a personal, ecclesial relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit by promoting the attitudes, personal disposition, and habits of prayer required for Christian discipleship.
  • The goal of pastoral formation is to equip students with the pastoral, pedagogical, administrative, and leadership skills necessary to witness effectively to Christ and to contribute to the mission and ministries of the Church in a manner proper to the laity’s share in Christ’s role as priest, prophet and king.

In addition to the application requirements, these additional items are required for a complete application to the Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership degree program.

  • A personal statement of 500-800 words describing the applicant’s interest in the degree and reasons for pursuing study in this area.
  • For applicants whose last academic degree was achieved within the last 7 years:
    • Submit a writing sample of approximately 10-12 pages from one of your courses. It should demonstrate skills in critical thinking, logical development, and writing style. Two shorter pieces may be submitted, if a longer writing sample is not available.
  • For applicants whose last academic degree was achieved more than 7 years ago:
    • Write a 3-5 page paper on a question based from the pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). This gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to grapple with a basic topic from the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. It should demonstrate skills in critical thinking, logical development, and writing style. Questions can be found in the online application.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can assess the applicant’s academic and ministerial abilities.
  • If the applicant is currently involved in ministry in a setting other than their home parish, a fourth letter of recommendation addressing that ministry.

Required Courses - 24 credits

Elective Courses - 12 credits

Non-credit bearing requirements - Spiritual, Ministerial and Human Formation; Capstone Portfolio and Assessment

Required courses

DVDT 503: Theological Anthropology - 3 credits

DVDT 530: Nature and Mission of the Church - 3 credits

DVDT 560: God and Revelation - 3 credits

DVMT 602: Fundamental Moral Theology and Catholic Social Teaching - 3 credits

DVPT 510: Theology of Pastoral Ministry - 3 credits

DVPT 605: Canon and Civil Law for Pastoral Ministry - 3 credits

DVPT 612: Foundations of Personal and Ecclesial Prayer - 3 credits

DVSS 507: Theology of Sacred Scripture - 3 credits

Frequently offered electives

DVST 605: Liturgy and Sacraments - 3 credits

DVPT 728: Catechetical Leadership - 3 credits

DVPT 738: Administration and Stewardship - 3 credits

DVPT 930: Curriculum Development - 3 credits

For more information, view the complete course listing for The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. Additional electives may be taken with approval from the student's academic advisor.

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