Applicants for a master's degree in either pastoral counseling or spiritual and pastoral care must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Candidates with a college degree and a GPA that is less than 3.000 may be admitted on a probationary status. Candidates are evaluated more in terms of their overall readiness to take advantage of the learning opportunities of the program and less in terms of specific course preparation.
Spiritual Direction and Mentoring Requirement
All M.A. in Spiritual and Pastoral Care students in the Chaplaincy, Spiritual Direction, and Pastoral Ministry tracks are required to engage in a minimum of 10 sessions of spiritual direction before the completion of Group Spiritual Guidance (PC 704 ). The 10 sessions may be completed concurrently with the PC 703-704 series of classes or may have been completed within the last three years prior to taking this course sequence.
The M.A. in Spiritual and Pastoral Care invites the student into practical theological reflection in applied ministry settings for the purpose of developing persons who are formed for cutting edge leadership in local congregations, hospitals, prisons, non-profit organizations, retreat settings, and institutions of social change. Integrating theology and the social sciences, students learn the art of pastoral conversation and develop an awareness of God found in the stories of individuals, institutions, and culture.
M.A. students in the Faith and Social Justice Track are required to complete 10 sessions of professional mentoring prior to enrolling in PC708.
As a result of successfully completing the program, students will be able to:
- exhibit a pastoral presence marked by excellent listening and responding skills, comfort with silence, nonjudgmental acceptance of recipients, and the ability to display empathy and compassion, as well as to be present to another's grief and anger;
- practice effective crisis intervention skills, including assessment, intervention, and referral;
- evaluate ministry situations using classical and contemporary methods of theological reflection that lead to an understanding of the "heart of the matter";
- create and execute a plan for professional identity through lifelong learning comprised of continuing education, participation in professional organizations, critical self-examination, and appropriate self-care;
- exhibit sensitivity to an awareness of multicultural issues, interfaith issues, social justice issues, ethical issues, and the importance of securing appropriate boundaries.
Degree requirements and course offerings are detailed in the following sections. For additional information on a specific degree, please contact the Pastoral Counseling Department.
Program of Study
Spiritual Direction, Chaplaincy, and Pastoral Ministry Tracks
Core Courses (30 credits)
Skills are acquired from the following courses in the areas of bereavement (assistance, guidance, or support), crisis intervention, the pastoral helping relationship, pastoral diagnosis, spiritual formation and guidance, theological reflection, and Praxis:
Integration Courses (6 credits)
The following courses allow for an in-depth look at theology and the social sciences and provide an opportunity for students to prepare a final project that combines creativity with research:
Specialized Courses/Electives (9 credits)
Students have the opportunity to choose a track of study and internship experience which lays the foundation for targeted careers or enhanced spiritual leadership in a variety of settings. The following tracks are some of the possibilities:
Spiritual Direction Track
Students may satisfy the internship requirement for this track by taking PC 707 and seeking alternative internship sites, or by successfully completing one unit of CPE. Once a certificate of completion from an accredited CPE program is provided, three credits will be awarded. Only one unit of CPE will be allowed for credit in this manner, and the unit must be taken concurrently with enrollment in the M.A. program. If a student has previously completed a unit of CPE, the student must take the next level of CPE to meet the track's requirement. Students may take the unit of CPE over the course of a semester or a year, but the three credits will be awarded only upon unit completion. Students wishing to enter a CPE program need to make application to their chosen program in the semester prior to the one in which they will begin the unit. Students may contact the Pastoral Counseling Department for recommendations of CPE-granting institutions in the area. CPE participation does not count toward full-time enrollment status for students receiving financial aid, using veterans benefits, or on international visas.
The program prepares students to become pastoral care specialists in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). The program also builds a foundation for spiritual direction and chaplaincy certification.
Faith and Social Justice Track
Core Courses (21 credits)
Skills are acquired from the following courses in the areas of crisis intervention, the pastoral helping relationship, pastoral diagnosis, theological reflection, and Praxis:
Integration Course (3 credits)
The following course allows for an in-depth look at theology and the social sciences and provides an opportunity for students to prepare a final project that combines creativity with research:
Specialized Courses (21 credits)
The following courses help students develop the human service skills necessary for contemporary, justice-oriented ministries: