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MA in Applied Pastoral Theology

You will increase your effectiveness as a spiritual care provider and grow in knowledge of self, others and the Holy through this intensive pastoral care program.

The MA in Applied Pastoral Theology curriculum is designed to help you develop individual potential by integrating the study of theology with professional application. Coursework addresses issues of pastoral counseling, liturgy, symbol, scriptural resources, prayer and meditation, set against a backdrop of cultures and religious traditions, life philosophies, social structures and historical patterns.

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You may earn an M.Div. equivalent by pairing the applied pastoral theology master's degree with the Certificate in Theological Studies.

What You Will Learn

Upon successful completion of the applied pastoral theology program, you will be able to:

  • Listen and respond empathetically
  • Assess and refer persons for counseling or therapy when needed
  • Utilize intervention strategies
  • Develop strategies for maintaining personal physical, intellectual, social and spiritual wellness while providing pastoral and spiritual care to others
  • Empower others to make choices and to develop plans for life philosophy and personal wellness
  • Attain personal, spiritual, pastoral and professional maturity

Career Paths

MA in Applied Pastoral Theology graduates pursue ministerial leadership roles in a variety of settings. Careers include spiritual director, retreat director, spiritual counselor, workshop coordinator, pastor and educator.

Graduates are successful as ethicists in ethics centers; ministers or religious educators in churches, synagogues and other places of worship; teachers in elementary schools, high schools, colleges and seminaries; and chaplains in hospitals, hospice centers, corrections facilities, retirement centers, corporations, universities and military bases.

You may combine previous training and professional work experience with theology, pastoral care and spiritual direction. In this program, our students connect fields such as medicine, science, theatre, music, art, law, business, social welfare and mental health.

Marylhurst University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

The graduate religious studies department is an associate member of the Association of Theological Schools.

Marylhurst University Graduate Religious Studies Program Program Effectiveness

In 2011-2012, 90 percent of students who completed the Master of Arts in Applied Pastoral Theology and Master of Divinity programs have found placements appropriate to their vocational intention and theological education.

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Dorothy Deasy Speaks on Transhumanism

Dorothy Deasy, master's in applied theology alum, talks about how technology is changing what it means to be human in an interview with The Columbian in September 2014.

Jerilyn Felton Published in International Magazine

Dr. Jerilyn Felton, Marylhurst alum, published an article titled Mirror Image: Ministry with Dogs Rather Than to Them in the summer 2014 issue of The Ark, the Journal of Catholic Concern for Animals.


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January 08, 2015

Catholic Mass

We invite you to join the Marylhurst University community for the celebration of the Eucharist. Mass theme: Liturgy of the day. Gospel reading: L...


January 09, 2015

Labyrinth Group at Marylhurst - Monthly Meeting

You are invited to join members of Labyrinth Group at Marylhurst. The group is currently discussing plans for the placement of a permanent labyri...


January 24, 2015

Graduate Programs Information Session

Learn about Marylhurst's graduate degree programs. MA - Applied Pastoral Theology. MA - Art Therapy Counseling. MA - Interdisciplinary Studies. MA...


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