MA in Pastoral Ministry

The MA in pastoral ministry provides a foundational, integrative curriculum for the theological education of people engaged in a variety of pastoral ministries, including: parish pastoral associate, parish life collaborator, director of religious education, youth minister, parish social minister, campus minister and health care minister. The curriculum is designed with attention to the competencies needed by Catholic lay ecclesial ministers and others. Students combine course work in central areas of theology with a supervised practicum, including a field placement in their area of ministerial focus and a capstone ministerial portfolio.

MA in Pastoral Ministry (30 credits plus practicum and portfolio): Students who follow a course rotation taking two courses per semester plus completing the practicum and portfolio, can complete the M.A. within 3 years. Others may enroll on a part-time basis, taking one or two courses per semester and completing the program in 5-6 years.

A minimum of 12 credits must be completed before enrolling in the practicum.

Credit total: 30 credits are required for the degree, earned through completion of 10 courses at 3 credits each. The practicum and portfolio are non-credit requirements; for guidelines, contact

Visit the Graduate Course Descriptions page for a list of course titles.

Required Courses

  • Theol 520, Christology
  • Theol 509, New Testament
  • Theol 543, Social Ethics
  • Theol 531, Ecclesiology
  • Theol 510, Old Testament
  • Theol 541, Theological Ethics
  • Theol 538, Sacraments
  • 577 Intro to Catechetics/Theo of Human Development
  • 579 Catechesis of Adults/Leadership in Faith Community
  • 539 Theology of Ministry
  • Students may complete the required practicum (Theol 589) and portfolio

Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Ministry (18 credits plus Practicum and Portfolio): Students who do not desire a Master's degree but who are interested in theological studies for ministry may enroll in the Certificate. They take 6 courses among those offered (see above list), including Theol 539, Theology of Ministry, as well as completing the practicum and portfolio.

Financial Assistance for MA in Pastoral Ministry

 Partial Tuition Discounts

Students may apply for partial tuition assistance as follows. These discounts may be utilized for one degree at Duquesne University, and students must re-apply for them annually. Forms are available through the university Financial Aid Office, phone 412-396-6607.

• 50% Discount for Lay Ministers and Catholic School Teachers
Lay ministers employed at least part-time in the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Greensburg, as well as Catholic school teachers in local dioceses, receive an automatic 50% tuition discount.

• 50% Discount for Aspiring Lay Ministers with Diocesan Sponsorship
Students who plan to seek employment in parish ministry in the Diocese of Pittsburgh may apply for a 50% tuition discount from Duquesne University as well as additional diocesan and parish sponsorship. For more information, contact Office for Lay Ministries, phone 412-456-3110. Students from other dioceses seeking this sponsored discount should contact the Duquesne University Department of Theology for more information:

• 50% Discount for Clergy and Vowed Religious
Ordained clergy and members of Catholic religious congregations receive an automatic 50% tuition discount.

• 50% Discount for Students over age 60.

Department of Theology Tuition Scholarships

Applicants may also apply for partial or full tuition scholarships directly through the theology department. Please use your online application form to request this financial assistance. Awards are competitive and students must reapply for them annually.


Professional Development

The Department of Theology recommends that graduate students engage in professional development opportunities during their studies, especially in the summers. Such opportunities might include paid positions, internships or volunteer work in which students apply the skills they are learning in their academic programs.

Additional Information

For additional information on the MA in Pastoral Ministry, please contact:

Dr. Maureen O'Brien 
Fisher Hall 608