Master of Pastoral Ministry

Be prepared to serve the diverse pastoral needs of the Church through the University of Dallas Master of Pastoral Ministry.

The faculty has challenged, stretched, nourished, informed and developed my faith in a very personal way. They have been very interested in assisting my individual faith and ministerial journey.

-Anna Marie Synder, '14

The master's degree and graduate certificate in pastoral ministry are designed to equip those who wish to serve in parishes, dioceses or other ministerial settings with in-depth theological knowledge and effective pastoral skills. The MPM program offers several concentrations, each with a unique curriculum. Students select a concentration for study and practice in a defined field of ministry. 

Master of Pastoral Ministry Degree Requirements 

The Master of Pastoral Ministry program consists of 37 credit hours. Students combine the ministry core curriculum (22 credit hours) with degree-specific courses (9 credit hours) and elective courses (6 credit hours). The core curriculum includes a capstone project in which students have the opportunity to integrate their knowledge with pastoral practice within a dynamic ministerial context, accompanied by a seasoned practitioner. Additionally, students complete an annotated bibliography.

Core Curriculum Courses

The following courses are required for all of the MPM degrees, except the Church Management concentration:

  • RPS 6010. Graduate Pro-Seminar. Required of all first-year students, this non-credit course is an introduction to the fields and methods of theological study for ministerial formation. Registration and active participation in all sessions constitute completion of the requirement.
  • RPS 6311. Liturgy and Sacraments. This course offers a critical survey of the history, theology, and liturgical celebration of the sacraments according to the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, with special attention given to the role of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A.).
  • RPS 6312. Moral Theology. A critical survey of fundamental moral theology, this course includes the distinctiveness of Christian morality, conscience formation, natural law, moral norms, and decision-making. It provides an entre into special moral theology, which includes bioethics, environmental ethics, healthcare ethics, sexual ethics, and social ethics.
  • RPS 6313. Systematic Theology. This course engages students in structured reflection on the Christian communal experience of faith and how that faith is understood, expressed, and lived out in the Catholic tradition. It invites dialogue among students and with the formative elements of Catholic tradition to consider theological method (i.e., How do we do this work properly?), doctrinal clarity (i.e., What does our formative tradition teach?) and pastoral practice (i.e., How do theology and pastoral realities influence one another?). Topics of special focus include revelation and faith, God, the Trinity, Christology, Christian anthropology, and the theology of the church, including Mary and the saints.
  • RPS 6314. Church History. The focus of this course is on the development of an understanding of the churchits ministry and spiritualitythrough the early, medieval, Reformation, modern, and contemporary eras. In particular, primary councils, movements, and church figures are considered.
  • RPS 6320. Theological Reflection. Forming a basis of spirituality for ministers, theological reflection is a discipline designed to recognize God's activity within the context of ministry. Systematic reflection on students' spiritual journey and experiences enter into dialogue with scripture, church history, church teaching, current pastoral needs, and the lived faith experience of the people of God.
  • RPS 6321. Old Testament. This course surveys the theologies of the Old Testament in light of their historical, social, and cultural setting, with application of those theologies to contemporary ministerial and practical contexts.
  • RPS 6322. New Testament. Students survey the theologies of the New Testament in light of their historical, social, and cultural setting, with application of those theologies to modern ministerial and practical contexts.

Elective Courses

The core classes are supplemented with electives & degree- specific courses, depending on the concentration selected. For more details on the courses required for each concentration, we invite you to learn more about our pastoral ministry concentrations:

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography of texts related to the core curriculum is a graduation requirement for all master’s level programs. The goal of the annotated bibliography is to help students solidify and demonstrate their understanding of the basic theological knowledge appropriate to professional competency for pastoral leadership. An annotated bibliography consists of the formal bibliographic entry for a text and should then be followed by description of the thesis, argumentation, and significance of the work. Bibliographies consist of twenty-five works approved by a designated faculty adviser. Fifteen works have already been selected by the faculty of the Neuhoff School of Ministry to represent the core courses of the graduate degree programs. The remaining texts are to be selected by the student with the approval of their faculty adviser.

Access the Annotated Bibliography List.


Master of Pastoral Ministry Concentrations

Campus Ministry Concentration

The Campus Ministry concentration prepares those interested in working with young adults faced with the challenges of high school and college life, as well as the often accompanying questions about faith, values and vocation. Pastoral skills are developed through course work, field education and a capstone project. 

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Church Management Concentration

The Church Management concentration is especially helpful for present or future parish business administrators and diocesan business managers who desire a greater foundation in theology and ministerial practice, as well as for priests, deacons and pastoral associates who wish to strengthen their administrative and leadership skills.

Through field education and electives, this concentration provides ministers with theological, pastoral, financial, and managerial skills crucial for the efficient operation of churches and schools.

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Health Care Ministry Concentration

Prepare for ministry in health care facilities through a combination of theology and pastoral ministry courses with on site Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at accredited CPE programs in regional hospitals like Harris Medical Center in Fort Worth or Children's Medical Center of Dallas. This program contributes to the student's ability to meet the certification standards of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. 

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Youth Ministry Concentration

The youth ministry concentration provides the preparation needed to address the spiritual growth of youth in a parish or school setting. Pastoral skills are developed through course work, field education and a capstone project. 

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Executive Youth Ministry Cohort

Join an exclusive, online cohort of leaders in youth ministry from across the nation.

Become powerfully equipped to stand with, by and for young people in today's rapidly evolving culture as you plumb the depths of the Catholic faith and strengthen your experience in pastoral ministry for the young church. 

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Additional MPM concentrations may be designed with the consultation and express prior written approval of the student's advisor and the dean. 

University of Dallas Master of Pastoral MinistryFully Accredited. Ready to Serve.  

University of Dallas Neuhoff School of Ministry undergraduate and graduate programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and in accordance with the USCCB's standards for certification and accreditation. 

SACS

The University of Dallas is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees.

USCCB

The graduate programs and undergraduate degree, in content and form, are designed to ensure that successful students will be prepared to enter the ministerial workforce having met the standards set by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission on Certification and Accreditation, and the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers.

The master's in pastoral ministry - youth ministry program is specifically designed to educate leaders based on the U.S. Catholic Bishops' pastoral plan, "Renewing the Vision - A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry." It also correlates with the national competency-based standards for certification as developed by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in conjunction with the USCCB.

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