Degree Requirements

Be equipped for a life of transformative service through immersion in the Catholic theological tradition and practical hands-on experience. 

The course of study for pastoral ministry majors builds on full participation in the University's Core curriculum, utilizing both the wisdom gained and the skills of critical thinking developed there. This curriculum includes four literature courses, four history courses, three philosophy courses, two theology courses, two science courses and one course each in economics, politics, math and fine art. Students must also demonstrate mastery of a foreign language; pastoral ministry majors are encouraged to take Spanish to fulfill this requirement. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the semester long UD Rome program, studying for four months at the heart of western civilization, western tradition and the Catholic Church.

In addition to the Core curriculum and pastoral foundation courses, pastoral ministry students choose a focus area and complete an internship, capstone project and professional portfolio.

See the Schedule of Required Courses for pastoral ministry course offerings. 

“I’m graduating from this program with the utmost confidence in the skills I’ve been taught, the documents I’ve read, the theological knowledge I’ve gained and the professors who have blessed me with their own ministerial presence. If you possess a deep love for Christ and a willingness to professionally serve his church, I would definitely look into this program.”

- Kathryn Gibbs, BA ‘15

Focus Area 

Pastoral Ministry students select a focus area in either Catechetical Ministry or Youth and Young Adult Ministry to sharpen the development of practical experience and pastoral skills. As part of the requirements for each focus area, students complete a year-long internship in a pastoral setting, such as a parish, school or diocesan office. 

Internship

Students are assigned to one specific ministerial setting (parish, school, agency, office, etc.) and participate onsite for an expected 15 hours per week for the semester. In dialogue with professors and the on-site supervisor, students develop a comprehensive plan for their internship, which allows them to tailor their work to match the needs of the community with their own personal goals. This intense ministerial opportunity provides practical experience and skilled supervision, which is both challenging and supportive. For each internship, different ministerial tasks will be assigned in accord with the needs and desires of the student, and the needs and circumstances of the host community.  A list of recommended elements for each of the different focus areas will form the basis for initial conversation between the student, the supervising professor, and the onsite supervisor.

Internship Plan

Students craft a detailed internship plan, including specific goals, tasks, timelines, reporting relationships, norms for evaluation. The plan will be tailored to the specific needs of the student, the host community, and the larger Church.

Internship Meetings

Students schedule regular meetings, following a structured, agreed upon agenda for feedback, discussion, reflection, with onsite supervisor (at least weekly), supervising professor (minimum 8 times per semester), and internship committee of 4-6 members of the host community (minimum 4 times per semester).

Internship Activities

Students participate in specific ministerial activities related to the focus area. They also participate in ministerial activities of a more universal kind, including planning, leading communal prayer; presentation of ministerial goals and objectives; developing agendas for, facilitating conduct of meetings; and planning, execution, and evaluation of community wide ministry activity. 

Internship Journal

Students write weekly entries in an Internship Formation Journal; to be read by and discussed with the supervising professor. 

Capstone Project & Professional Portfolio

Every internship concludes with a capstone project, which gives students a chance to demonstrate both conceptual mastery of the foundations of ministry and practical expertise in the skills it requires. In their final semester, all pastoral ministry majors prepare a comprehensive professional portfolio to showcase the student's knowledge and professional skills as a way of demonstrating ministerial excellence. Portfolios include model presentations, writing samples, descriptions of ministerial experience, records of successful projects and other indicators of professional development. The portfolio is the centerpiece of a public presentation by the student and is assessed by a panel including at least two professors from the Neuhoff School of Ministry and the onsite supervisor of the student's internship. 

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