Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find answers to questions that are frequently asked regarding the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries.
What is the faculty makeup of the program?
Our faculty is drawn from the excellent scholars in the Religious Studies Department at Santa Clara University as well as experts drawn from institutions worldwide. To find out personal information regarding individual faculty members, see our faculty page.
What can I expect from my courses?
Small class size and individual curricula allow each student to design a course of study that best prepares her or him for future ministerial work. All courses focus on providing students with intellectual capacity and practical knowledge to serve dynamically in their individual apostolate. The strong theological foundation required of all students, the Ignatian pedagogy, and the diverse student body all help to create a unique, vigorous, and challenging environment designed to help students better serve the people of God. Additionally, each incoming student has a mentor from the program who can provide advice, answer questions, and be there for support. Information regrading individual courses, including requirements, may be examined at: Catechetics, Liturgical Music, Pastoral Liturgy, or Spirituality.
How long will it take me to graduate?
If you study full-time during the regular school year, you can finish your degree in two years. Students attending only the summer sessions can complete their degree in five summers. Courses offered may be viewed in the two year rotation and five year summer rotation at current and upcoming quarter.
The capstone to each degree is the comprehensive examinations. Information regarding this may be viewed at the comprehensive examinations page.
How do I apply for financial aid?
Generous donors to the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries have created an endowment that allows the Program to offer generous financial aid and scholarships. All students applying for financial aid must:
- Submit annually a "Certification of Ministry Form" that confirms their involvement in some form of ministry. This confirms a student's eligibility for a 25% tuition remission.
- Submit a one page "Financial Aid Application Form" annually. This may be accompanied by a letter explaining any special circumstances.
Specific questions may be answered by visiting our financial aid page or by contacting the Pastoral Ministries Office.
What are housing options?
On-campus housing may be arranged through the Office of Residence Life: . The Office of Residence Life also has information on available rentals close to the university.
What are my employment options after I graduate?
Graduates of the Program have moved on to a variety of ministerial positions including primary and secondary education, non-profits, catechetical, liturgical, musical, and spiritual works in parishes, retreat and hospital ministries, as well as doctoral work. The Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries has a wide network of graduates who provide assistance with job searches as well as many potential employers who contact the office regularly with job openings. Also, all recent graduates have an alumnus/a mentor who provides support suggestions.
All available positions are posted on Job Postings page as well as on our bulletin board.
- Year founded: 1983
- Total size: 115 active students
- Average class size: 15 Students
- Full-time student status is 2-3 classes
- Number of graduates per year: 15-20
- Program length: The Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries offers the possibility of completing a degree with full-time study in two years. It is also possible to finish in five summers. The majority of students take one or two courses per quarter and complete their degree in three to five years.
- Student demographics
- Gender: 48% men and 52% women
- Students range from 22 to 65 years old
- The average age of our student population is 48
- Students from the U.S. and international students from Nigeria, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Bangladesh
- Approximately 10% of students are members of religious orders or ordained ministers
- Students come from a variety of work backgrounds such as primary and secondary (Catholic and public) education, parochial jobs, NGO's, engineering, Catholic priests, religious women and men, Protestant ministers, and high tech.
- Those earning an M.A. in Pastoral Ministries move on to a variety of positions serving God’s people in a variety of vocations, including primary and secondary education, non-profits, parochial catechetical, liturgical, musical, and spirituality works, retreat and hospital ministries, and journalism. Others move on to doctoral studies.
Statistics compiled from our recent student survey