The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) is a graduate degree in theology that prepares church ministers to better serve their communities, recognizes their continuing formation activities and certifies to their having reached a level of ministerial professionalism. Because deacons and their colleagues in ministry perform a wide range of ministries, a number of examples can be used to demonstrate the value of accomplishing the goals represented by award of the MAPS. These include helping their people overcome “excessive individualism” through activities such as serving the poor, the disabled, the infirm, recent immigrants, those who want or need instruction in the faith, and those who are about to marry, raise families and build community. 

The MAPS offered by the Josephinum Diaconate Institute includes a core of studies in theology and scripture. The course requirements leave ample opportunity for the students to take up studies related to the ministries in which they are active most often. 

The MAPS degree requires 36 graduate credits, 18 of which will be satisfied in nine (9) two (2) credit 12-week online core courses. These courses will include courses in fundamental theology, theological methodology, one Old Testament course and one New Testament course, ecclesiology, Christology or Trinity, sacramental and liturgical theology, church history and pastoral theology.

In addition, the degree will require a total of eight (8) credits taken from four (4) two (2) credit 12-week specialized ministry courses such as geriatrics, addictions, parish administration, canon law, marriage and family et. al. Also, candidates for the degree will be required to enroll in a two (2) credit ministry seminar which will discuss some aspect of the history, theology and practice of ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. They will be allowed to take this course after they have completed half of their core requirements.

There are three on-campus residency 3-day weekends required.  There is an initial three-day seminar, a mid-point seminar and the final seminar which will all be held on the campus of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.  This campus experience will allow candidates for the degree to do research in the seminary’s library, share issues and problems in writing their thesis with other candidates and visit with faculty who are on campus at the time.  Each seminar will be worth two credits.  

Competency in English is required, and there is no additional language requirement for the degree.  

The degree will require the completion of a two credit, thirty-five (35) page thesis based on a topic approved by the Academic Dean of the Josephinum Diaconate Institute at least two months prior to enrolling in the final pro-seminar.

In total, the degree will require 18 core credits, 8 specialized ministry credits, 2 ministry seminar credits and 6 on campus pro-seminar credits which is 34 course credits plus a two-credit thesis paper for a total of 36.

Note:  Prior work done at the Josephinum may be included for the fulfillment of MAPS credits as approved by the JDI academic dean and the admissions team. Each MAPS student must complete a minimum of 12 credits in MAPS designated courses.

Course of Study

Masters level courses carry the suffix “DM” for Distance Masters.  Where there is a similar course at the formation level, the course prefix and number will be the same with the suffix “DE” for distance education.  The master’s level courses may share some of the same lectures and video conferences, however, the forums and assignments will be separate and require additional reading and papers as the student is expected to spend 8 to 10 hours per week during the 12-week semester.  

The course sequence always begins with the Fall Semester and except for individual exceptions and variances the learning cohort will progress through the following schedule.

Year 1

Fall Semester

On Campus Pro Seminar 1 – Orientation (3 days at the Josephinum in Columbus Ohio)

DO511DM Fundamental Theology

BI612DM Gospels – Synoptics and John

Spring Semester

DO701DM Ecclesiology

DO502DM Trinity

Summer Semester

BI510DM The Pentateuch (or another old testament course, depending on schedule)

PA903DM Pastoral Theology

Year 2

Fall Semester

On-Campus Pro Seminar 2 – Research (3 days at the Josephinum in Columbus Ohio

DO725DM Sacramental Theology 

DO966DM Ministry seminar

Spring Semester

DO601DM Christology

BI713DM Paul’s Letters and Acts

Summer Semester

One Elective 

One Elective 

Year 3

Fall Semester

On-Campus Pro Seminar 2 – Research (3 days at the Josephinum in Columbus Ohio

One Elective 

One Elective

Spring Semester

Capstone Paper

Criteria for participating in each of the on-campus pro seminars:

First– at the start of the program for an orientation

Second– at the midpoint of your program after at least 12 credits have been accomplished. This proseminar includes a pastoral immersion and retreat experience.

Third– near the conclusion of the program with the consent of the academic advisor as a capstone experience and presentation of the paper – The thesis draft does not have to be in a completed form. Requires a coherent presentation as determined by the academic advisor.  

MAPS Costs 

All MAPS courses are offered at the current tuition.  There are no discount plans offered for the MAPS courses.

The current tuition is posted on the tuition schedule page of this website.    

The Application Process