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M.A. in Applied Pastoral Theology

Earn your master's in applied pastoral theology from Marylhurst

Now accepting admission applications for fall 2015.

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By earning your Master of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Pastoral Theology, you will increase your effectiveness as a spiritual care provider and grow in knowledge of self, others and the Holy.

M.A. in Applied Pastoral Theology curriculum

Our master's program curriculum is designed to help you develop individual potential by integrating the study of theology with professional application. Coursework addresses issues of pastoral counseling, liturgy, symbol, scriptural resources, prayer and meditation, set against a backdrop of cultures and religious traditions, life philosophies, social structures and historical patterns.

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You may earn an M.Div. equivalent by pairing the applied pastoral theology master's degree with the Certificate in Theological Studies.

Applied pastoral theology graduate are able to:

  • Listen and respond empathetically
  • Assess and refer persons for counseling or therapy when needed
  • Utilize intervention strategies
  • Develop strategies for maintaining personal physical, intellectual, social and spiritual wellness while providing pastoral and spiritual care to others
  • Empower others to make choices and to develop plans for life philosophy and personal wellness
  • Attain personal, spiritual, pastoral and professional maturity

Career paths

MA in Applied Pastoral Theology graduates pursue ministerial leadership roles in a variety of settings. Careers include spiritual director, retreat director, spiritual counselor, workshop coordinator, pastor and educator.

Graduates are successful as ethicists in ethics centers; ministers or religious educators in churches, synagogues and other places of worship; teachers in elementary schools, high schools, colleges and seminaries; and chaplains in hospitals, hospice centers, corrections facilities, retirement centers, corporations, universities and military bases.

You may combine previous training and professional work experience with theology, pastoral care and spiritual direction. In this program, our students connect fields such as medicine, science, theatre, music, art, law, business, social welfare and mental health.

Marylhurst University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

The graduate religious studies department is an associate member of the Association of Theological Schools.

Marylhurst University graduate religious studies program effectiveness

In 2011-2012, 90 percent of students who completed the Master of Arts in Applied Pastoral Theology and Master of Divinity programs have found placements appropriate to their vocational intention and theological education.

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Related News

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Students, Alumni, Faculty Present at PNW-AAR/SBL Meeting

Students, alumni and faculty from the interdisciplinary and religious studies programs presented at the annual meeting for the Pacific Northwest region's American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature, held on the Marylhurst campus in March 2015.

Jan Elfers Takes the Helm at EMO

Jan Elfers, Master of Arts in Applied Theology alum, will take on the role of interim executive director at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon in June 2015.


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July 17, 2015

Labyrinth Group at Marylhurst - Monthly Meeting

Join Labyrinth Group for discussion of addition of temporary outdoor labyrinth (painted) while we continue with plans for construction of permanent...


July 25, 2015

Graduate Programs Information Session

Learn about Marylhurst's graduate degree programs. We offer master's degrees in: Applied Pastoral Theology, Art Therapy Counseling, Business Admin...


August 08, 2015

Labyrinth Walk: Walking for World Peace

You are invited to walk the labyrinth, commemorating Hiroshima and Nagasaki and dedicated to peace in our troubled world. In the reflective ambia...


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