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Theology with specialisation in Pastoral Theology

The Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies prepares people for ministry through participative learning, faith formation, theological reflection and practical pastoral experience. At the heart of the MPS is the engagement between theology and ministry. The programme includes the study of topics relevant to pastoral theology and ministry including all aspects of theology, Sacred Scripture, contemporary culture, supervision and communications.

The aim of the Pastoral Theology programme is to form and prepare people for ministry. In order to achieve this, the course aims:
•to study and reflect on Christian life and ministry, both individually and corporately in the Christian tradition
•to combine pastoral theology and the acquisition of skills with supervised experience in pastoral placements
•to deepen an understanding of the complementarity that exists between the ordained ministry and the full or part-time lay pastoral ministry in the Christian community
•to develop reflective, pro-active and evaluative skills through theological reflection, so as to enable students to relate theology and ministry to contemporary culture
•to develop and facilitate the on-going formation of people with management skills, including responsibility and accountability appropriate to pastoral ministry

Programme of Study
The Master’s Degree specialising in Pastoral Theology is a two year programme. The first year is a taught programme consisting of seven core modules and two elective modules. Course work includes group sessions, lectures, presentations and interactive seminars. While classes are normally on Monday and Tuesday of each week, students may be required to attend courses and seminars that are only available outside these times. In the second year the student completes one unit of Clinical and Pastoral Education (CPE) and a dissertation / project on an issue relevant to pastoral theology.

Clinical and Pastoral Education
This is a professional education for ministry for pastoral carers in a hospital setting. The course includes development of self-understanding and the foundation for the practice of pastoral care. CPE is a twelve-week, full time course which students take in the second year.

Mid Course Review
At the end of the first year the student, with representatives of the pastoral theology department, reviews her/his work and submits a proposal for their Master’s Dissertation/Project. This facilitates the on-going development of the student, his/her potential to satisfactorily complete the degree and show a readiness for ministry.

Entry requirements

Admission Requirements
The minimum entry requirement for the programme is a primary degree in which Theology comprises at least an equal joint component. Candidates should normally have obtained at least a Second Class Honours, Grade II overall, and Second Class Honours, Grade II in theology. The Faculty of theology may also accept applicants whom it deems to have achieved an equivalent standard. Where an applicant’s qualifications are insufficient for admission, a Qualifying Programme and Examination may be provided.

Students whose first language is not English will be required to satisfy the English language requirements. Students will normally be expected to register year by year on a continuous basis until they have completed their degree. Students wishing to suspend registration may do so only on the express permission of the Faculty. An interview will be part of the selection process.

Duration

2 years full-time or 3 years part-time.

Further enquiries

The Admissions Office
Pontifical University
Saint Patrick’s College
Maynooth
County Kildare, Ireland
Ireland: 01-708-4772 / 708-3600
International: +353-1-708-4772
Fax Ireland: 01-708-3441
Fax International: +353-1-708-3441
E-mail:theology.office@may.ie

Programme Director
Reverend Martin McAlinden
Email Martin.mcalinden@spcm.ie
Phone +353 (0)1 708 3497

Subjects taught

Core Modules:
Foundations of Pastoral Theology
Pastoral Theology in Context:
Historical Theology and Research Methodology
Ministry and Contemporary Culture
Scripture and Prayer
Scripture in a Pastoral Setting
Prayer, Discernment & Contemporary Spirituality
Liturgy and the Sacraments in Ministry
Moral Theology and Ministry
Church at the Service of God
Pastoral Theology in Contemporary Society:
Primary level Catechesis & Chaplaincy
Secondary level Catechesis & Chaplaincy
Parish Ministry
Introduction to Pastoral Counselling
Pastoral Placement Education:

Students commit to a pastoral placement for ten to twelve hours per week. This takes place in the first year and is arranged through the placement coordinator. Participation in pastoral reflection groups and supervision are central to the placement experience.

Dissertation/Project
The student researches an issue of pastoral concern under the direction of a supervisor. The dissertation / project will be approximately 15,000 words.

Clinical and Pastoral Education
This is a professional education for ministry for pastoral carers in a hospital setting. The course includes development of self-understanding and the foundation for the practice of pastoral care. CPE is a twelve-week, full time course which students take in the second year.

Assessment method

Each module will be assessed by class attendance, participation, presentations and a written assignment as outlined within the module. The placement and theological reflection is assessed twice in the first year. A Learning Portfolio of work illustrating the student’s reflections and learning in the taught programme and in the pastoral placement will also be part of the assessment.

Mid Course Review
At the end of the first year the student, with representatives of the pastoral theology department, reviews her/his work and submits a proposal for their Master’s Dissertation/Project. This facilitates the on-going development of the student, his/her potential to satisfactorily complete the degree and show a readiness for ministry.

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