The Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Studies degree offers advanced theological education and pastoral skills for experienced pastoral ministers. The program is designed for lay, religious, and ordained ministers, and it welcomes students from all Christian communities. In service to the New Evangelization and in continuity with Catholic tradition, it gives special attention to the interlocking ministries of catechesis, spirituality, and evangelization.

All students participate in a core curriculum that serves as a foundation for advanced pastoral ministry. In addition, they choose one of three areas of concentration according to their ministerial interests: Liturgical Catechesis, Spirituality, or Evangelization. Liturgical Catechesis concentrates on faith formation, deepening active participation in the liturgy, and the study of liturgical and catechetical documents and sacramental rites (See the Catechetics Academic Area for a listing of courses and other details). Spirituality focuses on strengthening the spiritual life of others though a deeper engagement with the Christian spiritual tradition (See the Spirituality Academic Area for a listing of courses and more details). Evangelization centers on proclaiming the Gospel to contemporary people and then more effectively summoning others to share in the Church's mission to evangelize (See the Pastoral Studies Academic Area for a listing of courses and more details).

Learning is experienced through a combination of online education and a two-week summer residency at Catholic University over three consecutive summers. Upon completion of coursework, students prepare a ministerial project that makes a significant contribution to the development of pastoral ministry in their area of concentration. The degree is awarded after successful completion of the project, a written treatise, and a concluding oral presentation.


  • Possession of a Master of Divinity degree or its educational equivalent (i.e., approximately 72 graduate level credits in theology and its related fields) with a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0.
  • A minimum of three years of full-time service in pastoral ministry or its equivalent (e.g., 6 years of half-time ministry, etc.).
  • GRE's are not required.
  • There are no foreign language requirements although international students from non-English-speaking countries must have a minimum score of 92 (internet based) on the TOEFL or an overall band score of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS for the English language.
  • Women and men religious, priests, deacons and seminarians must submit a letter of endorsement from their bishop or ecclesiastical superior.
  • A completed and signed application form
  • Completion of a 1000-2000 word statement of purpose briefly presenting a history of the applicant's academic, pastoral and vocational background, his/her purpose for undertaking doctoral studies in pastoral ministry and his/her ministerial goals as they related to the intended concentration area.
  • Official transcripts from every post-secondary school in approved, sealed envelopes.
  • Three letters of recommendation, one of which testifies to the applicant's personal aptitude for, as well as interest in and motivation for, the field of theology and pastoral studies. The other two letters must specifically attest to the applicant's ability to complete doctoral studies.
  • Nonrefundable application fee.
  • Submission of a graduate level writing sample (e.g., term paper, thesis, etc.).
  • International Students: Because this is a summers-only program, the Office of Graduate Admissions will issue the I-20 with the caveat that this is a summer-only program and that the student will be in the U.S. only during those periods when courses requiring residency are occurring (i.e., maximum length of time: mid-March through the end of July; minimum length of time: two-week residency, typically the first two weeks of June). 


  • A minimum of 30 credit hours (i.e., 10 three-credit courses) beyond the M. Div. or its equivalent. At least two additional semesters of doctoral project guidance (1 credit per semester) are also required.
  • Maintenance of a grade point average of at least a 3.0 for coursework is mandatory.
  • Nine of the ten required courses are taught in the summer during a semester that runs approximately from April 1 to July 15. Students take three courses over three consecutive summers during this time period. A two-week residency is part of each summer semester and is usually scheduled around the first two weeks of June.
  • The tenth course is an online seminar course to prepare the student for their project proposal, project and treatise.