The Archdiocese of Dubuque and Loras College have joined in a cooperative mission designed to meet the developing ministry needs of the regional Catholic Church and provide opportunities for continuing education and degree study. While dioceses and religious orders have made substantial investments in the education of priests and sisters for service in the church, there are increasing numbers of laity who are now assuming many new duties. Therefore, there is a corresponding need for new levels of training for the laity as the church continues to move in the direction of professional lay ministries.
At Loras, the Pastoral Education Program (PEP) offers graduate courses designed to meet professional needs. The PEP provides individuals with the chance to explore the opportunities and challenges of ministry, both as a special interest or as a degree program. Among those who could make use of the program are: directors of religious education; family and marriage ministers; liturgical ministers; members of boards, councils and committees; ministers in Christian initiation; pastoral administrators; pastoral associates; permanent deacons; social ministers; teachers of religious education; and youth ministers.
The Loras program uses online components in order to meet the needs of those who live a distance from Dubuque, and whose jobs and families limit their available time for class meetings. Each course is designed for 3 class meetings of 5-6 hours each, preceded by two to three weeks of work on one’s own and online.
Applicants should ordinarily have at least an undergraduate minor in religious studies or the equivalent. Evaluation of this prerequisite is done on an individual basis through the program.
Financial Assistance and Application Deadlines
The Archdiocese of Dubuque offers grants to persons who are accepted by Loras College to participate in the Pastoral Education Program. These students are recommended by their pastor and
are individuals whose further education in theology and ministry will be of direct benefit to the parishes and schools of the Dubuque Archdiocese. Application forms are available upon request.
The completed Application and Pastor Approval for Financial Assistance form must be submitted to the Academic Secretary for the Division of Philosophy, Religion and Theology, once per year.
Loras offers two graduate degrees with overlapping requirements, the Master of Arts in Theology and the Master of Arts in Ministry, both requiring 36 credits, 6 of which are a program specific Capstone Experience
Course of Study
Core Courses: all required, 12 credits
L.REL-621 Theological Reflection: Revelation and Inspiration
L.REL-611 A Critical Introduction to Scripture
L.REL-622 Christological Themes in Systematic Theology
L.REL-631 Fundamental Moral Theology
Elective Courses: successful completion of 18 elective credits from any of the areas of study:
Liturgy and Sacraments
Capstone: 6 credits
Master of Arts in Ministry: practicum project
Master of Arts in Theology: comprehensive examination and thesis
Graduate students are assisted in capstone research and writing by the thesis or practicum director.
Visit the graduate studies page