Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care

Degree Overview

The Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care (MAPSC) is a professional master’s degree for those interested in specialization as chaplains or spiritual caregivers through health care organizations, hospice programs, religious organizations, hospital settings, prison ministries, retirement centers, or other institutions. This may include persons seeking ordination/consecration as a deacon or lay minister in many denominational traditions.

This degree can be combined with Iliff’s Master of Divinity degree for those interested in pastoral counseling or with the Master of Arts in Social Work through the University of Denver. It is also an important component for professional psychologists, psychiatrists, or other psychological clinicians interested in further training in spiritual care.

A special option exists for those in military chaplaincy, who have already earned their Master of Divinity degree. Please ask an admissions representative about our MAPSC for Military Chaplains option.

In addition, Iliff’s programs offer you the unique ability to demonstrate your effectiveness to future employers, since you may earn graduate certificates in specific areas of concentration while earning your degree and you can participate in Iliff’s signature course, Authentic Engagement™, demonstrating your ability to engage complex communities.

Degree Curriculum

The curriculum is organized into one introductory interdisciplinary course, one each of a breadth and depth courses from six areas (see below), two professional formation courses, internship and consultation and guidance. The rest of the credits will be obtained by other course work, which you are free to select from a wide variety across the curriculum.

Core Curriculum

The Iliff core curriculum focuses on six curricular areas. They are as follows:

  • Comparative Religious Traditions
  • Sacred Texts
  • Social/Contextual Analysis
  • Historical Development/Exploration of Religious Traditions
  • Constructive Theology
  • Theology and Religious Practices

Iliff’s MAPSC program offers you the unique ability to demonstrate your effectiveness to future employers, since you may earn certificates in specific areas of concentration while earning your degree and you can also learn how to engage others via Iliff’s signature course, “Authentic Engagement™.”

A special option exists for those in military chaplaincy. The MAPSC for military chaplains is a professional degree for those already holding a MDIV that draws on courses from across the theological curriculum and allows for specialization, such as a focus on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the military.

Degree Requirements

A two -year program, the MAPSC degree is completed with 80 quarter credits. Up to half (40 credits) of the course work may be completed in online/distributed learning formats. The MASC degree requires at least 80 quarter credits. Students must meet the requirements as specified in the Master’s Student Handbook of their year of matriculation.

Requirements include:

  • First-Year Interdisciplinary Seminar (4 Credits)
  • Core Requirements (28 Credits) one class from each of the six curricular areas, including two from Comparative Religion and Pastoral Theology and Care
  • Pastoral and Spiritual Care Courses (16 Credits)
  • Personal and Professional Formation Courses (4 Credits)
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (8 Credits)
  • Other Courses (20 Credits)

Degree Options

For Military Chaplains

A special option exists for those in military chaplaincy. This specialization is for those already holding an MDIV and draws on courses from across the theological curriculum. It allows for a focus on topics such as resiliency and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the military. See video .

Certificate Options

Students may simultaneously earn graduate certificates while earning their master’s degree. In addition, Iliff’s unique signature course, Authentic Engagement™, can help students learn how to engage communities in any setting.

Students with a Previous MDIV Degree

For students who have a previous MDIV from an accredited seminary, Iliff’s MAPSC may be completed in 40 quarter credit hours.

MAPSCMSW Cooperative Program

A cooperative arrangement between Iliff School of Theology and The Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver allows qualified students to pursue concurrently the MAPSC with the Master of Social Work degree. The cooperative degree program offers students the opportunity to apply theological learning to social service settings. Each school allows students to transfer a predetermined number of credits from one degree program into the other, which allows students to complete both degrees in a shorter amount of time. Details are listed in the Master’s Student Handbook.

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