Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies

Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree focuses on theological reflection for the practice of ministry. This is a degree for persons who choose to serve as lay, diaconal or recognized ministers in a specialized form of ministry.


The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) degree program has as its purpose educating leaders for the church. It is particularly appropriate for those choosing to serve as lay, diaconal or recognized ministers who are interested in a specialized form of ministry.

Specialized forms of ministry could include:
  •  Christian Education
  •  Pastoral Care
  •  Youth Ministry
  •  Parish Nursing
  •  Church Music
  •  United Methodist Deacon track


Eden's MAPS degree program has as its goals to help persons:
  • Prepare to serve as lay, diaconal or specialized ministers in the church and, where applicable, to fulfill the requirements for denominationally recognized ministries (e.g., Commissioned Ministry in the UCC; Deacon Ministry in the United Methodist Church)
  • Develop the capacity for critical and constructive theological reflection as the foundation for such ministry
  • Develop an area of particular ministerial expertise in which the person will:
    • Be articulate about the biblical and theological bases for the ministry  
    • Be familiar with the array of disciplines that undergird the area of ministry
    • Have skill in the design, implementation, and assessment of the practices of an area of ministry  
    • Reflect upon and nurture their relationship with God, their ability to relate to other persons, and to enter into and provide leadership for communities 


A qualified applicant to the MAPS degree program will demonstrate:
  • That he/she is a person of faith through involvement in a church community, local, regional and ecumenical.
  • That he/she has the intellectual capacity to undertake graduate academic work. Normally this is demonstrated by completing an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.7 GPA or higher (on a 4.0 scale). A liberal arts degree program is preferred, i.e. emphasis on English, literature, philosophy, religion, etc.
  • That he/she has the ability to listen to others, to show sensitivity to others, to move beyond self, to show self awareness, and to demonstrate potential to give leadership and nurture to the community.
  • That he/she has an emerging sense of call to ministry through a process of sustained reflection about gifts, limitations and vocational options. A call to ministry is understood by Eden to be a personal sense of call that is affirmed and nurtured by a community of faith that recognizes one as gifted for ministry.
  • That he/she has a sense of openness in examining what one believes and in exploring new perspectives and ideas.

Program of Study

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies requires 54 credit hours (inclusive of classroom and experiential requirements) and requires a minimum of two years of full-time study to complete.

Required Courses (21 credit hours)

  • Theology and the Practices of Ministry
  • Biblical Studies I: Torah and Former Prophets
  • Biblical Studies III: Gospel and Revelation or Biblical Studies IV: Paul and the Interpreters of Paul
  • Church History and Doctrine II: Developing Theological Themes
  • Constructive Theology
  • Congregational Leadership
  • Denominational History and Polity (or, with permission, American Church History)

Area of Concentration in the Practice of Ministry (18 credit hours)

Students build on required courses as the foundation, dependent on their concentration. At the end of the first year, in preparation for orals, students write a paper noting the particular focus of their concentration and how their coursework fits in that context.

While the exact courses are determined between the student and the program coordinator, the following pattern is typical:
  1. The introductory course related to the area of ministry (e.g., Theology and Pastoral Care for those concentrating on some aspect of pastoral care);
  2. Three elective courses that build upon and deepen the introductory course, or that are in a related field the understanding of which is important to the area of concentration;
  3. A directed study, or a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) if appropriate to the concentration, or one additional elective.

Open Electives (6 credit hours)

Students are required to take at least two courses in Biblical Studies, Historical Studies or Theological Studies. Courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor. Open electives provide a stronger general base and support the student’s ongoing work in the MAPS program.

Ministry Setting and Seminars (6 credit hours)

In the first four semesters, students are involved in an appropriate ministry setting related to their program emphasis enhanced by the MAPS Seminar.

Ministry Setting

A student engages in a ministry setting placement for 10 hours/week (140 hours/semester) in each of their first four semesters. The placement is appropriate to the student’s specialized area of ministry. Goals for field placements are to provide students a setting and a mentoring relationship in which they can:
  • Observe a setting in which one becomes acquainted with skills and experiences related to the student’s area of specialized ministry;
  • Have an opportunity to engage in specialized ministry;
  • Develop skill in the design, implementation and assessment of the specialized ministry that is their focus.

MAPS Seminar Groups

Students will meet in weekly seminar groups for two consecutive semesters. Seminars are designed to support the process of integration and assist in designing the student’s project.

Project (3 credit hours)

The MAPS project is developed during the second year of study. It is related to the student’s ministry setting and focused in the student’s area of concentration in the practice of ministry. The MAPS Project:
  • Is an act or exercise in the practice of ministry that can be observed and evaluated;
  • Demonstrates an integrative perspective inclusive of biblical and theological understandings, and ecclesiological and multi-cultural awareness;
  • Demonstrates a multi-disciplinary approach;
  • Includes a 20-30 page essay that critically describes and assesses the project.

Graduation Requirements

A student must satisfactorily complete the following within five years of matriculation:
  • Satisfactory completion of 54 credit hours of course work with a GPA of 2.5 (or better) on a scale of 4.0
  • Completion of 21 hours of required course work
  • 18 hours of course work (including the project) in a specific concentration in the practice of ministry
  • 6 hours of general elective course work in Biblical Studies, Historical Studies or Theological Studies
  • 6 hours of seminars, including participation in approved ministry settings
  • 3 hours for the project
  • Successful completion of the oral and project interview
  • Demonstration in the judgment of the faculty of an adequate measure of competence and maturity.
For admission information contact:
Office of Admissions
Eden Theological Seminary
475 East Lockwood Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63119  

Phone: 314-918-2501
Fax: 314-918-2640
Toll-Free: 877-627-5652
Request Admissions Information
Update Contact Info