pastoral and youth ministry

Pastoral and Youth Ministry Major

At Saint Mary’s, theology students with an interest in ministry in a parish or campus setting within the church can pursue a major degree in pastoral and youth ministry.

At Saint Mary’s, theology students with an interest in ministry in a parish or campus setting within the church can pursue a major degree in pastoral and youth ministry.

We offer a curriculum that attends to the National Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministry, preparing students for pastoral opportunities nationwide.  This is one of only a few bachelor's degrees in pastoral and youth ministry in the nation!

Career Options

Youth ministers invite and welcome young people into the path of Christian discipleship, equip them to serve God and neighbor, facilitate a wide variety of formation activities, and help teach them how to live out and express their faith.  They focus on the human and spiritual development of young men and women at a formative time of their lives.

The pastoral and youth ministry major is also useful for students planning to pursue careers as social justice advocates, pastoral associates, directors of religious education, missionary workers, nonprofit charitable organization managers, or campus and hospital chaplains. Pastoral and youth ministry majors will find it serves as a strong platform for further graduate studies in various other pastoral disciplines.

High School Preparation

Religion; Psychology; Speech

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in pastoral and youth ministry will oftentimes pursue a major or minor in psychology, human services, leadership, or nonprofit management.

Degree Requirements

A. Theology Core:

TH209 Methods in Catholic Theology (3 cr.)

This course explores the tenets and practices of theology through the study of the interpretations of Christian doctrines noted in the Nicene Creed and select catechetical texts. Issues of method, authority, and practical ministry are highlighted.

TH210 Introduction to the Old Testament (3 cr.)

Students survey examples from the Pentateuch, Prophetic, Historical and Wisdom texts, their forms, settings and theology. This survey incorporates an appreciation for some basic contemporary interpretive methods. Methods encouraged by Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation are studied.

TH220 Introduction to the New Testament (3 cr.)

Students survey examples of texts from the Pauline, Catholic and Pastoral Epistles, the Gospels and Acts; Hebrews and Revelation are also introduced. Working with the interpretive strategies gained in TH210 Introduction to Old Testament, students begin to assess the dynamics of interpretation through the completion of an exegetical paper.

TH250 Christian View of the Human Person (3 cr.)

This course explores the set of Catholic Christian doctrines and interpretation surrounding the question "what does it mean to be a human person?" for example, the creation to the image of God, sin, redemption, sacramentality, and vocation. There is a focus on modern questions of the mind, conscience, embodiment, gender, and sexuality.

TH310 Principles of Sacraments and Liturgy (3 cr.)

Students consider the history, theology, and practice of Christian sacramental life as they address the questions of ritual, celebration, and worship. The course also examines general principles of liturgy and ritual, as well as guidelines for planning and implementing pastorally effective liturgy.

TH345 Catholic Social Teaching (3 cr.)

This course acquaints students with the modern history and current application of Catholic social teaching, focusing on the themes of economics and work, life and death, and war and peace issues. Students engage both primary and secondary literature and examine how Christians critically think through social issues. A service learning component is offered.

TH350 Introduction to Catholic Moral Theology (3 cr.)

As the foundational class in moral theology, this course addresses the different moral theologies in the Catholic tradition, from virtue ethics to natural law. Contemporary issues are addressed as a means of explicating schools of ethical method and applying moral reasoning.

TH360 History of Catholic Thought (3 cr.)

Defining moments in Catholic tradition from earliest Christianity up to the First Vatican Council (1869–70) are investigated. Official Catholic teachings, major thinkers and cultural movements are considered for their insights into faith and human development.

TH375 Contemporary Catholic Thought (3 cr.)

In concert with the history and texts of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), students consider theological and pastoral thought from the 20th and 21st centuries. Special attention is paid to ecclesiological innovations concerning lay and clerical leadership, the local and universal Church, and the universal call to holiness and justice.

TH400 Christology (3 cr.)

This writing intensive course studies the development and interpretation of Christian theological doctrine on the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. The course treats issues from the various interpretations of the Gospel tradition to the development of doctrine (particularly in the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon) to modern interpretations of the role of Christ in systematic theology.

TH475 Integrative Research Seminar (3 cr.)

Majors prepare professional credentials as well as collaborate with a professor to conduct research within an area of their interest and the professor's expertise. Preparation of credentials may include development of a personal mission statement, resume, and certifications relevant to national standards for Catholic lay ecclesial ministry. Research approximates graduate-level study of classical and contemporary perspectives that are doctrinal, academic, and/ or pastoral.

B. All of the following courses:

HS211 Interviewing and Assessment (3 cr.)

Students practice and demonstrate skills for intentional attending, development of therapeutic rapport, culturally competent interviewing and assessment, and solution-focused intervention planning.

TH410 Theology of Pastoral Ministry (3 cr.)

Theology majors and minors examine both the theological and practical dimensions of the tasks of ministering in different contexts, e.g., youth ministry, parish life, hospital chaplaincy, and campus ministry. The course encourages the development of theological perspectives and pastoral skills necessary for effective ministry in one or more of these settings.

TH460 Seminar in Youth Ministry (3 cr.)

Pastoral and youth ministry majors examine the theological and practical dimensions of youth ministry. Particular attention is given to the specialized issues of ministry to adolescents through an examination of the document "Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry." As a seminar, student leadership in planning and developing the course is assumed.

TH497 Internship in Pastoral Youth Ministry (1-17 cr.)

Pastoral and youth ministry majors and religious education majors test their aspirations and apply their knowledge in professional and pastoral contexts. Students and the department's coordinator facilitate placement, planning, and assessment through the university's internship office. The internship involves a theological reflection.

Please Note:

A minor in Spanish is recommended.