Humanities & Fine Arts | MPT Program

Master of Pastoral Theology

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The Master of Pastoral Theology Program engages students in critical theological reflection on ministerial practice as preparation for active ministry in society.  It is a non-thesis graduate program. The program integrates preparation for pastoral ministry with the study of the Christian theological practice. The coursework focuses on biblical, historical, systematic, and moral theology with special emphasis on the Roman Catholic tradition.

Students may also choose to enhance the MPT degree with one of the two specialized certificate programs offered:

Permanent Diaconate Education

Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction

This program provides the academic preparation required for ordination of a permanent deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Students of this program are required to take 9 courses (23-25 credit hours) in addition to the required coursework for the MPT.

* This is cohort program requires a minimum number of students in order for classes to be held.

 This interdisciplinary program that explores the foundational issues underlying effective counseling, particularly as it impacts pastoral counseling and spiritual direction.  Students of this program are required to take 8 courses (24 credits) in addition to the required coursework for the MPT.

Courses in these MPT certificate programs can be used to fulfill degree requirements for the MAPL program.

Graduates of the Master of Pastoral Theology will demonstrate:

  1. an understanding of Catholic theology, its contemporary expression within a Vatican II framework, its historical development and its context within the broader Christian tradition.
  2. an ability to apply theological reflection to issues, needs, and concerns of various pastoral contexts within and for communities of Hawai’i, Asia and the Pacific.
  3. an ability to compare and contrast theological positions and values within the Christian community.
  4. an understanding of the Marianist tradition of education for service, peace and justice that responds and leads to active participation within changing local and global environments.

The MPT program is a non-thesis graduate program. The course of study requires a minimum of 38 graduate credits. The preference for entry into the program is an undergraduate degree in theology or religious studies with an emphasis in Christian studies. Applicants without such preparation will be are required to take the prerequisite foundation courses or their equivalent. Although students are taking these courses for credit, they do not apply to the minimum number of credits required for completion of the degree program.

MPT Program Course Requirements

Core Foundation Courses  

4 credits

Canon Law   

3 credits

Scripture Studies

15 credits

Systematic Theology

9 credits

Moral Theology Requirement

3 credits


3 credits

Capstone Course

1 credit


38 credits


Prerequisite Core Foundation Courses
RE 501 Biblical Theology (2 credits)
RE 502 Systematic Theology (2 credits)

Recommended based on academic and/or professional background:
RE 500 Research Methods (1 credit)
RE 503 Historical Theology (1 credit)
RE 504 Moral Theology (1 credit)
RE 515 Introduction to New Testament (3 credits)
PH 550 Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas (2 credits)

MPT Program Courses (34 credits minimum required)

Canon Law (three credits required)
RE 731/406 Code of Canon Law (3)

Scripture Studies: (fifteen credits required)
RE 600/401 Prophets and Writings (3)
RE 606/400 Pentateuch and Historical Books (3)
RE 607 Synoptic Gospels and Acts (3)
RE 608 New Testament Letters (3)
RE 609 Johannine Writings and Revelation (3)

Systematic theology (nine credits required)
RE 637 Christology and Trinity (3)
RE 642 Ecclesiology: Its Nature and Mission (3)
RE 643 Sacramental Theology and Practice (3)

Moral Theology Requirement: (three credits required)
RE 664 Moral Theology: Fundamental and Applied (3)
RE 629 Catholic Social Teaching (3)

Required Capstone Course (one credit required)
RE 790 Pastoral Theology Seminar (1)

Electives: Choose one course (one course/three credits minimum)
RE 616 History and Theology of Vatican II/Catholic Catecheticism (3)
RE 621 History of the Early Church (3)
RE 622 Interreligious Dialogue/Ecumenical Ministry (3)
RE 626 Theological Anthropology: Sin and Grace (3)
RE 628 New Evangelization: Small Christian Communities (2)
RE 647 Theology of Liturgy (3)
RE 661 Approaches to Morality (3)
RE 662 Contemporary Moral Problems (3)
RE 680 Special Topics in Systematic Theology (1-3) variable credit course
RE 730 Homiletics (3)
RE 740 Mary in the Christian Tradition (1-3) variable credit course


Diaconate Education Track
The Diaconate Education Track is a cohort program specifically designed to meet the requirements for ordination of permanent deacons in the Roman Catholic Church. It is in to be completed in conjunction with the MPT degree, it allows for more depth of reflection and specific applications to the ministry of the permanent deacon in the Church. Students in the Diaconate Formation Program may opt for either the Diaconate Education Track, the traditional MPT degree, undergraduate credit (not applicable to the graduate degree), or for a non-credit Certificate in Pastoral Ministries.

Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction
Students will explore the foundational issues underlying effective counseling, particularly as it impacts on pastoral counseling and spiritual direction in a multicultural environment. This certificate requires a minimum of 24 credits. Counseling Psychology courses may require prerequisites, and the required courses may not be offered during a single academic year. However, the two Religion courses (RE 685 and RE 687) will be offered to cohorts on consecutive summers. It is recommended that students in the certificate program take PSY 524 Abnormal Psychology if they do not have a course in the area pf psychology in their academic history. While learning the basics of pastoral counseling and spiritual direction, one of the outcomes of this program is a clear understanding of when and to whom referrals must be made in the context of everyday lay ministry.