Program Director: J. Jay Carney, PhD

Graduate Study in Ministry

This is a 46 credit professional, ecclesial ministry formation program which incorporates graduate Christian theology, human and personal development, spiritual formation and applied ministerial skills through an accelerated online and on-campus hybrid methodology.

The program is especially attentive to Creighton University’s mission to offer formation in the Ignatian tradition according to the charisms of care of the individual (cura personalis), striving for the greater good (magis), the service of faith and promotion of justice (diaconia), leadership, and contemplation in and through action.

The program remains primarily organized to address the formation of lay men and women for professional ministry in the Catholic Church (including but not limited to parish, diocese, campus ministry, hospital, military or prison chaplaincy etc.). The program is also organized to deepen the formation of ordained deacons and deacon candidates in the Catholic Church. Candidates for professional ministry within other Christian denominations are also welcome.

Program Goals

The Master of Arts in Ministry program intends that each student accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Students will analyze and apply the Roman Catholic approach to revelation as embodied in Scripture and Tradition.
  2. They will be able to distinguish among, and synthesize, the core concepts of the specialties of Fundamental, Systematic, Liturgical, Moral, and Spiritual theologies, and be prepared to make pastoral application of each.
  3. Students will display personal and spiritual maturity; verifying in their words and behavior that baptism is the source of a ministerial call; promoting evangelization, faith formation and pastoral care with cultural sensitivity.
  4. Students will practice the necessary skills (planning, communication, decision –making and conflict resolution) for leadership and team collaboration in contemporary ecclesial structures.
  5. They will model the spirit of discipleship of Jesus Christ identified in the New Testament.
  6. Students model their service upon the leadership style of Jesus Christ, manifesting core Gospel values of mercy, justice, integrity and compassion.
  7. Students will practice balancing ministerial demands with personal and familial commitments.
  8. They will verify by their relationship with the Church that the Christian ministerial call comes from the needs of the ecclesial community and is practiced within the diverse cultural contexts of its members.

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with any academic major.
  • 3.00 - Grade Point Average.
  • Nine credits of recent undergraduate Theology - taken no earlier than 1995.
  • Completed Graduate School Application.
  • Four recommendation letters: one of which must be from a pastor, judicatory director (bishop etc.) or employer who can speak about your aptitude for ministry. One recommendation must be from a spiritual leader who can speak about your life of faith. Submit all recommendation letters to the Graduate Dean's office.

NOTE: Conditional acceptance is initially granted based on evidence of aptitude for graduate ministerial study and ministerial practice. Full acceptance into candidacy for ministry is granted upon satisfactory completion of MAM 676 Theology and Catechesis and MAM 675 Orientation to Study and Ministry. Students enrolled in the dual degree program must satisfactorily complete NCR 624 as well.  Satisfactory completion is a grade of "B" or better. Assessment in both MAM courses is based on academic competence, demonstrated aptitude for ministry and a ministerial attitude or disposition.

Degrees in Ministry


MAM 610. Introduction to the Old Testament. 3 credits.

Introduction to the primary themes and basic concepts of prophetic and wisdom literature. Emphasis on the role and use of Scripture to transform lives and to nourish and challenge parish communities.

MAM 620. Introduction to New Testament. 3 credits.

Introduction to the primary themes and concepts of the Gospels and the Pauline epistles. Emphasis on the role and use of Scripture to transform lives and to nourish and challenge parish communities.

MAM 630. Christology. 3 credits.

Study the mission and purpose of Jesus Christ as understood throughout the tradition of the Church. Familiarity with key concepts of Christian theological anthropology. Emphasis on the application of the life of Jesus Christ to one's individual, communal, and socio-political worlds.

MAM 640. Ecclesiology: Theology of Church and Ministry. 3 credits.

Study of the development of the Church from the New Testament through Vatican II and today. Emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit, ongoing ecclesial developments, the relation of lay and ordained ministry, and new understandings of church that encompass family, parish and society.

MAM 650. Moral Theology and Decision Making. 3 credits.

Study of the scriptural, theological, rational, and experiential foundations and principles for Catholic moral teaching. Emphasis on Catholic social thought and the application of Catholic moral principles to one's individual, communal, and socio-political worlds.

MAM 660. Worship, Liturgy and Sacrament. 3 credits.

Study of the history and development of the sacramental life of the Church as evidenced in its worship and liturgy. Emphasis on the role, process, and importance of the sacramental life for the health of parish ministry.

MAM 675. Orientation to Study and Ministry. 1 credit.

Introduction to the demands of graduate study and ministry formation: includes opportunities for students to explore the motivations for pursuing ministry study, develop good study and research skills, and integrate graduate work with home and job responsibilities. Course includes an extended personal interview with the program director.

MAM 676. Theology and Catechesis. 3 credits.

A close examination of the processes of Catechesis and Theology, the course aims to develop comprehension of the scope and purpose of these two modes of reflection and witness of the Christian Faith while enabling ministry students to recognize both their interrelationship and differences as disciplines of learning and formation.

MAM 677. Personal Human and Spiritual Development of the Minister. 1 credit.

An opportunity to investigate the stages of psychological and spiritual growth as one develops toward ministry and then functions within ecclesial ministry structures. Self examination and reflection will be centerpieces of the course which will require students to complete and reflect upon a ministerial aptitude inventory.

MAM 678. Introduction to Psychological Issues in Ministry. 1 credit.

Course includes a study of personal and familial issues that demand ministerial care with special attention to family patterns, incarnational spirituality, sexuality and gender in human development. Power roles in society and Church, and problems of addiction, depression and suicide in the minister's culture will also be addressed.

MAM 679. Lay Spiritual Movements. 1 credit.

A study of some of the contemporary movements that are achieving great success in Christian communities: Basic Christian communities such as CLC and Renew, Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, Third Order, Oblate and Associate groups. What do these groups offer the people of the parish, and what do they offer a minister?.

MAM 680. Ministerial Ethics and Leadership Skills. 3 credits.

Study of the principles and practice of ethics in relationship to ministry and ministry roles. Course will also uncover the Character of Christian Leadership and examine group discernment skills as a tool for implementing Christian decision making.

MAM 761. Historical Development of Fundamental Doctrine. 3 credits.

A Study of some of the Fundamental Christian doctrines - including the meaning and function of faith, One Trinitarian God, Christian Anthropology, and Pneumatology - within the historical context of their development and within the complementarity of revelation and reason.

MAM 769. Historical Spiritualities in the Christian Tradition. 0.5-3 credits.

Study of four of the major spiritual voices in the Western Christian Tradition: Benedictine, Franciscan, Jesuit, and Dominican. The course will focus on the historical context of their development, how they have influenced lay Christian life, and how they continue to contribute to living a Gospel spirituality.

MAM 772. Canon Law, Catholic Identity and Ecumenism. 3 credits.

Study of Catholic beliefs, values and traditions including various styles and forms of Catholic life and worship. Emphasis on how to interact and appreciate religious beliefs and values shared by different faith communities.

MAM 776. Discernment of Spirits: Theory and Practice. 3 credits.

Study of the tradition of discernment in the Church with special emphasis on the rules for discernment of spirits in the Spiritual Exercises and the application of these to Christian life and practice.

MAM 780. Christian Prayer and Spirituality. 3 credits. (Same as CSP 700)

This course will introduce students to the historical and contemporary landscape of the Christian spiritual traditions. It will include consideration of the relationship between theology and spirituality and the Christian spiritual life considered in the context of the lively contemporary American interest in spirituality. While the Roman Catholic traditions of prayer and practice will be foregrounded, the ecumenical breadth of Christian spiritual traditions will also be considered. Emphasis will be placed upon the study and practice of various spiritual disciplines, especially forms of communal and personal prayer. In addition, there will be an overview of the major traditions and movements in the history of Christian spirituality. Students should gain an appreciation of their call to ministry and Gospel living in all dimensions of life. P: MAM 610, MAM 620, MAM 630, MAM 640, MAM 650, MAM 660.

MAM 792. Internship. 1-4 credits.

Immersion in the context of ministry which allows one to witness to Gospel values, articulate one's call to ministry. Emphasis upon identifying, calling forth, affirming and supporting one's gifts and talents within the parish community and society.

MAM 793. Internship II. 2 credits.

Immersion in the context of ministry which allows one to witness to Gospel values, articulate one's call to ministry. Emphasis upon identifying, calling forth, affirming and supporting one's gifts and talents within the parish community and society.

MAM 795. Directed Independent Study. 1-3 credits. OD

To be arranged.

MAM 799. Synthesis in Lay Ecclesial Ministry. 2 credits.

Understanding and application of key concepts of pastoral ministry including appropriate pastoral strategies and pastoral planning. Emphasis upon framing one's internship experience and the knowledge gleaned from previous coursework in a synthetic manner. The work of this course fulfills the Graduate School requirement of a comprehensive examination project.