Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies / Master of Social Work (MAPS/MSW)

Program Overview

The dual Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies and Master of Social Work (MAPS/MSW) program, offered by Aquinas Institute of Theology and the School of Social Work at Saint Louis University, allows students to complete both degrees in 80 credit hours instead of the 105 credits necessary to complete both degrees independently. Through a dual track of coursework and fieldwork, the program prepares students for professional ministry and social work.

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  Fall Applications Spring Applications
Priority & International Deadline March 1 October 15
Final Deadline August 1 December 1


Note: Application deadlines are different for the Master of Social Work at Saint Louis University. Students must meet the application deadlines for both the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies and the Master of Social Work, respectively.  Students must be admitted to both programs separately to complete the dual degree program.

Have questions about the program or want to learn more? E-mail the Director of Recruitment and Admissions at or click here to schedule an appointment for a phone or Skype conversation.

Program Details & Length

Through a dual track of coursework and fieldwork, the program prepares students for professional ministry and social work. The curriculum provides the framework, skills, and resources for spiritually motivated social work practice and deepens a professional’s commitment to social justice based on the Gospels. Attentive to ministers’ own need for spiritual formation, the curriculum includes four units of human and spiritual formation designed to not only form students spiritually, but provide them with the tools and skills necessary to flourish in their future ministries.

The community at Aquinas Institute of Theology offers a wealth of programs within theology and ministry. The experience of Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies students is enriched by engagement with these diverse communities of learners through theological reflection and reciprocal learning.

Full–time students (12+ credit hours per semester) can complete the dual MAPS/MSW degrees in three years. Part–time students must complete the program within six years.

Who is the Program For?

The MAPS/MSW program is designed for both lay and ordained students from all Christian traditions who desire to work professionally in the field of social work while incorporating elements of spirituality, theology, and faith into their occupation. Students are able to complete either the clinical or community and organization concentrations in the MSW. Students apply and are admitted to each program separately.

Career Opportunities

Students who hold the dual MAPS/MSW degree are prepared to pursue any of the careers of ministries available to non-social work students, but also have the opportunity to engage in clinical or community social work. Graduates have gone on integrate their skills in theology and ministry with social work in the fields of healthcare, non-profit ministries, and education. After graduation, students may seek professional licensure as social workers.

Program Content

MAPS Course Requirements (35 hours plus 4 units of Formation Seminars to be completed at Aquinas Institute)

Course Title Credit Hours
Integrative Studies
Proseminar 3
Introduction to Theology and Theological Method 3
Integrative Seminar 1
Biblical Studies  
Biblical Interpretation 3
Scripture Elective 3
Systematic Theology
Introduction to Theology and Theological Method 3
Christology 3
Moral Theology  
Foundations of Catholic Morality 3
Historical Theology  
Church History I or II 3
Pastoral Theology
Foundations of Pastoral and Ethical Care 3
Pastoral Electives 4
Ministry Experience
Supervised Practice of Ministry I 3
Human & Spiritual Formation (where applicable) 4 units


MSW–45 credit hours

Students should consult the Saint Louis University MSW Program for the full MSW curriculum.

Ministry and Practicum Experience

These degrees offer multiple opportunities to engage in field education. Students complete Supervised Practice of Ministry (SPM) I in a pastoral placement and Foundation Practicum and Concentration Practicum within a social work placement. The field education curriculum in both programs helps the student develop a pastoral leadership style that is marked by effectiveness, service, integration, and a special commitment to the ministry of the Word.

Program Format

The Dual Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies and Master of Social Work is a residential program and requires that students attend classes in person at Aquinas and Saint Louis University, respectively.

Application Requirements & Admission Criteria

Below is a summary of application requirements and admission criteria. For detailed information on these requirements, click here.

Application Requirements

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal assessment
  • Reflection paper
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Interview
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • $50 application fee

Admission Criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • 12 credit hours in theology, philosophy, behavioral sciences, or the liberal arts

 Students should consult the MSW program at Saint Louis University for application requirements and admission criteria.