The Pastoral Institute

Welcome to the Pastoral Institute Department at the University of the Incarnate Word. Through innovative undergraduate and graduate degree programs, certificates, workshops and personal enrichment, the Pastoral Institute serves the Catholic community through education and formation of students for contemporary ministry and religious education.


The church needs well-trained women and men to serve in parishes, chaplaincies and in other ministry roles. The Pastoral Institute Department prepares men and women for positions of leadership and service to communities and the Church through contemporary roles in ministry. In keeping with its mission, the department provides students with a breadth of knowledge in the liberal arts and Catholic culture, offers a solid foundation in biblical and theological studies in preparation for ministry, and equips students with the leadership skills and intercultural fluency needed for effective pastoral ministry in today's multicultural dioceses, parishes and institutions.

Undergraduate students pursue the Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, which is a bilingual and cooperative program in which students take classes at both UIW and the  Mexican American Catholic College (MACC). This degree program also offers an optional concentration in Philosophy that fulfills requirements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for seminarians at the college and pre-theology levels.

Graduate students may pursue the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, which is in collaboration with MACC. The Pastoral Institute also offers workshops or enrichment opportunities designed for religious or lay people to strengthen specific skills or deepen their understanding of issues in ministry.

With the Pastoral Institute’s heavy emphasis on serving the church, students are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities on campus and in the community inviting them to get involved. They may assist with ministry at UIW or MAAC, local churches, social justice organizations or through schools and other institutions of learning.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Pastoral Ministry

Students in this cooperative and bilingual program take classes both at UIW and at the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC). Students may pursue any of the following three concentrations:

  • B.A. with a Major in Pastoral Ministry and a concentration in Catechetics
  • B.A. with a Major in Pastoral Ministry and a concentration in Catholic Leadership
  • B.A. with a Major in Pastoral Ministry and a concentration in Philosophy

B.A. In Pastoral Ministry

Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry

The Master of Arts is designed to prepare participants to serve in contemporary ecclesial ministries and leadership, especially in Catholic parish ministries, religious education on all levels, chaplaincy, spiritual development, youth ministry and catechetical leadership.

M.A. in Pastoral Ministry

Minor in Pastoral Ministry

The Minor in Pastoral Ministry requires 18 semester hours and is recommended both for students interested in ministerial or religious studies and/or church ministry, and for those desiring to augment their academic background to support the liberal arts dimension of their chosen professional career, e.g., education, health care, law, social services, etc.


Graduate Certificate

A non-degree certificate recognizing 16 semester hours of graduate course work offers the opportunity for students to enhance their knowledge in the field of pastoral theology and ministry. Course choices are based on the individual's previous studies and future plans for ministry.

Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Ministry

Personal Enrichment/Audit

Qualified persons interested in Pastoral Institute courses for personal enrichment may enroll on a credit or audit basis. For credit, applicants must complete the admissions process. Housing and student services are available to auditors.