Holy Apostles College and Seminary appears in our ranking of the 20 Best Master’s in Pastoral Counseling Online Degree Programs.
The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Pastoral Studies at Holy Apostles is commonly known as MAPS, is a professional degree program designed to prepare students to lay leadership, especially within parish settings, and to serve effectively and competently in contemporary ecclesial ministries. This includes youth ministry, catechetical leadership, and religious education at all levels. One of the program’s primary objectives is to develop students’ understanding of ministry within the mission and life of the Roman Catholic Church. Students may earn their degree from Holy Apostles College and Seminary entirely online.
The program consists of 36 semester hours of graduate coursework, and students must earn a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale in order to graduate. All students must complete two electives, four courses within the chosen concentration, four core courses, and two co-requisite courses: Fundamentals of Pastoral Theology and Nature and Grace. Any course within the program may be taken as an elective. In addition, each student must take a comprehensive examination as their Summative Evaluation. Those who have enrolled in the MAPS program prior to the fall 2017 semester may complete a comprehensive exam, special project, or thesis. Students have up to six years from the time they enter into the program to earn their degree.
Each concentration allows students to further focus their degree on a specific area of interest. Students may choose from seven Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies concentrations: General Studies, Catholic Women’s Leadership Studies, Catechetical Ministry, Youth & Young Adult, Spiritual Direction, Pastoral Counseling, and Marriage and Family Studies. The 12-credit-hour concentration curriculum and the 12-credit-hour core curriculum required for the MAPS program includes courses in areas such as Catholic social teaching, mission, and evangelization, and nurturing the domestic Church as it relates to fostering authentic spirituality, family life, and marriage.
As part of the 36-credit-hour curriculum, students pursuing a master’s degree in pastoral studies must also complete a three-credit-hour capstone project within their own apostolate. If this route is chosen, the student must take an additional course in academic research and design. If a student does not wish to complete a special project, he or she may take two electives from within the program and sit for a comprehensive examination.
Holy Apostles College and Seminary is a Roman Catholic seminary located in Cromwell, Connecticut. Founded on a 40-acre property in Cromwell in 1956 by the Very Reverend Eusebe M. Menard, O.F.M., the goal of the school was to provide a program of formation and education for men intending to enter the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church. The school began as a college-level preparatory seminary, which was subsequently entrusted to the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles. In 1972, in view of declining enrollment, Holy Apostles began to admit non-seminarians, including women. Holy Apostles College and Seminary places a heavy emphasis on the academic disciplines of theology and philosophy in the context of the Catholic honors liberal arts curriculum. About 50 percent of the school’s undergraduate courses are a part of the required core, including a distribution of courses in history, English, philosophy, and theology. In 2014, Holy Apostles was approved to offer a 100 percent online undergraduate program by the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education. The following year, the school decreased its tuition by 28 percent as a result of its mission to cultivate Catholic leaders with the goal of evangelization.
Holy Apostles College and Seminary is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Accreditation indicates that the school meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality applied via a rigorous peer-review process. An accredited university or college is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its mission statement and goals, is doing so at the time of the review, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the near future. Accreditation also addresses institutional integrity and applies to the institution as a whole. Therefore, while accreditation is not a guarantee of every program or course offered, it does provide reasonable assurance about the quality of education and opportunities available to students pursuing degrees from that particular school. On the other hand, specialized or programmatic accreditation is the means by which specific degrees are evaluated for effectiveness and quality.
Students who wish to pursue the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Pastoral Studies must submit a completed online application and hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation: one from a ministry supervisor or counselor, one from a priest or other religious source, and one from an academic associate or mentor. Applicants must show proficiency in English, either evidenced by a proficiency exam or by previous college experience, and they must request that official transcripts from all previously attended institutions be sent directly to Holy Apostles College and Seminary. Prospective students are required to submit a 500-word personal essay that expresses their motivation to become a member of the Holy Apostles academic community.
Holy Apostles College and Seminary charges the same tuition rates for both on-campus and online courses. Graduate students pursuing the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Pastoral Studies can expect to pay $320 per credit hour or $960 per three-credit-hour course for a total tuition cost of $11,520. Students may pursue financial aid at Holy Apostles, and to be eligible, a student must be making satisfactory academic progress, be enrolled as a part- or full-time student, and be matriculated. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility and submit all required tax returns and documents with the application. A number of types of financial aid are available, including federal grants, subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, state grants, and private and alternative loans. In addition, Holy Apostles College and Seminary recognizes its veteran and active-duty military students as well as their spouses and dependents, offering a number of benefits to eligible graduate students.