Pastoral Studies

A pastoral studies degree program teaches students how to minister to those in need. Typically, these programs focus on the Judeo-Christian faith and prepare students for leadership roles in a religious organization or a church. Read on to learn about education in pastoral studies and career options.

Inside Pastoral Studies

Pastoral studies degree programs prepare aspiring ministers to guide and comfort people of a religious faith. Students learn how to fulfill leadership roles in their congregations or communities by counseling individuals in crisis and assisting them in their spiritual development. Although pastoral studies programs are commonly available at seminaries, some colleges and universities also offer this program. Most students who pursue pastoral studies plan to become religious faith leaders, although there are also opportunities in education, research, and counseling as well.

Education Information

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in pastoral studies are available, but graduate-level programs are the most common. These programs offer concentrations for students interested in becoming youth pastors, worship pastors or religion teachers, as well as for those interested in the study of Biblical languages.

In addition to Bible study and theology, pastoral studies degree programs include coursework in human development, marriage, family and community dynamics, cultural systems and research methods. They address Biblical themes, ethics and morality, youth ministry and issues commonly faced by people today. Some programs cover studies in Greek and other Biblical languages.

Check out the following articles to explore degree options in this field.

Distance Learning Options

Online pastoral studies programs are primarily available at the graduate level. Below is information about these various distance learning programs.

Career Options

From serving as a pastor to teaching students, multiple careers are open to graduates of pastoral studies programs. Take a look at these articles to find out more about such opportunities.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clergy are responsible for the spiritual development of their congregation and lead worship services ( As of May 2013, clergy had a mean annual salary of $47,540, according to the BLS. Religious activities directors, who are responsible for coordinating church activities, had a mean yearly income of $44,240 as of May 2013, per the BLS.

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