The curriculum is structured to be completed in three years, normally covering two reading years (comprised of two semesters each), an intensive week-long summer course directly preceding each reading year, and a final research and thesis composition year. Written essay-style examinations are administered at the conclusion of each semester. The grading scheme is as follows: P+ (pass with distinction); P (pass); P- (pass, below average); and F (fail). Students may continue in the reading portions of the program while carrying failing grades, but will not be eligible to enter the thesis phase. Students who complete the reading semesters and intensive courses but who cannot or choose not to complete the research and thesis phase are eligible for a non-degree graduate certificate in pastoral counseling issued jointly by the Antiochian House of Studies and the Antiochian Orthodox Institute for Pastoral Counseling.
Each of the reading semesters lasts five months, consisting of a four-month reading period and a one-month examination period. “Fall” semesters extend from September through December, and “spring” semesters extend from January through May. Each of the reading semesters contains 3 courses comprised of directed reading, video and audio lecture presentations, interactive essays, and bi-monthly video-teleconference (VTC) meetings with a 4-person mentor group to discuss ideas and experiences that arise in the coursework.
Final examination essay topics can be found in advance in the “focus questions” section of each course syllabus. Students will please note, however that the syllabus as posted below – including the ‘focus questions’ – are subject to minor changes from year to year. In case of such changes, students will be given an updated syllabus at least one semester prior to the start date of any affected course.
Completed examinations must be submitted to the appropriate mentor on or before the deadlines given with the examination questions. If necessary, a student may request an extension of the deadline from the appropriate mentor. If the student desires to rewrite an examination for which he or she received a failing grade, he or she may do so with the consent of the appropriate mentor. Only one rewrite per examination is permitted.
Graduates of the MTh in Pastoral Care & Counseling program may be eligible to apply for entry-level certification in the fields of pastoral care, pastoral counseling and professional chaplaincy with a number of professional organizations after completion of the program. Students are not compelled to pursue certification, but the program staff will assist them with applications to the organization(s) of their choice upon request.