The curriculum for the Master of Theology in Pastoral Care & Counseling program is structured to be completed in three years, consisting of two reading years (each including an intensive week-long summer residency) and a final year for guided independent research and thesis composition.
Each of the two reading years contains three 12-week terms, and these terms each contain two 6-week courses, taken in immediate succession (rather than simultaneously). Every 6-week course is comprised of directed reading, video and audio lecture presentations, interactive essays, and video-teleconference (VTC) meetings with a 5-person “mentor group” to discuss ideas and experiences that arise in the coursework.
There is approximately one month free between each 12-week reading term, allowing students time to consolidate and integrate their studies before moving forward in the curriculum. Accordingly, “Fall” terms extend from September 15th through December 15th, “Spring” terms extend from January 15th through April 15th, and “Summer” terms extend from May 15th through August 15th.
Written essay-style examinations are administered at the conclusion of each course. 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 terms 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.
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 term prior to the start date of any affected course.
Completed examinations must be submitted to the appropriate faculty member on or before the deadlines given with the syllabus. 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 faculty member. Only one rewrite per examination is permitted.
The 400-hour program practicum is normally designed to be completed during the first two years of the program, although under certain conditions a student may be granted a waiver to complete any outstanding hours during the research and thesis year. The practicum consists of a total of 100 hours of group and individual supervision (completed during the residency weeks in the summer and during VTC meetings throughout the year) and 300 hours of corresponding, locally-placed pastoral care in a setting negotiated with the faculty and a local preceptor.
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 faculty will assist them with applications to the organization(s) of their choice upon request.