Pastoral Ministry | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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Department of Christian Ministries

Pastoral Ministry

Student praying over another man during a missions trip
Department of Christian Ministries

Pastoral Ministry


  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Undergraduate

125 credits

required for program

PSEO/Early college online classes

125 credits

125 credits

required for program

PSEO/Early college online classes

Preaching, teaching, leading, and counseling are skills you’ll gain with our pastoral ministry degree. Our desire is to equip future pastors to accurately study the Word of God so they can lead others to maturity in Christ. Learn the many roles of a pastor through our rich curriculum taught by ministry leaders and gain experience in Christian ministry through practical internships. The degree prepares you to enter directly into full-time ministry or continue on to seminary or graduate study.

Why study pastoral ministry at Northwestern?

Be fully equipped for ministry through hands-on experience, practical classes, and helpful mentoring. Develop key leadership skills for visionary impact.

Discover your unique calling and how to use your talents to help your community. Experience spiritual transformation as you learn and grow.

Get pastoral training that really works. Learn from faculty with real life experience serving as pastors and missionaries.

Learn how to inspire others in their faith. Build Christ-like relationships as you engage with diverse cultures and communities.

Gain valuable skills through your ministry internship:

  • teach, lead, plan, and observe
  • be encouraged by your mentor
  • apply what you’re learning in class
  • serve 200 hours during your junior and senior years
  • build your resume
  • develop your God-given gifts in pastoral ministry

Planning on graduate school? Consider these affordable, accelerated options to complete your bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years (instead of seven).

Accelerated Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

Start your ministry career equipped with two degrees, multiple internships and local pastor mentorships. Combine your undergraduate degree in Pastoral Ministry with an accelerated Master of Divinity (M.Div.). You’ll save up to two years and $20,000 by completing 38 graduate credits during your undergraduate program. The remaining 38 credits can be completed on site or online during a final year of graduate study. Apply through the Christian Ministries department for this program after you have been admitted to Northwestern. Scholarship funds are available for qualified students in addition to your financial aid package.

Accelerated Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership (MAML)

Take your leadership skills to the next level. Combine an undergraduate degree in Pastoral Ministry with an accelerated Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership (MAML). You’ll save approximately $8,000 by completing up to 16 graduate credits within your undergraduate program. The remaining 20 credits can be completed on site or through online learning during a fifth year of graduate study. Apply through the Christian Ministries department for this program after you have been admitted to Northwestern. Scholarship funds are available for qualified students in addition to your financial aid package.

Ready to find your mission?

If you feel called to be a pastor, desire to see others grow in their faith, and want to influence your community, this might be the right degree for you.

If the students leave here as whole people, who can relate in a healthy way to God, to other people around them, then they'll be able to make a huge impact in this world.
Dale Lemke
Department Chair of Christian Ministries
Associate Professor of Christian Ministries
Program Director for Master of Divinity
Program Director for Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership

Careers in pastoral ministry

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in pastoral ministry.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Campus ministry
  • Christian education
  • Evangelism
  • Missions
  • Ministry coordination
  • Pastoral roles, preaching, teaching, discipleship
  • Para-church ministry
  • Christian education curriculum development
  • Humanitarian aid worker
  • Social/human services worker or case manager
  • Camp administration and ministry
  • Fund raising for faith based organizations
  • Disaster/aid relief worker
  • Residential counselor
  • Chaplaincy (with additional training)

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Christian camps
  • Christian colleges
  • Educational programs (non-licensure)
  • Denominational offices
  • Government
  • Local churches
  • Mission agencies
  • Para-church organizations
  • Prisons
  • Health care organizations
  • Nursing homes
  • Seminaries
  • National/international humanitarian aid organizations
  • Christian service organizations
  • Curriculum and publishing companies
View Career Guide
90%

of seniors grew in their relationship with God during their time at Northwestern

Accelerated

Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership and Master of Divinity options

97%

of seniors feel faculty set high, clearly stated expectations

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

Strategies for success:

  • Many transferable skills such as analyzing and synthesizing data, research, communication skills and critical thinking are associated with this degree.
  • Expertise in ministry can be a plus for secular work environments as well as more traditional ones.
  • The undergraduate degree prepares students for professional and graduate study in seminary, business, law, medicine, counseling, higher education and other fields. Be sure to check for prerequisite classes needed to enter various graduate programs.
  • Pastoral ministry students can often volunteer in shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, or healthcare organizations under the supervision of a chaplain. This kind of experience will assist you in discerning career direction.
  • Obtaining relevant experience through internships or volunteer experiences is critical to finding employment opportunities. Dual majors or minors can also help open the door in some fields.
  • Early in your career you may need to supplement ministry income with other work.

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