Pastoral Studies | Southwestern College Professional Studies

Bachelor and Master Degrees from Southwestern College - Professional Studies

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Pastoral Studies

Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Studies

Program Description

Southwestern College’s Pastoral Studies Program provides learners with a balanced mix of theoretical and applied studies. It is designed to help learners increase and develop knowledge of their faith so they can more effectively minister within any Protestant Christian denomination.

As a result of completing the Pastoral Studies program, learners will be prepared to be lead pastors in a local church or parachurch organization. They will also acquire the necessary theological training to pursue graduate studies and obtain ordination.


Admission Requirements

  1. Have completed a minimum of 6 post-high school college credits
  2. Minimum GPA of 2.0

Core Major Requirements

HUM 301: Critical Thinking

This course prepares learners to critically interpret, synthesize, analyze and evaluate information. It is designed to introduce learners to complex problems and help them come to well‐reasoned conclusions and solutions.

THEO200: Bible Survey

This course provides an introduction to the basic content of the Biblical books. The main objective of this course is to help learners gain a solid overview and to discern major scriptural themes.

THEO215: Understanding the Old Testament

Learners in this course undertake a study of the Hebrew scriptures, seeking to understand them in their original context and thus their significance for today.

Prerequisite: THEO200.

THEO216: Understanding the New Testament

This course covers the origin and development of the Christian religion as expressed in the New Testament. Learners will pursue understanding the Christian scriptures in their original context and thus their significance for today.

Prerequisites: THEO200 and THEO215.

THEO301: Systematic Theology 1

This course provides a study of the core teachings of the Christian faith and the means by which the church through the centuries has come to organize these teachings. It also shows the deep internal relationships between the various teachings and how they shape both individual and communal Christian life.

Recommended Prerequisite: HUM 301.

THEO302: Systematic Theology 2

A continuation of THEO301, THEO302 addresses theological method and takes on the interplay between Christian theology, ethics, and various aspects of our lived contexts. The work of this course includes the tasks of organizing one’s own theological reflection as well as beginning to define relationships between faith and culture, theology and society, between Christianity and our surrounding social, economic, political realities.

Prerequisite: THEO301.

THEO320: Philosophy of Religion

This course is an inquiry into the general subject of religion from the philosophical point of view. Among the specific questions considered are: the nature, function, and value of religion; the validity of the claims of religious knowledge; the nature of evil; and the existence and character of deity.

THEO333: The Church: Origins to the Middle Ages

This course introduces students to the major movements, personalities, and ideas that have shaped Christian thought and practice through the centuries. It also links these matters to issues the contemporary church and world are facing. The course covers the time frame from the church's beginnings to approximately 1300 CE/AD.

THEO334: The Church: Renaissance to the Present

This course is an extension of THEO333 and follows the same approach; it introduces learners to major thinkers, ideas, and movements that shape today’s church and helps learners to see their significance for understanding today’s church and world. Although it is best to take the courses in order, THEO334 may be taken prior to taking THEO333.

THEO340: Texts and Their Meanings

This course provides an introduction to the basic principles involved in interpreting and understanding texts. The course will look at such questions as the relationship and understanding between author, the text, the reader(s), and the community in which these materials come together.

Recommended prerequisite: THEO200.

THEO401: Theological Systems and Issues

This course provides a brief review of theological method and a survey of well‐known modern systems of Christian thought including process, liberation, feminist, and neo orthodox/evangelical theory.

Recommended prerequisites: THEO301 and 302.

THEO415: Denominational Heritage and Structure

This course is designed to assist students in the knowledge of their chosen denomination as it relates to the universal Church. Independent research and personalized instruction will be part of the learning process.

THEO454: Practicum in Ministry

Foundation Requirements

CORE101: Developing Academic and Professional Strengths

How does higher education help create the type of person that businesses want to hire? Learners will explore the answer to this question, and in doing so, help lay the foundation for academic and professional success. Each learner will develop a core set of skills needed to be both an effective college student and a successful professional in the 21st‐century workplace. Learners will develop and practice practical strategies with which to become more efficient and effective learners, while also developing higher‐order learning skills to reflect on critical issues relevant to both academic and professional environments such as personal responsibility and ethics.

CORE110: Information Literacy

This course is designed to provide learners with the skills that are fundamental to becoming an information‐literate professional who can locate, evaluate, organize and communicate information. The abundance and rapid flow of data requires skill development in the understanding of information resources, accessing information sources, determining the credibility of Internet information, logically organizing sources and finally presenting the information professionally.

ENGL101: Composition 1

This course helps learners develop writing skills that are transferrable to any academic or workplace writing task. The course guides learners through the process of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading academic and workplace writing. Learners will develop skills necessary to craft coherent sentences and paragraphs, to edit editing their writing for proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. They will learn about narrative structure and techniques as well as the elements of successful argumentation and persuasive discourse. This course also guides learners through every stage of the research process. Learners will develop a research plan, conduct research, organize and draft a research paper, and then revise, edit, and proofread that research paper.

ENGL102: Composition 2

This course builds on the thinking and writing skills introduced in Composition 1. Learners will write critical, argumentative essays based on their interpretations of nonfictional texts, including literary, film, and cultural texts, and in doing so, will recognize the role of rhetoric in the writing situation as they craft persuasive discourse. In doing so, they will learn methods of questioning, analyzing, and evaluating their own beliefs as well as the perceptions and perspectives of others. These methods of critical thinking are intended to improve the quality and organization of learners’ writing for any purpose, including academic and workplace purposes. In addition to writing essays, learners will develop more advanced research strategies, as well greater proficiency in APA style.

Prerequisite: ENGL101

COM 125: Speech

This course helps learners majoring in any discipline strengthen communication skills essential for success in academics and the workplace. Learners will focus on listening, evaluating, and delivering spoken discourse based on audience and purpose. Learners will evaluate why some people are more effective than others as public speakers, analyze speeches and audiences, study ethical considerations for speakers, research and organize findings on a topic, and present findings before an audience, and learn techniques for identifying and reducing speech anxiety.

HUM 201: Ethics

Ethics introduces learners to moral philosophy, the branch of philosophy that questions what is good and bad. The course surveys a number of important ethical theories—ethical relativism, objectivism, egoism, altruism, utilitarianism, duty‐based moral theory, natural law, natural rights, and virtue ethics—as they examine reasons why certain actions are morally right or wrong. Learners will apply ethical theories in the evaluation and analysis of current controversial issues, question ethical matters from a variety of angles, and acquire new tools to assist them in making ethically sound, well‐informed decisions throughout their lives.

COM 301: Professional Communication

This course prepares learners to communicate effectively in business settings by helping them develop their written and oral communication skills. The course focuses on traditional and Web‐based forms of communication used in business today, including e‐mail, letters, memos, reports, proposals, and presentations. The course teaches learners to plan, write, and revise communications for a variety of audiences and in different mediums. It also teaches learners to communicate with greater clarity, economy of language, and vigor, as well as how to communicate professionally with employees, customers, and hiring managers. Learners will participate in interactive online activities and complete real‐world assessments that help them produce, evaluate, and improve their own written, oral, and multimedia communication skills.

Prerequisite: ENGL102. A final grade of C or higher for this course is required for learners to enroll in the capstone course.

*MASC110 Statistics & Probability, or MASC115 College Algebra, or more advanced college credit bearing mathematics course requiring college algebra or higher as a prerequisite

Disciplinary Perspective Requirements

  • Humanities (6 credits)
  • Natural Sciences/Mathematics (4 credits)
  • Social Sciences (6 credits)

Graduation Requirements

  1. Complete all foundation and major courses with an overall GPA of 2.0
  2. Complete a minimum of 124 credit hours, with at least 60 hours at a bachelor’s degree-granting institution
  3. Complete at least 30 credit hours with a C average or above from Southwestern College

All degree requirements are subject to change. Please see Southwestern College Professional Studies Catalog for the most current degree requirements.