M.Div. Emphasis – Pastoral Care

Pastoral care ministry cares for and counsels others in understanding their personal stories through a spiritual or religious lens. Coursework for this emphasis prepares students to address a range of difficult or challenging issues that confront people at all stages of life.

Students emerge from ESR with a sound, basic foundation in pastoral care that prepares them to pursue certification, through a one-year residency program, as a chaplain or member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.


Pastoral care emphasis courses include Introduction to Pastoral Care; Human Sexuality in Ministry; Pastoral Care to the Dying and Their Families; Emergency Pastoral Care; Group Leadership; Anger, Guilt and Shame; and Pastoral Care with Family Systems. In addition, Pastoral Care emphasis students are required to take one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education.

Students, prospective students and others interested in pastoral care should plan to attend the Quakers in Pastoral Care and Counseling Conference, held each year in Richmond at nearby Quaker Hill Conference Center.

Recent and upcoming Pastoral Care courses

YearSemesterCourse NumberCourse NameCourse Type
2021JanuaryPC 338-TBible and Pastoral CareTwo-week intensive
2020FallPC 333Human SexualityResidential
2020SpringPC 101-OIntroduction to Pastoral CareOnline
2019FallPC 101Introduction to Pastoral CareResidential and blended

Our faculty

Earlham School of Religion teaching faculty create collaborative learning environments where students are engaged and challenged to think deeply and critically about matters of faith, theology and religious practice.

Next steps

Ministry isn’t just a vocation or a calling—it’s a way of being in this world, seeking to make it whole. ESR is ready to support you in answering your own call to ministry, whatever shape it takes.