Skip to main content Skip to site navigation Skip to contact information
School of Theology and Ministry

Which Degree?

We are faced with decisions every day: when to wake up, what to wear, which route to take to work, what we eat for lunch, how we spend our free time. Yet, some decisions seem more consequential: what should I do with my life? What community or group am I a part of, and/or should I invest in? What are my gifts and passions? Our normal way of making decisions may not feel sufficient to make these types of important decisions.

Here at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, we understand that choosing a graduate program can sometimes feel overwhelming—it can be easy to get lost in the details. However, a graduate degree program has the potential to not just satisfy the checklist, but to be truly, deeply challenging, invigorating, engaging and fulfilling. That’s what we care about—supporting you in your quest for a next step in your life and meaningful work that best fits your passions, desires and goals. We’ve created this special webpage to support your quest in answering the question, “Which degree is right for me?” 


  • Resources for Practicing Discernment: out of our Jesuit Catholic Roots, some tools for you to wrestle with what’s next for your life and calling
  • Degree Comparison Chart: to help decipher the differences between our school’s degrees
Resources for Discernment

Out of Seattle University’s Jesuit Catholic roots, we often talk about the concept of “discernment” inspired by the founder of the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits), St. Ignatius of Loyola. This spiritual practice of discernment is an intentional effort to pay attention to the natural stirrings and impulses going on within us. Popular culture has intersected this more as “intuition,” for example in Malcolm Gladwell’s recent book “Blink.” Faith communities talk about following the Divine or the Holy Spirit within us.

In order to practice discernment, we take some time to quiet all of the competing voices inside our heads. We have put together a few resources to help as you begin your discernment process about graduate education, and in your quest to contribute to a more just and human world. 

Feel free to use this fun “map for your journey of decision-making here, to spark your process.

For your journey



Consider attending a Questioning for Purpose or Coffee and Conversation event. Look here for dates. 



Idealist Careers presents the “Confidence Factor”—a multi-faceted equation to assist you in evaluating potential job opportunities. 


Check out this video we made for more ideas about practices that foster discernment in your everyday life.  


Learn even more about Ignatian Spirituality and discernment, here


 Degree Comparison Chart

Below is a chart that helps organize the practical details of each degree program.

Want to speak with a current student in your prospective program, visit the campus, or sit in on a class to dig a bit deeper? Talk to Jean Adler Stean at or 206.296.5333.

 Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership (MATL) Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) Master of Arts in Transforming Spirituality (MATS) Master of Arts in Couples & Family Therapy (MACFT) Master of Divinity (MDIV), optional specialization in Chaplaincy Doctor of Ministry (DMIN)
Bring your whole self to work Cultivating Community Body, Mind & Heart An Interfaith, Spiritually-Integrated Program Embracing Tangible & Intangible Mystery Contemplative Leadership for the Common Good
54 Credits 54 Credits 72 Credits 79 Credits 117 Credits 54 Credits
2 Years 2 Years 3 Years 3 Years 4 Years 4 Years
Leadership in Government, Law, Education, Non-Profit, Corporations, Community & Faith-Based Organizations Service in Lay Ministry (Church, Campus, Prison); Faith-Based Organizations; Community & Social Service Agencies Spiritual Direction; Life Coaching; Retreat Facilitation; Campus Ministry; Coordination of Spirituality-Focused Programming Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist: private practice, non-profit, educational settings, and other Ordination and/or Leadership in Denominational, Ecumenical, Interfaith, or Community Organizations; Chaplaincy (Healthcare, Military, Nonprofit), Detention / Juvenile Ministry Executive or Senior Leadership in Churches, Nonprofits, Government Agencies, Faith-Based Organizations; Social Service Agencies; Faculty in Educational Institutions
      Stories Stories Stories Stories Stories Stories