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Priests Given the Tools Needed to Serve More Effectively

By: Caitlin Bootsma

If you were able to look around the digital classroom of the Institute for the Psychological Sciences’ online M.S. in Psychology program, you’d find something that might surprise you: approximately one third of the students are priests!

This new online program enables priests and laity alike to study psychology rooted in a Christian understanding of the human person from anywhere in the world. The program is fully compatible with work or ministry, which means that priests enrolled in the program are seeing immediate benefits in their continuing pastoral work.

One priest who works in a seminary says, “I came to work….wondering if I was the right guy for formation work, but God drew me to IPS. ‘God calls not the able but equips the available.’ He is surely equipping me through IPS and has blessed me with this opportunity so I may become what God wants me to be for the seminarians.”

Another priest shares, “As a diocesan priest working in rural communities, the M.S. in Psychology online structure makes it possible to study while in active ministry, with its content massively energizing my pastoral duties; combining modern psychology and the wisdom of Catholic/Christian teaching.”

Priests here in the United States and across the world—even as far away as New Zealand—are strengthening their ability to serve through this program, benefitting from the wisdom and practical experience of IPS professors. In addition, many priests benefit from an IPS scholarship specifically designated for priests.

The M.S. program accepts applicants with three start dates per year. This August’s class (there are still spots available!) will mark the beginning of the program’s second year. From the feedback from students like this priest, it looks like the mission of this apostolate is already bearing great fruit: “Studying online with IPS is like nothing I’ve ever done before! To learn modern psychology in a supportive learning environment, in harmony with Catholic teaching is wonderfully fulfilling.”

To find out more about IPS’s online M.S. in Psychology, visit