Doctor of MinistryPastoral Care & Counseling Emphasis Overview

San Francisco Theological Seminary offers a Doctor of Ministry with special emphasis on Pastoral Care and Counseling.   This is one of several tracks or concentrations in the Doctor of Ministry program.

The Doctor of Ministry with special emphasis in Pastoral Care and Counseling is a three-year program that prepares religious professionals to practice care and counseling at a high degree of competency and professionalism by:

  • Integrating spirituality and counseling
  • Improving the skills of effective counseling
  • Sharpening research and reflective skills
  • Facilitating personal growth
  • Providing seasoned professional teachers in an atmosphere of dialogue between theory and practice.

Primarily, this program is designed for professional who serve or plan to serve in a context of ministry, such as chaplains, pastoral care specialists, pastoral counselors or pastors with a special focus on care.  While rooted in the Christian tradition, this program is open to religious professionals across the spectrum of spiritual traditions.  This program defines “religious professionals” broadly, as including those ordained, commissioned, endorsed or otherwise set aside by their faith group as authorized to do ministry on their behalf.  This program may also be appropriate to persons, already established as a licensed mental health professional, who wishes to deepen their understanding of the integration of spirituality and psychotherapy.

Our Learning Style
We believe that learning to be an effective and compassionate care giver involves both academic learning and clinical training.  Some of our students come to this program having already become experienced clinicians and care givers. Others of you will want to contract for clinical training along side of your participation in this Doctor of Ministry program, thus enriching your learning experience.  We can assist you to find an appropriate placement and supervisor to secure this goal. We encourage our students to work toward certificated membership in a professional organization most appropriate to their ministry, such as the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, the Association of Professional Chaplains or the mental health professional association appropriate to their licensure.

Resource Seminars:  Normally, the course work in the Doctor of Ministry program is taught in the format of doctoral level seminars, where student participation and responsibility for learning are maximized.  For more details, see the “curriculum” page below.

Prerequisites for Admission
Basic admission requirements include a three- or four-year Master of Divinity degree (or its equivalent) with a 3.0 GPA or above from an accredited university; ecclesiastical endorsement for one’s ministry; at least one unit of clinical pastoral education (CPE) or its equivalent; and at least three years of experience in some form of ministry.  Other requirements are listed on the “admissions and tuition” page below.

For more information:
  • For a detailed outline of the curriculum of this program, click here.
  • For more information about admissions and tuition, click here.
  • For an application form, click here.

For more specific or personalized questions, contact:

R. Scott Sullender, PhD
Associate Professor of Pastoral Counseling
800-447-8820 ext. 867


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Educational Programs

Master of Divinity
Master of Arts in Theological Studies
Doctor of Ministry
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
Program in Christian Spirituality

Contact Information

San Francisco Theological Seminary
105 Seminary Rd
San Anselmo CA, 94960
Phone: 415.451.2800