A speaker at chapel.

Pastoral Studies

In this section

Pastoral Studies at a glance

North Central’s Pastoral Studies degree will prepare you to be a lead pastor in a church and provide you with a strong foundation for graduate school. Through courses taught by experienced, passionate professors, you’ll develop your skills as an effective preacher, teacher, mentor, and leader as you gain a firmly rooted biblical and theological understanding, experience leading a congregation and church organization, and a passion to serve God and your neighbor.

Want to learn more?

Download the one sheet!

Simply fill in your info on the form to download the informational one sheet that covers:

  • An overview of the program
  • Classes you’ll take
  • Exciting jobs you can get after graduation

Interested in earning your degree in Pastoral Studies at NCU?

Click here to apply today!

What sets us apart

The skyline of downtown Minneapolis.
Internship opportunities

You’ll have opportunities to intern with local churches and ministry groups.

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Get real-world experience and hands-on training

The internship experience is an important part of all programs in the College of Ministry at North Central. You’ll have opportunities to intern with NCU’s partner churches and organizations. Your internship will present you with new challenges and learning experiences as you prepare for your career after graduation and get one step closer to living out your calling.

One of the keys to a successful internship is the mentoring relationship you’ll form with your internship supervisor and your advising professor. We work with our partner churches and organizations to make sure your internship is a valuable, fulfilling experience. Plus, you’ll be supported, mentored, and coached by your advising professor throughout your internship and afterwards as you reflect on the experience. This will give you insights into your passions and God-given talents, and help you pursue a fulfilling career path. Plus, when you finish your internship you’ll have hands on experience in the field and a network of people who work in pastoral leadership and can recommend you to future employers—or hire you!

A group of North Central students after Chapel.
On campus ministry opportunities

Minister to the people around you.

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Get involved in on campus ministry opportunities

Our tight-knit Christian community, spiritual environment, and unique location in the heart of Minneapolis will give you plenty of opportunities to minister to the people around you.

You can get involved in on-campus ministry by becoming a Discipleship Leader who mentors fellow students in weekly discipleship meetings called LifeCore, or participating in RENDER, our student-led Chapel service.

There are also opportunities to partner with ministries in the local community.

Students study abroad in the Holy Lands.
Study Abroad in the Holy Lands

As part of your program, you’ll take a 3-4 week tour of the Holy Lands.

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Led by Dr. Marc Turnage of the AG Center for Holy Lands Studies, this tour includes lectures from some of the leading archeologists and scholars in Israel and visits to ancient sites in Israel and Jordan. Numerous once-in-a-lifetime experiences work together to bring the land of the Bible to life in a way that will enrich your biblical knowledge and reading for the rest of your life.

You’ll  also have opportunities to participate in activities such as snorkeling in the Red Sea, a Camel trek through Wadi Rum, swimming in the springs of Sakne, hiking down the Arbel Cliffs, Jeep treks through the desert in Jordan, an evening boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, floating in the Dead Sea, participating in the Temple Mount sifting project, and an archeological dig in Beth Gurvin.

Some scholarships are available, so interested students should apply early.

Details, application materials and year-specific trip information are available on the Center for Holy Land Studies website.

For more information, contact:

Jodi Petersen
Study Abroad Coordinator
612.343.4100 Miller Hall 248

  • Skills you’ll gain

    When you graduate with a Pastoral Studies degree from North Central , you’ll be prepared to:

    • Evangelize to people from all backgrounds and age groups
    • Provide pastoral leadership
    • Preach effective, authentic, accurate messages as you share the Word of God
    • Develop, lead, and mentor ministry teams
    • Lead the administration and operation of a church
    • Practice personal spiritual formation
    • Actualize your God-given gifts
    • Serve as a model of Christian character and lifestyle
    • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the history of Christianity, global studies, theology, leadership, and discipleship
  • Potential careers

    Our Pastoral Studies degree graduates succeed in a variety of jobs and careers. Here are some possibilities:

    • Pastor
    • Bible Instructor
    • Christian Administrator
    • Church Planter
    • Evangelist
    • Military Chaplain
    • Ministry Worker
  • Minors & supporting programs

    We want you to be well-rounded and well-prepared when you graduate, so you’ll have the opportunity to choose a minor or supporting program so you can explore another area of interest. Here are some possibilities:

    • Biblical Languages
    • Campus Missions
    • Children & Family Ministries
    • Greek
    • Hebrew
    • History
    • Intercultural Studies
    • International Development
    • Leadership Development
    • Preaching
    • Urban Studies
    • Youth Ministries

    See the full list of minors and supporting programs.

North Central alum Zeus Vital.
Campus Pastor, River Valley Church (Minnetrista Campus)

Zeus Vital '13
Minneapolis, MN

"North Central had an enormous impact on how I pursued my calling to ministry. My classroom experience was essential, and so was the one-on-one attention I received from professors. They were able to point out areas where I needed to grow as a student and a spiritual leader. I wouldn't be here without them."

North Central alum Reed Carlson.
Doctor of Theology Candidate in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Harvard Divinity School

Reed Carlson ’08
St. Paul, MN

"I was so thankful for how the Bible faculty at North Central prepared me to think about the Bible critically, theologically, and conscientiously. Their teaching prepared me to excel in seminary and ultimately to get accepted to a doctoral program at Harvard."


All students must complete the General Education Core and Christian Studies Core. General electives may be added or an optional minor may be selected. You need 124 total credit hours to complete the Pastoral Studies degree.

Meet one of your professors

Faculty Member Doug Graham.


College Life Center (CLC)

Douglas M. Graham

Vice President of Spiritual Life

It is an incredible privilege to serve here at NCU! As a graduate (’86), I am proud that all four of my children are NCU Alums, and my wife will soon graduate with her degree! North Central University is indeed a Graham family legacy.

What are your areas of expertise?

My area of interest in teaching here at NCU is in church leadership and spiritual life development.

What do you love about teaching at North Central?

I love the hunger for life-long learning that is evident in the students at NCU. Students come to NCU because they intend for their life to make a difference in the world. I believe that the world and church of tomorrow rests in the students of today. For this reason, I am honored to be a part of an academic and spiritual preparation process that is committed to launching students around the world to be godly and strategic leaders for the 21st Century.

What are your favorite classes to teach?

  • Personal Formation of the Spiritual Leader (freshman)
  • Pastoral Theology (juniors)
  • Personal Leadership Development (Graduate Studies – MA Strategic Leadership)