Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (MAPS-CGS)

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies–Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (MAPS–CGS) is the only degree of its kind in the world. In accord with the Characteristics of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd #24, the 48 credit hour degree is designed to help catechists deepen their knowledge and understanding of Scripture and liturgy, and heighten their professional development as ministers in the Church.

MAPS–CGS students participate as a cohort in a wisdom community of ministerial peers. Aquinas Institute’s hybrid style of learning combines online discussion with a mid–course intensive seminar in St. Louis.

2020 Cohort

The next MAPS-CGS cohort will begin in January 2020.

2020 Cohort Schedule
2020 Cohort Estimated Finances

Inquire or Apply

Click here to apply. Application deadline is October 15, 2019.

Have questions about the program or want to learn more? E-mail the Director of Recruitment and Admissions at or click here to schedule an appointment for a phone or Skype conversation.

Program Details & Length

The MAPS-CGS Program consists of 48 credit hours and an additional 4 units of Spiritual Formation. Students take one class at a time with a cohort of peers. Designed for those engaged in ministry across the United States and the world, students complete the majority of each class online. Once per course students come to St. Louis for an intensive learning seminar.

Eighteen of the required hours are completed in the three levels of formation offered by the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (NACGS). The three Catechesis formation courses may be taken anywhere in the world provided they meet the standards of Aquinas Institute and NACGS. Completed albums for each level are submitted for review to Aquinas. Graduate credit is awarded after a successful review of the album.

The MAPS–CGS program can be completed in three-and-a-half to five years depending on the amount of time it takes for the catechist to complete the coursework and album–writing.Students follow a set schedule of classes as a learning community, completing the course work online and traveling to St. Louis once for each course.

Who is the program for?


This ecumenical program is recommended for catechists of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd who are interested in deepening their understanding of the theological underpinnings of the work and their capacity for pastoral leadership. Applicants to the program should have adequate undergraduate preparation, completion of the first two levels of CGS formation, and time in an atrium with children.

Career Opportunities

Students who hold the MAPS–CGS degree continue to serve as catechists in atria settings around the world, often assuming a greater role of leadership in the CGS community. Graduates have gone on
to serve as directors of religious education, pastoral associates,full–time educators as well as CGS association staff, board members, and formation leaders.

Application Requirements & Admission Criteria

Application Requirements

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal assessment
  • Reflection paper
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Interview
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • $50 application fee

Admission Criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Completion of Level 1 and 2 CGS formation

About Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori–based religious formation program for children aged three to twelve years. It seeks to create and facilitate a sacred, hands–on space called an “atrium” in which both children and catechists hear, ponder, and celebrate the most essential mysteries of the Christian faith revealed in Scripture and liturgy. Originally developed in Rome over 60 years ago by Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd continues to spread worldwide and is used with adaptation in various Christian traditions. The MAPS–CGS program offers students the unique opportunity understand the influential underpinnings of Cavelletti and Gobbi’s work and further expand their capacity to serve and foster children’s relationship with God.

Accreditation Compliance Statement

MAPS-CGS degree outcomes

Related Pages

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