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Loyola University New Orleans offers Online Degrees in Religion

Loyola of New Orleans is a small (4,500 students) Jesuit school with an impressive range of undergraduate and graduate programs. It has operated in New Orleans for one hundred years, but also maintains a number of extensions in this country and overseas.

This week they have announced two graduate programs for master's degrees: one in pastoral studies and one in religious education. They may be taken on campus, as a hybrid option or completely online. Not surprisingly, this Jesuit institution's graduate studies options are divided by pastoral function and the educational role. The Jesuit order has developed as a critical educational arm of the Catholic Church since its founding in the sixteenth century.

Like many Jesuit schools today, the Catholic teachings are important to the school but are maintained in a separate academic department, which gives the school the look and feel of a secular school with the quality academic offerings to match. Theology and religion degrees are also a major component of the school's extensions. Despite its size, Loyola of New Orleans offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate degrees, and has a law school on campus as well. Undergraduates can opt for a major in religious studies, but they can also choose from applied science degrees in physics or biology, for example. There is no shortage of career-oriented academic options at Loyola.

The Loyola Institute for Ministry is one of the academic divisions within the school's College of Social Sciences. The extension program (entitled LIMEX) in this Institute is aggressive despite its size relative to other academic departments. LIMEX notes on their web page the recent graduation of nineteen students in El Paso and the opening of a certificate program offered in Benin City, Nigeria. With the introduction of these two master's programs, students from all over the world can prepare for a pastoral role in the Catholic Church or a teaching position at one of the thousands of Catholic schools and universities.

Loyola maintains a number of extension programs throughout Louisiana as part of their outreach program. With the development of online courses, eventually those extensions may become virtual classrooms that utilize the campus faculty of the school and draw in students that no longer have to worry about locations for extension classes and activities.

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