Since 1998 the candidates for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of San José, as well as the trainees for the Diocesan Advanced Lay Leadership program, have received their theological training in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries in face-to-face classes on the Santa Clara University campus.
Since Fall of 2012 the candidates for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Monterey have received their theological formation in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, with blended classes offered at locations within their home diocese and online.
In every diocese where the program is offered, the deacons study with other lay students seeking the Master's Degree. Deacon candidates typically take 11 or 12 classes as non-degree students, although they are welcome to pursue the remaining 3-4 courses and capstone project to earn the degree. The courses in their curriculum are drawn almost exclusively from the options listed under the foundational courses.