Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership

Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership

(MA degree)


The Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership is designed to equip persons in ministry who want accessible, affordable, and pedagogically mature theological education, spiritual formation, and professional training. Graduates will serve in a variety of ministry roles such as:

  • Associate pastors
  • Specialized ministry leaders such as youth, women, men, or children
  • Parachurch leaders
  • Overseas missionaries and ministry personnel
  • Church planters
  • Camp or campus pastors

MAML Online or Local

The degree is offered in an online cohort format or a local delivery format. The online cohort has hybrid courses which are a combination of face-to-face classroom experiences and online experiences. Cohort students come to campus for week-long face-to-face intensives in the fall and spring with online courses in the summer over a period of three years. A learning community is created for the transfer of information, exchange of ideas, critical-thinking development through discussions and papers posted and read online, and acquired wisdom through sharing professional experiences.
The local delivery format allows students to take the majority of their coursework in the local classroom setting at the Portland Center. The local delivery format also provides greater flexibility regarding the number of credit hours for which students may enroll each semester.

The Curriculum

The MA in Ministry Leadership curriculum is designed around leadership-in-ministry courses, biblical and theological foundations courses, specialization courses, and spiritual formation courses. Leadership in any field requires attention to the interdisciplinary and integrative nature of the topic. Therefore, students in the MA in Ministry Leadership learn about leadership from biblical, historical, sociological, and theological perspectives. The study of leadership involves exposure and training in disciplines such as conflict resolution, reconciliation skills, cross-cultural awareness, communication, organizational systems studies, strategic change processes, and individual and social transformation processes. The spiritual formation courses give the student exposure to development of deep moral and spiritual values, spiritual disciplines, and self-awareness and self-management skills. The student also has the ability to customize his or her training to fit any particular interest or calling.

Program Objectives

To enable students to:
  • Mature into God's fullness
  • Develop habits of authentic disciplines for thinking and living in Christ's presence
  • Gain a critical and constructive understanding of the biblical and theological foundations of the Christian tradition
  • Understand the mission of God in the world and their place in it
  • Understand themselves and relate to others as created in God's image and called into community and ministry
  • Understand the mission of the church, the church's role in the world, and their relationship to that mission
  • Function as transforming leaders to lead their churches and groups to be healthy and effective places of transformation

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the MA in Ministry Leadership program must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university,† with a minimum GPA of 2.5. In addition, applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:

  • George Fox Evangelical Seminary application and application fee
  • Submit one official transcript from each college/university attended
  • Resumé
  • Personal mission statement and statement of faith
  • Three letters of reference (as specified in admissions materials)
  • A group interview or phone interview (by invitation only)

†Applicants who do not hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university may apply to the university but will be required to submit additional documentation to be considered for admission.

Transfer Credit

Transfer of up to 28 hours credit is allowed toward the MA in Ministry Leadership program from accredited graduate schools. Students must have earned a grade of B- or better for a course to be considered for transfer. In addition, only courses taken elsewhere within 10 years of the date of matriculation to the MA in Ministry Leadership program will be considered for transfer. Transferability of credits earned at this institution and transferred to another is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the registrar's office for information on eligibility of transfer credit.

Residence Requirements

Of the 56 hours required for the MA in Ministry Leadership program, a minimum of 28 hours must be taken in resident study at George Fox University. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree.

Course Requirements

The MA in Ministry Leadership program is generally three years in length with 56 semester hours of course work required as a minimum for graduation. Of the total hours required for the degree, 18 are in leadership courses and 18 in biblical and theological foundations courses. Students not pursuing the SFAD Concentration will complete 5 credits of SFAD classes, 3 credits of internship and 12 credits of concentration/specialization. Students pursuing the SFAD Concentration will do 4 required SFAD classes, 4 credits of Spiritual Direction/Practicum and 12 credits in the concentration.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the MA in Ministry Leadership degree students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 56 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Be admitted to candidacy for the degree
  • Be recommended by the seminary faculty for graduation from George Fox University.

Curriculum Plan

Leadership Core (18 hours)
MLDR 550 Communication in Christian Ministry 3
MLDR 570 Christian Ministry for Reconciliation 3
MLDR 510 Missional Ecclesiology 3
MLDR 520 Missional Leadership 3
MLDR 530 Personal Transformation or PSTD 530 Equipping & Discipleship 3
MLDR 540 Culture and System Change 3
Biblical and Theological Foundations (18 hours)
BIST 506 Old Testament I (Torah and Former Prophets) 3
BIST 507 Old Testament II (Latter Prophets and Writings) 3
BIST 508 New Testament I (Gospels and Acts) 3
BIST 509 New Testament II (Romans - Revelation) 3
CHTH 511 Christian History and Theology I: The Early Church to the Sixteenth Century 3
CHTH 512 Christian History and Theology II: The Reformation and Its Ramifications 3
Spiritual Formation Foundation (3 hours)
SFAD 510 Knowing Self, Knowing God 1
SFAD 520 Prayer 1
SFAD 591 Spiritual Leadership 1
Internship (3 hours) plus 2 SFAD electives for all students not pursuing SFAD Concentration (5 hours)
MLDR 575 Internship (or MLDR 575A, 575B, 575C) 3
SFAD Electives 2
Spiritual Direction courses plus 1 SFAD elective for students pursuing SFAD Concentration (5 hours)
SFAD 571 The Art of Spiritual Direction 2
SFAD 572 Spiritual Direction Practicum 2
SFAD 536 Spirituality, Shame, and Grace 1

Concentration (12 hours- students must select Christian Earthkeeping Concentration, Spiritual Formation Concentration, or the Required General Electives)

Christian Earthkeeping Concentration (12 hours)
CHTH 541 Theology and Stewardship of Creation I 1.5
CHTH 542 Theology and Stewardship of Creation II 1.5
CHTH 543 Eschatology, New Creation and Communal Ethics I 1.5
CHTH 544 Eschatology, New Creation and Communal Ethics II 1.5
CHTH 556 Theology and Ethic of the Land 3
CHTH 558 Poverty and Restorative Earthkeeping 3
Spiritual Formation Concentration (12 hours)
CHTH 562 History of Spirituality and Renewal 3
PSTD 501 Pastoral Counseling 3
SFAD 530 Spiritual Life 1
SFAD 540 Images of God 1
SFAD 548 Spirituality and Personality 1
SFAD 556 Spirituality and Writing of the Mystics 1
SFAD 561 Spiritual Direction Experience I .5
SFAD 562 Spiritual Direction Experience II .5
SFAD 580 Group Spiritual Formation 1
Required General Electives (12 hours)
CHTH 513 American Church History; or a denomination-specific course 3
CHTH 552 Essentials of Christian Theology 3
MLDR 595 Special Study (or MLDR 595A, 595B, 595C series) 3
MLDR 561 Ministry Leadership Conference 1
MLDR 562 Ministry Leadership Conference 1
SFAD Elective 1


  • Specialization may be achieved in an area such as student ministry, church planting, drama ministry
  • The curriculum is designed to equip men and women for a variety of occupations in Christian ministry. A student looking forward to certification or ordination by a denomination or parachurch organization must secure recommendation from the desired institution and fulfill the expected procedures and competencies required. The Seminary assumes no responsibility for these processes. The MA in Ministry Leadership does not substitute for a Master of Divinity degree in preparation for senior pastoral ministry.
Seminary Course Descriptions