Master of Arts in Ministry

Master of Arts in Ministry

(MA degree)

Purpose

The Master of Arts in Ministry degree program 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 church-ministry leaders
  • Parachurch leaders and activists
  • Overseas missionaries and ministry personnel
  • Church planters
  • Camp or campus pastors
  • Bivocational ministers

The Curriculum

The MA in Ministry curriculum is designed around leadership-in-ministry courses, biblical and theological foundations courses, specialization courses, and spiritual formation courses. The study of leadership involves exposure and training in disciplines such as pastoral studies, conflict resolution, reconciliation skills, cross-cultural awareness, 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. Students also have the option to pursue specializations that fit their interest or calling.

Program Outcomes:

The MA in Ministry program will:

  • Develop student capacity for critical and constructive theological reflection
  • Increase student skill in the design, implementation, and assessment of specialized ministry
  • Strengthen student understanding of the various disciplines that undergird specialized ministry
  • Enable student growth in personal and spiritual maturity

Learning Outcomes:

Students will:

  • Develop habits of authentic disciplines for living in Christ's presence
  • Demonstrate a critical and constructive understanding of the biblical and theological foundations of the Christian tradition
  • Articulate the mission of God in the world and their place in it
  • Experience themselves and relate to others as created in God's image and called into community and ministry
  • Describe the mission of the church, the church's role in the world, and their relationship to that mission
  • Function as leaders in specialized ministry to lead their faith communities and to serve the Kingdom of God

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the MA in Ministry program must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university,† with a minimum GPA of 3.0. In addition, applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Submit Portland 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)
  • An interview

†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 27 hours credit is allowed toward the MA in Ministry program from ATS-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 Master of Arts in Ministry 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.

Credits in Residence and Program Delivery Formats

Residence, as described in this section of the catalog, does not refer to the time a student spends on campus. It refers to the portion of a degree program that students are required to earn with Portland Seminary, as compared to transfer credits and credit applied as advanced standing. With regard to the MA in Ministry program, students are required to complete half of the degree (27 semester hours) directly with Portland Seminary. A leave of absence is valid for up to one year, after which the student must reapply to the program. 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 program is generally three years in length with 54 semester hours of coursework required as a minimum for graduation. Of the total hours required for the degree, 12 are in leadership courses, 6 in spiritual formation courses, and 24 in biblical and theological foundations courses. The remaining 12 hours are in a chosen area of specialization or electives. The specializations offered include Biblical Studies, Christian History and Theology, Creation Care, Intercultural Studies, Leadership, Spiritual Direction, and Spiritual Formation and Discipleship.

Graduation Requirements

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

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 54 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Successfully complete each milestone
  • Be admitted to candidacy for the degree
  • Be recommended by the seminary faculty for graduation from George Fox University

Curriculum Plan

Biblical Studies Courses (12 hours)
BIST 501 Old Testament Introduction 3
BIST 502 New Testament Introduction 3
BIST 503 Engaging the Old Testament 3
BIST 504 Interpreting the New Test: Use & Abuse of the Bible 3
Christian History and Theology Courses (12 hours)
CHTH 507 Historical Theology: Early Church through Reformation 3
CHTH 508 Essentials in Christian Theology 3
CHTH 509 History of Christianity in America 3
CHTH 510 World Religions and Christian Thought 3
Leadership Courses (12 hours)
MLDR 516 Mission, Church, and Society 2
MLDR 517 Transformation in Cultures and Systems 2
MLDR 518 Theories and Praxis of Missional Leadership 2
MLDR 519 Personal Transformation 2
MLDR 531 Reconciliation and Community Engagement I 2
MLDR 532 Reconciliation and Community Engagement II 2
Spiritual Formation Courses (6 hours)
SFAD 510 Knowing Self, Knowing God 1
SFAD 520 Mystical Experiences and Images of God 1
SFAD 530 Christian Prayer in a Global Context 1
SFAD 540 Spiritual Life 1
SFAD 550 Shame, Grace, and Resilience 1
SFAD 560 Spiritual Leadership 1
Specializations (12 hours)

Specialization options include: Biblical Studies, Christian History and Theology, Creation Care, Intercultural Studies, Leadership, Spiritual Direction, or Spiritual Formation and Discipleship. In lieu of a specialization, students may take electives.

Biblical Studies Specialization (12 hours)
Students must select any two BIST studios (4 hours each for a total of 8 credits)
BIST 523 Old Testament Book Study 2
BIST 533 Scripture in Context: Old Testament, Ancient Near East, and Today 2
Or
BIST 524 New Testament Book Study 2
BIST 534 Scripture in Context: New Test, Early Judaism, and Today 2
Or
BIST 551 Advanced Seminar in Northwest Semitics I 2
BIST 552 Advanced Seminar in Northwest Semitics II 2
Or
BIST 555 Seminar in Biblical Studies I 2
BIST 565 Seminar in Biblical Studies II 2
Or
BIST 556 Bible and Contemporary Culture I: Methods 2
BIST 557 Bible and Contemporary Culture II: Exploring Film 2
Or
BIST 562 Advanced Seminar in Greek I 2
BIST 563 Advanced Seminar in Greek II 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
MLDR 568 Specialized Apprenticeship I 2
MLDR 569 Specialized Apprenticeship II 2
Christian History and Theology Specialization (12 hours)
Students must select any two CHTH studios (4 hours each for a total of 8 credits)
CHTH 528 Intercultural Studies I: Cultural Anthropology for a Postmodern World 2
CHTH 529 Intercultural Studies II: Indigenous Peoples & the N. American Church 2
Or
CHTH 546 Ecotheology I: Theology & Stewardship of Creation 2
CHTH 547 Ecotheology II: Hope and New Creation 2
Or
CHTH 548 Ecopraxis I: Keeping the Garden 2
CHTH 549 Ecopraxis II: Greening the Church 2
Or
CHTH 550 Indigenous Studies I: Indigenous Spiritualities 2
CHTH 551 Indigenous Studies II: Theology and Place 2
Or
CHTH 558 Quaker Studies I: History and Polity of the Quaker Movement 2
CHTH 559 Quaker Studies II: Christian Practices of the Quaker Movement 2
Or
CHTH 560 Wesleyan Studies I: Theology and Context of John Wesley 2
CHTH 561 Wesleyan Studies II: The Wesleyan-Holiness Movement 2
Or
CHTH 562 Pentecostal Studies I: Theologies and Practices in Historical Context 2
CHTH 563 Pentecostal Studies II: Thinkers, Trends, and Innovations 2
Or
CHTH 555 Seminar in Christian History and Theology I 2
CHTH 565 Seminar in Christian History and Theology II 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
MLDR 568 Specialized Apprenticeship I 2
MLDR 569 Specialized Apprenticeship II 2
Creation Care Specialization (12 hours)
CHTH 546 Ecotheology I: Theology & Stewardship of Creation 2
CHTH 547 Ecotheology II: Hope and New Creation 2
CHTH 548 Ecopraxis I: Keeping the Garden 2
CHTH 549 Ecopraxis II: Greening the Church 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
MLDR 568 Specialized Apprenticeship I 2
MLDR 569 Specialized Apprenticeship II 2
Intercultural Studies Specialization (12 hours)
CHTH 528 Intercultural Studies I: Cultural Anthropology for a Postmodern World 2
CHTH 529 Intercultural Studies II: Indigenous Peoples and the North American Church 2
CHTH 550 Indigenous Studies I: Indigenous Spiritualities 2
CHTH 551 Indigenous Studies II: Theology and Place 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
MLDR 568 Specialized Apprenticeship I 2
MLDR 569 Specialized Apprenticeship II 2
Leadership Specialization (12 hours) 
 
MLDR 558 Advanced Leadership Studies I 2
MLDR 559 Advanced Leadership Studies II 2
MLDR 555 Seminar in Ministry Leadership I 2
MLDR 565 Seminar in Ministry Leadership II 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
MLDR 568 Specialized Apprenticeship I 2
MLDR 569 Specialized Apprenticeship II 2
Spiritual Direction Specialization (12 hours)
PSTD 521 Pastoral Counseling and Ethics I 2
PSTD 522 Pastoral Counseling and Ethics II 2
SFAD 551 Awareness and Identity I 2
SFAD 552 Awareness and Identity II 2
And
SFAD 571 Becoming a Spiritual Director I 2
SFAD 572 Becoming a Spiritual Director II 2
Or
*SFAD 573 Spiritual Direction Supervision I 2
*SFAD 574 Spiritual Direction Supervision II 2
*For students with spiritual direction experience. Requires faculty/advisor permission.
Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Specialization (12 hours)
SFAD 551 Awareness and Identity I 2
SFAD 552 Awareness and Identity II 2
SFAD 555 Seminar in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship I 2
SFAD 565 Seminar in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship II 2
Apprenticeship (4 hours)
MLDR 568 Specialized Apprenticeship I 2
MLDR 569 Specialized Apprenticeship II 2
Elective Studies (12 hours)

Students not opting for one of the specializations listed above fulfill these 12 credits with 4 hours of apprenticeship and 8 hours of studio/elective courses.

Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
MLDR 568 Specialized Apprenticeship I 2
MLDR 569 Specialized Apprenticeship II 2
Seminary Course Descriptions