The Master of Arts in Ministry degree program is intended to prepare students for specialized church ministry. The goal of the program is to increase students’ knowledge about the church and its ministries and to foster their ability to work meaningfully and creatively in a specialized area of church ministry. Presently, the M.A.M. program has five specialized ministry tracks. All tracks share a common core of required courses in theology, Bible, church history and the social context of ministry. All tracks have additional specialized requirements and a supervised internship appropriate to the area of specialization. The program provides the basic educational requirements for ordination as deacon in the United Methodist Church.
The five tracks are:
1. The Christian Education track is intended primarily for those preparing for professional leadership as directors or as ministers of Christian education.
2. The Urban Ministry track is intended for those preparing to work in community ministries in urban and peri-urban settings.
3. The Theology and Social Justice track is intended for those preparing to lead ministries in congregations, communities, the public realm, and other creative situations addressing systemic injustice.
4. The Christian Spirituality track is intended to prepare graduates to engage and reflect critically on Christian Spirituality and to walk with others in ministries of spiritual formation.
5. The Evangelism and Mission track is intended for those preparing to lead congregations and Christian organizations to engage in evangelistic ministries and missional outreach.
The requirements for admission to the M.A.M. degree are the same as those for the M.Div. program.
Requirements for Graduation
The M.A.M. degree requires 49 term hours of academic credit: 42 term hours of coursework and six term hours in a supervised internship in a setting appropriate to the area of specialization. Students are also required to participate in a spiritual formation group for two terms, normally beginning during the first year of study, for one term hour of credit.
The 42 term hours of coursework are distributed as follows:
I. Twenty-two term hours of core requirements for each track:
A. Three term hours in ST 6301 Interpretation of the Christian Message I.
B. Six term hours in Bible, as follows:
1. Three term hours in OT 6301 Interpretation of the Old Testament I or OT 6302 Interpretation of the Old Testament II.
2. Three term hours in NT 6301 Interpretation of the New Testament I or NT 6302 Interpretation of the New Testament II.
C. Three term hours in HX 6305: The Christian Heritage I.
D. Three term hours in contextual studies: XS 6310 The Church in Its Social Context.
E. One term hour in Spiritual Formation.
F. Six term hours in Supervised Internship.
II. Twenty-seven term hours in Christian education track requirements:
A. Three term hours in ST 6302 Interpretation of the Christian Message II.
B. Nine term hours in Christian education courses:
1. Three term hours in CE 7304 The Church’s Educational Ministry. (This course must be taken prior to the supervised internship.)
2. Three term hours in an age-level course (CE 8320 Ministry With Children, CE 8330 Youth Ministry or CE 8332 Speed-Dating Spirituality: Ministry With Young Adults, CE 8338 Adolescent Girls, or some other age appropriate level course).
3. Three term hours of a Christian education elective.
C. Fifteen term hours in unrestricted electives. Those seeking ordination as deacon in the United Methodist Church will also need to take Worship (three term hours), United Methodist Studies (six term hours) and Evangelism (three term hours), leaving three term hours unrestricted.
III. Twenty-seven term hours in urban ministry track requirements:
A. Three term hours in ST 6302 Interpretation of the Christian Message II.
B. Twelve term hours in urban ministry, as follows:
1. Three term hours in XS 7302 Issues in Urban Ministry or XS 8332 Contemporary Issues in Urban Ministry.
2. Nine term hours in urban ministry courses.
C. Twelve term hours in unrestricted electives. Those seeking ordination as deacon in the United Methodist Church will also need to take Worship (three term hours), United Methodist Studies (six term hours) and Evangelism (three term hours), leaving no hours unrestricted.
IV. Twenty-seven term hours in theology and social justice track requirements:
A. Three term hours in HR 6302 World Religions and Christianity.
B. Nine term hours in social justice courses, as follows:
1. Three term hours in HX 7380 or TC 7380 Theology and Social Justice.
2. Three term hours in XS 8326 Broad Based Community Organizing.
3. Three term hours in MT 6303 Moral Theology.
C. Six hours in track specific electives and nine hours in unrestricted electives.
V. Twenty-seven term hours in Christian spirituality track requirements:
A. Three term hours in a survey of Christian spirituality course, MN 7311 Prayer and Spirituality, or MN 7310 Spirituality and Christian Ministry.
B. Twelve term hours of elective work in designated courses related to spirituality.
C. Twelve term hours in unrestricted electives. Those seeking ordination as Deacon in the UM church will also need to take Worship (three term hours), United Methodist Studies (six term hours), and Evangelism (three term hours), leaving no hours unrestricted.
VI. Twenty-seven term hours in evangelism and mission track requirements:
A. Twelve term hours of track requirements, as follows:
1. WX 7310 World Christianity, Its Mission and Unity.
2. EV 7307 Theory and Practice of Evangelism.
3. WX 8332 Mission Studies or HR 6302 World Religions and Christianity: A Global Perspective.
4. (Immersion Course) - WX 8321 Christian Mission in Cultural Context or TC 8321 Theology and Ministry in Global Contexts or BB8321 The Bible in Global Contexts or XS 8321 Witness and Ministry in Global Context.
B. Six term hours of elective work in designated Mission and Evangelism courses.
C. Nine term hours in unrestricted electives. Those seeking ordination as Deacon in the UM church will also need to take Worship (three term hours), United Methodist Studies (six term hours), and Evangelism (three term hours), leaving no hours unrestricted.
All students completing the M.A.M. degree are required to register for the program in spiritual formation. Students are required to attend a daylong orientation held in conjunction with the new student orientation program and are then enrolled in formation groups. These groups meet weekly throughout the fall and spring terms during the first year of the program.
Led by facilitators in groups of five to 10, students share in a formative experience designed to provide them with the framework of a common experience, emphasizing the following:
● The opportunity to explore the vital connection between spiritual formation and ministry.
● Opportunities to explore the central genius of spiritual traditions.
● The development of a critical capacity that will allow the student to evaluate those traditions theologically.
● Broad-based exposure to a variety of spiritual disciplines.
● Experience in prayer and devotion.
Students are evaluated and given credit by the group facilitators on the basis of attendance and engagement with the subject matter of the formation process. Students should register in both the fall and spring of the first year. Exceptions to this rule must be requested in writing from the director of spiritual life and formation.
The Master of Arts in Ministry Internship
The M.A.M. program requires the satisfactory completion of a two-term internship in a church or agency setting appropriate to the student’s area of specialization. The internship runs from August to May and carries six term hours of academic credit. While the student registers for three hours of internship course credit during each of the two consecutive terms, the internship degree requirement is satisfied only upon completion of the six term hours.
Before beginning internship, M.A.M. candidates will have completed at least one term and 12 term hours of course work at Perkins School of Theology. M.A.M. candidates are advised to take the following courses if possible before beginning internship: The Church in Its Social Context (three hours), two courses in required biblical studies (six hours), Spiritual Formation (one hour), and at least one of the foundational courses for the student's specialized degree track.
All internships are negotiated through the Perkins Intern Program Office. Students without existing employment at a suitable site for internship will be placed in a teaching congregation or agency setting appropriate to their degree track. The program requires at least 20 hours per week (inclusive of the Internship Seminar) of work in the internship placement. All interns receive a stipend.
During the internship course, students do ministry under supervision and reflect theologically on their experiences. As the interns become more competent and self-confident in carrying out the tasks of ministry and gain theological, emotional and spiritual maturity in their understanding of it, they prepare themselves to provide resourceful, faithful Christian leadership in the world.
The design of the Perkins Intern Program assumes interns to be adult learners who can assess and value their past experiences and vocational goals and build on these creatively and systematically in pursuing the learning opportunities offered at their particular internship site. To that end, the internship course curriculum specifies a set of required competencies under each of three categories (Be Aware, Think Theologically, and Lead Faithfully), tailored to the student's particular degree track.
The Perkins Intern Program faculty partners with staff and laity at congregations and agencies and with mental health professionals experienced in church family systems to provide supportive supervision for students during internship. The mentor and lay teaching committee assigned to each intern receive orientation and training as part of the intern program.
Internship begins with a required two-day Intern Orientation conducted in August by the intern faculty.
A minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 2.0 is required for graduation. The same average is required for continuation in the program beyond the first year.
Admission to Candidacy
M.A.M. students will be reviewed for admission to formal candidacy for the degree in the fall term following the completion of 18 term hours of academic work. A student will be admitted to candidacy provided that he or she is not on probation and is not disqualified for having given insufficient evidence of fitness for ministry (See “Fitness for Ministry” below.). Admission to formal candidacy signifies that the student is proceeding satisfactorily in her or his work and may be considered for the degree upon completion of all the requirements, but does not obligate the seminary to grant the degree.
Fitness for Ministry
Beyond the formal academic requirements, each student is expected to show evidence of personal fitness for ministry. This fitness may be defined positively as the presence of emotional, moral and spiritual qualities requisite for the profession of ministry. A lack of fitness for ministry may be demonstrated by patterns of personal behavior that inhibit effective ministry. Examples of such patterns include irresponsibility in social and/or professional relations and emotional instability. Formally, the presence of patterns of personal behavior tending to be seriously disabling to ministry may be grounds for the faculty to disqualify a student from graduation with the M.A.M. degree, or, if the prognosis justifies it, to defer awarding the degree until such time as the disabling pattern is overcome.
It is to be emphasized that personal fitness for ministry is not defined narrowly in terms of a particular form of piety or style of personal behavior. Nor does Perkins assume the role that belongs properly to those agencies of the church that evaluate candidates for ordination or for professional service to the church. When asked, it assists such agencies in their evaluation of candidates.
All requirements for the M.A.M. degree must be completed within five calendar years from the time of initial registration.
Students preparing for ordination should become aware as early as possible of any specific educational requirements their denomination or judicatory may expect them to satisfy in the course of their M.A.M. work. They should explore, with their academic advisers, how best to deal with these expectations. Students who are preparing for ordination as deacons in the United Methodist Church should take as their electives HX 7365 United Methodist History, ST 7034 United Methodist Doctrine, CA 7013 United Methodist Polity, WO 6313 Word and Worship and EV 7307 Theory and Practice of Evangelism.