The Master of Arts in Ministry degree program is intended to prepare students faith-based ministry. The goal of the program is to increase students’ knowledge about the heritage of the Christian faith, the church, and its ministries. The program provides the basic educational requirements for ordination as deacon in the United Methodist Church.
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 37 term hours of academic credit: 31 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 31 term hours of coursework are distributed as follows:
I. Twenty-two term hours of core requirements for each concentration:
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. Fifteen term hours in unrestricted electives. NOTE: A Custom Concentration may be pursued, but must be planned out at the beginning of the student’s career, thus necessitating academic advising upon entry into the program.
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, including ST 6301 The Interpretation of the Christian Message I, at Perkins School of Theology. Additionally, 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), and Spiritual Formation (one hour).
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 concentration. 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 concentration.
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 following the completion of 12 credit 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 evidence of patterns of personal behavior tending to seriously hinder ministry. Admission to formal candidacy signifies that the student is proceeding satisfactorily in his or her course requirements, including admission to and continuation in internship courses, and possesses a seriousness of purpose, emotional stability, and likelihood of satisfactory performance of Christian leadership. Formally, the presence of patterns of personal behavior tending to seriously hinder 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 hindering pattern is overcome. A student may be considered for the degree upon completion of all the requirements, but admission to formal candidacy does not oblige Perkins to grant the degree.
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.