Seattle Pacific Seminary

MA in Theology: Christian Ministry

Defining Theological Education Through Academy, Abbey, and Apostolate

The Master of Arts in Theology degree program focuses on the classical theological disciplines of Scripture, Church history, theology, and ethics. The Christian Ministry concentration is designed for students who have a personal interest in theological study, are engaged in congregational or parachurch ministries, or are considering further advanced academic study in theology. The Christian Ministry concentration is a highly malleable, self-designed degree.

At a Glance

  • check mark icon Upcoming Application Deadline 11/15/2021 for Winter Quarter
  • check mark icon Accreditation

    Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS)

  • check mark icon Minimum Time to Completion

    Two years

  • check mark icon Format

    On campus, with weeklong intensive at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island

  • check mark icon Credits to Graduate

    60 credits

Program Overview

Who Should Pursue This Degree

If you are preparing for leadership in a church or denomination — including various non-ordained ministries in congregational settings, parachurches, and Christian organizations that do not require a Master of Divinity degree — the Christian Ministry concentration is intended for you.


  1. For faith leaders
    The Master of Arts in Theology: Christian Ministry is intended for those who seek education, training, and formation in the practices of ministry and leadership. This degree program serves those who want to participate in the mission of God through planning, visioning, and the practice of ministry.

  2. Classical and interdisciplinary
    The curriculum for the MA-THEO combines training in the classical theological disciplines (e.g., Scripture, church history, theology, and ethics), with the study of Christian discipleship and vocational discernment, ministry in diverse contexts, and the interdisciplinary study of Christian leadership.

  3. Partnering with I-O Psych and SBGE
    Several of the approved electives are offered by the Industrial-Organizational Psychology Department in the School of Psychology, Family, and Community and the School of Business, Government and Economics, which are deemed especially suitable for administrative leaders in churches, parachurches, and other Christian organizations.

  4. Personal growth
    You will also experience rich opportunities for worship, fellowship, and personal spiritual growth in the context of SPU’s evangelical Wesleyan heritage.
  5. Dual degrees
    Do you feel called to add a theological component to a business degree, counseling degree, or an MFA? The Seminary offers dual degree programs in partnership with other SPU schools to let you earn two advanced degrees in less time earning the same two degrees separately.


The MA-THEO degree requires you to complete 60 credits. At least 27 credits are taken from the core curriculum common to all Seattle Pacific Seminary degree programs. The curriculum for the Christian Ministry concentration consists of three 2-credit intensive courses in spiritual formation and mission; three courses in Bible, at least one core course in church history, and at least one core course in theology/ethics; and a year-long practicum that encourages reflection on the core curriculum in light of the student’s own spiritual life and ministry context. The remaining credits focus on the degree concentration and related theological disciplines.

BA in Christian Theology to MA in Theology: Christian Ministry

A combined Bachelor of Arts in Christian Theology and Master of Arts in Theology with a concentration in Christian Ministry is ideal for students who feel called by God to serve in pastoral leadership and desire educational and formational training to support this vocation.

Through dual-function courses that count for both degree programs, you will be able to complete this combined degree in an accelerated timeline, graduating with both degrees within five years instead of six.

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The Master of Arts (Christian Ministry) degree requires you to complete 60 credits of course work.

  • At least 27 credits are taken from the core curriculum upon which all graduate programs in the Seattle Pacific Seminary are based.
  • The core curriculum for the Christian Ministry concentration consists of three 2-credit intensive courses in spiritual formation and mission; three courses in Bible, at least one core course in church history, and at least one core course in theology/ethics; and a year-long practicum that encourages reflection on the core curriculum in light of the student’s own spiritual life and ministry context.
  • The remaining 33 credits are in a variety of program-specific courses related to worship, preaching, the arts, an internship, and electives. This includes a 6-credit Contextual Education Internship.

You may transfer easily from this degree program to any of the other MA degree programs, or to the Master of Divinity program, if your professional objectives change during your course of study.

University and program requirements for admission into any of the MA in theology programs include:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must have had a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the last 45 quarter credits (30 semester credits) of course work completed before applying for admission or in all undergraduate work, whichever is higher.
  • Successful submission of all other materials and documents required for admission.
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2021–22 tuition and fees

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per credit

Total $36,720 minimum

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$50; $150

application fee; one-time matriculation fee

See additional fee details.
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60 credits

to complete

All tuition, fees, and other charges stated are payable in U.S. dollars ($US).

In addition to direct instructional costs, Seattle Pacific Seminary’s Master of Arts in Christian Leadership tuition covers academic and student support services. Other benefits include use of athletic facilities (e.g., gym, locker room, and fitness rooms), the SPU Library, and the Kingswood House.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Scholarship and other financial aid is offered to newly admitted and continuing students of SPS. For eligibility requirements, download the SPS Scholarship application. To apply for a scholarship, you should complete the application prior to the March 31 deadline. Scholarships will be distributed evenly across the Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters of the academic year for which a scholarship is awarded.

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Application Info

Applying to Seattle Pacific Seminary

Admission to Seattle Pacific Seminary is a two-way process of discernment. You, the applicant, must determine whether SPS offers the kind of theological education and spiritual formation appropriate to your vocational objectives. You do so by studying our promotional materials, by visiting campus (if possible), by talking with our faculty, staff, and students, by praying for God’s guidance, and by consulting with trusted spiritual advisors. Conversely, the SPS Admissions Committee must determine whether you are spiritually and academically prepared to succeed in one of our programs. We do so by carefully and prayerfully studying your application materials and by assessing how your gifts, graces, and sense of vocation fit with the mission and ethos of the Seminary. We admit women and men who can demonstrate a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, a commitment to the proclamation of the reign of God, an ability to succeed academically in master’s level work, and an emotional and spiritual readiness to undertake graduate theological study.

To be considered for admission into the Master of Arts in Theology, you must apply online. Find the help you need with the admissions process of the program of your choice through Graduate Admissions

If you are an international student, also refer to International Graduate Students information about additional admission requirements. 

With your online application, include these items specific to Seattle Pacific Seminary:

A typed, three- to four-page personal statement, including:

  • Your career objectives.
  • A narrative of your personal Christian experience. In your personal statement, you may consider reflecting on those people (e.g., parents, pastors, friends, teachers), institutions (e.g., schools, congregations, ministries), and/or "mountaintop experiences" (e.g., retreats, conferences, life-changing conversations) that have most influenced your spiritual growth.
  • Your rationale for seeking the degree and choosing Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Other insights you deem appropriate.

Two letters of recommendation

We ask you to secure letters of recommendation from two persons, both of whom know you well, but in different capacities, and who can therefore speak to different aspects of your preparedness for the challenges of graduate theological education.

  1. Spiritual/emotional preparedness: This letter should be from a pastor, church staff person, chaplain, parachurch professional, youth leader, Bible study leader or college religion professor. It should describe the depth of your Christian faith, as evidenced by the way you live your life, serve your neighbors, and participate in the ministry of a Christian community (local congregation, parachurch organization, chapel program, etc.).
  2. Academic Preparedness: This letter should be from a former college professor who knows your academic work well and can describe your intellectual curiosity and your skills in research, writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management. If you cannot secure a letter from a former professor, a letter from an employer or manager who can address these matters will be accepted with approval from the Seminary's Associate Dean (; in such cases, an interview may be required. You may request permission to submit an alternative letter of reference by emailing

Transfer credits

If you wish to apply graduate-level coursework completed at a regionally accredited university or an ATS-accredited divinity school or seminary toward your MA in theology program, you must provide official transcript(s) and, in some cases, course syllabi. You may transfer up to 20 quarter credits from other graduate programs. To receive transfer credit:

  • Each course must be at least 3 graduate-quarter credits and be equivalent to courses taught in the Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Each course will be considered on a case-by-case basis as to the fulfillment of specific curricular requirements.
  • A minimum grade of B will be needed for transferred work.
  • All courses applied toward the graduate degree must be taken within seven years of admission.
  • In all cases, the final 20 MA in Theology credits must be taken at SPU.

Application deadlines

Students can apply to Seattle Pacific Seminary to begin Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, and to begin during Summer Sessions, though most students choose to begin their program in Autumn Quarter.

  • Autumn Quarter (courses begin in September), the application deadline is July 31.
  • Winter Quarter (courses begin in January), the application deadline is November 15.
  • Spring Quarter (courses begin in March), the application deadline is February 15.
  • Summer Sessions (courses begin in June), the application deadline is May 1.

Non-degree students

You may take up to nine credits of graduate theology courses as a non-degree student, if you:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Fill out a short application form with the Seattle Pacific Seminary office.
  • Receive permission from the dean or associate dean of the School of Theology.

Contact the Seattle Pacific Seminary at or 206-281-2342 for more information.

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Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities

With the Master of Arts in Theology (Christian Ministry), you will be prepared in various professional skills, such as preaching, pastoral care, organizational leadership, and church administration. This degree will also prepare students for roles as administrative leaders in churches, parachurches, and other Christian organizations.

Job leads

Supporting the careers of our Seminary students and alumni is a high priority for Seattle Pacific Seminary. The following career resources are available:

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International Students

International Students

In addition to the SPU general and Seminary’s additional admission requirements for the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, international students must also submit:

  • An official confidential affidavit of financial support covering the first year of intended enrollment. Without this document, SPU cannot issue an I-20 immigration form.
  • Students holding undergraduate or graduate degrees from colleges, universities and/or seminaries located outside the U.S. are expected to have their transcripts evaluated by a professional credential agency. Such an evaluation is required before an application for admission to SPS can be granted and before any graduate credits taken elsewhere can be applied to an SPS degree.
  • If you earned an undergraduate degree in a country other than the United States, or your degree is in progress, an official course-by-course credential evaluation must be submitted from a NACES member-recognized credential service. Acceptable credential services include, but are not limited to, World Education Services (WES) and Foundation for International Services (FIS).
  • In addition to the evaluation report, we also require official transcripts and diplomas to be submitted, in English. International applicants are responsible for all costs associated with this service.
  •  English language proficiency: If you do not speak English as your first language, you must also submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 600 on the TOFEL paper or 250 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 100 on the TOEFL-iBT is required. ACE scores will not be accepted.
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