Master of Arts
Degree in Religious Leadership (M.A.R.L.)
The M.A.R.L. degree is especially designed to equip persons for
various lay roles in professional religious leadership or ordained
roles where the M.Div. is not an ordination requirement. The degree
provides a broad foundation in Bible, history, theology, ethics,
and the arts of ministry, while allowing for a modest amount of
focused study in a particular area appropriate to the role in
which the student will serve.
United’s M.A.R.L. prepares students
superbly for a focused ministry in one or more of the classic
functions of ministerial leadership: leading worship, preaching,
giving care, educating and forming people in the faith, and leading
a congregation or religious organization. Today the pace of change
in the church and the world is so great that the challenges that
will be faced as a leader of people of faith 20 years from now
may be quite different from those faced at graduation. The M.A.R.L.
prepares students for ministry in a way that emphasizes the capacity
to analyze the new situations to be faced in light of all resources
of the faith, so the people of the church will be led in the new
ways to which God calls them. Read the Educational
Goals of the M.A.R.L. degree.
Concentration of the Degree
The seminary offers one concentration
in the M.A.R.L. degree that allows interested students to develop
special expertise in that dimension of ministry.
Requirements of the Degree
The M.A.R.L. requires 54 credit hours of
study, normally taken as 18 3-credit courses. On a full-time basis,
these courses are taken over two years at a rate of 10 courses
per year. The degree can be completed on a part-time basis. All
work must be completed within five years. The specific requirements
1. Satisfactory completion of 54 semester hours of credit.
Of these, 48 are taken in the form of required courses and 6 are
taken in the form of free electives.
Required courses that must be taken within
the first full-time equivalent year of study:
Required courses taken within the second full-time
equivalent year of study:
2. Satisfactory completion of Unit I of vocational
testing and consultation. These consultations are provided
by North Central
Ministry Development Center, adjacent to the seminary campus.
This unit is to be completed during the first half of the student’s
3. Attendance at a one-day anti-racism workshop
in the fall of the matriculation year. Attendance is a prerequisite
to enrollment in IS152 Integration of Ministry and Local Theologies.
4 . Completion of an Integrative Notebook documenting
the student’s individual work in integrating the different
elements of the student’s course of study in a manner appropriate
to his or her identity and context. This notebook or portfolio
contains a variety of materials (e.g., course papers, sermon videotapes,
reflections papers, art projects) and is the basis for conversations
with the student’s advisor concerning his or her educational
progress. The Masters Student Handbook outlines the review
intervals and the required contents of the Integrative Notebook
for the M.A.R.L. Program.
5 . Participation in the Spiritual Chronicle process,
an integration of the spiritual, academic, and vocational dimensions
of the student’s seminary journey.
6 . Recommendation by the faculty, which takes into account
academic, personal, and professional readiness for ministry.
Director of Admissions
and Student Services
Please call the admissions
office at 651.255.6107 with any questions.