The M.A.R.L. is designed 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, as well as focused study in areas specific to a chosen career path.
Students are prepared for one or more of the classic functions of ministry: leading worship, preaching, giving care, advancing social justice, educating and forming people in the faith, and leading a congregation or religious organization. In the context of a changing church and society, M.A.R.L. students gain the capacity to analyze new situations and respond as innovative leaders.
A graduate of the United Master of Arts in Religious Leadership program will be able to:
- Interpret the sacred texts of his or her tradition with proficiency
- Summarize the theological, cultural and historical expressions of his or her faith
- Develop his or her spirituality and moral integrity into expressions of and commitment to his or her faith
- Design a specialized ministry that is attentive to the diversity of ministries and contexts found in his or her faith tradition
- Assess his or her specialized ministry both practically and theologically
The M.A.R.L. requires 48 credit hours of study. It can be completed on a full-time basis in two years or part time within five years. The specific requirements are:
1. Pass a writing sample within the first year of study.
2. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 48 semester hours of credit (cr) as follows (A-N):
A. Spiritual Journey Program EL100 (2-5 cr; 1 credit each year a student is in the program)
B. One of the following: Introduction to Theology TR110 or One non-Christian religions course (3 cr)
C. One of the following: Orientation to the Older Testament CH161 or One scripture elective (3 cr)
D. One of the following: Introduction to the New Testament CH261 or One scripture elective (3 cr)
E. One of the following: Introduction to Historical Theology CH461 or Two TR (Theological & Religious Interpretation) electives (3 cr – if ‘Two TR electives’ is chosen, one course replaces CH461 and one course replaces one elective)
F. Constructive Theology TR105 (3 cr)
G. Hermeneutics TR175 (3 cr)
J. Leadership in Religious Contexts CL203 (3 cr)
K. One of the following: Congregational Internship CL205 or CPE Ministry Practicum CS254 or Ministry Practicum CS253 (3 cr – if CL205 is taken, the student must also take Church Administration CL204 as an elective)
L. One of the following: Preaching CL336 or Worship of the Church CL330 or Religious Education CL440 or Introduction to Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology CL670 or Leadership and Strategies for Social Transformation (3 cr)
M. Capstone Seminar CL301 (3 cr)
N. Free electives (4-12 cr)
3. 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 program.
4. Completion of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) in the first semester of enrollment after matriculation.
5. Recommendation by the faculty, which takes into account academic, personal and professional readiness for ministry.
- Black Church Leadership*
- Intercultural and Immigrant Ministries
- Interfaith Chaplaincy*
- Methodist Studies*
- Narrative Theology*
- New Testament*
- Older Testament*
- Pastoral Care and Counseling
- Presbyterian Studies*
- Public and Missional Theology
- Social Justice and Reconciliation
- Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution
- Grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale
- Strong analytical and reflective thinking and writing skills
- Vocational and academic goals compatible with vision and mission of United
- Applicants whose first language is not English must submit scores on the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). A score of 80 on the iBT (internet-based TOEFL) with a minimum score of 20 on Reading and Writing is required for admission.
Mature adults with significant life and vocational experience who have earned at least half of the credits toward a bachelor’s degree may be considered for the M.A.R.L., particularly if strong exposure to the liberal arts and social sciences can be demonstrated.
How to Apply
- Submit Application. You will need:
- A list of all post-secondary schools, universities and seminaries you have attended
- A list of any committees, positions of leadership or offices held in your congregation or denomination
- An up-to-date resume with your employment background, including part-time work, as well as community, volunteer and/or family experience, indicating positions of leadership, offices held, and awards or recognition received
- A one- or two-page vocational statement describing the vocational direction or goals that led you to apply for study at United
- Three references (see #3)
- Submit Immunization Record
- Supply three reference letters:
- one pastor or spiritual mentor reference, attesting to your call and/or spiritual discernment
- one employer or professional reference, attesting to your work ethic
- one personal reference (non-relative)
- REFERENCE FORM
- Provide official academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended Download a Transcript Request Form (one per institution)
- Contact the admissions office, 651.633.4311, to complete a writing sample
Application deadline: The recommended application due date is September 1. However, United will accept applications up until the second Friday of the start of the term. Keep in mind that financial aid application due dates fall much earlier.