Master of Arts in Leadership in Social Transformation

The MAL in Social Transformation program will equip you with the theological, strategic, organization, and practical skills to lead social change in a wide variety of organizational contexts, including nonprofits, philanthropy, congregations, community organizing, public service, education, business, politics, social justice advocacy, and activism, and other community contexts. The Social Transformation program provides a broad foundation in theology, religious texts, ethics, and leadership as well as focused study in areas specific to a chosen career path.

You’ll be equipped to think critically about socio-political dynamics and reflect constructively on the role of spiritual and theological traditions in movements for social change. This professional graduate program combines the tools and methodologies of social change with practical and constructive theology to prepare you to be an innovative and effective leader in an increasingly pluralistic and complex world.

If you wish to receive training for ministerial competencies along with social transformation skills, check out the MDiv in Social Transformation.

This program may be a good fit for you if you are interested in:

  • Increasing your proficiency and leadership within your current vocational context
  • Establishing yourself within the sector of your vocational aspiration
  • Launching your own social enterprise or social ministry

You could serve in a variety of contexts, including:

  • Congregational community engagement
  • Teaching
  • National faith-based advocacy
  • Organizing for eco-justice
  • And much more


Concentration Learning Outcomes

In addition to achieving the core MAL degree learning outcomes, a graduate of the Social Transformation MAL degree program will be able to:

  • articulate a constructive theological proposal that is conversant with core theological categories and addresses a social or political issue that relates to students’ vocational context;
  • demonstrate cultural competence and strategic skills necessary for just and effective engagement in diverse social, cultural and political contexts;
  • understand and relate historical and contemporary knowledge of social transformation movements in a variety of cultural settings;
  • utilize a variety of tools and methodologies to critically analyze sociopolitical issues. (i.e. race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, nationality etc.);
  • identify appropriate strategic points of leverage for transformational change for a specific social issue that demonstrate a deep understanding of complex organization and social dynamics;
  • demonstrate transformational leadership through the intentional, real world application of hermeneutical and strategic frameworks for faithful public witness and action in the world;
  • provide documentation, reflection, and evaluate a social transformation project which offers a contribution to the field;
  • critically interpret, analyze and reflect on a selected 1st–17th Century Christian OR 18th–20th Century theological text or perspective in its historical context as well as through the lens of modern questions and challenges; and
  • articulate a personal statement of values and ethics as a leader and develop an appropriate mission, vision, strategy, staffing, finances, fundraising, and marketing plan for a congregation OR develop a social enterprise project that utilizes a theory of change model, business concept generation, and a proposal to test the model.


United’s MAL at a Glance

  • 48 credits
  • Sixteen 3-credit courses, including one practicum experience and capstone paper
  • Can be completed in two years if you take a full-time course load (24 credits per year)
  • All MAL concentrations, including Social Transformation, can be completed entirely via distance learning; many courses can be taken completely asynchronously


Program Course Guide Sheet for Academic Year 2023-2024

Religious Texts 2 Introduction to Religious Texts
One 2000-level Religious Texts course
Theological Tradition 2
Invitation to Theology: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
Choose one:
History of Christian Theologies
History of Modern Theologies
Ethics/Justice 2
Choose one:
Christian Ethics
Comparative Religious Ethics
Choose one:
Queer and Trans Theologies
Black and Womanist Theologies
Formation 1 Introduction to Spiritual and Personal Formation
Cultural Contextualization 1
Choose one:
Global Christianities
World Religions
Arts and Theology 1
Choose one:
History of Arts and Theology
Art, Religion, and Contemporary Culture
Social Transformation 1 Leadership and Strategies for Social Change
Vocational Contextualization & Skills 6
Theology for Social Transformation
Social Analysis and Community Engagement
Choose one:
Organizational Leadership and Administration
Social Enterprise
One elective course
Social Transformation Practicum
Social Transformation Capstone

Learn More

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