Master of Arts

Design your own degree and grow in your faith.

12 courses. 36 credit hours. Fully online or on campus.
Customized program of study. Complete in 1-2 years.


Build your own degree with United’s Master of Arts (MA) program. Whether you are looking for a flexible curriculum for specialized expertise, pursuing ministry in the world or seeking to understand your faith more deeply, United’s MA is intentionally flexible to meet a wide range of needs and interests.

The MA is also designed for those who wish to earn a degree while completing Advanced Course of Study in The United Methodist Church. Students seeking ordination as a deacon in The United Methodist Church should consider United’s Master of Ministry program.

Learning That Fits Your Lifestyle

Our flexible options are designed to make high-quality education accessible for working pastors and other professionals, making it possible to earn a degree from wherever you live. Courses are available in four formats. Mix and match to suit your schedule and learning style.

  • Traditional on-campus courses meet regularly throughout the semester
  • Gathering Weeks on campus in Dayton, Ohio take place in January, June, August and September.
  • Online courses can be completed during the semester.
  • Live Interactive Virtual Education (LIVE) courses meet simultaneously on-campus and online.

The Master of Arts degree can be completed fully online* or on campus.

*Residency requirements may vary by denomination. Most United Methodist students must complete 1/3 of their degree (12 credit hours) on campus. For ordination requirements, please check with your own judicatory.

Flexible Curriculum

With one core course (3 credit hours) and 11 elective courses (33 credit hours), gain a strong foundation and choose electives that equip you to follow God’s call. Pursue specialized studies in biblical interpretation, ministry leadership, church planting, pastoral care ministry, or design your own degree plan.


Advanced Course of Study

Upon approval by the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, United Methodist local pastors who have completed the Basic Course of Study may meet the educational requirements for conference membership and Elder’s orders by taking an additional 32 semester hours of graduate theological studies.

Coursework must be planned in consultation with a faculty advisor and be in conformity with the Guidelines for Advanced Course of Study published by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. United’s MA degree program (36 credit hours) is designed for ACOS students to complete ACOS requirements.

Degree Requirements

The MA degree program includes a minimum of 36 credit hours of academic study. These hours include 33 hours of elective coursework followed by a final capstone class (CQ640 MA Integrative Colloquy) in which you produce an integrated project in your area(s) of study.

The MA degree program is highly flexible. Use one of our sample course plans to start customizing your degree. Students wishing to fulfill GBHEM’s Advanced Course of Study can find the list of required courses in this planning guide.


MA Academic Requirements (36 cr. hrs.)


  • CQ640 MA Integrative Colloquy (3)

 MA ELECTIVES (33 cr. hrs.)

See recommended plans in the Course Planning Guide.


  • SS500 Online Master Student Orientation (0)
  • SS501 On Campus Student Orientation (0)
  • SS510 Graduation Portfolio – Masters (0)
  • SS706 MA Final Advising (0)

To fulfill residency requirements for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist students must complete 1/3 of the degree (12 credits) on campus. Dayton, intensive, and hybrid courses count toward this requirement. For ordination requirements, please check with your own judicatory.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA

Learn more about the application process: Masters Admissions page.

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