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 (ACOS) 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.

View the Curricular Plan

Degree Plan


MA Core Requirements (3 cr. hrs.)

  • CQ640 MA Integrative Colloquy (3)

MA Electives (33 cr. hrs.)

For students pursuing Advanced Course of Study, see recommended plans.

MA Non-Credit Requirements

  • SS500 Online Master Student Orientation (0)
  • SS706 MA Final Review (0)
Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

  1. Complete the entire degree program requirements listed for the MA.
  2. Take CQ640 MA Integrative Colloquy in the final semester.
Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA

Learn more about the application process: Masters Admissions page.

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