MA in Ministry and Leadership

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The Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership degree program enables you to bring transformation to churches and parachurch organizations in a North American context through a rich biblical understanding and a refined leadership skill set. This training spans communication theory, biblical studies, theology, discipleship and spiritual formation—with the result that you'll lead and serve effectively in a wide variety of global ministry roles. While this program is a great fit for support pastors or parachurch leaders, it is not designed to prepare you for ministry roles that may require ordination.




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Graduate in less than two years





San Jose
Seattle (up to 28 credits)



What Sets Our Leadership Training Apart?

  • An emphasis on building a theological framework that empowers decades of impactful ministry leadership
  • Survey all books of the Bible through the lens of biblical theology
  • A rigorous Candidacy process, ministering to real people under the supervision of an seasoned ministry practitioner
  • An Open Track allows you to build specialization as unique and missional as your call to ministry




Specialize Your Leadership Studies

Increase the relevance of your training by tailoring it to your ministry context. Choose a specialization from one of the following tracks, or work with an advisor to build a specialization all your own via the Open Track:

  • Chaplaincy Track
  • Coaching Track
  • Evangelism and Cultural Engagement Track (Portland only)
  • Women's Transformational Leadership Track
  • Youth Ministry Track (Portland only)
  • Open Track

A Candidacy Process for Real-world Learning

During your Ministry Leadership Formation courses, you'll form a mentoring team within your own ministry setting, while also joining Ministry Leadership groups that work through case studies formed from students' greatest challenges in serving. This process sees you submit a portfolio of ministry experiences after completing half of your studies, combined with an assessment by your mentoring team as well as select faculty. After advancing to candidacy and completing all your courses you graduate with our promise of ministry readiness.

Accessible Scheduling

You may complete the MA in Ministry and Leadership may in a little less than two years of full-time studies through our online campus, or at any of our seminary campuses in Oregon and California, or by completing some studies at the Seattle Teaching Site in addition to final studies at any degree-granting campus. Students who live at a distance may also complete their training without the need to relocate or leave their ministry context through the following scheduling options, though their completion timeframe may be extended:

Monday SCHEDULE OPTION Complete your training in one day of class on campus per week.
HYBRID MINISTRY SCHEDULE OPTION Combines 40 credits of online learning with 5 weeklong trips to campus for live courses.

Note: Any campus-based MA in Ministry and Leadership student must complete at least 20 residency credits on campus, while the rest can be completed through online courses.

Ministry Training That Keeps Debt Down

Ministry work can bring limited financial reward. That's why we encourage wise financial stewardship as you pay for school. In fact, the average Western Seminary student graduates with an average of only $8532 in loan debt to repay. It might surprise you to learn that only about 19% of our students utilize loans, with most choosing instead to pay out of pocket, with scholarships, or via a monthly payment plan. Look into your options for financial aid.

Admission Requirements

  • A Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A completed application for admission and all admissions materials

If you do not have a bachelor's degree or do not meet one of the requirements above, contact an Admissions Counselor to explore alternative MA in Ministry and Leadership admission requirements.

 Visit Scholarship ImageVisit campus or attend an Open House event and qualify to have us pay for your first credit of tuition.

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The great risk of seminary is that you may finish with an overflowing mind and unrealistic expectations of ministry. For my part, I gained the desire to "bring theology to life" at Western. Now, on the mission field, what I learned at Western is confirmed in my experiences. Instead of "real life" conflicting with seminary, it is utterly reinforcing it. The training I received at Western is daily being used by God to steady my feet and guide my steps.

Terry CokenourChurch PlanterMA in Ministry and Leadership GraduateBudapest, Hungary