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Master of Arts in Public Ministry (MAPM)

Students in this program aspire to fulfill their Christian vocations to love God and serve neighbor through public ministries of advocacy, organizing, and justice-making in collaboration with other communities of faith and conscience. In particular, this program equips laity serving in community, social, or justice-oriented organizations who seek to enhance their public work by engaging with theological education and formation.
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Photo of students at a protest holding signs that say Love Thy Neighbor and Pass the Budget

Concentration Tracks

Students in the MA in Public Ministry degree take a combination of foundation courses, public ministry courses, and open elective courses. With their concentration electives, students can choose a concentration track in Ecological Regeneration, Racial Justice, or Child Advocacy. A student may also propose a concentration, the approval of which depends on relevant course availability. Open electives can be used for additional courses in a concentration area, to complete ordination requirements for deacons in The United Methodist Church, or to meet a combination of objectives.

Core Values, Aims, and Approaches

Radical: The ethos of the degree program is shaped by radical understandings of the Gospel and thus radical expressions of the Christian faith and life.

Christian: The MAPM degree engages a broad range of theoretical traditions and participates widely in ecumenical, interfaith, and secular conversations and movements from the perspective of deeply Christian theological, spiritual, and ministerial commitments.      

Holistic: The degree curriculum promotes systemic thinking about and coalitional engagement with the many urgent social, political, economic, cultural, and ecological crises we face, discouraging attempts at reductionism by connecting but not collapsing analyses of problems and proposals for transformational solutions. 

Movemental: The MAPM degree fosters critical analysis, creative imagination, practical experimentation, networking, organizing, and power-wielding as a participation with diverse communities of faith and goodwill in the upbuilding of a more egalitarian, life-sustaining, and just society, both during coursework and after graduation through ongoing collaboration with degree alumni. 

Contextual: Our learning environments draw upon the needs and resources of the social locations from which our students come, engage the contexts within which students are learning, and aim for the flourishing of the people and places toward which students will be serving in public ministry. 

Congruous: We aspire to model in classroom settings, degree administration, social-spiritual formation, and public engagement the kind of values and practices we hope our graduates will embody and promote in and through their public ministries.

Experimental: The MAPM degree fosters experimental opportunities for integrative, community-involved, and interdisciplinary teaching, learning, research, and action. 

Field Education

Without exception, Garrett-Evangelical graduates point to their field education experience as key to their seminary education. Our field education program reflects the Seminary’s philosophy that students mature into ministry by knowing, being, and doing. Through your field education placement, you’ll take the work you’ve done in the classroom and apply it in real-world settings to prepare you for leading organizations, groups, and movements with administrative, financial, interpersonal, and online/digital competence after you graduate. Master of Arts in Public Ministry students take one year of field education, serving at the field site 14 hours per week.

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Renowned Faculty Dedicated to the Practice of Ministry

Our faculty is one of Garrett-Evangelical's greatest assets. They are widely recognized for their expertise, scholarship, and leadership in the Church and academy. They represent most of the major denominations and a variety of theological perspectives. Our faculty members have published hundreds of books and articles, and several hold places of international recognition and preeminence in their fields. Our core faculty members teaching the MAPM concentrations courses include:

Rev. Dr. Angela Cowser is Assistant Professor of Sociology of Religion and Director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical. In the classroom and in the church, she comes as a sociologist of religion, community organizer, and pastor, and as such, tries to give her students theological, ethical, and sociological tools to help them think and act in ways that deal realistically with the world as it is, while they dream, plan, and organize towards the world as it should be. The world as it should be a place where all people are healthy and secure, strong and prosperous, and just, especially towards the poor, and where the people of God are educated rightly on the ways and means of God. Dr. Cowser received her bachelor of arts in political science and master of arts in international relations from The University of Chicago; a master of divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; and her doctor of philosophy in ethics and society from the graduate department of religion at Vanderbilt University. 

Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart is Assistant Professor of Theology and Ecology and Director of the Master of Arts in Public Ministry program at Garrett-Evangelical. He earned his BA in Religion from St. Olaf College, where he graduated magna cum laude, and his MDiv from the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University and PhD from the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Eberhart recently published Rooted and Grounded in Love: Holy Communion for the Whole Creation (Wipf and Stock, 2017). He teaches courses in theology and ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, with a particular focus on the intersections of Christian doctrine, ecology, and political economy. Dr. Eberhart is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church and has served on various denominational boards and committees as well as many community based organizations.

Dr. Virginia Lee is Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of Deacon Studies at Garrett-Evangelical and has served in various capacities at numerous churches as a deacon in full connection in the Virginia Annual Conference. Her academic accolades include receiving the Diaconal Advance Graduate Award and the Rosalie Bentzinger Graduate Award, both of which are given by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. Additionally, Dr. Lee has published articles in both academic and lay journals and has been an active participant in educational and ministerial forums and conferences.

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Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in Public Ministry is a 56-hour degree program and is most often completed in two years for students enrolled full time.

Dr. Timothy Eberhart, Director of the Master of Arts in Public Ministry Program

"We have designed this program to educate faith leaders for wise, courageous, and transformative public ministries in service to God's loving justice for all peoples and creation."

Interview with Dr. Eberhart about the MAPM Degree

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Apply biblical, theological, and ecclesial traditions in diverse public spheres to realize justice in solidarity with those who are made poor, the exploited, disinherited, excluded, and oppressed.
  • Engage in critical and constructive theological exploration of the major socio-political, economic, and cultural ideologies, institutions, and forces shaping various publics today.
  • Understand, evaluate, and implement diverse ministry models (e.g. direct action, community organizing, policy advocacy) for attaining social justice and promoting the common good.
  • Lead organizations, groups, and movements with administrative, financial, interpersonal, and online/digital competence.
  • Inhabit and promote spiritual wisdoms and practices to sustain personal and communal struggles for public justice.        

 

Affording Your Education

One Student. One Scholarship.

At Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, every master degree student receives a scholarship. Scholarships are available for full-time and part-time students and are designed with an eye toward each student’s passion and our mission. Scholarships range from 25% of tuition up to 100% of tuition with stipends. To learn more about all of our scholarship opportunities, please visit Garrett.edu/FinancialAid.

Fellows Program

The Fellows Program at Garrett-Evangelical is a new initiative that brings students together in a peer cohort for fellowship, mentoring, networking opportunities with alums, and more. Fellows also have the opportunity to receive a 50% - 100% tuition scholarship. Students can currently apply for the following cohorts:

 

Online Learning

While we honor the traditional methods of instruction and rich heritage of academia, we also embrace non-traditional methods such as online learning and hybrid classes. The maximum number of courses which may be taken in an online format is 1/3 of the degree. Students receiving advanced standing or transfer can take no more than 1/3 of remaining credits toward the degree in an online format. Students seeking ordination should check with the appropriate church authorities to see if there are more specific guidelines that must be met.

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Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • An undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Proficiency in the English language

Admission Process

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to determine, in its sole judgment, whether an applicant is a suitable candidate for a specific degree program or for the vocation that the program represents. International student applications are due by March 1st.