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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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Audra Hudson
"I came from a background of political science and thinking about power and justice from a more theoretical perspective. What I really appreciate about this program is that it merges the theoretical approaches to justice with theological approaches to justice."

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. 

Discern Your Call and Hone Your Gifts in Field Education

Without exception, Garrett-Evangelical graduates point to their field education experience as key to their seminary education. As a MAPM student, you will complete one year of field education where you will further hone your skills, reflect on your vocational identity, and gain practical experience in advocacy and organizing. Learn more about our field education program at

Renowned Faculty Dedicated to the Practice of Ministry

Our diverse and renown faculty bring a wealth of expertise and experience not only to Garrett-Evangelical, but to the church and our global community. They are members and leaders in local, national, and global organizations, denominations, and societies. They have published hundreds of books and articles, and several hold places of international recognition and preeminence in their fields. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find many of them preaching from the pulpit, teaching Sunday School, organizing for the common good, and more.

Our core faculty members teaching the MAPM concentrations courses include:

Rev. Dr. Timothy EberhartRev. 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. Brian BantumDr. Brian Bantum is the Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Professor of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical. He has published numerous articles and chapters in academic journals and popular magazines. His first book, Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity (Baylor University Press, 2010) explored how black, mixed-race identity illumines how race shapes us and re-imagines Christian discipleship through Christ's body as both human and divine, a union of flesh and divinity that remakes the lives of disciples into a new people, a holy "mixture" of flesh and Spirit. Dr. Bantum’s second book, The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World (Fortress Press, 2016) offers the church ways of re-imagining Christian claims regarding humanity, human fallenness, and Christ's work in light of modern race and racism.

Rev. Dr. Angela CowserRev. Dr. Angela Cowser is associate dean of the doctor of ministry and Black Church studies program and associate professor of Black Church studies at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is ordained as a Presbyterian Church (USA) Minister of Word and Sacrament. 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.

Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee

Rev. 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.

Affording Your Education

One Student. One Scholarship.

At Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, every master’s degree student receives a scholarship. Scholarships are available for full-time and part-time students and are designed with an eye toward your passion and our mission. Scholarships range from 25% of tuition up to 100% of tuition with stipends and each year we award over $2.5 million in scholarship aid. To learn more about all of our scholarship opportunities, please visit

Priority consideration for scholarships will go to students who submit their application for admission for Fall 2020 by February 1, 2020. There is no separate application for scholarship consideration.

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.        


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 1/2 of the degree. Students receiving advanced standing or transfer can take no more than 1/2 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 priority application deadline for scholarship consideration is February 1st. 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.