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M.A. in Christian StudiesA Degree as Unique
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Master of Arts in Christian Studies

The Master of Arts in Christian studies degree is designed to give you flexibility in adapting your program to your particular ministry calling. You’ll be equipped with essential skills for a variety of ministry vocations. At the same time, you’ll have the freedom to tailor nearly 25% of the degree to your particular ministry goals.

Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • On Campus
  • Online


  • Grand Rapids
  • Online

Credit Hours

  • 62


  • Association of Theological Schools (ATS)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Grow in your relationship
with Jesus Christ

The M.A. in Christian studies program develops students’ competencies in Bible, theology and ministry leadership. The program requires 62 credits, 15 of which are electives. Students use these electives to hone in on a specific area of interest. Graduates of the M.A. in Christian studies program are equipped with basic skills in biblical interpretation and application, with an understanding of the primary elements of Christian theology and with the knowledge required for effective ministerial leadership.

This program typically takes two to four years to complete. Most students work part or full-time. While working academically toward your degree, you’ll also be fed spiritually and challenged to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ inside and outside the classroom.


An M.A. in Christian studies will provide a wide range of opportunities for employment—whether you want to work in a church, para-church ministry, nonprofit or other Christian organization.


  • Pastoral ministry
  • Para-church ministry

Ministry Residency

Grand Rapids Theological Seminary is committed to serving Christ’s church by developing ministry leaders. Our Ministry Residency program is strategic and essential in this endeavor as it provides avenues for students to connect with ministry mentors and to serve in local churches and other ministry sites. Students put their classroom learning to practice, gain important ministry experience, and learn valuable lessons in this unique experience.

  • Select a ministry setting that fits with your career goals
  • Invest four semesters in the context you choose
  • Learn from a ministry mentor
  • Earn eight credits toward your ministry degree




Of M.A. in Christian studies students achieved the highest outcome (i.e., fully affirmed/making good progress in vocation readiness) at the mid-point assessment and 100% at the exit assessment.


Of M.A. in Christian studies students take classes part-time.


Different Ministry Residency sites where GRTS students served between 2017-20.

Course List and
Learning Outcomes

The course list for M.A. in Christian studies is flexible, designed to allow students to tailor their education and get the most out of their graduate experience. The M.A. in Christian studies program includes a core of basic biblical and theological studies classes, ministry leadership specialization content and 15 elective credits in a topic of your choosing.

Totaling 26 credit hours, the Bible and theology core of the M.A. in Christian studies program includes foundational courses and electives in Old Testament, New Testament and systematic theology.

Bible and Theology Core Courses

The Bible and Theology core of the M.A. in Christian studies program consists of 26 credits. These courses will give you a foundational understanding of how to study the Bible and how to think theologically about life and ministry.


  • BBL-501 Biblical Hermeneutics: An introduction to the process of determining the original meaning and contemporary significance of biblical texts.
  • BBL-508 Biblical Theology: An integrated study of the central themes from the Old and New Testaments that comprise the grand narrative of Scripture.
  • Old Testament Bible Elective
  • New Testament Bible Elective


  • THE-501 Program Introduction Seminar: This course prepares students for the rigors of graduate scholarship by honing the skills of graduate research, reading and writing
  • THE-540 Systematic Theology I: This course introduces and practices a metanarrative for doing theology. The biblical narratives and propositions are heard in the context of the story that begins with creation, is centered in Jesus’ first coming and reaches its culmination in the new heavens and earth
  • THE-640 Systematic Theology II: This course continues our metanarrative theology by examining the Christian story of creation, fall, redemption and consummation, with special attention given to the nature and task of humanity, the distortion of the world through sin and the redemptive work and person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
  • THE-641 Systematic Theology III: This course will examine in detail the doctrine of salvation (soteriology), the church (ecclesiology), the basic elements of pastoral theology (internal and external call to the ministry, ordination, ministry of the word and sacraments, church discipline and pastoral spiritual formation) and the four last things (death, judgment, heaven and hell).
  • Historical Theology Elective: THE-515, THE-516, THE-517 or THE-518

Ministry Leadership Specialization Courses

The ministry specialization courses in the M.A. Christian studies degree consist of 21 credit hours, providing you with both theoretical leadership frameworks and practical ministry experience. A highlight includes a four-semester ministry residency in the ministry setting of your choosing.

  • MIN-500 Christian Spiritual Formation: An investigation into the meaning of biblical Christianity and its relationship to faith and practice within contemporary cultural contexts. Special attention is given to the corporate dimensions of spirituality and spiritual formation
  • MIN-510 Organizational Leadership
  • MIN-543 Christian Formation in the Church
  • MIN-560 Global Impact
  • MIN-685 Ministry Residency I
  • MIN-686 Ministry Residency II
  • MIN-711 Program Completion Seminar
  • MIN-781 Ministry Residency III
  • MIN-782 Ministry Residency IV

General Electives

You’ll take 15 credits in the area that most interests you. Choose courses in counseling, Bible, theology or ministry. Or, work one-on-one with faculty through an independent study.

Program Learning Outcomes

Through an emphasis on developing basic competencies essential to the study of biblical and theological literature, our Master of Arts in Christian studies curriculum is designed to enable you to achieve five learning outcomes.

Biblical Interpretation

Students will conduct basic biblical interpretation and application with reference to the English Bible texts.

Basic Understanding of Christian Theology

Students will state a basic understanding of the primary elements of Christian theology.

Personal Spiritual Formation

Students will demonstrate knowledge, values and practices essential to personal spiritual formation.


Students will exhibit knowledge, values and skills essential to effective ministerial and public leadership.

Cultural Intelligence and Exegesis

Students will demonstrate basic competency in cultural intelligence and cultural exegesis.

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Related Programs

Grand Rapids Theological Seminary offers a variety of flexible programs that can be done online or in the classroom. Take a look at some of the other degree options we have available.

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