MA in Religion & Public Leadership

The Master of Arts in Religion & Public Leadership (MARPL) is a 32-credit, wholly online degree program for individuals who seek to enhance their capacity for serving religious communities and/or engaging in other forms of leadership in ways that creatively engage the challenges of public life. The MARPL degree program is not intended as a degree leading to ordination but is ideal for persons in any profession who wish to gain a more robust appreciation for the ways in which religious traditions, including their own, shape and creatively engage public life.

Learning Outcomes

By completing the MA in Religion & Public Leadership, students will demonstrate:

  • The ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate some of the most important ways religious beliefs and practices impact and creatively engage public life.
  • A critical understanding of the primary competencies, capacities, and character required of religious leaders for effective public ministry and social practice.

Applicants must have graduated with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 from an accredited college or university to be considered for admission to the MARPL.

Curriculum Requirements

The MARPL degree program requires the core course STH MR 701 Public Theology, Ministry, and Leadership (4 cr) plus an additional seven elective courses (28 credits) to be chosen by the student. The program may be completed within two years part-time by taking two online classes (8 credits) per semester for four semesters. Examples of elective courses offered are:

  • STH MR 704 Religion and Public Engagement through the Arts (4 cr)
  • STH MR 705 Christian Worship and Public Life (4 cr)
  • STH MR 706 Congregations and Communities (4 cr)
  • STH MR 707 The New Testament in Crises (4 cr)
  • STH MR 708 God and Money (4 cr)
  • STH MR 709 The Social Gospel (4 cr)
  • STH MR 710 Spirituality and Public Life (4 cr)
  • STH MR 711 Congregations Reimagined (4 cr)
  • STH MR 712 Ecological Faith and Justice (4 cr)
  • STH MR 713 Ministry and Leadership in Interfaith Contexts (4 cr)
  • STH MR 714 Disability and Ministry in the Public Square (4 cr)
  • STH MR 715 Religion and Social Entrepreneurship (4 cr)
  • STH MR 716 Faith-Based Community Organizing (4 cr)
  • STH MR 717 The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation (4 cr)
  • STH MR 718 Howard Thurman: Biblical Interpreter for the Public Square (4 cr)

Students are permitted to take a limited number of courses on campus at STH by petition. Those courses must be consistent with the MARPL degree’s focus on public religious leadership and cannot be courses that require prerequisites. Please note that most on-campus courses at STH are 3 credits, and thus a student may need to take more than eight courses to complete the full 32-credit MARPL degree program. Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 to remain in the program.

MicroMasters in Religious Leadership

Students may elect to begin the MARPL degree program by completing the two-semester MicroMasters in Religious Leadership, which may be offered from time to time on the edX online platform (fall/spring only). This credential, while non-credit-bearing, may count toward the first 8 credits of the MARPL degree and must be taken at the beginning of the degree program. The four courses of the MicroMasters are:

  • Ethical Leadership: Character, Civility, and Community
  • Faith and Finance
  • Interfaith Leadership
  • Religion and Conflict Transformation

Students who complete the MicroMasters need only six additional courses:

  • STH MR 701 Public Theology, Ministry, and Leadership (4 cr)
  • Any five additional elective courses (20 cr). These can be completed by taking two courses per semester in the summer, fall, and spring of the following year.

Grade Minimums

Each of the four courses in the MicroMasters must be completed with a minimum of 70%, and no grade lower than C is acceptable for use in core course requirements for the MARPL degree.

Degree Assessment

All candidates for the MARPL degree will complete a final degree assessment survey prior to graduation and have a degree assessment conversation with a member of the faculty. Instructions on that assessment may be found on the STH Registrar’s webpage.