Master of Arts in Religion and Public Leadership (MARPL)
Our newest, fully online degree, the Master of Arts in Religion and Public Leadership, is especially designed for leaders from diverse vocations who want to enhance their skills through advanced study of religion, leadership, and public life.
The first of its kind at STH, students complete the MARPL degree over two years of part-time online study. This 32-credit hour program builds on core studies of public theology, ministry, and leadership and is intended to empower students right where they live and work. Classes will engage topics such as ecological faith and justice, leadership in interfaith settings, and disability and ministry in the public sphere.
The MARPL degree is completed entirely online. If you’re looking to advance your leadership capacities but want a program that allows you to stay rooted in your community, the MARPL program was developed for you.Apply Now
Like all STH programs, MARPL students receive one-on-one advising and participate in specially designed online activities to support their advanced training as public leaders. Explore below for more program and application details and sign up for an information session with the Program Director.Join MARPL Info Session
The MARPL program is entirely online. Instructors post course readings, monitor discussion boards, and deliver interactive learning materials each week. While most coursework is conducted asynchronously, each MARPL course includes a weekly, synchronous “live classroom,” where you can engage in real-time discussions with your fellow students that are as lively as those found in any residential classroom. As a MARPL student, you will have full access to the Boston University libraries to conduct research. Library staff offer online coaching sessions to help you gain the most from available research tools. Writing coaches and technical support are also available 24/7!
Students in the MARPL program complete eight courses, one of which must be the core course, Public Theology, Ministry, and Leadership. Each semester, two MARPL courses are offered and may include:
- Public Theology, Ministry, and Leadership (core)
- Religion and Public Engagement through the Arts
- Religion in the Urban Landscape
- Congregations and Communities
- Disability and Ministry in the Public Square
- Ministry and Leadership in Interfaith Contexts
- The Social Gospel
- Religion and Social Entrepreneurship
- Christian Worship and Public Life
- The New Testament in Crises
- Howard Thurman: Biblical Interpreter for the Public Square
- Spirituality and Public Life
- Ecological Faith and Justice
- God and Money
- Faith-Based Community Organizing
- The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation
Students may also petition to take up to two courses in-residence at the School of Theology or through the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium. At this time, the MARPL program is delivered in English. Live classroom times may be adjusted to accommodate student schedules outside the USA. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.7 to remain in the MARPL program.
The MARPL program is designed for professionals who want a greater understanding of the ways religion shapes public life and who want to deepen their commitment to the integration of religion and public leadership. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 issued from a regionally accredited college or university prior to the intended date of enrollment.
Have more questions? Review our guide on what to know before applying to seminary. You can also check out the application deadlines for the MARPL program here. There is a $95 non-refundable application fee for all programs. This fee can be waived if you attend a MARPL information session.
Cost and Financial Aid
During the 2023-24 Academic Year, MARPL tuition will cost $734 per credit, plus fees. For students who enroll for a Fall 2023 start date, a 50% Tuition Scholarship is available for the first two semesters of your program. Contact the Program Director for further information.
|Academic Year 2023-24|
|Cost per semester||$5,872|
|Cost per year||$11,744|
|Cost per credit||$734|
*Figures shown use 2023-2024 prices. Tuition and fee rates may change.
For students who wish to apply for scholarships to help reduce the cost of the Master of Arts in Religion and Public Leadership (MARPL) degree, the School of Theology provides a helpful database of denominational and academic resources for outside scholarships, available here. For students who enroll for either a September 2023 or January 2024 start date, a 50% Tuition Scholarship is available for the first two semesters of your program. Contact the Admissions Team for further information.
The Master of Arts in Religion and Public Leadership (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. By completing the MARPL degree, students will gain:
- a functional understanding of Christian beliefs and practices in dialogue with other religious traditions and social movements,
- familiarity with the ways religious traditions, including their own, impact and creatively engage public life, and
- a broad understanding of religious leadership in terms of the primary competencies, capacities, and character required for effective public ministry and social practice.
MARPL Students After Graduation
Program courses are designed for students to engage their own passions and values at every stage. This allows students to translate what they learn into diverse careers. We expect students to pursue careers in non-profits, interfaith leadership, environmental sustainability work, and seek out leadership in diverse fields with ethical responsibilities.
STH Community Online
MARPL students can participate in community activities alongside students and faculty through a variety of formats. We offer livestreams of the weekly chapel service held at Marsh Chapel, but there are many other ways to connect. Attend lectures, join study groups, and participate in weekly Zoom-based activities with other STH students. Contact the Online and Hybrid Programs Director for a list of events.