Spring 2020 Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog 
    Nov 29, 2022  
Spring 2020 Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Mission Statement

Graduate programs exist primarily as a response to the need for post-graduate theological education for ministry in the Southwest Educational Region of the Church of the Nazarene served by Point Loma Nazarene University. This graduate program exists in a community of learning and living in covenant to Christ, embodied in a Christian liberal arts context. This offers the strength of rich diversity of various Christian traditions and of critical reflection in the inter-disciplinary relationship of learners and leaders. Therefore, those providing leadership in the program see their task as:


  • Preparing both clergy and lay leaders for serving in Christian congregations and related institutions;
  • Preparing scholars for higher education in the public realm, the church, and the academy; and
  • Enlarging the vision of practical theology and Christian mission as a public enterprise, responding to the increasingly complex theological, ethical, and socio-political issues facing the worlds of the present and the future.

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program is designed to educate and accommodate students who live at a distance (often in ministry assignments). Courses are offered in one week intensives or during weekends.  Students are expected to engage in completing online discussions, reading assignments, and writing term papers as part of the hybrid classes. The curriculum has a strong emphasis on both academic rigor (preparation for possible continuation of graduate studies) and practical ministry.  This program is offered in English and Spanish.

The degree is designed around four central emphases which are highlighted in the core courses:

  • Christian Formation
  • Christian Scripture
  • Church in Mission
  • Christian Tradition

Prior to completion of the thirty-six (36) required units for the PLNU Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree, students will have the option to request of the Office of Records that the PLNU degree not be posted, allowing the maximum number of units to be utilized toward the completion of the Master of Divinity degree as outlined in the partnership agreement between PLNU and Nazarene Theological Seminary. 

Vision Statement

The purpose of this degree is to provide a program in academic and professional ministry competencies rooted in the classic theological disciplines and engaged with contemporary life, resulting in leadership skills in the formation of character in Christian communities. The desired outcome is the integration of theology and ministry culminating in graduates who are “practical thinkers and thinking practitioners.” The program builds on basic prerequisites in undergraduate work and professional experience, providing education intended to lead to lifelong learning.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete PLNU’s Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program will be able to:

  • Incorporate Christian formation in the local congregation and the life of the candidate;
  • Interpret scripture especially as related to preaching and teaching in the local church;
  • Explain the nature, mission, and social context of the Church, especially as related to ecclesial practices and leadership of the pastor in the local congregation; and
  • Analyze theology, ethics, and Church history, especially as related to the Wesleyan tradition in contemporary ministry.

Program Eligibility for the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or the equivalent;
  • A completed application for admission to the program;
  • Official transcripts indicating an approved undergraduate degree;
  • An interview with the director of the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program; and
  • A writing sample which includes a statement of commitment to Christian values and to excellence in scholarship.


  • Completion of an acceptable undergraduate degree from an accredited institution plus the completion of one year of full-time Christian ministry in a local church setting.
  • Students should read carefully the general regulations concerning admission to a graduate program at Point Loma Nazarene University and the basic requirements for graduate degrees that appear in this Graduate Catalog.

Graduation Requirements

In order to earn and receive a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, a student must satisfy all of the following:

  1. A completed Application for Degree Candidacy (online or in the Office of Records, main campus);
  2. A completed graduation application with appropriate approvals;
  3. Successful completion of all core course requirements (12 units) and a minimum of 24 units total units completed at PLNU;
  4. Completion of a minimum of 36 units (including core courses);
  5. Cumulative grade-point average of 2.750 or higher; and
  6. Payment in full of all tuition, fees, and other financial obligations owed to the university, including a graduation fee.


All requirements for graduate degrees must be completed within an eight-year period from the time of initial enrollment in the program.


Total: 36 Units

Transfer Credit

Students can transfer up to six (6) approved units from the following:

  1. transfer of coursework from Nazarene Theological Seminary*; 
  2. transfer of approved graduate-level course work;
  3. cross-referenced graduate-level course work in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry; or
  4. registration in CMI 6090  Special Studies.

*Students transferring units from Nazarene Theological Seminary may do so up to the limit approved by the Graduate and Extended Studies Committee and specified in the partnership agreement between PLNU and NTS.