Graduate School of Theology
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The Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University offers a variety of degrees and programs designed to meet the complex needs of its students. Its goal is to be both academically rigorous and practical in equipping students for effective ministry.
The faculty view their work as integral to the university’s mission: to educate its students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. All programs attempt to instill in students the heart and nature of Christ, opportunities for service and spiritual growth, and educational and ministry opportunities in the U.S. and abroad.
The Graduate School of Theology is located in the College of Biblical Studies and is vitally engaged in its goals and tasks. The stated mission of the college is to provide leadership preparation and resources for effective worldwide ministry in the cause of Christ.
The mission of the Graduate School of Theology is to equip men and women for effective missional leadership for ministry in all its forms and to provide strong academic foundations for theological inquiry. It is within this framework that the Graduate School of Theology has set its purposes:
• to prepare men and women for effective work in a variety of ministry settings;
• to provide specific ministry skills in the areas of preaching, teaching, worship,
missions, pastoral counseling, congregational ministry, youth and family ministry,
children’s ministry, church leadership, spiritual formation and program development;
• to provide adequate academic foundations to students in the various theological
disciplines including textual studies, biblical languages, church history and
• to provide an academic and interpersonal environment by which the theological
disciplines can be integrated one with another as well as with the students'
ministry skills and their personal spiritual development;
• to equip adequately those students who desire advanced academic work
including doctoralstudies in schools of religion, seminaries or universities.
The Graduate School of Theology is accredited in the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). This accreditation guarantees that programs and faculty are of the highest quality.
The Master of Arts in Missions (MAMI), a 54-hour degree provides an in-depth study of missiology. A Missions Certificate is also available.
The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM), a 54-hour degree, for specialized ministry; courses in youth and family ministry, children’s ministry, education ministry, gerontology and missions are available.
In cooperation with the School of Social Work and the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, the Graduate School of Theology has developed plans whereby students could pursue the MACM concurrently with the MSSW or MFT degrees.
The Master of Divinity (MDiv), an 84-hour comprehensive degree, integrates the various theological disciplines with the practice of ministry and personal spiritual formation. A mission track is also available.
Both the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees integrate writing and research skills with the practice of ministry. Opportunities for field education and the supervised practice of ministry are integral to these degree programs. Students are required to participate in comprehensive exams during the last semester of course work.
The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is a 30-hour post-MDiv advanced professional degree designed to enhance the minister’s competency and skill in performing the essential tasks of ministry.
The departmental faculty combines the finest academic preparation from some of the world’s outstanding universities with intense interest in the effective practice of ministry.
For admission criteria, please refer to the Graduate School Admission Requirements section of this catalog. In addition to the general Graduate School requirements, applicants are required to 1) submit an official GRE score; and 2) write a reflective essay, three to five pages in length (typed, double-spaced) following the guidelines on the GST website, www.acu.edu/gst.
Application deadlines for admission:
• June 1 for fall
• November 1 for spring
• April 1 for summer
Though applications are accepted through the deadline dates, registration for courses begins in March (for fall) and October (for spring and summer classes). Students are therefore urged to submit all materials before registration begins.
The GRE, including the writing section, must be taken and scores received by the Graduate
School before an admission decision will be made. Non-degree special students must have
written permission from the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Theology to enroll in
any GST course(s).
The Master of Arts in Missions (MAMI), the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) and the Master of Divinity (MDIV) are formational degrees that require students to make progress in their academic, personal, and professional development. Therefore, students will be required to apply for candidacy in their third semester (full-time enrollment) to complete these programs (after completing 21 hours for MACM and MAMI; 27 hours for MDIV).
Scholarships and Assistantships
The Graduate School of Theology awards scholarships that cover a substantial part of a student’s tuition. Most Graduate School of Theology students receive scholarships each year. To be eligible, a student must be planning to do full-time ministry after graduation. In addition, the Graduate School of Theology awards about 45 graduate assistantships each year. The deadline for applying for scholarships and assistantships is June 1 for fall and November 1 for spring. Scholarship applications received after these dates will be considered only if funds are available.
Students enrolled simultaneously or sequentially in two master’s programs in the Graduate School of Theology may overlap some courses in both degrees. However, no more than 27 hours can be shared, and all requirements for both degrees must be met.
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