Graduate School of Theology

Jack Reese, Dean   
Mark Hamilton, Associate Dean of Graduate School of Theology
ACU Box 29422
Abilene, Texas 79699-9422
Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building, Room 297

Phone: 325-674-3730
Fax: 325-674-6180
Email: or 


Frederick Aquino, Associate Professor
Jeff Childers, Professor
Kenneth Cukrowski, Associate Professor
Chris Flanders, Assistant Professor
Douglas Foster, Professor
Mark Hamilton, Professor
Stephen Johnson, Associate Professor

Royce Money, Professor
Jack Reese, Professor
Timothy Sensing, Professor
Charles Siburt, Professor
James Thompson, Professor
John T. Willis, Professor
David Wray, Associate Professor

Faculty from other departments who teach in this program:
Craig Churchill, Associate Professor of Library Science and Theological Librarian
Glenn Pemberton, Associate Professor, DBMM
Kent Smith, Missions Coordinator for North America
Wendell Willis, Professor, DBMM

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 historical theology;
  • 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 doctoral studies 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.

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Degrees Offered   

The Master of Arts (MA) degree, a 54-hour thesis program, includes tracks in New Testament, Old Testament, and history and theology.

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 48-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.

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Admission Requirements   

Admission requirements for Masters of Arts and Master of Divinity are as follows:

   1. A completed application and application fee;
  2. A completed bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or comparable non-U.S. university (see specific department for any additions or exceptions); 
  3. A cumulative undergraduate approximate B average or above in the area of focus or related area and evidence of an overall productive GPA; 
  4. An official GRE score; 
  5. Two letters of recommendation, and 
  6. A reflective essay, three to five pages in length (typed, double-spaced) following the guidelines on the GST website, 

Registration for courses begins in April (for fall) and October (for spring) and March (for 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).

Candidacy Process

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 many 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.

Multiple Degrees
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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