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Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Christian Ministry (Master's Degree)
— 36 hours

Southwest Baptist University’s Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is an innovative degree that systematically integrates ministry and theology in a flexible program to help you achieve your goals. In contrast to other programs in which the curriculum is divided along the lines of theoretical and practical studies, the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is a practical theology degree, combining theological studies and ministerial studies in every course.

Building on a liberal arts education, the program provides broad, formative training that will equip you to approach ministry in new and creative ways and prepare you to be a more effective leader. Your critical thinking skills will be sharpened and honed as you learn to engage the culture and address emerging problems and issues.

  • Choose a concentration to tailor the degree program to fit your personal interests and calling.
  • Program tracks allow undergraduate students to get a quick start through an early acceptance program, while also providing a traditional graduate student format.
  • This degree program is distance-learning friendly, allowing for flexibility, convenience, and connection.
  • Competitive tuition and financial aid opportunities help make this an affordable program for you to further your education and ministry training.

This is a program designed to help you realize your full potential for ministry, to equip you to serve and to be used by God in new ways to build up the church and to advance His Kingdom.



Office of Graduate Admissions
(800) 526-5859
(417) 328-1848


(SBU's Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is a non-thesis, 36 credit hour degree program.)


(Complete 100 hours of practical field experience in local church ministry as part of this degree program.)

SBU students

The SBU Advantage

SBU's Master of Arts in Christian Ministry provides practical ministry training that is contextual, relational, and Biblical.

  • Contextual: No two churches or ministry look the same.
    • Core courses: Disciple-Making in Context and Local Church Leadership
  • Relational: We are broken people reaching broken people.
    • Core courses: Conflict and Crisis in Ministry and Local Church Counseling
  • Biblical: We're called to know truth and communicate it well.
    • Core courses: Preaching and Teaching the Bible and Theology and Practice of the Local Church.

Faith Integration

The Christian faith is at the heart of everything we do at Southwest Baptist University and permeates our teaching and instruction. The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program is designed to be a formative experience that will deepen and enrich your own faith, even as you receive training to become more effective in ministering to others. All faculty are professing Christians committed to the integration of faith and academics.

Program Details


Choose a concentration to tailor the degree to your personal interests and God-given calling. Concentration options include:

  • Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Business Administration
  • Missions
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Family Ministry
  • General Studies


Complete 100 hours of practical field experience in local church ministry.

Program Length

SBU's Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is a non-thesis, 36 credit hour degree program. Full-time students can complete the degree in a 4+1 (for undergraduates) or standard 2-year graduate format. 4+1 students take 12 hours of graduate credit with no additional tuition* during undergraduate work.

*$25 per credit hour fee is charged.

Program Tracks

4+1 Early Acceptance Program

Prospective and current undergraduate students at SBU may apply to the Early Acceptance Program (4+1 track), an accelerated program of study that enables students to graduate with both a B.A. degree and the M.A. degree in Christian ministry in five years total.  Students on the 4+1 track take up to twelve hours of concurrent enrollment courses, which count toward both bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements.

The following is a typical program of study for those on the 4+1 track:

Second semester junior undergraduate (80+ hours completed):

  • Spring: 3 hours (concurrent enrollment)

Senior year undergraduate:

  • Fall: 3 - 6 hours (concurrent enrollment)
  • Spring: 3 - 6 hours (concurrent enrollment)

First year graduate:

  • Summer: 3 hours
  • Fall: 9 - 12 hours
  • Winterfest: 3 hours
  • Spring: 9 - 12 hours
  • Summer: 3 hours (Ministry Project Capstone)

For those participating in SBU’s Scholars Day, applications to the Early Acceptance Program should be submitted at the same time as the Scholars Day application. For those not participating in Scholars Day, applications are due April 15. Notifications will be sent by March 15 for Scholars Day applicants and May 15 for April applications.

Current SBU undergraduates may apply to the 4+1 track at any time. The deadline for applications is April 15, with notifications being sent by May 15. Students who are not accepted to the 4+1 track are eligible to reapply the following year. To participate in concurrent enrollment courses, students must be admitted to the program (4+1 track) and have completed 80+ hours of coursework and all course prerequisites.

Category of Student Application Deadline Date by which you will be notified
High school students participating in Scholars Day Same as Scholars Day application March 1
High school students not participating in Scholars Day April 15 May 15
Current SBU students April 15 May 15

Standard Graduate Format

The standard track is for students who have already graduated with a bachelor’s degree.  On this track, the degree is designed to be completed in two years.

The following is a typical program of study for those on the 4+2 track:

First year: 

  • Fall: 9 hours
  • Winterfest: 3 hours
  • Spring: 9 hours
  • Summer: 3 hours

Second year:

  • Fall: 9 hours
  • Winterfest: 3 hours
  • Spring: 6 hours (including Ministry Project Capstone)
It is possible to begin the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program at the beginning of any semester or term. Applications are accepted throughout the year, with deadlines for application materials varying according to the semester/term in which you intend to begin the program.
Semester/Term to Begin Application Deadline Date by which you will be notified
Fall April 15 May 15
Winterfest September 15 October 15
Spring September 15 October 15
Summer February 15 March 15


Distance-Learning Friendly

In-Person Experiences

  • New Student Orientation (Friday before the semester begins)
  • Graduation
  • Two in-person courses, 1 week in January and 1 week in June

Distance-Learning Options

  • All other courses can be taken in a seated format or via live distance learning through Zoom.
  • In consultation with professors, students may attend any class period in-person or via Zoom. This gives you the flexibility to choose between convenience and connection for each class period!

Admissions & Financial Aid


Apply for free online for the SBU Master of Arts in Christian Ministry! Traditional graduate students may apply for full acceptance into the program. Up to 15 students each year may apply for the 4+1 early acceptance program (EAP). Eligible students for the EAP will have completed no more than 59 hours of undergraduate credit. If accepted, the EAP student will be guaranteed a place in the master's program upon graduation (contingent upon maintaining GPA and other standards).

Apply online


Standard Tuition: $300 per credit hour

Full-time Flat Rate (at least 9 hours/semester): $275 per credit hour

Total tuition for full-time 4+1 students: $6,600

Total tuition for traditional full-time students: $9,900

Financial Aid

Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive any aid for which you may qualify, including the Federal Direct Grad PLUS Student Loan. SBU's recommended deadline for submitting the FAFSA is March 15. If you have questions, contact the SBU Office of Financial Aid at (417) 328-1822.  

Submit Your FAFSA

Scholarship Opportunity

The Frank and Maxine Meyers Pastoral Ministry Scholarship is established to support students preparing for the pastorate within the Southern Baptist denomination and within the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America. 

Application deadline is April 15. Applicants will be notified of the committee's decision by May 15.

Download Scholarship Application