Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MA/CL)

The MA/CL program propels students forward in their leadership development, preparing them for organizational leadership roles in a wide variety of ministry settings. The training prepares students to assume leadership positions in church, parachurch, missions, and marketplace contexts.


Bible Exposition22
BE101—Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics3
BE102—Old Testament History I3
BE103—Old Testament History II and Poetry2
BE104—Old Testament Prophets3
BE105—The Gospels2
BE106—Acts and Pauline Epistles3
BE107—Hebrews, General Epistles, and Revelation3
BE109—Ruth, Psalms, Jonah, and Selected Epistles3
Systematic Theology18
ST101—Introduction to Theology3
ST103—Angelology, Anthropology, and Hamartiology3
ST105—Sanctification and Ecclesiology3
Vision, Communication, & Leadership11
CE103—Teaching Process2
CE104—Audiovisual Presentations1
PM101—Spiritual Life2
RS101—Orientation and Research Methods1
SL305—Dynamics of Leadership3
SL950—Applied Research Project2
Ministry Residency or Electives11
Spiritual Formation (4 semesters)0
MACL Electives8
SL155—MA/CL Internship3
earn up to11hours in ministry
complete up to41hours online

Hear What Our Graduates Are Saying

"The M.A./CL program provides a graduate level theological education for people called to senior leadership roles which might not involve a pulpit. The program enhances ministry and leadership skills both theologically and practically for those of us who are already serving. This degree is providing me with a strong biblical, theological and ministry oriented foundation with a specialized study in leadership. And with the ministry residency program I can earn credit towards my M.A./CL degree by studying alongside my ministry."

-Drew Dickens, President and CEO of Need Him Ministries


The program leading to the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MA/CL) degree is designed to provide graduate-level biblical and theological education to prepare students for organizational leadership roles in a wide variety of ministry settings. The training prepares students to assume leadership positions in church, parachurch, missions, and marketplace contexts.

Educational Goals

To enable students to:

  • demonstrate a general knowledge of the Bible, including a synthetic understanding of the major books
  • evidence an understanding of the historical development of theology, a knowledge of premillennial theology, and an ability to support their theological views and apply them to contemporary issues
  • develop a biblically sound philosophy of Christian leadership.

Spiritual Goals

To enable students to:

  • evidence an increasing likeness to Christ as manifested in love for God, love for others, and the fruit of the Spirit
  • develop deep levels of biblical and spiritual integrity in their own personal life, relationships, and ministry.

Ministry Goals

To enable students to:

  • appraise the leadership needs of an organization
  • design a leadership development plan for an organization
  • demonstrate transformational leadership skills within an organization

Course Requirements

Sixty-two semester hours of course work are required as a minimum for graduation. Of those hours, 22 are in prescribed Bible Exposition courses, 18 hours are in prescribed Systematic Theology courses, 2 are in Spiritual Life, 3 are in prescribed Christian Education courses, 12 are electives in leadership related courses from the Division of Ministry and Communication, and 3 hours are in a Servant Leadership Internship. A 2-hour applied research project is also required. There is a seven year time limit on completing any professional MA program.

Ministry Residency

Get 11 to 12 hours of credit depending on your program 

DTS believes that preparation for ministry takes place both in the classroom and in the field of service. It is vital to link theory and practice. Instead of learning only in the isolation of the classroom, DTS supports learning happening within the community of faith as the student ministers in a ministry context and reflects on that experience. Ministry situated students now have the option of completing either the eleven (MA/CE, MA/CL) or twelve (ThM) credit hour Ministry Residency or a three credit hour Servant Leadership Internship.

Ministry Residency Servant Leadership Internship

Hear what our students are saying about the Ministry Residency:

Degree Plan

Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MA/CL) and Master of Theology (ThM) students now have the option of completing either a three credit hour Servant Leadership Internship or the new 11-credit hour Ministry Residency. Learn more about this option.

First Year

Fall Semester

BE101Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics3
ST101Introduction to Theology3
PM101Spiritual Life2
SL305Dynamics of Leadership3
RS101Orientation and Research Methods1
SF100Spiritual Formation1 

Spring Semester

BE102Old Testament History I3
BE105The Gospels2
BE109Ruth, Psalms, Jonah, and Selected Epistles3
SF100Spiritual Formation1 

Second Year

Fall Semester

BE103Old Testament History II and Poetry2
BE104Old Testament Prophets3
BE106Acts and Pauline Epistles3
ST103Angelology, Anthropology, and Hamartiology3
ST105Sanctification and Ecclesiology3
SL155MA/CL Internship23
SF100Spiritual Formation1 

Spring Semester

BE107Hebrews, General Epistles, and Revelation3
CE103Teaching Process2
CE104Audiovisual Presentations1
SF100Spiritual Formation1 
SL950Applied Research Project32
  1. Students have two calendar years (four consecutive fall/spring semesters) to complete the SF100 Spiritual Formation requirement. Students who register for SF100 need to keep in mind that the course is a four-semester-long course that will meet at the same day and time each of the four semesters. See the Educational Ministries and Leadership department for more information.
  2. M.A./CL students now have the option of completing either a three-credit-hour Servant Leadership Internship or the new twelve-credit-hour ministry residency. Students selecting the 3-hour internship have one calendar year (three consecutive semesters) to complete it. See the Spiritual Formation and Leadership department for more information.
  3. Students need one calendar year (three consecutive semesters) to complete the Applied Research Project. See the Spiritual Formation and Leadership department for more information.

MACL Approved Electives

No. Name Hours
SF320 Spiritual Formation & Ministry in Contemporary Culture 2
PM102 Evangelism 2
PM301 Pastoral Theology & Leadership 3
PM540 Develop/Leading the Culturally Diverse Church 3
CE220 Evaluating Ministry Effectiveness 3
CE315 Administrative Process 3
CE325 Legal & Financial Issues in Ministry 3
CE720 Creativity 2
WM445 Business of Mission 2
SL310 Emotional Intelligence & Relationships in Leadership 2
SL315 Developing Leaders Through Mentoring & Coaching 2
SL320 Change and Resistance in Christian Leadership 2
SL325 Organizational Communication 3
SL330 Personal and Organizational Leadership Development 2
SL340 Team Leadership 2
SL345 Christian Leadership and Organizational Culture 2
SL350 Leadership Seminar 2
SL355 Readings in Leadership/Current Issues in Leadership 2
SL360 Leadership Evaluation and Development (L.E.A.D.) 3
SL365 Strategic Planning 2
SL901 Independent Study in Leadership 1-4
SL905 Special Topics in Spiritual Formation & Leadership 1-4
ST615 Ethics 2

(Alternate Courses may be approved on a case by case basis)

Online & Distance Studies

Students can complete the entire MA/CL degree at any of our approved campuses (Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Austin, Knoxville, San Antonio, or Tampa), but the degree can also be completed in any city through a combination of online classes, an internship, and week-long intensive courses.

To study via distance, you can break down your course work as follows:

  • 41 hours online - You can complete up to 2/3 or (41 hours) of your degree online. This is the maximum that our accrediting body (ATS - the Association of Theological Schools) allows.
  • 12 hours in ministry - You can earn 12 hours of credit in your existing ministry through an approved Ministry Residency or Servant Leadership Internship.
  • 9 hours on campus - For the remaining 9 hours of course work, you can take week-long intensive courses during the winter and summer terms at the campus most convenient for you.

Mobile Seminary

The Mobile MA/CL enables you to stay in your current ministry while DTS partners with your local church to offer a seminary degree tailored to help you better love and serve your people. Learn about our current Mobile MACL programs in Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Fargo.

DTS Profs in Your City

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