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The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) is a professional degree designed to foster the spiritual development and the integrative practical skills of pastors and lay leaders. The program is grounded in the academic disciplines of biblical and theological studies and pastoral praxis. It also evaluates and interacts with other academic disciplines to foster contextual learning and best professional practice.

The degree emphasizes development of Christian identity, integrity, and service to others. Students develop competencies in pastoral leadership, pastoral care, and pastoral evangelism and discipleship and are equipped to offer faithful spiritual leadership. The program promotes a holistic development of congregations in the contextual ministries and also exposes participants to the issues involved in planning building projects, budgeting, and managing physical facilities.

The MAPS degree is a thirty-six (36) semester hour program (except for those who do not have a baccalaureate degree in Religion or Theology) with a concentration in Church Development. Candidates must successfully complete all prerequisites and admissions requirements before regular admission to the program.


The Religion and Theology Department of Oakwood University, a historically Black Seventhday Adventist institution of higher learning, seeks to educate and prepare pastors, church administrators, and lay leaders for quality spiritual pastoral ministry. The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies is designed to equip them with the skills needed to improve their effectiveness in spiritual and professional practice.


1. To achieve academic excellence through an advanced understanding of the biblical, theological, and practical foundations for pastoral studies and church development
2. To apply principles for ministry based on Christ’s methods of teaching, discipling, caring, and witnessing to all people
3. To integrate Christological principles of leadership and other valuable theories into critical dialogue to inform contemporary pastoral administration, church development and community development
4. To appraise critical perspective of the Christian experience, thinking, and contributions of black Seventh-day Adventists and other ethnic groups as it relates to pastoral studies and church development
5. To construct biblical, theological and other theories into a critical conversation with personal spirituality, and contextual pastoral activity
6. To demonstrate the ability to lead and serve, through the construction of a research project designed to address pastoral challenges and consistent with best practices


1. Complete a minimum of 36 semester hours in accordance with program requirements, maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
2. Complete all course requirements according to schedule and within six (6) years of initial acceptance. Part-time participants must attend two intensives in sequence and take at least one course per semester in order to complete the program in six (6) years.
3. Complete three (3) semester hours of core courses, and six (6) semester hours of Heritage courses with a minimum grade of B-.
4. Complete eighteen (18) semester hours in the concentration with no grade below C+ and a GPA of 3.0.
5. Complete a graduation application form by January 31 of the graduating year.
6. Provide two copies of a completed integrated project-resource by February 28 of the graduating year.
7. Give an oral presentation and make a successful defense of the completed integrated project resource during the second intensive of the graduating year (final semester).
8. Receive a minimum grade of “B” for the overall project by an appointed advisor. Participants who fail to receive a “B” grade will have only one additional opportunity to meet this requirement. Participants will not be able to continue with the degree if a second failure occurs.



Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institution recognized by the United States Department of Education with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale).

  • English Proficiency: Students whose language of education is not English must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 500 (written test) or 173 (computer test)
  • Official Transcripts required from all colleges and universities.
  • 2 years of ministerial experience.
  • Professional resume with information regarding employment, research and/or special projects.
  • Personality and Diagnostic Testing administered during orientation (waived for MS or MA).
  • Bible Literacy Entrance Test (BLET) 70% minimum acceptable score, administered during new student orientation.