For the first time in its history, Kingswood University will offer a graduate degree, the Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology (MAPT). Official approval came this week from the university’s accrediting agency, the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

“MAPT was designed with two groups of people in mind,” said Dr. Mark Gorveatte (pictured), president of Kingswood University. “It is for the local church leader who wants additional theological training and insights for a current ministry setting. And it is for the student who desires a bridging experience into graduate study, connecting the classroom to frontline ministry under trained mentors.”

Kingswood’s innovative MAPT degree has three unique characteristics: an advanced standing option, an integrative curriculum, and a church-based learning model.

Up to twelve credit hours of upper level undergraduate courses can be carried forward toward the program’s requirements. Students with qualifying courses in Bible, theology, and practical ministry may apply these foundational courses directly toward the M.A. in Pastoral Theology. This advanced standing has the potential of saving students both time and money.

The curriculum, which is integrative by design, is based on best practices in theological education–where theory and practical ministry work in harmony.

“MAPT is intended to educate students holistically,” said Dr. David Smith, vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are preparing their heads to think and plan theologically, forming their hearts to beat in harmony with God, and training their hands to effectively serve the needs of the community.”

Using alocal church-based learning model, every MAPT student will be a practicing pastor, serving twenty hours or more per week in a local ministry. Assignments will focus on real people with actual needs and will have life transformational experiences at the core.

“The MAPT degree brings together our best efforts in understanding life in Christ as God meant it to be and helping the church live that life in a transformative way locally and globally,” said Dr. Kenneth Gavel, division chair of biblical and theological studies.

Classes for the M.A. in Pastoral Theology degree begin fall 2013. The streamlined 36-hour program incorporates a mix of week-long onsite intensives as well as longer hybrid courses, taught both onsite and online. The accredited M.A. can be completed within one calendar year and may be transferred to other universities or seminaries for further graduate study.

Elevation view of chapel by Kerry Kind.

Other photos courtesy of Troy Wilson.