Degree Requirements

Master of Religious Leadership Degree Requirements

To qualify for the MRL degree, a candidate must complete the following requirements:

Credit Hours

In fulfilling the 48 credit hours required to complete the MRL degree, students must complete the following:

  • Nine hours in common core courses in social and congregational analysis, Christian Ethics, and Systematic Theology
  • 15 hours in core courses selected from across the major disciplinary areas of theological study, including:
    • Three hours in Leadership and Administration
    • Six hours in Bible (Old or New Testament)
    • Three hours in History
    • Three hours in Church and Community Ministries
  • Six hours of contextual experience.
  • 18 hours in a student's chosen concentration.

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Curricular Requirements

Students must complete the following courses and requirements in the Master of Religious Leadership curriculum.

Common Courses

  • SR/CC515: Methods of Social and Congregational Analysis (3 hours)
  • ES501: Christian Ethics
  • ST501: Systematic Theology

Contextual Education Experience

Students must complete six hours of contextual experience in an internship or pastoral care.

  • CE545R Internship (up to 6 hours)
  • CE546 Clinical Pastoral Education (up to 6 hours)

CE545R may be taken for a maximum of six credit hours. Each hour of CE545R credit requires 42 hours of work in the internship setting. Learn more about Internships. Up to three academic credits are awarded for a half unit of CPE and up to six academic credits for the successful completion of one unit of CPE. Learn more about Clinical Pastoral Education.

Common Requirements

  • Three hours in Leadership and Administration (Any LA course)
  • Six hours in Bible (Old or New Testament) (Any two OT or NT courses)
  • Three hours in History (Any HC course)
  • Three hours in Church and Community Ministries (Any CC course, not including CC515)

Concentration Courses

Students must complete 18 hours in their chosen concentration.

Mission, Evangelism, and World Christianity

This concentration produces practitioners who are critically aware of the complexity of the church universal as it engages in God's mission in the world.

The MEWC concentration requires a minimum of six credits in mission, six credits in evangelism and six credits in world Christianity courses. Courses that would meet these requirements include:

  • EV501: Enabling an Evangelizing Church
  • EV511: Issues in Renewal and Revitalization of the Church
  • EV642: Religion, Culture, and Mission in Latin America
  • EV697: World Methodist Evangelism Seminar
  • M603: The Church’s Mission in a Pluralistic World
  • M609: Global Church in God’s Mission
  • M612: The Church in Asia
  • M619: Social Mission of the Christian Church
  • M642: Religion, Culture, and Mission in Latin America
  • M647: Theologies and Ecclesiologies of Brazil
  • M650: Mission and International Health
  • M655: The Church on the Border
  • M660: Short-Term Missions and International Development
  • M661: Short-Term Missions and International Development: Practicum
  • M697: World Methodist Evangelism Seminar
  • M/HC698: Special Topics in Mission – Modern Christianity as a Global Phenomenon
  • M/HC698: Special Topics in Mission – Making of World Christianity
  • SR698: Special Topics in Sociology of Religion – Immigration, Religion, and the American Church

Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation

This concentration contributes to the formation of religious leaders who are equipped to engage conflict constructively within their congregations and communities.

JPCT requires three credits of conflict transformation skills (ES671 and 672). The remaining 15 credits should include courses in nonviolence, restorative justice, and violence and peacebuilding. Students may choose among courses such as:

  • ST647: Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • ST659: Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • ES658: Christianity and the Holocaust
  • ES669: Theology of Ethics and Reconciliation
  • ES678: Morality of Peace and War
  • ES629: Life and Thoughts: Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr.
  • ES673: Voices of Nonviolence
  • ES663: Religion, Violence and Peacebuilding
  • Restorative Justice
  • ES609/M619: Theology of Social Ministry
  • M655/CC655: The Church on the Border
  • SR635: Christian Communalism in America
  • SR620: Nonviolent Strategies of Social Change
  • SR621: Howard Thurman: Spirituality and Community
  • RE698CEE: Teaching Peace in Congregations
  • RE525R: Issues in Educational Ministry with Youth: Unlearning Violence: Learning Nonviolence

Pastoral Care

This concentration prepares persons to provide general pastoral care in congregational and community settings and in chaplaincy contexts. It also provides initial training for those who may seek more advanced training in pastoral theology or pastoral counseling.

Students concentrating in Pastoral Care will take PC501 and may choose PC offerings, including any of the following, for their remaining 15 units:

  • PC605: Pastoral Care of Marriage and Family
  • PC607: Pastoral Dimensions of Biomedical Decisions
  • PC610: Crisis Ministry
  • PC615: Theological Dimensions of Pastoral Care
  • PC620: Short-Term Counseling in the Parish
  • PC628: Care for Marginalized Populations
  • PC640: Pastoral Care of Women: International Perspectives
  • PC645: Spiritual Care in African Religious Traditions
  • PC650: International Perspectives on Pastoral Care
  • PC670, 671, 673: Pastoral Care Modules: Special Topics (1 unit courses)
  • Pastoral Care with Youth
  • Pastoral Care in the Parish
  • CE546R: Clinical Pastoral Education (three hours maximum)

Ministries with Youth

This concentration prepares students for a range of ministries with youth in and beyond the congregation.

Students concentrating in Ministries with Youth are required to take:

  • RE501: Religious Education as Formation and Transformation
  • At least one Ministries with Youth course, such as RE517: Introduction to Ministries with Youth, RE526: Empowering Youth for Global Citizenship or RE527: Unlearning Violence, Learning Nonviolence
  • PC501: Introductions to Pastoral Care
  • Either RE601: Dynamics of Faith and Identity or RE649: Moral Development and Education

The remaining six units can include courses such as:

  • RE515: The Art of Teaching
  • RE540: Teaching the Bible
  • RE517: Introduction to Youth Ministry
  • RE526: Empowering Youth for Global Citizenship
  • RE527: Unlearning Violence, Learning Nonviolence
  • RE610: Be(com)ing Christian: Theology, Education, and Public Life
  • RE636: Religious Education and Our Ecological Context
  • RE698: Teaching Peace in the Congregation
  • Religious Education, Media, and Technology
  • Feminist and Womanist Pedagogy
  • PC628: Care for Marginalized Populations
  • Pastoral Care with Youth

Worship and Music

This concentration equips music and worship leaders and directors with creative and faithful ways to integrate music and worship.

Students concentrating in Worship and Music are required to take W501: Public Worship and W638: Planning Christian Worship.

Students should work closely with their advisors to achieve a balance of method and theory in their remaining 12 units, choosing from courses such as:

  • CM610: Congregational Song
  • CM615: Introduction to Church Music
  • CM620: Music and Worship in the Black Church
  • W503: Global Perspectives in Christian Worship
  • W603: Liturgy, Spirituality, and Community Formation
  • W622, W623, W624: Practica in Liturgical Leadership
  • W632: Contemporary Christian Worship: Origins, Theory, Practice
  • W642, 643, 644, 646, 648: Practica in Worship
  • W699: The History and Theology of Eucharistic Worship
  • HC617: Early Christian Worship
  • ST631: Christian Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Renewal

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Application for the Degree

At the beginning of the semester in which a student plans to graduate, the candidate must submit a formal application for the Master of Religious Leadership degree before the deadline stated in the academic calendar.

The Application for Degree is available in OPUS during a window of time set by the university registrar each semester, approximately four weeks prior to the submission deadline. A separate application is required for each degree received. Failure to apply on time will result in a $25 late fee and a paper application must be filed.

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The degree is residential in nature, although Master of Religious Leadership students may participate in any online or hybrid courses offered by Candler for its other Master's degree programs.

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