Aim and Outcomes
The aim of the Master of Arts, Christian Studies (MACS) is to provide students with an advanced theological education, with an opportunity to concentrate in academic subjects important to their interests. This degree is designed for those seeking academic and/or spiritual enrichment, but not for those pursuing vocational ministerial positions.
To this end, a graduate of the MACS degree will demonstrate the competencies required to:
- evaluate and synthesize interpretive methods and traditions, and apply exegetical method to the interpretation of a biblical text;
- analyze and evaluate the broader heritage of the Christian tradition, the more specific character of particular Christian traditions and communities, the ways these traditions transcend particular social and cultural settings, and the ways they come to unique expressions within such settings;
- evaluate ways in which the church engages in Great Commission application in its life and mission to the world;
- develop the capacities for personal faith, emotional maturity and moral integrity that are requisite to a life of ministerial leadership;
PBA’s School of Ministry is an evangelical and multi-denominational academic community that provides an innovative seminary education anchored in the areas of Bible, biblical languages, Christian history and theology, practical theology, and hands-on ministry. Instructors in the MACS program teach from a confessional, Christ-centered perspective and affirm the World Evangelical Alliance Statement of Faith. All students are required to abide by the student code of conduct, as discussed in The Navigator (student handbook).
Structure and Delivery
The MACS degree provides courses in three broad subjects (Bible, Theology, Practical Theology). MACS students are encouraged to register each semester for both courses in each integrated paired block in order to gain the most benefit from the integrated nature of the program. Students may, however, register for courses individually. Doing so will result in slightly modified course requirements for those only taking one course within a designated block. The structure of the MACS contains two unique features (which also overlap with the MDiv):
Cohort model: Because we learn best in a thriving community, students benefit from a cohort model, with daytime classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays (and evenings/weekends, for the Orlando extension site);
Integrated core: Because we believe in integrated thinking and application, students are able to study the Bible, Theology, and Practical Theology in paired courses across disciplines.
The MACS is designed to be a two year program (6–9 credit hours each semester), but it is possible to complete the MACS degree requirements in one and a half years (9 credit hours each semester, including Summer courses), depending on the rotation of course offerings. Students should be advised that the evening/weekend modality was purpose-built to be a two and a half year program (at a minimum) and will therefore only offer 6 credit hours each semester from a specified rotation of course offerings.
All students are encouraged to register each semester (Fall/Spring) for the two courses that form an integrated block (6 credit hours). Students who wish to enroll in one course at a time should be advised that they will likely encounter scheduling challenges. Because courses are offered on a rotation, students must work closely with their academic advisor to determine the best personalized registration schedule.
The admission requirements and process may be found in the relevant Admission section of the Graduate and Pharmacy Catalog.
The MACS (36 credit hours) degree requirements include eight courses from the MACS Core, as follows: two courses in Old Testament (6 credit hours), two courses in New Testament (6 credit hours), two courses in Theology (6 credit hours), and two courses in Practical Theology (6 credit hours). The MACS also requires four elective courses (12 credit hours), at least three of which (9 credit hours) must be taken within the School of Ministry. Due to the aims and outcomes of this degree, apprenticeship courses are not allowed to fulfill any MACS requirements. In addition to coursework, the MACS requires successful completion of a Comprehensive Examination (THE 6000) in the final semester of study. Students who have successfully completed the Master’s Thesis (courses THL 6001 and THL 6102), however, fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement. The Master’s Thesis courses can also count towards the MACS elective requirements. Those studying one of the MACS dual degree programs will have slightly modified requirements (see the relevant dual degree information in the Graduate and Pharmacy Catalog).
Students with a bachelor’s degree in a ministry-related field are given the opportunity to avoid all redundant introductory coursework because PBA’s MACS begins at the advanced level. At the same time, students without a bachelor’s degree in a ministry-related field are able to gain a solid foundation by completing up to 15 credit hours of undergraduate, prerequisite coursework (developed on a case-by-case basis) in the areas of Spiritual Formation, Bible, History of Christianity, and Systematic Theology. These courses are offered in traditional daytime, evening, online, and synchronous Zoom formats. Students must achieve a final grade of at least a “C” on each required prerequisite course. Any student who wishes to take an MACS course before completing their required prerequisite coursework must (a) have completed the prerequisite coursework necessary for taking the relevant MACS course, and (b) be granted approval from the Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs. Students are limited to no more than 3 credit hours of Directed and/or Independent Study coursework over the course of their degree.
Below are the specific degree requirements for the MACS:
MACS Dual Degrees
One of the benefits of studying at PBA is that students can earn dual degrees through the School of Ministry’s partnership with other Schools within the University. Dual degrees allow students to complete two degrees simultaneously with fewer credit hours than if completing those degrees separately.
Students wishing to study in one of the dual degree programs must be accepted into each program independently, complete any required prerequisites for each degree, and satisfy the specific academic policies and graduation requirements for each degree. Upon admission, students are able to enroll in courses for both degree programs during the same semester, as time and schedules permit.
Below are the current MACS dual degrees:
MACS + MS, Community Development (71 credit hours; earned separately = 77 credit hours)
MACS + MS, International Development (71 credit hours; earned separately = 77 credit hours)
MACS + MS, Leadership (60 credit hours dual; earned separately = 72 credit hours)
MACS + MS, Clinical Mental Health Counseling (84 credit hours; earned separately = 96 credit hours)
Transfer and Transient Credits
Students accepted into the Master of Arts, Christian Studies (MACS) degree program may transfer up to 6 approved credit hours to satisfy elective degree requirements. No transient study credit may be applied toward completion of the MACS. For additional PBA requirements and policies on transfer and transient credits, see Academic Policies in the Graduate and Pharmacy Catalog.
Comprehensive Examination Requirement
MACS students are required to enroll in the Comprehensive Examination (THL 6000) course in their final semester of study. It will be a four-hour written examination (with a fifteen-minute break in the middle of the examination) taken at a set time during Finals Week and will be comprised of four essay questions derived from the student’s coursework (answering one question from each of the broad category of study—i.e. Bible, Theology, Practical Theology, and Electives. Examination marking will be on a four-point grading scale: “Pass with Distinction,” “Pass,” “Fail with Revisions,” and “Fail.” Students who fail with revisions shall have until the end of the subsequent Fall/Spring semester to submit revisions. Students who fail will be able to retake the comprehensive during the Finals week of the subsequent Fall/Spring semester. For the fulfillment of the comprehensive examination requirement through a Master’s Thesis, see the Degree Requirements section.
Students preparing for future postgraduate work (e.g. PhD) or wishing to undertake research may choose to write a Master’s Thesis, for a total of 3 credit hours (THL 6001 and THL 6102 ). To enroll in the Thesis courses, students must have (a) completed at least 18 credit hours of degree requirements, (b) an approved faculty supervisor, and (c) submit a formal declaration of intent to write a Master’s Thesis by October 15. Students may not enroll in both Thesis courses in the same semester. Enrollment in the Thesis is subject to the availability of a faculty advisor. Successfully completed theses will be collected and added to the Warren Library’s collection, in accordance to the process set forth in the Master’s Thesis courses (THL 6001 /THL 6102 ).