MA in Spirituality and Social Change

The Master of Arts in Spirituality and Social Change combines spiritual formation and theological education with the training required to effect social change. As our communities face social and ecological crises, the MA in Spirituality and Social Change equips students to respond.

The curriculum is designed to prepare students to serve in a wide variety of faith-based leadership roles in diverse contexts, including rostered deacons in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), chaplains, community organizers, non-profit leaders, and much more.

Through spiritual formation and the study of scripture, theology, and practical leadership skills, students in the MA in Spirituality and Social Change are invited to engage God’s presence in working together toward the healing and transformation of  their communities. How does your faith inform the world you want to live in? And how can you be part of creating that world?

Who is the MA for?

  • Those who are pursuing Word and Service (deacon) ministry in the ELCA
    • This can include children, family, and youth ministries, campus ministry, administration, volunteer ministry, social services, music, parish nursing, and many other forms of service that connect the church with the needs of the world
    • Some forms of ministry overlap between ‘Word and Sacrament’ and ‘Word and Service.’ We are happy to partner with you in discerning whether the MDiv or the MA would be the best fit, and encourage you to be in conversation with your synod as well
  • Those who are interested in becoming a chaplain
    • Chaplains provide spiritual support and pastoral care, and most commonly minister in hospitals and other medical care settings, prisons and jails, and the military and veterans affairs. While these are most common, chaplaincy is a growing field and chaplains can serve in a variety of settings
    • In the ELCA, chaplains can either be rostered ministers of Word and Service, or ministers of Word and Sacrament, and the difference is in the extent to which their call involves administration of the sacraments 
  • Anyone interested in the intersection of Christian spirituality and social change
    • Maybe you’re in the non-profit sector, or an educator, or an activist—regardless of your background and current context, the MA is a program where you can explore this intersection and grow in your capacity to engage in faith-rooted, justice-seeking work

Can I focus my studies on a specific area?

PLTS offers two concentrations:

  1. Evangelism and Justice
  2. Climate Justice and Faith

MA students have access to the courses and co-curricular events required in these concentrations.

Is a thesis required?

Rather than a thesis, the MA in Spirituality and Social change requires an 8-month internship.

What is the length of the program?

Two years, including intercessions (J-terms) and summers.

Can I complete the program online?

Yes! MA students can choose between the Residential Learning or Distributed Learning programs.

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