Which Master of Religion Degree Is Right for Me?

Posted by Trevecca Nazarene University on Sep 28, 2020 2:22:46 PM

Master Religion

Pursuing a master’s degree in religion is often a response to a divine calling. You feel compelled to pursue an education that will equip you to love and serve others effectively as you live out your unique purpose, according to God’s plan.

Doing God’s work, however, takes on all shapes and sizes—full-time and part-time, pastoral and outreach, preaching and teaching, urban and rural, in megachurches and small congregations—which means that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all master’s degree in religion.

How do you choose the right degree for your particular passions, skills and circumstances? First, the groundwork for your decision should involve soul-searching and spiritual discernment through prayer and wise counsel. To determine your personal career path in ministry, consult family members and mentors who know you best for advice, and read and study from trusted sources about finding God’s will.

Once you’re confident you’re moving in the direction the Lord is leading you and you can articulate how He wants to use you specifically, you’re ready to discover which master’s degree is the best match. 

At Trevecca, we offer two religion programs to help students wherever God’s leading them. Covering a diverse and wide range of interests and callings, the Master of Arts in church and community and the Master of Arts in theology and biblical studies can help equip you to do excellent work for the Lord in a variety of settings. 

Called to Work for Change in Communities 

Do you picture yourself working in diverse communities to address their unique challenges, such as poverty, racism and immigration? 

The Master of Arts in church and community focuses on working within communities and congregations for positive change, especially in the context of diversity and intercultural dynamics. It has an applied focus that results in a repertoire of skills for community ministry and for leading a congregation toward a new focus in community ministry.

Graduates of this program can work in positions such as community leader, director of outreach ministry, executive director of a nonprofit organization or rural or urban church pastor. 

If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions, you should consider pursuing the Master of Arts in church and community: 

  • Am I most interested in working with diverse populations toward community change? 
  • Do I feel called to work for a ministry or nonprofit devoted to issues such as racial reconciliation, immigration or poverty?
  • Do I have a special calling to minister to people in urban or rural settings? 

Called to Shepherding and Teaching

Do you picture yourself becoming steeped in theological truths and working as a full-time pastor, chaplain or teacher?

The Master of Arts in theology and biblical studies offers in-depth study of theological concepts throughout the Old and New Testaments, including covenantal faith, mercy, justice, law, community and discipleship. Students also examine theology across the history of the church, up to and including Wesleyan-holiness theology in a 21st century context. 

Graduates of this program may continue their education with a doctorate in ministry or missiology or may work in positions such as: pastor, chaplain, teacher or executive director of a nonprofit organization.

If you can answer “yes” to one of these questions, then you might consider pursuing the Master of Arts in theology and biblical studies: 

  • Am I most interested in deepening my knowledge and understanding of theology, biblical studies and church history to be an effective pastor or teacher? 
  • Do I especially want to focus on a stronger foundation in biblical and theological studies, to learn more about Scripture or to integrate a gospel lens into a non-ministerial vocation?

Which program is right for me? 

This side-by-side comparison may help you decide which program is right for you:

Master Religion Comparison_Updated-01

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Religion programs created with you in mind 

Here are some things graduates of either degree program can expect:

  • Christian theology and biblical foundations 
  • Spiritual formation exercises woven into every course
  • Completely online format with optional face-to-face learning experiences
  • Preparation for part- or full-time positions in ministry, or for continuing in education with a doctorate in ministry or missiology



We’re here to help 

If you still have questions about choosing a master of religion degree, reach out to us. An enrollment counselor is ready to discuss the options Trevecca offers and help you decide which degree is the best fit to help you answer God’s call and reach your goals.


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