Union Presbyterian Seminary launches Master of Arts in Public Theology

Program is designed for students already engaging in any number of issues

by Union Presbyterian Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Prof. Rachel Baard

RICHMOND, Virginia — Union Presbyterian Seminary is currently accepting applications for a Master of Arts in Public Theology (M.A.P.T.). Classes will begin in fall 2021.

The purpose of the M.A.P.T. degree program is to deepen the capacity of individuals engaging in Public Theology, a field that draws on biblical, historical, theological, ethical, and practical resources of the Christian faith in order to serve the common good of society. The program is designed for students already engaging in issues such as public policy, ecological concerns, economic justice, gender issues, inter-religious dialogue, and issues of race and reconciliation, or planning to make these or similar issues a focus of their future work.

“Public theology is where theology hits the road,” said Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics Rachel Baard. “I saw during my youth in South Africa, in the examples of leaders in the church struggle against apartheid, how important the public witness of the church can be in addressing the social issues of the day.”

“Faith is not just for Sunday worship,” Baard said. “It’s about how we live from Monday to Saturday too, and about the ways in which we as the body of Christ serve the common good of society. This new program at Union Presbyterian Seminary promises to help students engage the ways in which the church exists in and for the world.”

The M.A.P.T. program is related to the work of Union Presbyterian Seminary’s three centers: the Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation, the Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership, and the Syngman Rhee Global Mission Center for Christian Education.

The program consists of 36 credit hours, making it possible for full-time students to complete the degree in two years. The M.A.P.T. can be combined with a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Christian Education as a dual degree. The M.A.P.T. is also available in a 12-credit-hour certificate format.

M.A.P.T. classes are offered in a hybrid format. The majority of coursework will take place online with a requirement to meet on campus for a brief period each term.

For more information about the M.A.P.T. degree, contact the seminary’s admissions office at admissions@upsem.edu, or 804-278-4221 in Richmond, Virginia, or 980-475-1066 in Charlotte, North Carolina.


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