Master of Arts in Practical Theology


Support gracefully. Counsel wisely. Inspire always.

With a commitment to developing committed and effective servant leaders, Pfeiffer University offers a Master of Arts in Practical Theology (MAPT) program that combines practical ministry with academically rigorous theological reflection to prepare students for creative and effective leadership in churches and society. Aligned with the requirements of the United Methodist Church (UMC), with which Pfeiffer holds a longstanding affiliation, the MAPT program offers a core curriculum, specializations and certification options that allow students to honor faithfully the paths they are called to serve.

The MAPT program, which requires 40 semester hours, typically can be completed in 3-4 years or less. Concurrently, students can also complete the BGTS ( Basic Graduate Theological Studies) required for UMC Deacon ordination through our partnership with Wesley Seminary with the MAPT degree. Requirements for professional certification through both the UMC and Presbyterian Church can also be completed through this degree.


The MAPT graduate program, in the division of arts and sciences, is available at the Charlotte campus. Classes are offered in weekly, weekend and intensive formats, giving you the options needed to work while pursuing your degree.


The MAPT program requires 40 semester hours, which includes eight biblical and theological core courses, and four tracks for specialization.

Core Courses

  • MAPT 609 Servant Leadership in the Church
  • MAPT 615 Systematic Theology in the Contemporary World
  • MAPT 616 Critical Issues in Christian Ethics
  • MAPT 618 Spiritual Formation
  • MAPT 630 Survey of the Old Testament
  • MAPT 631 Survey of the New Testament
  • MAPT 651 Practical Theology Seminar
  • MAPT 690 Capstone

Christian Education Generalist (18 SH)

Complete Core Courses and any additional 18 hours from the MAPT program.

  • MAPT 608 Teaching/Learning: Foundations for Christian Education
  • MAPT 642 Teaching for Bible Faith and Spiritual Formation

Choose at least one: MAPT 611, 612, 613, 614, or 623

Christian Education/Children's Ministries (12 SH)

  • MAPT 608 Teaching/Learning: Foundations for Christian Education
  • MAPT 642 Teaching for Bible Faith and Spiritual Formation
  • MAPT 611 Ministries with Children and Families
  • MAPT 623 Godly Play: A Ministry of Christian Formation for Children

Christian Education/Youth Ministries (12 SH)

  • MAPT 608 Teaching/Learning: Foundations for Christian Education
  • MAPT 642 Teaching for Bible Faith and Spiritual Formation
  • MAPT 612 Adolescent World
  • MAPT 613 Christian Education with Youth

Pastoral Care and Counseling (15 SH)

  • MAPT 601 Integrative Pastoral Therapy
  • MAPT 603 Pastoral Theological Method
  • MAPT 619 Spiritual Direction/Companionship
  • MAPT 641 Counseling
  • MAPT 695 Clinical Pastoral Education

Choose an additional six semester hours (2 courses) from electives.

Missions/Evangelism (9 SH)

  • MAPT 602 Introduction to History of the Church
  • MAPT 605 Christian Missions and Globalization in an Interfaith World, or MAPT 606 Evangelism in the Contemporary Church and World


  • MAPT 606 Evangelism in the Contemporary Church and World
  • MAPT 625 Christian Worship

Choose an additional six semester hours (2 courses) from electives.

Church Administration (12 SH)

  • MAPT 642 Teaching Bible Faith and Spiritual Formation
  • MAPT 608 Teaching/Learning: Foundations for Christian Education



  • MAPT 605 Christian Missions and Globalization in an Interfaith World
  • MBA 702 Organizational Behavior
  • MSL 740 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • MSL 750 Organizational Change Management

Choose an additional six semester hours (2 courses) from electives.

Students who also take MSL 710 Effective Leadership as an elective will be eligible for a Graduate Certificate in Leadership.

Additional Electives

  • MAPT 604 Pastoral Diagnosis
  • MAPT 620 United Methodist History, Doctrine and Policy
  • MAPT 626 Theology and Christian Education
  • MAPT 627 Communication through Creative Arts
  • MAPT 652 Masters Praxis
  • MAPT 665 Practicum in Spiritual Direction/Companionship
  • MAPT 697 Special Topics in Bible
  • MAPT 698 Special Topics
  • MAPT 699 Independent Study
  • MAPT 710 Effective Leadership

For descriptions of courses, visit the academic catalog

Admission Requirements

The following are the admission requirements for the MAPT program:

  • A completed Pfeiffer University graduate application for admission.
  • Official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended
  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a satisfactory grade point average
  • A one-page essay discussing your desire to pursue the MAPT degree

The maximum number of graduate semester hours transferred from an accredited institution is 15 for Christian Education, Pastoral Care, and Counseling or Church Administration tracks and 18 for Missions/Evangelism.

Pfeiffer University has a maximum time to completion of a degree as seven (7) years from the time of initial enrollment except for the Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, which is five (5) years.

Pfeiffer Responds

In an effort to respond to current issues facing the church through the ongoing ministry of Christian education, Pfeiffer University sponsors periodic seminars and workshops to address Christian education in a rapidly changing world. How are these courses chosen? Christian educators tell us what they are interested in and what they need, and we meet these needs whenever possible.

Interested? Contact us!

Dr. Heidi Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Religion and MAPT Program Director
[email protected]

Tuition & Fees

Click here for current tuition and fees. Contact an admissions advisor about financial aid and scholarship opportunities

Career Options

Center for Deacon Education

Pfeiffer University, in conjunction with Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., established the Center for Deacon Education in 2006. Courses offered through the Center for Deacon Education [LINK Center for Deacon Ordination page] are specifically designed to prepare persons for ministry as deacons. In the United Methodist Church, the Order of Deacon leads the congregation in its servant ministry and equips and supports all baptized Christians in their ministry alongside the order of elder, which focuses on word, sacrament and order.

Through the MAPT graduate degree program and the Center for Deacon Education, complete over 32 semester hours, fulfilling the requirements for the Advanced Course of Study in the United Methodist Church. Students seeking denominational certification register as a non-degree student. Approved certification tracks for United Methodists include Christian Education, Youth Ministry, Children's Ministry and Spiritual Formation.

To learn more, visit the deacon education page.

Partnerships for Ministry Preparation

United Methodist students seeking to complete their master of divinity degree can do so at Union Presbyterian Seminary through a partnership approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church that includes Pfeiffer University, Wesley Theological Seminary and Union Presbyterian Seminary.

Since 2006, Pfeiffer and Wesley have helped prepare more than 100 United Methodist (UM) students for deacon ordination. Prior to 2012, those interested in pursuing a master of divinity degree beyond these studies enrolled in one of 13 United Methodist seminaries nationwide that offer full-time programs or one of the limited numbers of UM-approved programs offered by other denominations.

Now, with the approval of Union Presbyterian Seminary Charlotte campus, United Methodist students who have completed required courses at Pfeiffer through Wesley have the option to earn their master of divinity degree locally at Union Presbyterian Seminary with the flexibility to enroll in weekday, evening or weekend classes.

Click here for information about admission to the master of divinity program at Union Presbyterian Seminary.


If you want to work in Christian education, church administration, missions, evangelism, pastoral care or counseling, a MAPT degree prepares you for a successful career. Whether you want to become a minister, lead a youth ministry or wish to perform inter-church or community-based services, you need the training and practical experience to perform the job with confidence.

Ready to get started? Apply now. 


    Graduate and Degree Completion Enrollment

    Have questions? Just ask!
    (704) 521-9116
    [email protected]