Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

MACM program

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is a 48 hour, professional credential designed to prepare women and men for competent leadership in specialized ministries in their faith communities. The degree seeks to develop the general theological understanding required as a basis for local church ministries and nurture the practical abilities and skills needed in that setting.  The M.A.C.M. is ideal for bi-vocational and part-time ministers, ministers with undergraduate ministerial education, lay leaders, and professionals from other disciplines seeking to broaden their competencies. The M.A.C.M. does not prepare students to enter a Ph.D., Th.D., or D.Min. progam. If you are pursuing ordination, check with your denomination for degree requirements.



2018 Fall Priority Admissions & Scholarship Deadline is January 15, 2018.*

2017 Fall Final Application Deadline is June 1, 2017.

2018 Spring Admissions & Scholarship Deadline is October 1, 2017.

2018 Spring Final Application Deadline is November 15, 2017.


* While admission is rolling, scholarships are limited. However, there may be remaining funding after the priority deadline some years. In this event, eligible applicants who submit their full application after the priority deadline are offered scholarships on a first come basis.


Masters and Certificate applicants for admission to the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University are required to have a regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a liberal arts core or proof of an equivalent degree from a foreign university. Doctoral applicants are required to have a regionally accredited M.Div. or equivalent. Admission will be based on your total application (GPA, personal information you supply including resume, essays, commitment to Christian ministry, letters of recommendation, interview, test scores, and background check). Ultimate approval of admission is given by the Dean. 

For individuals who do not currently possess a bachelor's degree, but who want to work towards a Masters in theological study, Mercer offers pre-theology education through the College of Liberal Arts in Macon and through Penfield College in Atlanta. For more information about these programs, contact Mercer's Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Masters Application Process

We are glad you are interested in applying to McAfee. Below are the requirements for applying. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

  1. Biographical Information - (can be submitted online through this link)

  2. Resume - (Including Church Positions and Service, Secular Occupations, Community Involvement, Academic Honors, and Research, Civic, or Leadership Awards)

  3. Official Transcripts from all higher educational institutions previously attended

  4. Background check* - Background check to be filed online at Castle Branch, or call 1-888-666-7788 for more information. Please allow up to 2 weeks for us to receive the report. The package cost is $33.50, which must be ordered and purchased directly online by the applicant. The admissions office will supply the appropriate step-by-step directions on how to complete the background check. Please download instructions to order your background check and have it sent to the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University.

  5. $50.00 application fee

  6. Autobiographical essay - (In 1200-1500 words speak to the following four questions: Give an account of your Christian pilgrimage. Tell the story of your personal commitment and call to ministry. What factors have led you to apply to McAfee School of Theology for your theological training? What are your ministry goals (the kind of ministries you envision for yourself)?)

  7. Three Letters of Recommendation (one from each of the following:)

    1. Pastor

    2. Church Leader

    3. Professor / Supervisor

  8. Writing Sample of 500-750 words (can be excerpt) of an academic paper on any topic. Please include bibliography and in text citations or footnotes.

  9. Admissions Interview - the interview is the most important part of the application process. Application, essays, and background check must be submitted prior to the interview. We will be in touch with you about setting up a time.

*In order to fulfill contracts with our seminary partners, McAfee School of Theology now requires that all McAfee applications undergo a criminal background check. Admission into McAfee is pending receipt of a background check report from Applicants are responsible for ordering and purchasing their own background check directly online.

  • Each applicant must authorize McAfee School of Theology to obtain a background check in order to satisfy the admission requirements.

  • The only exclusion to the background check will be special exceptions made for International Students who are in the process of obtaining, or have obtained the F-1 visa. This exception is monitored by the Admissions Office, which has the right to administer the exemption as necessary.

  • Failure to undergo the background check will result in exclusion from admission consideration. If criminal behavior is detected in the background check, the student may not be admitted to McAfee School of Theology. Students may appeal the decision and will have the opportunity to present information to dispute the background check.

Nondiscrimination Policy

Mercer University is committed to providing equal educational programs or activities, and equal employment opportunities to all qualified students, employees, and applicants without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, age, or religion, as a matter of University policy and as required by applicable state and federal laws, including Title IX. Inquiries concerning this policy may be directed to the Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator, Human Resources Office, 1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, Georgia 31207, phone 478-301-2788 or contact, or in cases of Title IX concerns, these concerns may be referred to the Office of Civil Rights.

Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

What does it cost to attend McAfee?

Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology is a private school with very affordable tuition. Students pay between $390 and $410 per credit hour and this rate is reduced from $910 per credit hour due to generous contributions from supporting churches and organizations. Many students receive additional tuition discounts from their state and national denominations.

What kind of financial aid is available for divinity students?

All of our students receive financial assistance. This ranges from the tuition grant described above to full-tuition scholarships plus living expenses. McAfee hosts two scholarship events in the Fall and Spring. We also assist students in applying for private organization scholarships, grants, and federal programs.

More information can be found on our Financial Aid web page.

What kinds of things do students go on to do after graduation?

McAfee has an excellent academic reputation. Our graduates are working in churches, colleges, seminaries, non-profit organizations, and missions. They serve in every church position imaginable. We have students working on Ph.D.s in top tier programs around the world and serving as chaplains in hospice, hospitals, and the U.S. armed forces. We have dedicated staff helping students transition from seminary life to their professional ministerial career.

Does McAfee have a denominational affiliation?

Yes, we are a Baptist seminary and a graduate program of the oldest Baptist university in Georgia. We also hold associations with many different Baptist organizations and churches. Our accreditation is under the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship denominational title.  You can also read more about our mission and founding principles. About seventy-five percent of our students are affiliated with 15 different Baptist denominations. We also have students representing twenty-one additional denominations such as Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, AME, CME, Anglican, Nazarene, Church of God, COGIC, and Episcopalian.

Where do people live while attending seminary?

We have on-campus housing and many students also live off campus. There are apartments within walking distance and several within just a mile or two. During spring and summer our admissions office will assist you in connecting with other students as roommates.

Read more about on-campus housing possibilities

Read about off-campus housing possibilities

What if I don’t have a religion or Christianity undergraduate degree?

As long as you have a bachelor’s degree with a “liberal arts core” from a regionally accredited college or university you will be fine.

What if I have a religion or Christianity undergraduate degree?

Students with previous academic training in religion may seek advanced placement standing.

What is advanced placement?

Our desire is to create a curriculum that enhances and deepens the knowledge-base you've established in undergrad. Our curriculum is set-up with Foundation Courses - Prescribed Electives and Free Electives. If you have a B or better in at least two undergraduate courses that fit with any of our Foundation courses, the Associate Dean will review your transcript and will allow you to attempt to place out of a foundational course. In some cases (Biblical languages), you have to actually take a test. In others, (OT, NT, etc.) you may submit a syllabus for that class. 

  • You do not receive seminary credit for these courses, but you get to replace a Foundations course with an additional prescribed elective.
  • Each person that approaches advanced placement is unique. We will work specifically with you and examine your transcripts and allow you to test out of as many classes as makes sense to you and your educational hopes.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The Master of Divinity is a 90 hour degree. Most students complete it in three years. The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is 48 hours and can be completed in two years. Students have up to 8 years to complete the M.Div. and 6 years to complete the M.A.C.M.

What's the difference between the 90 hour degree and the 48 hour master's programs?

The M.Div. is the classic gold standard for practicing ordained ministers, the M.A.C.M. is ideal for bi-vocational and part-time ministers, ministers with undergraduate ministerial education, lay leaders, and professionals from other disciplines seeking to broaden their competencies. The M.A.C.M. does not prepare students to enter the Ph.D., Th.D., or D.Min. Also, most denominations require an M.Div. for ordination. Because the M.A.C.M. consists of fewer hours, it is less expensive, overall. Students enrolled in the M.A.C.M. can transfer credits to the M.Div. if they decide before graduating they would like to earn the M.Div. degree.

What kinds of jobs are available for students while at McAfee?

One of the advantages of being in Atlanta is the number of places to work. Students work in area churches, on campus, coffee houses, restaurants, etc. We assist in placing students in church related jobs.

Are you located in downtown Atlanta?

No, we are about nine miles northeast of downtown. Our campus is just inside interstate 285 where it crosses Interstate 85. Surrounded on three sides by protected woodlands, the Mercer Atlanta campus is a quiet place to study and live.

Does McAfee offer online or correspondence courses?

Our D.Min. program is mainly an independent or distance learning program which only requires 2-3 weeks in residence per year during the summer. Our Masters and Certificate programs offer some classes online. 

What about taking classes at other schools?

We may consider transfer credit (only B’s or better, within the time limits, and up to 21 hours for the M.Div. and 9 hours for the M.A.C.M.) from other seminaries that are both regionally and (for the theological core) ATS accredited. After admission, the Associate Dean reviews your official transcripts to determine which classes transfer. While at McAfee, you may cross-register and take elective classes at our consortium member schools: Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology, and the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC).

What is the difference between a “Seminary” and a “School of Theology?"

Generally speaking they are the same thing. We usually refer to a stand alone school as a “seminary” and a school associated with a university as a “divinity school" or "school of theology." In both cases, students are considered “seminary” students.

What are the other student like at McAfee?

Our student body is evenly divided between males and females. In addition to our denominational diversity, we are an ethnically diverse learning community with African American, Hispanic, Asian, and international students making up over fifty percent of the student body. Students come from evangelical and mainline protestant backgrounds and embody a heightened sense of social justice and a holistic view of evangelism and mission. 


If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us:

Office of Admissions
McAfee School of Theology
Mercer University
3001 Mercer University Drive
Atlanta, GA 30341-4115

(678) 547-6474
Fax: (678) 547-6478

Our admissions staff understands the importance of being servant leaders and seek to help guide students through the sometimes challenging admissions process. So if you have questions, concerns, thoughts, ideas, or just need to talk about vocational options, know we are here to help. We would love the opportunity to get to know you, answer your questions, and invite you to visit our beautiful campus located just 10 minutes north of downtown Atlanta. To speak with one of them directly, follow the links below:


Nikki Carroll Hardeman
Director of Admissions,

(678) 547-6357

Kate Riney
Associate Director of Admissions,

(678) 547-6451

Natalie King
Enrollment Associate,

(678) 547-6474


Program Curriculum


Course Name                                                                                                      Course #           Credits  

Religious Heritage: 12 hours                                                                                                       

1. Foundations in Old Testament or *Advanced elective in OT                    THOT 500 or ______   3 

2. Foundations in New Testament or *Advanced elective in NT                  THNT 500 or ______  3 

3. Foundations in Church History or *Advanced elective in CH                    THCH 500 or ______  3

4. Foundations in Theology or *Advanced elective in TP                               THTP 500 or ______  3  

Cultural Context: 9 hours

5. Intro to Theological Thinking & Writing                                                         THEO 501                   3

6. Missional Theology                                                                                           THGU 500                  3

7. Course focusing on class, race, ethnicity, gender,                                        __________                  3

     and/or religious diversity


Personal and Spiritual Formation: 9 hours

8. Spiritual Formation                                                                                             THSP 501                 3

9. Ethics or *Advanced elective in ET                                                                  THET 500 or _____   3

10. Course focusing on personal faith, emotional maturity, moral integrity,                        _____   3

        and/or public witness (see Handbook)


Specialization (including supervised experience): 9 hours

11. Contextual Ministry or Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)**          THLD 501 or THPC 601**  3

12. CPE continued** or course focusing on the practice of ministry                         __________     3
(Preaching, Worship, Pastoral Care, Faith Development, or Community Engaged Ministry)              

13. Course focusing on the practice of ministry                                                            __________     3
(Preaching, Worship, Pastoral Care, Faith Development, or Community Engaged Ministry)                                                  


Electives:  9 hours                                          


Total Hours for M.A.C.M: 48

*Requires prior approval through submission of Advanced Placement Form.

**CPE is a six-hour course.

***The M.A.C.M. degree program is designed as a two-year program with a maximum of twelve (12) credit hours per semester (Fall/Spring).  The online degree option is designed as a three-year program, with a maximum of six (6) credit hours per term, Fall/Spring/Summer.