The online Master of Arts in Theology and Leadership (MATL) program deeply engages students in the Christian theological tradition while empowering them to become effective leaders in their communities.
The MATL program forms leaders equipped to serve in a variety of community and ecclesial positions. Whether students are already in a ministry or mission-oriented position, are interested in moving into this type of vocation, or just want to understand the spiritual dimensions of professional life in a theological way, the Master of Arts in Theology and Leadership brings theological reflection and leadership formation together in a unique educational experience.
This program develops the expertise required of leaders in mission and ministry fields. It is therefore ideally suited to those:
- Already involved in ministries.
- Seeking employment in ministry.
- Interested in theological education and leadership formation in other fields.
- Intending to pursue doctoral studies in related fields.
The M.A. in Theology and Leadership Program is now offering scholarships for new students. For more information about these scholarships please inquire with the admissions department at 1-866-380-5323.
Students completing the M.A. in Theology and Leadership will be able to:
- Read and interpret sacred texts and theological arguments in light of their historical and cultural contexts
- Translate major theological themes into contemporary contexts
- Analyze theological arguments using foundational, methodological, and hermeneutical tools
- Understand and analyze organizational behavior and leadership models
- Integrate Ignatian spirituality in theological education and leadership formation
The Master of Arts in Theology and Leadership program promotes the Jesuit value of cura personalis, or care of the whole person. Therefore, in addition to the intellectual development supported by the substantial theology curriculum, students are encouraged to grow spiritually and emotionally. Through their residency experiences and the MATL’s virtual campus ministry, students will have ample opportunities to develop a spiritual practice grounded in the Ignatian tradition.
Following the Jesuit concern for forming persons who strive to care for the world and all of its inhabitants, the MATL curriculum integrates four themes related to core Ignatian values – leadership, social justice, intercultural communication and reconciliation. These themes run across the curriculum
Students take courses in scripture, systematic theology, moral theology, church history, and Ignatian spirituality, and our two special topic electives courses tailored around their personal interests. Topics students might explore in these courses include: wisdom literature, the bible in popular culture, interreligious dialogue, ecumenism, religious education, environmental ethics, bioethics, peacemaking, pastoral ministry, sacraments and liturgy, among others.
Successful mission and ministry leadership depends on understanding organizational behavior and models of leadership. The MATL program collaborates with Gonzaga’s M.A. in Organizational Leadership program (which has been forming leaders in the corporate, government, non-profit, and community sectors for years) to offer students courses in organizational theory and leadership studies. Through Organizational Leadership courses, MATL students develop skills that empower them to effectively serve others as leaders in complex organizations.
By complementing theological education with leadership formation, the MATL program benefits those interested in leadership positions in:
- Primary and secondary schools
- Colleges and universities
- Charitable organizations
- Advocacy groups
The MATL program offers both flexibility and community by creating a cohort of learners who support and nourish each other through the program. Since coursework is completed primarily online, the program offers significant flexibility to balance education, professional, and family life. Students also come together to participate in two intensive residency experiences at the Gonzaga campus in beautiful Spokane, Washington. These events allow students an opportunity to connect with each other and the larger Gonzaga community.
The on-site experiences include a three-day orientation retreat at the beginning of the program and the Theology and Leadership Institute, a week-long event during which students participate in mission and ministry leadership seminars with experienced practitioners in a variety of mission and ministry fields. Both residency experiences include time for communal prayer and fellowship.
The MATL program builds on the foundations of Ignatian pedagogy and spirituality. The integrated core curriculum is grounded in the elements of Ignatian pedagogy: context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation. This pedagogical model asks students to become active, critical learners by being attentive to their own questions, and encourages them to value the social dimension of learning by being open to dialogue with others. This program offers a student-centered, integrative learning experience grounded in the four-hundred-year-old Ignatian tradition, but with the added flexibility provided by twenty-first century online education.
Ignatian spirituality nurtures self-awareness through exercises of discernment and attention to the movement of grace in one’s life. All students take a course in Ignatian Spirituality as part of the MATL’s core curriculum. Ignatian spiritual practices shape the summer residency experiences including the Christian Leadership core course and the leadership seminars. The themes of social justice, intercultural communication, and reconciliation are interwoven throughout the coursework. These themes orient the core curriculum around the mission and values of Gonzaga University and the Department of Religious Studies, and respond to the decrees of the most recent General Congregation of the Society of Jesus.
The MATL program core curriculum includes courses in scripture, history, systematic theology, ethics, practical theology, and leadership.
What sets Gonzaga apart?
- The core curriculum provides students with a strong base in biblical and theological studies. This foundation benefits students pursuing ordination in Christian traditions, those intending to continue in graduate theological education, including doctoral studies in theology and related fields, and those exercising leadership in a variety of ministries.
- The Theology core emphasizes integrative learning across the curriculum so that students develop the skills to engage intelligently and responsibly in theological conversations as leaders in their ministries.
- The core curriculum explores theological questions in dialogue with leadership studies to help students connect theological reflection to the practical questions of leadership in their chosen professions.