Discover Avondale University

Master of Arts

Why study with us?

The Master of Arts (MA) equips Christian leaders for greater effectiveness in their ministry within a church, school, hospital, or the wider community.

The course engages students in new knowledge and advanced understanding in ministerial and theological studies, evidence-based perspectives on specialised issues, ideas and concepts for professional practice, and the application of research to new contexts and ministries.

This course is offered with a specialisation in one of:

  • Pastoral Leadership
  • Chaplaincy Studies
  • Theology/Biblical Studies, or
  • Youth and Family Ministry.

Key Information

Study Mode:
Mixed mode
Avondale Campus - Lake Macquarie
Full-time: 1.5 years, Part-time: Equivalent years
Course Code:

Course Details

Upon successful completion of the Master of Arts, graduates will be able to:
  • Critically engage with a body of knowledge in a way that demonstrates an advanced understanding and application of recent developments in Ministry Studies or Theological Studies;
  • Create evidence-based perspectives on specialised issues in Ministry Studies or Theological Studies by engaging the academic literature, evaluating alternative accounts and drawing reasoned conclusions;
  • evaluate and generate complex ideas and concepts that are grounded in professional practice using cognitive, technical and creative skills.
  • Effectively disseminate research outcomes to a variety of audiences using highly developed communication skills;
  • Demonstrate emotional and cultural intelligence in relation to new contexts and issues encountered in theological readings and the professional practice of ministry.

To qualify for admission, an applicant must have achieved:

  • an Australian Bachelor of Ministry and/or Theology or equivalent, or
  • Avondale’s Graduate Certificate in Arts, or
  • an overseas ministry or theology qualification comparable to an Australian Bachelor’s degree or higher.

Applicants opting for the Youth & Family Ministry or Chaplaincy specialisation may have completed a Bachelor in Chaplaincy with a major in Theology, or a Bachelor of Education or Teaching with a major in Religious Studies as approved by the Course Convenor.

In exceptional circumstances an applicant may be admitted based on qualifications deemed equivalent as assessed by the Course Convenor in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

This course has additional entry requirements which are listed below:

  1. A minimum of two years of ministry or chaplaincy experience and current (or recent) employment in the field.
  2. A written summary of ministry experience (Pastoral Leadership or Theology/Biblical Studies Specialisation), or chaplaincy experience (Chaplaincy Studies Specialisation), or youth/family ministry experience (Youth and Family Ministry Specialisation) and reasons for wanting to enter this course (250 words).

International Students

This course is available online to international students residing outside Australia. Students must be able to obtain an appropriate visa to visit Australia for the compulsory on-campus intensive study period. The course is not available to international students residing in Australia. For information regarding visas refer to

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose primary language is not English, must demonstrate English language proficiency through one of the following:

  1. achieving an overall IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no sub-band less than 6.0, or
  2. one of the other ways outlined in Appendix 2 of the Admission Policy (HE), or
  3. documentary evidence of a prior qualification (or at least two years of tertiary study) conducted and assessed in English in a recognised country^ and completed within the last two years.

^Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, or the United States of America.

Advanced Standing

Applicants who have completed prior study may be eligible for advanced standing (credit recognition). Applicants should discuss their eligibility for advanced standing with the Admissions Team or the Course Convenor.

The Master of Arts (MA) consists of 12 units and requires 72 credit points for completion. All units are worth 6 credit points unless otherwise stated.

  • This course is not offered full-time.
  • Students generally complete three units per year over four years in a part-time program.
  • Not all units or all specialisations are available every year. Course Convenor guidance regarding units and unit availability is highly recommended.

The 12 units required to complete the course are:

  • Three core units (compulsory); and
  • Five specialisation units (all students must select a specialisation); and
  • ONE of the following options:
  1. Four electives.
  2. Two electives, one research methods unit, and one research project unit ~ THRE51000 Research Project (six credit points).
  3. One research methods unit, and one extended research project unit ~ THRE52000 Extended Research Project (18 credit points).

Core units

Students complete all of:

CMIN51100Graduate Studies in Biblical Spirituality
THBB56600Theology, Theory & Practice of Leadership for Ministry
CMIN52110Discipleship & Disciple-making – Meaning, Context & Application


Students complete all five units within their specialisation. See the ‘Specialisation unit lists’ below.

Elective units

Elective units may be selected from any Master’s course offered at Avondale. Course Convenor guidance is recommended.

Research units

The six credit point research project consists of 5000 words.

The 18 credit point research project consists of 15000 words.

Those students who complete the 18 credit point Extended Research Project may go on to study a professional doctorate e.g. Doctor of Ministry or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Specialisation lists

Pastoral Leadership

THBB54100Perspectives on Luke-Acts
THBB56500Theology of Mission
THBB57000Theological Framework for Pastoral Leadership
CMIN53100Church Planting in Biblical & Contemporary Perspective
CMIN56110Mission into Pluralistic Societies

Chaplaincy Studies

CHPL41500Fundamentals of Counselling for Chaplains
CHPL45100Therapeutic Communication for Chaplains
CHPL45130Ethics, Diversity & Spiritual Integration for Chaplains
CMIN56500Clinical Pastoral Education 1
THBB56900Theological Framework for Chaplaincy Studies

Theology/Biblical Studies

THBB50800Principles & Methods of Theology
THBB51000Issues in Contemporary Theology
THBB52700Motifs in Adventism
THBB53200Recent Approaches to the Parables of Jesus
THBB54100Perspectives on Luke-Acts

Youth & Family Ministry

CMIN50300Advanced Lifespan Development for Ministry
CMIN56100Selected Issues in Youth Ministry
CMIN56400Youth Ministry in the Setting of Contemporary Culture
CMIN57000Selected Issues in Family Ministry
CMIN57600Intergenerational Family Ministry

Students can exit this course with:

  • a Graduate Certificate in Arts on successful completion of any four units; or
  • a Graduate Diploma in Arts on successful completion of any eight units.

To find out more about any of the units listed here, copy the unit code and then search for that unit here.

To view unit information, note the unit code and search for the unit in  Unit Outlines.

CMIN56500 Clinical Pastoral Education 1 includes 400 hours of approved clinical work. There is no work integrated learning requirement for any other units in this course.

The New South Wales College of Clinical Pastoral Education accredits the units of clinical pastoral education.

Career Opportunities

The Master of Arts provides continuing career advancement for pastors and chaplains.

apartmentpencillicensebookmarkchevron-downcheckmark-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram