Master of Applied Theology

LEVEL 9   |   120, 180, 240 CREDITS   |   1-2 YEARS FULL-TIME (part-time available)

STUDY OPTIONS: Onsite, Online, Distance


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Programme Outline

Do you love learning and want to explore theology to a higher level? Do you want to engage in focused research that addresses questions important to you and your context? Or are you looking for an academic pathway to doctoral study? Then enrol in our Masters of Applied Theology. Climb higher, see further and resource the church for the sake of Jesus and his ministry in this world.

The Master of Applied Theology is for pastors and other Christian ministry and missional practitioners who have high levels of curriculum knowledge, research skills and leadership capacity. It also serves as a pathway to advanced masters or doctoral study through one of our partner institutions, Otago University and AUT.

“Our Masters degree is a chance for you to go deep into a research question that is important in your ministry context. If you are interested in joining us, we’d love to talk with you more about how we can walk alongside you to do research that really matters.”

Dr Christa McKirland, Lecturer, Carey Graduate School

Programme Structure

There are three different entry points into the Master’s programme depending on prior qualifications and experience:

    • The 240 credit Masters is the normal starting point for those with an undergraduate theology qualification.
    • The 180 credit entry point may be suitable for those with an undergraduate qualification AND with significant Christian ministry leadership experience, allowing a shorter pathway to the Masters.
    • The 120 credit, thesis-only entry may be the best option for those with a postgraduate theology qualification (which must include an appropriate course in research methods).

For the 180 and 240 Credit Options, the programme comprises:

MA801 Research Methods in Applied Theology

This course guides participants through a process of surveying an area of interest, identifying, and refining a specific question that they want to answer, and considering which of a range of research approaches and methods would best serve their purpose. By the conclusion of the course each student will have designed a research project and presented it in the form of a full Research Proposal. The participants support each other through the course as they develop as researchers and discover both the excitement and the challenges of research as discipleship and service.

(30 credits)

And courses from the Postgraduate course selection:

MA805 Inner Healing

This course offers a theological and psychological study of the theory, practice, and implications of Christian inner healing. It is founded on the belief that Jesus liberates persons from a broad range of psychological, emotional, relational, and spiritual wounds. The course is designed to ground students in the theory of Christian inner healing, as well as deepen the understanding of those already involved in this important ministry.

(30 credits)

MA812 Leadership: Divine and Human

This course considers the life and written work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who has been variously described as theologian, pastor, pastor-theologian, writer, activist, pacifist and martyr. In the face of such diversity we attend to the continuities in Bonhoeffer’s thought and practice. More specifically, this course will posit a personal quest undertaken by Bonhoeffer to understand the plight of ego and power and their solution in the notion of discipleship and freedom.

Further, this Course brings Dietrich Bonhoeffer into conversation with Bill Hybels, the former pastor and leader of Willow Creek. Willow Creek proves to be a valuable case study in which issues of ego and power surface. It is important to understand them rightly and posit how Bonhoeffer’s thought and practice provides a needed corrective.

(30 credits)

MA821 Research Essay

The Research Essay provides students with an opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of a topic or issue in Applied Theology under the guidance of a supervisor. The topic will normally be in an area that the student wishes to explore but is outside the scope of available courses in the academic programme. The student will acquire specialist knowledge of a specific field of Applied Theological study and develop skills in research, the evaluation of evidence and the articulation of ideas.

The Research Essay is a maximum length of 12,000 words including footnotes and excluding bibliography.

(30 credits)

MA823 Special Topic: Human Flourishing

God epitomizes the flourishing life within Godself. Further, God creates the cosmos out of the sheer abundance of God’s goodness and plenitude, not because God needs to create, but in some sense, God wants to create. In creating, God orders the creation toward its full flourishing. This course will focus especially on human flourishing, assuming this is what God intends for humankind. In order to inform what is meant by flourishing, we will look at biblical and theological perspectives on the flourishing life. While these are critical sources for understanding God’s intentions, we also have other resources that can complement them. Specifically, this course will look at cognitive science of religion, social psychology, and positive psychology. We will look at approaches to integrating these disciplines and the ways each discipline can enrich the others, especially when applied to specific questions and concerns from human experience.

(30 credits)

MA826 Kingdom Economics

The full impact of COVID-19 upon global and local economies is not yet known, but we do know it will have a significant financial impact upon churches, organisations and nations. This course will provide a rigorous exploration of Old and New Testament biblical texts that address theological economics, and explore a selection of contemporary economic theories, in order to shape our imaginations for economic decision making. We will also sit at the table with Christian leaders and entrepreneurs to learn from those who lead creatively and courageously. The aim is to resource you and your church to form creative and courageous responses to the current crisis.

(30 credits)

MA827 Theology, Race and Church

The rise of the #blacklivesmatter movement and protests about racism around the world raise important issues for theology and the church, not least because of the church’s entanglement in the construction of the modern racial condition. This course examines historical and contemporary misappropriations of theology in the development of current racial issues, and explores the biblical and theological possibilities for a gospel-centred account of the church’s anti-racial witness to God’s kingdom. The aim is to understand contemporary global and national issues, and examine possibilities for the church’s faithful witness to God in the face of racism.

(30 credits)

MA828 Discipleship and Gospel Transformation

It is often said that if you get the gospel wrong, you get everything wrong. In conversation with N.T. Wright we will ask: What, then, is the gospel? Likewise, in conversation with Dietrich Bonhoeffer we will be asking: What are the measures of discipleship? And in conversation with John Wesley we will ask: How then can we design churches to produce people who embody kingdom holiness, where holiness is in part love of neighbour and neighbourhood? The aim is to retool Christian leaders, churches and their wider communities for the revolution that Jesus began.

(30 credits)

MA829 Public Theology and the Church

Public theology is “the church reflectively engaging with those within and outside its institutions on issues of common interest and for the common good” (Day and Kim). This course explores the church’s biblical, theological, and historical resources for the task of public theology and public witness to the gospel. We will critically examine models of public theology and a range of cases studies that will equip us to engage theologically with contemporary issues in society. Students will examine current social issues such as climate change, extremism and terrorism, sexual abuse, racism, modern slavery, and COVID-19 and produce theological responses that serve the church and the public good.

(30 credits)


MA901 Thesis 90 credits


MA902 Thesis 120 credits

To see which courses are currently available, check this year’s timetable.

Graduate Outcomes

Upon completion graduates will be able to demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Ability to critique scholarly publications in Applied Theology
  • Demonstrate critical skills in the interpretation of Biblical texts, demonstrating sound theological evaluations.
  • Critically reflect on current societal issues from informed Biblical and theological perspectives.
  • Critically evaluate contexts and identify strengths, weaknesses and suggest possible ways forward to better meet the needs of communities.
  • Work collaboratively with (and within) communities to achieve learning and research outcomes.

Entry Requirements

Admission to the Master of Applied Theology is open to full-time and part-time New Zealand students and full-time International students.

General Admission

An applicant will normally have completed one of the following:

  • a recognised undergraduate degree in theology or Christian ministry with a grade point average of B in courses of the undergraduate
    programme at Levels 6 and 7 (or equivalent) or,
  • a professional or other qualification which, in the judgement of the Academic Director, can be recognised as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in theology or Christian ministry.

An applicant who does not meet these requirements but who has completed a recognised undergraduate degree in a discipline other than theology or Christian ministry may be admitted as a candidate following successful completion of a bridging programme of study as determined by the Academic Director.

For special admission and International student admission requirements (including English language) view the Academic Regulations and Calendar.

Transfer from other Programmes

Students who have completed courses at other institutions may be eligible for cross-credits or recognition of current competency.


Fees are inclusive of 15% GST, but do not include the Student Services Fee, course books, travel and health insurance, or living costs. In addition to the tuition fees, there is a Student Services Fee of $100 per 30 credit course.

Domestic Student $2040.00 per 30 credit course
International Student $5376.00 per 30 credit course
Audit (interest only, not for credit) $640.00 per 30 credit course

Postgraduate Prospectus Cover_2023

Key Information for Students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.

Photo of Ken Keyte for quote

“Ten years into pastoring, I wanted to upskill theologically. Part-time postgraduate study at Carey fanned into flame my love of scripture, and of applying it to pastoral leadership.

While studying, I discovered Michael Gorman’s work on cruciformity, which has transformed my ministry into a practice based on four patterns: faithful obedience, self-giving love, power through weakness, and transformative hope. My studies with Carey gave me this cross-shaped framework to base my ministry upon.”

– Ken Keyte, Graduate, Master of Applied Theology

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