Master of Arts in Religious Education

The NYTS Master of Arts in Religious Education (MARE) is a 48-credit graduate degree designed to prepare men and women to administer and lead educational programs in churches, religious institutions, and other academic settings. The program seeks to integrate several academic disciplines in a manner that contributes to the best educational practices in the field of religious education. It includes foundational work in Bible, history and theology designed to enable students to develop a deeper understanding of their own historical and theological identity; and introductory and advanced course work in religious education that teaches specific skills while allowing students to deepen their understanding of the educational, cultural, and religious context in which they will serve. Courses in religious education focus on the art of teaching; historic models and contemporary methodologies germane to religious education; and programmatic development. Graduates of the MARE can expect to have a thorough understanding of the foundations necessary to build and sustain an educational ministry within a congregation or other institutional setting and to be able to go on to do more advanced work in the field.

Students in the MARE are required to attend two overnight retreats each year along with others in other Master’s degree programs (attendance at the retreats is incorporated into the requirements for Introduction to Theological Education). They are also invited and encouraged to take part in other various activities organized and led by the Student Association throughout the course of the year. MARE students must complete a year-long practicum in which they will be placed in a supervised field setting under a qualified supervisor that is appropriate for their degree program. Students are normally not given a stipend from the site where their placement is located.

Classes in the MARE are held mostly in the evenings at The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive in New York. Students have access to the library system of Columbia University, which includes the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary. All students will be trained in online learning in order to make use of MOODLE, the NYTS online learning system.


Admission requirements

The MARE is open to women and men who:

  • possess a BA, BS, or equivalent undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year college (applicants holding degrees or diplomas from another country may be required to provide a translated copy and to provide further information to help the admissions committee determine equivalency).
  • demonstrate evidence of an ability to do graduate level study, primarily assessed through the written answers to the application essay questions and through recommendations.
  • are able to articulate in a manner that is appropriate to their own experience and faith tradition an understanding of their call to serve in the specialized area of religious education.
  • currently belong to a community of faith that recognizes or expects the applicant to exercise his or her calling to religious education; or be willing to work within such a community of faith, exercising her or his calling to religious education.


Application, acceptance, and enrollment

NYTS has a rolling application process. Applications are received at any time during the year and reviewed as soon as possible thereafter, usually within one month. In order to be considered, the application must be complete, including a photo, the application fee, required essays, transcripts, data sheet, and recommendations. Following the receipt of a completed application, an interview is scheduled with the Director of Religious Education Programs or another member of the faculty.

Upon acceptance, a student may enroll for classes beginning with the next scheduled semester or intensive period. Normally students who are accepted into the MARE enroll in the first-year sequence of courses that begins in the fall semester with Introduction to Theological Education. Students who begin the MARE program in the winter, spring or summer enter as unclassified and can take elective courses until the fall semester when they matriculate and become part of the first year class.

For further information, contact:
Director of Religious Education Programs
New York Theological Seminary
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500
New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-1211


The curriculum

The MARE is a 48-credit degree designed to be completed in a minimum of two years; 32 are for required courses and 16 are considered electives.

The 32 required credits include 12 credits that are for coursework specifically in the area of religious education (Introduction to Religious Education, History and Philosophy of Religious Education, Practicum with Capstone). The remaining 20 credits are distributed across the other disciplines of theological learning as follows: 10 credits for Bible (First Testament, Exegesis, Second Testament); 4 credits for Introduction to Theology; 4 credits for Modern Church History; and 2 credits for Introduction to Theological Education, a year-long course that combines spiritual and academic formation in learning. Students can expect all required courses to be offered each year.

Of the remaining 16 credits that are considered electives, 12 credits must be for courses that are specifically in the field of religious education (look for the second or third letter “E” in the course code that accompanies course titles) while 4 are considered free elective credits (free elective can be in additional work in religious education). Elective courses are also offered in each of the summer months, and in January. Students seeking to complete the MARE in two years should plan on taking courses in the summer of the first year, and in both January periods.

Among the electives that are planned in 2015-2018 are:

  • Educating and Leading a Multicultural Learning Organization
  • Curriculum Design and Religious Education
  • Strategies for Effective Teaching
  • Developmental Perspectives in Religious Education
  • Religious Education in a Multifaith Context
  • Educating for Justice and Transformation
  • Religious Education in Korean Church Perspective (in Korean)
  • Resources for Education in the Spanish-speaking Congregation (in Spanish)

Note: All courses are not guaranteed to be offered in the period proscribed.


Master Of Arts in Religious Education (MARE) Curriculum Design
All Year Fall Winterim Spring Summer

Year A ☆Introduction to Theological Education
☆First Testament

☆Introduction to Religious Education

☆Exegesis Practicum
☆Second Testament(4)

Philosophy & History of Religious Education


June (2/3)

July (3)

August (3)

Year B ☆Practicum & Capstone:
Fall & Spring
(2 & 2)
☆Introduction to Theology



☆Modern Church History


☆ indicates required course for M.A. degree for NYTS


Suggested schedule of classes for completing the MARE degree in 2 years

48 credits needed to graduate:

20 Required Credits – Theological Studies other than Religious Education

Introduction to Theological Education (2 credits)
First Testament (4 credits)
Exegesis (2 credits)
Second Testament (4 credits)
Introduction to Theology (4 credits)
Modern Church History (4 credits)

12 Required Credits – Religious Education

Introduction to Religious Education (4 credits)
History and Philosophy of Religious Education (4 credits)
Practicum with Capstone (2 cr each semester) (4 credits)

12 additional elective credits in Religious Education (12 credits)

4 free elective credits (4 credits)

Total for MARE degree: 48 credits


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