Master of Applied Theology

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

STUDY OPTIONS: On-site & 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, Acting Director, 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 (30 credits)
Dr George Wieland
Carey’s research methods course encourages self-reflexivity in order to understand your impact as the researcher while you shape a research project applied to a real-world issue of importance to you. The class will engage with a wide range of research practitioners, learning from their experience and together critically examining research methods across the traditional Christian disciplines and their intersection with related disciplines.

And courses from the Postrgraduate course selection
2022 courses on offer include*:

MA805 Inner Healing (30 credits)
Dr Phil Halstead
This course is a theological and psychological study of the theory, practice, and implications of Christian inner healing 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.

MA812 Leadership: Divine and Human (30 credits
Dr Mick Duncan
This is a course on leadership that explores issues of ego and power in Christian ministry and mission. We will bring the wisdom and work of Deitrich Bonhoeffer into conversation with the story of Willowcreek church & Riverside church (Amy Butler) and our context today. This conversation will also feature the recent work on the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.

MA823 Special Topic (Theology): Human Flourishing (30 credits)
Dr Christa McKirland & Dr Rebecca Webb
This course will focus on human flourishing, assuming this is what God intends for humankind. We 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. 

MA829 Public Theology and the Church (30 credits
Dr Andrew Picard & Dr Michael Rhodes
This course explores the church’s biblical, theological, and historical resources for the task of public theology and public witness to the gospel. 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.


MA901 Thesis 90 credits


MA902 Thesis 120 credits

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 $1984.00 per 30 credit course
International Student $5120.00 per 30 credit course
Audit (interest only, not for credit) $640.00 per 30 credit course
Research Conference* $120.00 per registration

* The Research Conference is compulsory for those taking the Human Flourishing 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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