Master of Arts in

Black Church Studies

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Make a Difference in Your Community

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Have you ever felt called to make a lasting impact on Black communities of faith? Are you considering theological education as your next step? Serving local communities with Gospel Ministry can be challenging. You want rich theological training and relational ministry preparation that is relevant to the Black experience. You want to learn from scholars in the field who have pursued justice and compassion throughout their lives and are eager to equip your generation.

Our program prepares you to become a scholar, church practitioner and fully-equipped leader. You will have the opportunity to study with top Black Church scholars who are nationally recognized for preaching, civil rights, ethics, wealth and poverty, and more. Your instructors will introduce you to the best resources, research, and scholarship in the field using actionable coursework you can apply to your local context. Course instructors include Rev. Dr. William H. Myers, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickel, Rev. Dr. Walter Earl Fluker, and Rev. Dr. R. Drew Smith.

What to Expect

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In our degree program, you will experience a mix of coursework including Theology, Bible, Spiritual Formation, Black Church Studies, and electives. You can expect to work in a highly relational classroom to analyze customs and cultures within church and family structures. You will also complete an in-depth study of Scripture in the context of Black History and interpretation. Together, we will examine theology, church history, and the Gospel with attention to the Black experience.

Black Church Studies Coursework

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55 Credit Hours

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The Master of Arts in Black Church Studies (MABCS) degree is designed to equip men and women to be scholars, church practitioners, and competent leaders in congregations and other settings within African American culture.

Having completed the MA in Black Church Studies, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate critical and responsible interpretation and use of Scripture in the Black Church context informed by different interpretive strategies in the Black Church tradition.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding and relevant application of the history of the Black religious’ experience in various contemporary settings.
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding and relevant use of the theology of the Black religious’ experience in various contemporary settings.
  4. Exhibit the skills necessary to engage in ministries of justice, mercy, compassion, and love in Black communities of faith.
  5. Form a vision of ministry in the Black Church that seeks to address individual and systemic injustice in local and global contexts.

Summative Coursework (3 hours)
BCS 7700 Internship in Black Church (1) 1 hours
BCS 7705 Internship in Black Church (2) 2 hours

Spiritual Formation Courses (4 hours)
BCS 5540 Spiritual Formation in the Black Tradition 4 hours

Core Courses (24 hours)
BSG 5501 Engaging Texts and Contexts* 3 hours
CHS 5500 Story of the Christian Faith* 3 hours
CTH 5520 Christian Theology for the Kingdom of God** 3 hours
ETH 5530 Christian Ethics 3 hours
MSS 5501 Kingdom Mission in a Global Community 3 hours
NTS 5511 Introduction to the New Testament 3 hours
OTS 5511 Introduction to the Old Testament (Part 1) 3 hours
OTS 5512 Introduction to the Old Testament (Part 2) 3 hours

Black Church Studies (15 hours)
BCS 5500 Introduction to Black Church Studies 3 hours
BCS 5505 History of the Black Church 3 hours
BCS 5511 Black Theology 3 hours
BCS 5515 African American Biblical Interpretation or BCS 5530 Womanist Hermeneutics and Literature 3 hours
BCS 5527 Dynamics of the Black Church, Black Family & Black Minister 3 hours

Elective Courses (9 hours)
Open Elective 3 hours
Open Elective 3 hours
Open Elective 3 hours

Total Hours
55 hours

*BSG 5501 serves as a pre-requisite for all NTS and OTS courses with the exception of language courses, such as Hebrew and Greek. It is highly recommended that students take this course prior to other courses in Biblical Studies, New Testament or Old Testament (including languages).

*BSG 5501 as well as CHS 5500 are prerequisites for CTH 5520.

**CTH 5520 Christian Theology for the Kingdom of God must be taken prior to ETH 5530 Christian Ethics.

Click here to download a PDF of required courses.

You can complete your Black Church Studies coursework online or in-person using any combination of the following modalities:

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Attend class live from your location when you connect virtually through a Traditional Access class.

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Complete weekly coursework independently online and engage with your professor and peers regularly.

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Complete weekly coursework on-demand and join scheduled meetings online with your professor and peers.

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Attend class in person less than 50% of the time. Complete the rest of your coursework independently online.

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Attend class live and in-person with your professor and peers at our Ashland or Cleveland campus.

Study with scholars who have decades of real-world ministry experience. Our faculty are called to train faithful followers for effective ministry and are personally invested in you.

Step Into Your Calling

Get the preparation you need to make a lasting difference in your community.

Hear from MABCS Students

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Kenyetta Dotson

MA in Black Church Studies, Current Student

The Black Church Studies program expanded my spiritual lens and deepened my way of thinking. I formed deep, authentic relationships on this life-changing journey and I am fueled and inspired to do even greater works as a result.

Marjorie A. Bryant

MA in Black Church Studies, Current Student

Ashland Theological Seminary has broadened my theological understanding, sharpened my critical thinking and expanded my ability to articulate theological concepts to others in clear and concise manner. The professors were an integral part of my development and my colleagues were a great support.

Theological Education You Can Afford

One of your main concerns with theological education may be the costs involved. Financial aid and scholarships may be available to help cover the cost of your seminary program and ensure you can access the ministry preparation you need. 

Request More Information

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We’re here to support you as you follow God’s call on your life. When you complete this form, we will personally reach out to discuss our Black Church Studies program. We’re here to support you as you discern which path of ministry at Ashland Theological Seminary is right for you.

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