The M.Div. degree is a professional degree preparing individuals for Christian leadership. It is the preferred (and in many denominations the required) degree for pursuing pastoral, ordained ministries (i.e. senior pastors, missionaries, chaplains, etc.). In the M.Div. program individuals require a strong foundation in Biblical studies, theology and in practical ministry disciplines such as preaching, counseling, teaching, administrating, and leadership. Today's church leader must be skilled in many disciplines.
The M.A. Theological Studies degree, while providing the same foundational studies (Core), focuses less on extensive preparation for pastoral leadership and more on specific subject areas and theological fields of study. Traditionally, it is the degree of preference for those going into deaconate (lay), or Ph.D. studies for the teaching profession.
The M.A. in Transformational Leadership is a professional degree that equips leaders for a variety of ministry contexts including non-profit, parachurch and community based settings. The degree builds on the foundation of a deep, sustained engagement with biblical and historic Christian thought.
The M.A. in Theology and Social Justice is a professional degree for people working in local churches, missions, global justice ministries, social work, and social policy. The program is designed to address the effects of poverty, violence, and discrimination at all levels of society.
Some denominations and independent churches will ordain individuals with the M.A. degree.