The Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies - Diaconal Ministry Degree

The Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies - Diaconal Ministry (MAMS-DM) degree program prepares persons for service as an associate in ministry, deaconess, or diaconal minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) or for similar leadership in other denominations.

The MAMS-DM degree program prepares students to:
  • Articulate the Word of God in and for a hurting world, using the fruits of biblical, historical and theological studies
  • Carry out a particular service on behalf of the church with credibility in the world
  • Equip the baptized for faithful ministry in the world and in the church
  • Participate in the community of Word and Sacrament, and in the diaconal communities of their own denomination and the broader church
  • Articulate and act out a vision of diakonia that addresses human need
  • Work effectively within the matrix of congregational, ecumenical, and inter-religious contexts
Diaconal Ministry Concentrations
MAMS-DM students elect 21 credits related to preparation in an area of specialization.  Since up to 28 credits may be transferred from other accredited graduate schools to apply toward the MAMS degree, all of the specialization course requirements may be taken at another accredited graduate school.  All transfer credits are subject to review before being accepted.

While there are numerous fields of specialization, two in particular are arranged as follows:
  • A specialization in word and service in rural communities may be arranged, drawing upon the distinctive course offerings and resources of the Seminary's Town and Country Church Institute
  • For those whose area of specialization is social service, it is possible to participate in a Certificate Program in Social Services offered to Gettysburg Seminary diaconal ministry students by Temple University's School of Social Administration and take specialization courses through Temple's Harrisburg satellite campus
Field Education Requirements
The MAMS-DM degree has one field education requirements:
  • Teaching Parish
This field education experience is connected to an Integrative Seminar designed to help students synthesize their coursework with field experience.

Diaconal Ministry Formation Event
The diaconal ministry formation event (DMFE), which occurs each January at Gettysburg Seminary, is an ELCA-wide program for those preparing for service in diaconal ministry.  It is recommended that a diaconal ministry candidate participate in the event prior to entering seminary or during their first year.

During the two week event candidates will:
  • Study and explore the biblical, theological, historical and ecumenical roots of diaconal ministry
  • Examine current diaconal approaches and models for ministry through study and contextual experiences
  • Develop spiritual insights and disciplines for active ministry through worship, prayer and group processes
More information about the DMFE can be found at the Center for Diaconal Ministry's website.

Diaconal Ministry Independent Study Project
The purpose of the diaconal ministry independent study project is to provide the candidate an opportunity to develop a vision for ministry at the interface of societal need and Christian service.  More details about diaconal ministry requirements, including the project, are described under the Center for Diaconal Ministry and in the Student Handbook.

Requirements for Admission and Application Process

Application Materials

Cost of Attendance

Financial Aid