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Master of Arts in Theology & Culture: Community Development

Foster communities that exemplify beauty, justice, and belonging

2 years to complete

39 credit hours of coursework

4 residency gatherings

The Community Development specialization prepares students to engage in the practices of community development and helps them to define theological and ethical foundations for the promotion of well-being in the communities they are called to love.

Through practices of deep listening, students gain the skills and nurture the character qualities necessary to work in partnership with community members in order to foster organic, contextualized community change. Through practical experience, students gain a working knowledge of community development from diverse global perspectives and apply their new understanding to their own local contexts—assuring that their vocational development is both culturally credible and contextually relevant.

The specialization in Community Development is for those who wish to train for vocations in collaborative development work in both global and North American contexts. Regardless of location, each student will gain the necessary skills to be a credible agent of healing and change in the places they serve.

Begin your Application

Co-Create Communal Change

Upon successful completion of the Master of Arts in Theology & Culture: Community Development program, you will be able to:

  • Articulate insight into one’s formative stories in the context of identities, cultures, places, and people, in order to embody a way of being and vocation as an expression of their understanding of God, self, and neighbor.
  • Develop, cultivate, and apply approaches to scripture and theology that attend to a diversity of possible perspectives and that lead to courage, imagination, and action.
  • Listen deeply, appreciatively, and with cultural responsiveness to the natural and human communities they seek to serve, to discern the ongoing movement of God in those contexts.
  • Articulate the theological and ethical foundations of their particular approaches to community development.
  • Guide processes of collaborative innovation, social enterprise, and social change at systemic and grassroots levels.
  • Discern the strengths, needs, aspirations, and inherent resources of a community as a foundation for contextualized approaches to development.

“I am excited to teach in a program that acknowledges the role of beauty and justice in community in order to make change in the world. True collaborative community change work is the relationship between these three; beauty, justice, and community. ”

Ron Ruthruff, DMin
Associate Professor of Theology & Culture
Meet Our Core Faculty


Common Curriculum

A significant distinctive of the graduate degrees at The Seattle School is that they share one Common Curriculum.

Studying in community with future counselors, pastors, artists, and activists allows you to engage your learning from a range of perspectives. Our formation is expanded by these conversations. The Common Curriculum also asks you to become a better listener and a more self-aware, curious, and compassionate member of your particular community.

This series of seven interdisciplinary courses is completed in your first year of study, integrating the study of theology, biblical studies, psychology, anthropology, and culture in order to provide you a foundation for integrative learning through the remainder of your program. Visit the Common Curriculum webpage to learn more.

MATC Core Curriculum

The MATC is academically rigorous, interculturally engaged, and globally aware.

Building on the foundation of the Common Curriculum, the MATC core curriculum includes courses in the biblical text, critical and contextual reading, Christian history, constructive theology, spiritual formation, mission, and transformational leadership. Our MATC core courses are taught in deeply contextual ways, by paying attention to the local and attending to the ways that meaning and context shape one another.

This curriculum is designed to prepare students to engage their particular vocational context with robust theological thinking skills, contextual understandings of the scriptures and the world, and a hopeful imagination for serving God and neighbor through transforming relationships. Using an integrative approach, you will engage the MATC core coursework alongside colleagues across the three specializations but with specific assignments that allow you to deepen your knowledge and apply learning in your chosen field and vocational pathway. Our students and classrooms go beyond traditional learning. Students at The Seattle School not only have permission, but are encouraged to rethink, challenge, create, and recreate in their goals to reimagine ministry vocations and communities.

Specialization Coursework

The Community Development specialization includes three courses particular to the program, providing specialized training in collaborative community development, deep listening, and engaging in contextual conversations.

The program also includes:

  • Opportunities to explore the theory and praxis of community development through assignments in the MATC core courses
  • Apprenticeship and Integrative Project experiences that are embedded within Community Development specialization courses
  • Opportunities to develop and define theological and ethical foundations for the promotion of well-being in particular communities
  • Domestic and/or international travel courses, hosted by local subject matter experts, to shape a credible and collaborative approach to community development: listening deeply to the context as a collective while making application to your own community

“I felt like [the Common Curriculum] was a good way to learn about each other, practice active listening, and dive deep into our cultural contexts.”

MATC Student Explore MATC Voices

Ready for the next step?

Connect with us! Request more information or apply today, and we’ll send you everything you need to know in order to begin your journey.