Trinity School for Ministry Offers MAR Degree Online

On January 7, 2013, Trinity School for Ministry announced that it will offer its Master of Arts (Religion) degree (MAR) in an entirely online format. In the past, Trinity has offered all but four of its MAR classes online, though students were expected to come to the Ambridge campus for a portion of their credits.

“We are meeting a need for a huge number of people who are called to ministry,” said Mr. Geoffrey Mackey, Director of Distance Learning. “Very often these students are already actively engaged in ministry, and for financial, family, work, or vocational related reasons are simply unable to come to campus.”

Student StudyingThe Master of Arts (Religion) degree (MAR) imparts a sound knowledge of theology to prepare the student for ordination, lay ministry, or further study. Students may choose from three foci: Biblical Studies, Christian History and Theology, or Christian Ministry and Missi­ology. Some students use this degree to prepare for further graduate study, and others use it to provide a Christian foundation for the work they do in the marketplace and in their places of worship. This program can be customized for individual dioceses to meet their specific training needs for ordination preparation.

Trinity is not a newcomer in the world of online education. “We have been engaged in online education for 10 years, learning and growing all the time,” observed the Rev. Dr. Leander Harding, Dean of Seminary Advancement. “We’ve got a strong team here at Trinity that is really well positioned to integrate and make the most of the innovations and improvements that are coming down the road.”

This past June, the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools, the accrediting body for seminaries in the United States and Canada, decided to release institutions from its previous residency requirement for the Master of Arts degree, allowing schools to offer the degree entirely online. Seeing this as a way to extend the reach of the school, Trinity’s faculty chose to move forward with this opportunity. “The MAR will now be available online completely,” said Dr. Mark Stevenson, Trinity’s Academic Dean, “but it will continue to be available here residentially, and so it’s a great opportunity for people to take all of it online, all of it residentially, or ideally, do some online and some residentially.”

“The online MAR gives us all sorts of opportunities to say ‘yes’ to people” reflected the Very Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry, Trinity’s Dean and President. “We have an MAR degree, fully approved and accredited, that will provide a substantial seminary education to people where they are, with the quality and the characteristics that you expect from Trinity School for Ministry. We can partner with you in your parish, diocese, or ministry. We can work out something that is going to fit your context.”

“Our vision now,” remarked Dr. Harding, “is a premier face to face experience that will be available to scores of people, online masters degree programs that will be available to hundreds of people, certificate programs online that will available to thousands of people, and maybe tens of thousands of people using catechetical [educational] material that will be produced by the school.”

Trinity School for Ministry is an evangelical seminary in the Anglican tradition. Begun in 1976, the seminary has trained more than 1,000 graduates and many others who serve in ministries all over the world.  As a global center for Christian formation, Trinity continues to produce outstanding leaders who can plant, renew, and grow churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.

For more information, about online education at Trinity please contact:
Mr. Geoff Mackey, Trinity’s Director of Distance Learning (

For press inquiries, please contact:
The Rev. Christopher Klukas, Director of Communications (

Recommended Posts
Showing 3 comments
  • Anonymous

    I am not so pleased with this development. This is entirely the personal opinion of an alumnus who has the highest respect for the faculty. As someone who has experienced first hand, the rich residential community culture of Trinity, I feel strongly that this is not good enough particularly for a genuine formation for the ministry. How I hope this decision will be reviewed . I was already 9 years in the ordained ministry before coming to Trinity, but I can not even begin to count the blessings that my ministry received in the 2 years I spent there. With this innovation what will become of the chapel koinonia and Eucharist ? What about the moments of interaction and communal feeding at the common room? What will ever replace Trinity’s unique classroom interactions , advisee groupings etc? In short , I can not compare ! Perhaps this online study method should be restricted to those who are not planning for ordination.

    – Israel Odita , Nigeria.

  • Anonymous

    Great idea- I have an MAR from TESM (96) but would be open to taking an occasional class now and then, but due to work schedule would not be able to come to campus. Blessings in this area!
    Barbara Hopkins

  • Anonymous

    I am a long standing Missouri Synod Lutheran who recieved the call to professional misitry late in life, yet could not afford to leave my family of 5 children to complete my masters level education. The MAR online program offers my family and I a way to complete those studies online while doing an extended vicorage (internship) at a NALC Church, ultimately moving us to ordination and installation at that Church upon completion of the program.

    Thank you for providing this option, it is an answered prayer.