Master of Arts in Religious Studies

This flexible program allows students to choose courses from a variety of disciplines offered by Manna U, with a core of Biblical and Theological training.

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Solid biblical training from accomplished faculty with years of ministry experience.

The M.A.R.S. program prepares Christian leaders in attaining a graduate degree that is focused to meet their unique goals and interests, for the purpose of training for ministry, within the local church, and also within the marketplace. This flexible interdisciplinary degree allows students to pursue training in their areas of interest within the course offerings of Manna University, built around a core of Biblical and Theological training. A master’s thesis (written project) is required at the culmination of this degree.

Program Objectives

  • Understand the foundational content and themes of the Word of God, to include humanity’s alienation from God, and God’s work of redemption in Christ, as found in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
  • Understand the ramifications of the Christian gospel for the student’s personal life, to include the importance of biblical leadership in the context of the church and the world.
  • Demonstrate biblical knowledge consistent with a Christian worldview and show knowledge of effective ministry methods.
  • Show advanced skills for research that are exegetical, qualitative, or quantitative for global biblical leadership in any Christian ministry context.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to lead with integrity grounded in a Judeo-Christian worldview and values system.

Time & Cost

Many people would like to complete a degree and stay out of debt. 

The M.A.R.S. degree requires 13 courses (or 39 credit hours), which can be completed within 3 years for full-time students. Courses are offered on-campus or online (can be entirely online). Manna U’s low tuition rates enable students to receive solid biblical training from accomplished faculty with years of ministry experience and not be hindered financially.

2022-2023 Graduate Tuition Rate = $290 per credit hour


Example Breakdown


Application Fee: $50


Semesters 1-6

Tuition for 2 courses (full-time): $1,740
Library fee: $75 *
Technology fee: $150 *

Total Fees: $1,965

* This is per semester


Semester 7

Tuition for 1 course (half-time): $870

Library fee: $75 *
Technology fee: $150 *

Total Fees: $1,095


Graduation Fee: $200


TOTAL COST: $13,135

Note: books and required class resources are not included in this breakdown, but can be estimated at $300 per course.  Tuition rates and fees are subject to change at the discretion of Manna U’s Board of Directors.

Scholarships are available for students who do not use military education benefits or federal financial aid.


Full details can be found in the 2022-2023 Graduate Academic Catalog.

Graduate Student Orientation
Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
MENG 500 Graduate Student Orientation 0
M.A.R.S Bible / Theology Core Courses

(choose any 5 courses)

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
MBIB 501 New Testament Introduction 3
MBIB 502 Old Testament Introduction 3
MBIB 503 Advanced Hermeneutics 3
MBIB 504 Advanced Theology I 3
MBIB 505 Advanced Theology II 3
MBIB 506 Biblical Greek I 3
MBIB 507 Biblical Hebrew I 3
MBIB 601 Historical Biblical Leaders 3
MBIB 602 Biblical Issues for Leadership 3
MBIB 603* New Testament Exegesis 3
MBIB 604* Old Testament Exegesis 3

*Requires Prerequisite(s)

M.A.R.S. Research Nonelective

This course is required.

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
MLEA 601 Organizational Research and Analysis 3
M.A.R.S. Elective Courses

(choose any 5 courses)

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
MCNS 504 Counseling Theory & Practice 3
MCNS 603* Counseling Ethics 3
MCNS 604* Counseling Techniques & Treatment Strategies 3
MCNS 605* Marriage & Family Counseling 3
MCNS 606* Trauma & Crisis Counseling 3
MLEA 501 Organizational Leadership 3
MLEA 502 Christian Leadership Development 3
MLEA 503 Strategic Leadership and Change 3
MLEA 504 Contemporary Leadership Issues 3
MLEA 505 Church Growth Practicum 3
MLEA 602 Case Analyses for Organizational and Church Leadership 3
MLEA 603 Global Leadership 3
MMIN 501 The Intercultural Study of World Religions 3
MMIN 502 Contemporary Issues in Apologetics 3
MMIN 503 History of Church Traditions 3
MMIN 505 Chaplaincy & Pastoral Ministries 3
MMIN 601 Biblical Preaching 3
MMIN 607 Church: Theory & Practice in Contemporary Contexts 3
MMIN 608 Church Development & Expansion 3

*Requires Prerequisite(s)

M.A.R.S. Culminating Project

(select either MBIB or MLEA Project Track)

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
MBIB 620 Culminating Project I 3
MBIB 621* Culminating Project II 3
MBIB 622 (as needed)* Culminating Project III 1
MLEA 604 Culminating Experience I 3
MLEA 605* Culminating Experience II 3
MLEA 606 (as needed)* Culminating Experience III 1

*Students may graduate without completing MBIB 621 / MLEA 605 and/or MBIB 622 / MLEA 606 if they successfully complete their Culminating Thesis in MBIB 620 / MLEA 604.


To become a student at Manna U, follow these two steps:

1.  Complete an application, which includes:

  • A non-refundable application fee of $50 (linked to application)
  • An essay, written by the applicant, of his/her conversion experience (300-600 words), in a format that is typed and double spaced, using 12 pt. font size;
  • A Pastoral Reference* from the Pastor of the church that the applicant regularly attends;
  • A Personal Reference* from someone who has known you for two years or more and is not related to you.
    * Applicants will enter an email address for their selected references and a link to the online reference forms will be sent once the application is submitted.

2.  Order your official high school, G.E.D., or previous college transcripts (minimum 2.0 GPA is preferred).

Note: official transcripts are sent directly from one school/college to another. You can arrange to have your transcripts sent electronically to, or a paper copy can be sent to our mailing address:

Manna University
Attn: Registrar’s Office
439 Westwood Shopping Center
PMB 106
Fayetteville, NC 28314

All applicants applying for admission to one of Manna U’s graduate programs must submit official transcripts showing an earned undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, or an equivalent academic achievement approved by Manna U’s Academic Office. Students who plan to use military education benefits must submit transcripts from high school and all colleges attended.

Students who plan to use military education benefits must submit transcripts from high school and all colleges attended.

If you are a student transferring from another college or university, click here for more information.

Jeff’s Story

Like most of today’s college students, Jeff leads a busy life. Balancing family, work, and serving at his local church is a tough act, but he sensed the need to sharpen his leadership for effective Kingdom impact.

“The local church is the hope of the world and Manna University is effectively training those who will lead the cause of the church to pursue their mission with reverence, wisdom and excellence.”

Take Your Next Step

Flexible, Low-Cost Learning

Complete a degree without going into debt

69% of Manna U students receive financial aid or scholarships, and the GI Bill® is accepted. Our generous transfer credit policy helps students move quickly toward their degree. All of Manna U’s certificates and degrees can be completed online.

Effective Leaders Bring Lasting Impact

Jesus chose twelve leaders who were from differing backgrounds. Many religious leaders in that time would have overlooked them. Through teaching and training, He prepared them to lead a movement that changed the world. Whatever your call may be, training at Manna U can help you engage in this kind of transformational leadership.

Fall 2022 Undergraduate B-Term Begins October 17th - Apply Today!