PSR’s Master of Arts degree in Social Transformation (MAST) equips students to think critically about socio-political dynamics and reflect constructively on the role played by religion and theological traditions in movements for social change. This academic program combines the tools and methods of social theory and constructive theology for a distinctive blend of spiritual leadership skills in a rapidly changing world.
MAST students complete course work equal to 39.0 credit hours (of these 6.0 credit hours are in field work with a mentor and 3.0 are devoted to a special project). The program can be completed in slightly less than two academic years and participants have a maximum of five years to finish the requirements. Two required seminars, core courses in social theory, ethics, and theology, and social change field work frame the program, which culminates in either a thesis or a portfolio project for social transformation. The student’s faculty advisor, in consultation with the Director of the MAST program, works with each student to devise a plan for completing the program based on the participant’s interests, faculty resources, and available internship sites.
Required Seminars (6.0 credits)
MAST students join with participants in the Certificate in Spirituality and Social Change program and enroll in two required seminars offered each academic year:
1. Spiritual Formation for Leadership (3.0 credits, usually offered in the fall semester), is co-taught by PSR faculty. This seminar introduces a variety of spiritual practices, opportunities to engage in them with colleagues, and relate such spiritual formation to critical social analysis and theological reflection.
2. Transformational Leadership (3.0 credits, usually offered in the spring semester), surveys and develops the knowledge and skills needed to lead organizations, communities, and movements of social change. PSR faculty and social change leaders from the wider community present the diversity of approaches to this kind of leadership and methods for effective social transformation.
Core Courses in Social Theory, Ethics, and Theology (18.0 credits)
MAST students combine courses equally from the fields of social theory, ethics, and theology:
1. Social Theory/Religion & Society (2 courses or 6.0 credit hours; at least one of these courses at the 4000 level or higher. Fields: RS).
2. Religious and Philosophical Ethics (2 courses or 6 credit hours; at least one of these courses at the 4000 level or higher. Fields: CE).
3. Theology (Philosophical, Systematic, Practical) (2 courses or 6 credit hours; at least one of these courses at the 4000 level or higher and at least one in practical theology. Fields for theology: ST, PH, PT; Fields for practical theology: RA, SP, EL, FT,HM, LS, PS, ED).
For each course used for the core requirement, a MAST Core and Electives Learning Outcomes form must be submitted.
Social Change Electives (6.0 credit hours)
These elective courses may be taken in any field, though they must be approved by the student’s advisor. These electives may also include specialized study with a particular faculty member in the form of a Special Reading Course, or an SRC 9999 (students may not use more than 9.0 SRC 9999 credit hours for the program). For every elective taken, a MAST Core and Electives Learning Outcomes form must be submitted.
Supervised Internship and SAIL Project (9.0 credits)
In consultation with the Director of Community Engaged Learning, students will begin identifying a social change field work placement in a social venture or social justice organization early on in their program and engage in that work beginning in their second semester (or after completing at least 12 credit hours of course work). Students already working in an area of social change may apply to have that work counted toward this field work requirement. In some cases, a series of “immersive learning” experiences in a particular area of social change can count toward this requirement as well.
1. Social Change Field Work (6.0 credits): Field work in the MAST program provides social-change locations in varying fields (economics, ecology, racial and ethnic justice, among others) in which to test and further hone the academic theorizing of the program’s core courses. The courses associated with the field work will provide opportunities to refine the student’s skills for engaging in theological/ethical reflection with the tools of social analysis.
2. The Social Analysis and Innovative Leadership (SAIL) Project (3.0 credits): The MAST program culminates with either a thesis project (involving research, analysis, and constructive proposals) or a summative and integrative portfolio project. In consultation with the internship supervisor and faculty advisor, the summative project includes elements such as: a detailed social analysis of the sector engaged at the internship placement; an evaluation of the opportunities and challenges for the work to move forward; constructive theological proposals for the role religious/spiritual leadership plays in that sector; and an evaluation of the student’s own vocational path and skills that would contribute to this work. Download a draft of the SAIL syllabus as well as an assessment rubric by which the student’s SAIL capstone will be evaluated.