MACEF | Princeton Theological Seminary

Master of Arts in Christian Education and Formation (MACEF)

Prepare to guide and teach the next generation. The Master of Arts in Christian Education and Formation (MACEF) degree program builds your understanding of the Bible, theology, church history, and practical theology and gives you a foundation of dynamic leadership skills.

Request Information


At a Glance

Application Deadline

January 15 – Final deadline – merit scholarship applicants, international applicants

April 15 – Final deadline – US citizens and residents


2 Years

On Campus

Is the MACEF Degree Program for Me?

Do you:

  • Feel called to a ministry of education and formation in congregational and institutional settings?
  • Want to teach Christian religion in church or a school?
  • Aspire to become a dynamic leader of education and formation?

Whether you’re planning a career in education, ministry, nonprofit work, or beyond, build the skills, the confidence, and the community you need to lead with hope.

What You’ll Study

In this program, explore foundational studies in the Bible, theology, church history, and practical theology. Choosing from courses related to your area of interest—from philosophies of teaching or pedagogical practices to ministry with young people or spiritual formation—delve into theory and practice for the ministry of education and formation for the church.

Graduate with the skills you need for effective teaching and dynamic leadership for Christian education and formation, along with the foundational competency to critically appraise and creatively deploy theoretical frameworks.

What You’ll Do

In addition to your coursework, you have many opportunities to deepen your faith and explore your calling.

  • Field education experiences foster opportunities to lead worship, provide pastoral care, train volunteers, teach, or craft liturgy. Along the way, investigate and strengthen your faith and prepare to become a force of positive change in the world.
  • Practice and mentoring with faculty and area pastors give you opportunities to explore your calling and reflect on theology.
  • Foundational education courses integrate course materials with others in the MACEF degree program, allowing for peer mentoring.

MACEF Program Details

MACEF students take courses from the categories specific to the degree, choosing classes that emphasize areas such as teaching, ministry with young people, and spiritual formation and mission.

To earn the MACEF, successfully complete 52.5 credits in five categories:

1. Foundation Courses (20 credits)

Introductions or Foundations in the following areas (18 credits):

  • Biblical Studies: OT 2102 – Orientation to Old Testament and Exegesis, NT 2102 – Orientation to New Testament and Exegesis
  • History and Ecumenics: WCCH 2102 – World Christian History I, WCCH 2103 – World Christian History II
  • Theology: TH 2102 – Doing Christian Theology
  • Practical Theology: A course in Education and Formation

Speech Communication in Ministry I and II (2 credits)

2. Additional Department Courses (6 credits)

  • One elective course in Theology
  • One elective Practical Theology course in either Pastoral Care or Preaching/Speech Communication/Worship

3. Core Commitment Courses (6 credits)

  • A Life Together course
  • One course designated as fulfilling one of the following core commitments: Theological Imagination; Christian Leadership: Church, Religion, and Society; Renewal of Creation, Self, and Communities; Spiritual Practices of the Faith

4. Education and Formation Courses (16 credits)

One course from each of the following categories:

  • Theological/Theoretical Foundations
  • Human Sciences
  • Contextual Issues in Ministry
  • Skills and Practices

Elective Course in Student’s Focal Area of Education and Formation

Reflective Practicum (1 credit)

5. Field Education (4.5 credits)

  • MACEF students take Introduction to Field Education and Vocational Discernment during their first year (.5 credit for the year). Students then engage in two field education placements: one during the summer preceding their second year (2 credits) and a second during the fall and spring of the second year (2 credits). Field education placements range from local to international locations.

To qualify for admission, you need to have an undergraduate degree (typically a BA or BS) from a school accredited by one of the accrediting agencies our faculty recognizes. To apply, please submit the following:

  • A completed admissions application
  • Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions previously attended
  • Three letters of recommendation: one pastoral endorsement, one academic, and one additional
  • Application fee of $50

Interviews are required for merit scholarships and are strongly recommended; learn more about our interview process, including when and how to schedule.

Outcomes with a Master of Arts in Christian Education and Formation

The MACEF prepares you to serve God as a minister of education and formation in congregational and institutional settings. Many of our students go on to teach the Christian religion in church or secular schools. As a professional degree, the MACEF does not lead to doctoral-level education in practical theology.

The role of field education for Seminary students

Next Steps

Take the next step in serving God’s calling through a ministry in teaching and educational leadership. Learn more about the MACEF degree, schedule a visit, or apply today.