Professional Studies in Youth Ministry


Don’t wait too long… Fall 2018 classes start August 13!
  Apply by August 1st to make sure you’re admitted to the program before classes start this fall.


Affordable. Accessible. Applicable.

We understand — youth workers come from all different backgrounds and levels of training. Our program allows you to choose to pursue either a standalone certification in youth ministry or a fully-accredited master’s in youth ministry that includes the certification. You can also apply the certification courses as college credit towards a bachelor’s degree in youth ministry. Should you feel a call to seminary part-way through your program, we’re working on partnerships that will allow you to apply your credit towards a graduate-level seminary degree.

Whether you’re looking for a certification in youth ministry, a master’s, or a bachelor’s degree — this program is designed with you in mind.  Pursue the path that meets your needs.


I want the:


Certification in Youth Ministry

Youth-MinistryOur five certification courses fulfill the educational requirements for the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Certification in Youth Ministry. You can complete the five classes online at a pace that fits your schedule (taking up to ten years if necessary), and then use that credit to apply for your certification. The certification covers theology, ethical issues, program design, leadership, and faith formation in young people. Learn more about the certification from GBHEM.

Read course descriptions for the five certification courses.


Master of Arts in Specialized Ministry: Youth Ministry

If you’d like to really up the ante, go for the Master of Arts in Specialized Ministries (MASM) with an emphasis in youth ministry. This master’s degree through Southwestern College in Kansas is fully accredited and entirely online.  It includes all five courses required for the above youth ministry certifications, as well as seven additional courses that give you a deep theological grounding. In those twelve courses (36 credit hours total), you’ll study the Old and New Testaments, church history, systematic theology, all from a Wesleyan perspective.  Additionally, you’ll complete two practicum courses that help you put what you’ve learned into practice.

The entire degree program consists of twelve 6-week online courses. The degree can be completed in as little as two years, or at a slower pace if you prefer. When you’ve completed the 36 credit hours required for graduation, you’ll receive a Master of Arts from Southwestern College.

Read the course descriptions for the Master of Arts in Specialized Ministry program.


If you are ready to start earning your master’s, click the Apply Now button below!

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The Best Program for You

Personal attention

Navigating the academic world can be tough.  That’s why you’ll be connected to the MASM program’s own advisor, who will act as your main point of contact for all steps of the program.  She can answer questions, help you with the application and enrollment process, and guide you through every part of the process. She’s located right on the Southwestern College campus, so she can act as your liaison to the College.  We understand that you have other responsibilities and commitments in your life — our goal is to make getting additional education as painless and easy as possible.

Crazy-low cost

“The six week online classes are challenging and the instructors have all been professional and extremely qualified to teach their subjects.  These classes have helped me become a better theological thinker and writer, which in turn makes me a better educator of the young people in my care.”   — Ann K., ColoradoCompared to some graduate programs which charge over $1000 per credit hour, tuition fees for this certification/MASM program are just $300/credit hour (down from $476/hour thanks to a scholarship from the Institute for Discipleship) — an absolute bargain. Financial aid from Southwestern College is available to make the program even more financially accessible.  This degree costs less than $12,000 in total.

Timing that fits your needs

Both the certification and the Master of Arts in Specialized Ministries tracks can be completed in as little as 25 months. But if you need more time and flexibility, we’ve got your back! Since all courses are offered on a regular, recurring basis, you can take classes when it works for your schedule. And with a program that is entirely online, there’s no need to pick up and move or spend money on expensive plane flights and hotels to get where you’re going.

Apply the certification courses as credit towards a seminary degree

Sometimes youth ministers end up feeling a call to other ministry. All of our courses are approved by North Central Accreditation and we’re working on partnerships with United Methodist seminaries around the United States so if you decide God is calling you to attend seminary, you would be able to transfer the credit you’ve earned toward an M.Div or other seminary degree. Contact us for more information. Each school is different, and you’ll need to work with each seminary to confirm that credits earned through Southwestern College will transfer.


Program Inquiries and More Information:

Lisa Buffum, Director of Online Education
Institute for Discipleship
100 College Street
Winfield, KS 67156
Phone: (620) 229-6246


Get started!

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