Beginning this Oct., Moody Distance Learning (MDL) began offering a fully online, 36-hour Master of Arts in Applied Biblical Studies (MAABS) degree, the first in its history. This innovative program brings Moody's graduate-level education to students in a convenient and accelerated format, giving them the opportunity to earn an advanced ministry degree online in less than two years.
"It was designed in direct response to feedback from distance learning students who were looking for a master's program with a manageable workload in the midst of family, work and ministry responsibilities," said Dr. James Spencer, vice president and dean of MDL. "Students will enhance their ability to interpret the Bible and the world around them, as well as be prepared to serve in various positions in the church or para-church organizations. Those in a secular setting will find great benefit to their personal ministry as well."
Each student in the MAABS degree program is part of an approximately 20-member, online cohort that takes one course every seven weeks (12 courses total), with one-week reflection periods. No campus visits are required.
A unique aspect of the program is the level of faculty involvement with students. Two faculty members will be assigned to each cohort. The first faculty member will regularly interact with the students, coach them through the program and provide spiritual encouragement. "My hope is that this approach will help foster a stronger relationship between the faculty and students, something not traditionally found in online education," added Dr. Spencer.
The other faculty member will assist students with a cross-program project. Each student is required to construct a problem statement at the beginning of the program for a case study that will be drawn directly from their personal context. Students will work with their assigned cohort faculty member throughout their program on various steps of the case study, with the goal of their ongoing biblical interpretation shaping it and providing a solution to the problem in question.
"The case study really gets to the heart of this program because the Word of God will be directly applied to a particular area of student life, such as how to develop biblical small groups in their church," stressed Dr. Spencer. "Moody is setting a trend in online education by leveraging the learner's personal context while they are being trained to interpret and apply God's Word."
The next MAABS cohort will begin in March 2013, and subsequent groups will be formed every August and March. Applications are currently being accepted for the spring cohort.
For more information please visit the MAABS degree program Web page.