Pursue Faith-rooted Community Transformation of Marginalized Urban Communities

The Master of Arts in Transformational Urban Leadership (MATUL) is a unique community transformation program that prepares you to facilitate spiritual, socioeconomic, political, and environmental change throughout the world. While in the program, you will reside in or near marginalized urban communities, enabling you to combine living and learning in an integrated approach to leadership development, while focusing on improving opportunities for marginalized populations.

Choose from the opportunity to study and live in communities in North America, or complete the program overseas:

North American Communities Option: With this program option, choose to remain in ministry in your own city, living and learning among the community while participating in one week of hybrid intensive classes each semester. Coursework focuses on theology, urban studies, community development, nonprofit management, and advocacy to holistically engage the realities of marginalized communities in the city.

International Settings Option: Whether you already live and want to remain overseas or desire to relocate, this option creates an opportunity to learn and live in the global slums while working with populations in marginalized communities. Coursework focuses on action-reflection style theology and movement leadership as you work with local church-plants, mission agencies, or NGOs. Through the program’s practicums, develop social entrepreneurship skills while working with diverse organizations that serve marginalized communities, work with community economics, assist with advocacy for land rights, engage in community health, and establish schools in the slums. Your research will integrate learning in one of these areas in the last two semesters.

An Intentional, Engaging, Living and Learning Program

  • Field-based: Incarnational living, worshipping, serving, and learning within marginal neighborhoods in an integrated approach to leadership development.
  • Action-Reflection Learning: Integration of traditional classroom learning and theory with hands-on action and activism through practicums and fieldwork.
  • Scholar-Practitioners: Learning alongside instructors who specialize in urban transformation and actively serve the City.
  • Accessible: Completing your degree through online (international) and hybrid (North American) classes that allow for continued urban missional engagement.

Learn more about our faculty.

Engage in true learning alongside the marginalized.

“As I travel around the world, I have opportunities to meet MATUL students and experience the ministries with which they are placed. They are high-caliber students working in dynamic urban ministries and fascinating neighborhoods. The people in the MATUL program understand that transformational learning around the complex issues of urban poverty does not occur primarily through lecture and reading; true learning about urban poverty must involve living and ministering alongside the marginalized. Living and serving in a marginalized community is the best classroom you will ever experience. The MATUL students I meet and the urban ministry organizations they are involved with are like double-edged swords, transforming the student as well as the communities in which they are living and working. Regardless of your life’s ultimate mission, spending two years learning from, serving with, and living among the urban marginalized will give you the depth, sensitivity, and Spirit empowerment you need.” – Scott A. Bessenecker, associate director for missions, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; author, The New Friars: the Emerging Movement Serving the World’s Poor


Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Azusa Pacific Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).

ATS-Approved Degrees

Azusa Campus

Los Angeles Regional Site

San Diego Regional Campus

The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
Phone: (412) 788-6505
Fax: (412) 788-6510

WASC Senior College and University Commission

985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
Phone: (510) 748-9001
Fax: (510) 748-9797

University Reputation

Azusa Pacific University secured a place in the most prestigious category of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2017 rankings, placing at No. 183 in Tier One of the National Universities category. In addition, The Princeton Review named APU as 1 of 124 institutions in the 2017 Best Colleges in the West, Forbes ranked APU among the best schools in the nation for 2017, and G.I. Jobs named APU a Military Friendly School for 2017, placing APU among the top 15 percent of schools in the country helping military students reach their education dreams.

Note: This information is current for the 2018-19 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.