Master of Arts in Transformational Urban Leadership (MATUL)

For more information: (626) 857-2213

The M.A. in Transformational Urban Leadership (MATUL) is a 39-unit degree program that pursues transformation through church development, community development, and advocacy among economically disadvantaged and marginalized communities, some in North America and some internationally. Residence in or near marginalized urban communities enables students to combine living and learning in an integrated approach to leadership development, with a primary focus on improving opportunities for disenfranchised populations.

Students in North American Settings

To focus engagement, MATUL students live and learn while remaining in ministry in their own cities, with one week of hybrid intensive classes each semester. Students study theology, urban studies, community development, nonprofit management, and advocacy to holistically engage the realities of disenfranchised communities in the City.

Students in International Settings

Students remain or relocate overseas working with populations in impoverished conditions. While studying action-reflection style theology and movement leadership, students work with local church-plants, mission agencies, or nongovernmental organizations and do practicums that develop social entrepreneurship skills with a diversity of organizations: working with community economics; doing advocacy for land rights; engaging in community health; or establishing slum schools. Their research integrates their learning in one of these foci during the last two semesters.

Mission Statement

The M.A. in Transformational Urban Leadership enhances the capacity of emerging and established Christian leaders working among impoverished urban populations with wisdom, knowledge, character, and leadership skills required to facilitate indigenous faith-rooted movements and community transformation.

Distinct Features

  • 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: Studying conveniently through a relational online cohort (international) and hybrid (North American) courses allows for continued urban missional engagement. Students remain in their places of productive leadership among the marginalized, either in North American cities or in global cities.  

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the MATUL program, graduates are able to:

  • PLO 1: Analyze social, economic, political and attendant issues to develop appropriate ministry responses.
  • PLO 2: Develop organizational and financial strategies to create sustainable ministry opportunities.
  • PLO 3: Assess and organize congregation/community for holistic ministry and community transformation.
  • PLO 4: Demonstrate an ability to engage culture, ethnicity/race, and gender within the urban context.
  • PLO 5: Develop an understanding of the significant biblical and theological themes and paradigms that inform and shape ministry in the city.
  • PLO 6: Exhibit an understanding of the development of appropriate cross-cultural leadership and spiritual formation in the context of urban marginal and worshipping communities.

Learn more about our faculty.


University graduate admission and program acceptance requirements must be met before an application is complete (see the Admission to the University section of this catalog). Learn more about the MATUL program, including application materials. 

International students have a separate application procedure. Contact the International Center at +1-626-812-3055,, or online.

Once the admissions office in the Graduate and Professional Center has received all admission materials, the MATUL staff will review the applicant’s completed file. The applicant will then be notified of the committee’s decision.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Transcript of bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Evidence of academic capacity and personal maturity for graduate field study in resource-poor communities as communicated through GPA, personal references (one academic reference and one pastoral reference), and the applicant’s spiritual autobiography and urban ministry essay.
  • Evidence of sufficient written and oral ability in English to make progress in the degree program. Review requirements listed in the English Proficiency Requirements section of this catalog.
  • APU graduate application form with application fee attached.
  • In addition to cognitive standards, applicants are required to meet physical-sensory standards adequate for extended cross-cultural situations of high stress.


Core Courses 27
TUL 500Biblical Theology in an Urban Context3
TUL 520Urban Spirituality3
TUL 540Urban Reality and Theology3
TUL 560Practical Theology of Community Economics (Practicum)2
TUL 584Contextual and Global Theology3
TUL 592The Synoptic Gospels3
TUL 630Community Transformation3
TUL 640Entrepreneurial and Organizational Leadership3
TUL 671Project Methods and Design2
TUL 675Integrative Final Project2
International Track 112 (16)
TUL 503Cultural Learning Tools I 2(2)
TUL 504Cultural Learning Tools II 2(2)
TUL 530Building Faith Communities3
TUL 620Leadership of Urban Movements3
TUL 550Solidarity with the Marginalized (Practicum)2
TUL 555Educational Center Development (Practicum)2
TUL 650Urban Community Health Programs (Practicum)2
TUL 655Advocacy and the Urban Environment (Practicum)2
Domestic Track 312
TUL 550Solidarity with the Marginalized (Practicum)2
TUL 570Multicultural Ministry3
TUL 575Art and Community Change (Practicum)2
TUL 635Community Conflict Transformation3
TUL 655Advocacy and the Urban Environment (Practicum)2
Total Units39-43