The Magisterial Reformation is a phrase that "draws attention to the manner in which the Lutheran and Calvinist reformers related to secular authorities, such as princes, magistrates, or city councils", i.e. "the magistracy". While the Radical Reformation rejected any secular authority over the Church, the Magisterial Reformation argued for the interdependence of the church and secular authorities, i.e. "The magistrate had a right to authority within the church, just as the church could rely on the authority of the magistrate to enforce discipline, suppress heresy, or maintain order."
In addition, the term magister relates to the emphasis on authoritative teachers. Often this is seen in the names of theological schools descending from magisterial reformers (i.e. Lutheran, Calvinist, Zwinglian, etc.)
The magisterial reformation stands in contrast to the radical reformation, which denied that civil authorities had any place or authority within the Church.