Masters of Divinity

The Master of Divinity degree program at Concordia Theological Seminary is reserved for men who are members in a congregation of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and is intended to lead directly to ordination into the ministerium of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Therefore, admission into the program is governed, along with other requirements, by the doctrinal position of the church body.

Pre-seminary Studies

The basic purpose of Concordia Theological Seminary is to prepare men for the pastoral ministry of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Since our Synod is strongly supportive of a system of undergraduate colleges to prepare men for the study of theology at its seminaries, we believe men who are preparing for admission into the seminary should seriously consider entering this system of education as early as possible during their undergraduate education.

The seminary, however, does not restrict its admission to graduates of Missouri Synod colleges but encourages men to study for the ministry who have earned the bachelor's degree from other regionally accredited colleges and universities. Since courses in Greek are not always available in American colleges and universities, some college graduates will enter the seminary without the necessary pre-seminary Greek requirement. To such students the seminary offers Greek. Since Greek is a pre-seminary requirement, credits in Greek do not apply to the M.Div. graduation requirements.

Those who have studied for other vocations or have pursued other vocations may also apply to the seminary. The student body of Concordia Theological Seminary includes many men who have already had successful careers other than in the ministry.

Although Concordia Theological Seminary welcomes students who have received degrees in fields such as business, management and the natural sciences, the mission statement of the Board for Higher Education for pre-seminary education should be noted: The mission of pre-seminary education is to prepare students for theological studies and pastoral formation at a seminary of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. This preparation ordinarily encompasses biblical knowledge, biblical language competency and understanding of the Lutheran doctrine; competency in communication skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening; skills in critical thinking and philosophical inquiry; acquisition of a global perspective; the understanding of and appreciation for the Lutheran ethos, identity and ethic; and helping the student to perceive, proclaim, teach and live out the centrality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the whole of life.

College students who have a particular interest in biblical studies involving the work of exegesis are advised to take a major or at least a minor in the classics as part of their bachelor's degree program. College majors in history in addition to Latin and German are most helpful for students who hope to concentrate in historical theology at the seminary. Those whose inclinations lie particularly in the area of the pastoral ministry might well take majors in education, psychology, or in the social and behavioral sciences.

Students who received their pre-seminary training at a college or university affiliated with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod may request the seminary to waive certain courses provided their transcript indicates that they have passed similar and equal courses on the college level. However, to meet the 137 quarter hours required for graduation they are expected to take additional electives equal in credit to those courses which have been waived. These requests need to be processed through the department chairman and electives must be taken in the same department as the waived courses.

Admission Requirements

  1. Entering students are required to have completed a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have attained a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.25.
  2. Applicants must be a member of a Missouri Synod congregation for a minimum of two years prior to admission. If married, their wife must also be a member of a Missouri Synod congregation.
  3. Because of the doctrinal position of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, all candidates for the Master of Divinity degree must be male.

Exceptions to These Admission Requirements

Non-Degree Options

Concordia Theological Seminary may choose, in special circumstances, to waive the requirement of a baccalaureate degree for admission to the seminary. Applicants are entering the seminary on a privileged basis and for that reason such admission is highly selective. The applicant must above all demonstrate to the Admission Committee that he has a reasonable probability of being able to successfully perform at the graduate level. Applications will be carefully screened and admission decisions will be made during the month of March for the next academic year.
For consideration by the Admission Committee, the applicant must:

  1. Be at least 35 years of age at the time of admission.
  2. Have earned, with a minimum grade of “C” (2.0 on a 4.0 scale), credits from a regionally accredited college or university as outlined below.

  3. Credit Hours
    aEnglish (Composition, Literature)6
    bPublic Speaking*2
    cHumanities (Art, Drama, Music)9
    dSocial Sciences (History, Sociology, Economics)9
    fAdditional Courses28
    *Students enrolled in a Liberal Arts program incorporating public speaking in the general curriculum may apply for exemption from the speech requirement.
  4. Transcripts of all college or university work must be submitted to the Admission Office for evaluation.
  5. Applicants are required to complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test and have the scores forwarded to the seminary for consideration as part of their application for admission.

Provisional Admission

In unusual circumstances, applicants to the seminary whose undergraduate GPA (cumulative) is below 2.25 may be granted a provisional admission. With a low GPA from the undergraduate work, the Admission Committee has serious reservations concerning an applicant’s ability to succeed academically at the graduate level. The provisional admission will consist of one quarter of academic probation. This will commence at the beginning of the student’s first quarter of full-time study at the seminary. The quarter in which students study pre-seminary Greek does not count towards this provisional period. Full admission status will be granted if, at the end of the students’ first quarter of seminary study, they have earned a GPAof 2.00 or above, thus demonstrating their ability to meet the basic expectations of academic life at the seminary. However, if students have a GPA below 2.00 at the end of their first quarter, they will be required to discontinue their seminary studies.

Academic Programs