How to Apply
- If you intend to be rostered in the ELCA (required for becoming a pastor, Associate in Ministry, or Diaconal minister in the ELCA), contact the candidacy committee in your home synod as soon as you start considering seminary.
- Review the Application Requirements listed below or download the PDF version.
- Review the Standards for Admission on the page for your intended degree program and the PLTS Admission Options.
- Submit a completed application and all supporting information. Priority deadlines to be considered for the best scholarships and financial aid are February 15th for Fall enrollment and October 15th for Spring enrollment.
If you have questions at any time, please contact the Admissions Office at (510) 559-2730 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Application RequirementsApplication (Degree) Application (Non-Degree)
The latest version of Adobe Reader is required to complete and submit the application online. Other software programs may not work properly.
For PLTS Master's and Certificate Programs:
- A completed degree program or non-degree program application form. To have a paper copy of either application mailed to you, please contact our Admissions Office at (510) 559-2730 or email@example.com.
- Official transcripts sent to PLTS for all undergraduate and graduate study.
- Identify three people who will provide a recommendation for you and submit the References Worksheet. The admissions office will contact your references and supply them with the appropriate form.
- A brief autobiography. Please discuss in 3 to 5 double-spaced pages the events and factors that have formed your Christian faith. Include an account of the significant factors in your childhood and family life, a brief statement of your personal faith and theological convictions, and the principle reasons for desiring to prepare for professional ministry in the church. In the body of your essay or in a separate paragraph articulate how you resonate with the PLTS orienting perspectives: Lutheran Identity, Multiculturalism, Public Sphere, and Religious Pluralism.
- Pay the application fee of $25.00 by check, money order, or online using a credit card.
- Submit these materials, together or as they are available.
We will notify you when your application file is complete and then again when the Admissions Committee has taken action on your file. If you have questions at any step of the process, please don’t hesitate to contact Admissions Office at (510) 559-2730 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet all of the requirements listed above for the M.Div. degree and apply separately to the Graduate Theological Union. Applicants must choose one of sixteen areas of studies. There is a separate application process to the GTU for the GTU Common MA portion of this degree. More information can be found on the GTU website.
Certificate of Advanced Theological Studies - "Lutheran Year"
For candidates who intend to complete the ELCA year of residency at PLTS:
- A completed non-degree application form.
- An official transcript from your current school.
- Identify one professor at your seminary or divinity school who will provide a recommendation for you and submit the References Worksheet. The admissions office will contact your references and supply them with the appropriate form.
- A brief statement of your study plans and vocational goals while at PLTS.
- $25.00 Application Fee payable to: California Lutheran University
M.Div. Transfer Students
- A completed degree program application form.
- An official transcript from your current seminary.
- Identify one professor at your current seminary who will provide a recommendation for you and submit the References Worksheet. The admissions office will contact your references and supply them with the appropriate form.
- A letter of honorable dismissal from the dean or registrar at your current seminary.
- $25.00 Application Fee payable to: California Lutheran University
Auditor or Unclassified Students
- A completed Auditor or Unclassified Application.
- Additional materials may be requested from the applicant prior to an admissions decision being made.
- In general, applicants are expected to have a baccalaureate or graduate degree.
In addition to the above, program specific requirements, TOEFL scores must be submitted by non-native speakers of English who have not completed an academic degree taught in English. This school is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students.
Ph.D., Th.D., and M.A. Programs
If you are applying to the Ph.D., Th.D., or M.A. programs, you will apply to the Graduate Theological Union.
All academic areas of study are available at each GTU school, however, advisors in every area are not available at PLTS. You may contact GTU or PLTS Admissions Office to determine whether or not PLTS has a faculty member who could act as your advisor in your academic area of interest. If PLTS has the appropriate faculty for your area they will be assigned as your advisor.
M.A. students must be affiliated with a GTU member school, center, or institute, but affiliation is optional for Ph.D. students. Your school of affiliation will make you be eligible for housing, and other community benefits. More information about faculty members, their academic areas, and specific interests visit: http://gtu.edu/academics/areas.
Standards for Admissions
Admission standards vary for each of our degree programs, but include common elements such as the completion of a bachelor’s degree, academic ability, and appropriate background in pre-theological study. Before applying you should check if there are requirements specific to your degree or certificate program:
- Master of Arts (M.A.)
- Joint M.Div / M.A.
- Certificate of Theological Studies
- Certificate of Advanced Theological Studies (Lutheran Year)
- Doctor of Theology or Philosophy
Policies and Deadlines
Priority Application Deadlines
Students who submit complete Admissions, Financial Aid, and Housing applications by the priority deadlines will know by April 1st for Fall and December 1st for Spring if they have been admitted, awarded financial aid and will be assigned housing. These Admissions, Financial Aid and Housing decisions will be effective until July 1st for Fall and January 1st for Spring, and must be accepted before those dates.
Late Application Deadline
Applicants who apply after February 15th for Fall admission, and after October 15th for Spring, must complete Admissions, Financial Aid, and Housing applications before July 1st for Fall or December 15th for Spring to be eligible for Financial Aid or Housing, which will be granted from what remains after applicants meeting the Priority Deadline have been awarded. There is no guarantee of housing after the April 15th deadline and what is available will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. Housing for Spring admission may have limited options and is not guaranteed.
General Candidacy Requirements
For students who are candidates for ordination in the ELCA, PLTS follows the procedures for candidacy prepared by the ELCA.