Master of Divinity
The Master of Divinity (MDiv) is a professional degree offered to students preparing for Word and Sacrament or other pastoral ministry in the ELCA. Information about this program is available in the PLTS Student Handbook and the Ordained Ministry Planning Sheet.
Standards for Admission
Admission to the Master of Divinity program is based on the following considerations:
- Bachelor’s degree Applicants must have bachelor’s degrees, or their equivalent, from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university.
- Academic ability Normally applicants are required to have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Students with a lower grade point average may apply, however, since factors other than the academic record are also taken into consideration.
- Breadth and appropriateness of the pre-theological course of study PLTS does
not require any one type of undergraduate preparation as a prerequisite to theological study. The best preparation, however,
will normally be a broad liberal arts background that provides an understanding of the human person, social institutions, culture
and religion, and science and technology, and develops skills in written and oral expression and clear thinking. Therefore, the
college or university programs of applicants should include some basic work in each of the following fields: English composition
and literature, one or more foreign languages, history, philosophy, psychology, the physical and biological sciences, the social
sciences (economics, sociology, anthropology, government, social psychology, education) and cross-cultural studies. Knowledge
of the content of the Bible and at least one course in the history of philosophy are highly desirable.
Today’s seminarians come from a broad spectrum of educational backgrounds, ages and prior experience. Many decide to attend seminary after careers in a variety of social, family, occupational and volunteer settings. Life experience, including travel, cross-cultural and interracial exposure and involvement in social welfare or advocacy, is valuable preparation for seminary studies.
- Greek Applicants are required to have two semesters or three quarters of classical or koine Greek at the college level. If not completed in college, the required year of Greek can be completed by enrolling in either the Biblical Greek Program, a six-week intensive course offered at PLTS each summer, or an introductory Greek course during the fall and spring semesters of the student’s first year at PLTS. Credit for the second half of the Biblical Greek Program or the second semester of the year-long program will apply to the MDiv program; the first half of the Biblical Greek Program or the fall-semester introductory course counts toward fulfilling the entrance requirement, but does not carry MDiv credit. Students may also fulfill the Greek language requirement by passing a proficiency examination, given during orientation.
- Evidence of personal qualifications necessary for effective pastoral service Applicants are expected to exhibit such personal qualities designated by the ELCA as the following: commitment to Christ, willingness and ability to serve in response to the needs of the church, a life consistent with the Gospel, and leadership abilities and competence in interpersonal relationships. They are also expected to exhibit emotional maturity and to be active members of a Christian congregation.
- Positive entrance decision of ELCA ordination applicants by their synod candidacy committee (by the beginning of the second semester of studies) Other MDiv applicants, as appropriate, must provide evidence of endorsement by the appropriate authority of their church body.
- International students, see the special requirements.
For application instructions see the How to Apply section of this site.
ELCA ordination applicants for the MDiv degree must have begun the candidacy process with the appropriate synodical candidacy committee. The candidacy committee arranges for a psychological and vocational evaluation and a structured interview. Other applicants must have the endorsement of the appropriate ecclesiastical authority in their denomination.
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