MDiv Curriculum

The MDiv degree program consists of 73 credit hours of coursework as well as contextual and co-curricular requirements which can be completed in three, four, or five years including internship. Students not seeking ordination within the ELCA may choose to fulfill contextual education requirements in ways related to their vocational goals and petition for waiver of internship. If internship is not required, the program may be completed in two years.

The typical number of credits per semester depends on the pathway one chooses. This varies from around 15 to 15.5 credits per semester for the MDiv Intensive to around 12 units for the standard MDiv. Each pathway includes intensive courses during each January term. Intensive courses are offered for one or two weeks.

For a list of required courses, click here

Contextual Education

Contextual education requirements include Ministry in Context, Clinical Pastoral Education, and Internship.

  • Ministry in Context: Students spend three semesters observing and engaging in local congregations and other social and ministry agencies for six to eight hours a week.
  • Clinical Pastoral Education: Students spend a summer in a hospital or other chaplaincy site with a peer group under the direction of a supervisor exploring dimensions of pastoral care. 
  • Internship: Students ordinarily have a full-time pastoral internship during their final year in a congregation under the supervision of a pastor. Internship sites are wide-ranging in terms of geographical location, size, ministry site, and culture of the congregation.

Note that endorsement from a student’s synodical candidacy committee is needed to be placed on an internship site.  For ELCA students, any change in the duration and sequencing of internship, or placement in a specialized internship site will need to be approved by the student’s candidacy committee.  You will work with the  Office of Contextual Education to prepare a plan for how to meet the internship requirement.

Internship Requirements
If you are preparing for: Your internship will need to fulfill:
Specialized lay ministry Your vocational requirements
Other than Word and Sacrament rostered ministry in the ELCA The requirements of ELCA candidacy for other rostered ministries
Ordained ministry in another Christian tradition The candidacy requirements of your Church body or denomination

For a student who is a member of a denomination that does not require internship, this requirement may be waived by petition to and vote by the faculty.


Co-curricular requirements include four semesters of participation in a Formation for Ministry Group, a professional boundaries workshop, and an annual anti-racism training. For a student who is a member of a denomination that does not require internship, the Formation for Ministry Group may be waived by petition to and vote by the faculty.

Candidacy (ELCA)

Prospective students are encouraged to be in conversation with their synod if they are exploring call as a rostered leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. PLTS works with students to navigate the process of incorporating their academic study with their ongoing discernment of call with their candidacy committee.

View the General Candidacy Requirements

Language Requirements

Students have two language requirements: Spanish for Worship and Biblical Greek. Biblical Greek courses introduce both traditional and electronic resources to facilitate life-long engagement with the original texts of the New Testament for preaching purposes. Students fluent or nearly-fluent in Spanish can petition for a waiver of the Spanish for Worship requirement.  Students can also benefit from other biblical and modern language opportunities through the GTU and the University of California Berkeley.