Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

Earn your M.Div. in only 3 years.

The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) prepares students to serve as rostered leaders in the ELCA and other Christian denominations for both traditional and emerging forms of faith communities, their neighborhoods and the world through a program of theological, biblical, ministerial and contextual studies. 

The academic and the contextual components of the M.Div. curriculum seek to form and prepare students for multicultural, ecumenical, interfaith, and justice-oriented and environmentally-aware ministries.  An optional concentration in Evangelism and Justice prepares students to enter the synodical process of becoming specialized Mission Developers or Re-developers for the ELCA.

Degree Requirements

Pending faculty approval, starting in the Fall semester of 2018, PLTS’ M.Div. degree program will consist of 73 credit hours of coursework as well as contextual and co-curricular requirements which can be completed in three 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.

A normal M.Div. course load is considered to be 15 to 15.5 credits per semester plus two intensive courses during each January and June term.  Intensive courses are offered for one or two weeks.

See our Start Online Option for an additional way to begin the M.Div. program.

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 neede 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.

If You Are Preparing For:
  • Specialized lay ministry
  • Other than Word and Sacrament rostered ministry in the ELCA
  • Ordained ministry in another Christian tradition
Then Your Internship Will Need to Fulfill:
  • Your vocational requirements
  • The requirements of ELCA candidacy for other rostered ministries
  • 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 Gospel 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.

Evangelism and Justice Concentration

This concentration is designed for students who have an interest in focusing more deeply on new ways of doing and being church that are welcoming of and in service to the unchurched and those who been marginalized culturally and socially. This will happen through a combination of classroom work, salon discussions, training sessions with ELCA staff, and networking with those engaged in such ministries within the larger church.

More about the Concentration

Standards for Admission

A well prepared student would have a broad background in liberal arts education, strong leadership potential, knowledge of their faith tradition and an ability to articulate their call to ministry.

  • A Bachelor of Arts degree or its equivalent. Normally this degree will be from a member institution of the Association of Universities and Colleges or an institution accredited by a United States agency recognized by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation.
  • A Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, documented by official transcripts.
  • The ability to write and speak English fluently or near-fluently (for persons whose primary language is other than English, a score of 500 or above on the TOEFL paper test, or its equivalent, is required).