About Candidacy

Candidacy is the professional licensure process of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  Many other denominations and traditions have similar processes.  Check in with your faith tradition about their process. 

Students called to be licensed ministers or spiritual leaders within the ELCA candidacy process will follow various steps along the way in their academic program. These steps include three decision points:  Entrance, Endorsement, and Approval.  These points are designed to assist in the discernment of a candidate's call to licensed ministry and the evaluation of a candidate's readiness for this ministry. This brief description of the ELCA candidacy process provides an overview of each decision point. This more detailed description gives information about what is required at each point.

Licensed ministry in the ELCA is known as rostered ministry. If you are considering becoming rostered in the ELCA, contact your synod candidacy person early in the process, preferably about a year before you intend to begin seminary. If you are considering ministry/spiritual leadership in another tradition, contact  the governing body of your tradition early and often prior to beginning seminary.

If you are unsure about becoming a candidate for ministry, you are encouraged to be in contact with your synod or governing body anyway.  You may always begin the process and discern later that this is not for you.  It is more complicated to begin this process later in your seminary program.

For ELCA candidacy, one is generally Entranced into candidacy around the same time as when applying to seminary. For those in other traditions, generally you also will have completed initial entrance into their process around the same time as you are applying to seminary.

If you are now being entranced into ELCA candidacy or the licensure process of another tradition, and see that this may not be completed until after the start of your program, please be in conversation with the Associate Dean

If you are seeking Entrance later than the December 1 of your first year, this may cause delays in completing your program within the regularly scheduled timeframe.  As a pre-requisite for contextual/field education, a student must have successfully completed a background check and must have been cleared by their denomination to enter and continue in their licensure process.

When you are entranced, please have your synod or governing body send a copy of their decision to the Associate Dean's office.