When a man who aspires to the pastoral office demonstrates circumstances exceptional enough to warrant that he not be required to complete the normative, first professional degree (M.Div.) program in order to be certified for the office, he may seek admission to the Seminary in one of the following alternate routes to pastoral ministry.
Like the M.Div. program, these alternate routes seek to further the spiritual, academic, and personal development of men to equip them for the holy ministry of Word and Sacraments in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Unlike the M.Div. program, these alternate routes do not lead to either an academic or a professional degree. Instead, the student who successfully finishes these programs receives a certificate indicating that a prescribed course of studies has been completed and a theological diploma that certifies eligibility for ordination.