Admissions Standards


Admission to Deaconess Studies ordinarily is contingent on the student’s membership in a congregation of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod or of a church body in fellowship with the Synod. An applicant is to have been involved actively as a communicant member in a Lutheran congregation for not less than two years prior to enrollment.

College Preparation

Applicants to Deaconess Studies ordinarily must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale). The degree should represent a broad liberal arts background and should include courses in English composition, writing, and speech. It also should include courses in the humanities, psychology, social sciences, natural sciences, and religion. Applicants also may find it helpful to take at least one foreign language.

Entry-Level Competencies

All students admitted to Deaconess Studies must demonstrate entry-level competence in the following areas: Old Testament con­tent, New Testament content, and basic Christian doctrine. Compe­tence is demonstrated by passing either the applicable Entry-Level Competence Examinations (ELCEs) by May 31 or the corresponding preparatory courses. The Admissions Department will provide infor­mation to all applicants regarding administration of the ELCEs.

The following standards apply to the ECLEs:

  • ELCEs may be taken up to 12 months prior to the date of beginning Deaconess Studies.
  • A student ordinarily will be afforded as many as three opportunities to pass each ELCE.
  • After an unsuccessful attempt to pass an ELCE, an interval of 21 days must pass before another attempt to pass the same ELCE. This means that fewer attempts will be available to a student as the May 31 deadline approaches.
  • A student who has passed the Old Testament, New Testament, and Christian Doctrine ELCEs by May 31 may register for one of the biblical language classes in the Summer Quarter; Greek is usually taken first.

A student who has not passed the Old Testament, New Testament, and Christian Doctrine ELCEs by May 31 should register for any applicable preseminary courses in the Summer Quarter.