Curriculum & Academic Advising

The M.Div. curriculum of Concordia Seminary is under continuous review in order that, with suitable revisions, it can prepare men more thoroughly to serve the church of today. The structure of the curriculum is depicted in the listing that follows this section.

The M.Div. curriculum as such is designed so that it ordinarily can be completed in four years (three years of academic residence, one year of vicarage). If a student has not demonstrated entry-level competence in one or more of the areas listed under “ADMISSION—Entry-Level Competencies”, enrolling in the applicable Seminary courses to acquire these competencies can add as much as one additional year of academic residence prior to the vicarage year (NOTE: Competency in Bible content and Christian doctrine must be demonstrated before enrolling in any other courses).

To assist students in understanding the curriculum and their own progress through it, the academic advisor for Sem I students meets with all first-year M.Div. students in the Fall Quarter. The director of academic programming and the registrar are also available for consultation in the first year and in each subsequent year of a student’s academic residency.

Credit Distribution

EO101 Hebrew Biblical Readings 2 hours
EN101 Greek Biblical Readings 2 hours
E102 Biblical Hermeneutics 3 hours
EO105 Exodus and the Torah 3 hours
EO106 Psalms and Writings 3 hours
EO107 Isaiah and the Prophets 3 hours
EN105 The Synoptic Gospels 3 hours
EN106 John and the Catholic Epistles 3 hours
EN107 The Pauline Epistles and Acts 3 hours
E109 Seminar in Biblical Theology 2 hours
S100 Lutheran Mind 3 hours
S115 Systematics I 3 hours
S116 Systematics II 3 hours
S117 Systematics III 3 hours
S118 Systematics IV 3 hours
S124 Lutheran Confessions I 3 hours
S125 Lutheran Confessions II 3 hours
S126 Religious Bodies of America 3 hours
S127 World Religions 2 hours
H100 Introduction to Historical Theology 3 hours
H130 The Lutheran Reformation 3 hours
H183 The History of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod 3 hours
1 elective in the area of the Early and Medieval Church 3 hours
1 elective in the area of the Early Modern and Modern Church 3 hours
1 history elective from any historical period 3 hours
P101 Pastoral Ministry 3 hours
P102 Pastoral Theology 4 hours
P103 Pastor as Counselor to Individuals and Families 3 hours
P120 Pastor as Educator 3 hours
P130 Homiletics I 3 hours
P131 Homiletics II 3 hours
P140 Worship 3 hours
P151 Pastoral Leadership 3 hours
P160 Theology of Missions 3 hours
1 post-vicarage homiletics elective (see page 91) 2 hours
6 Three credit hour electives
VICARAGE 18 hours

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular practical training functions to provide each student with the opportunity to observe and practice skills of the pastoral ministry firsthand. To qualify, the experience must be church work or work closely related to the development of the skills of the pastoral ministry; it must be supervised by competent professional persons; and it must be evaluated by both the student and the supervisor for the sake of the student’s insight and growth in all areas of personal and professional development. Each student at the Seminary must participate in and successfully complete nine quarters of resident field education and a year of vicarage as requirements for the M.Div. degree and the theological diploma.

Resident Field Education

The resident field education program consists of:

  1. pre-vicarage and post-vicarage congregational field education
  2. institutional field education
  3. cross-cultural field education
  4. course-related work

Congregational field education begins with assignment by the director of resident field education to a congregation in the St. Louis area. The student is placed under the supervision of the pastor of that particular congregation. The program is designed to give the student experience with the role and functions of the pastor of a congregation.

During his first year of studies, the student completes the institutional and cross-cultural modules of resident field education, being assigned to a specific module for a quarter. Each module requires approximately half of the student’s field education time. The student will maintain as much Sunday contact as possible with his field education congregation.

Resident field education normally should involve a maximum of eight hours per week for first-year students and 10 hours per week for second-year and post-vicarage students. Participation is limited to Sunday morning and an average of one other time period per week.

Orientation seminars for the various modules are conducted at the beginning of the academic year. Time spent in orientation counts toward meeting resident field education time requirements. Field education also is correlated with courses such as P-101 Pastoral Ministry, P-140 Worship, and P-130 Homiletics I.

A student may request assignment to full-time work in a congregation, institution, or camp for eight to 12 weeks during the summer under a qualified supervisor. Various sponsoring agencies submit placement opportunities through the district presidents of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. A student who applies is as-signed to such a placement, if available, by the director of resident field education. If acceptable comprehensive reports have been submitted by the student and the supervisor, the student may request to be excused from one of the required quarters of his pre-vicarage congregational resident field education program.


A vicarage “is required of all Seminary students before graduation, ordinarily in the second year before graduation” (2004 Hand-book of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Bylaw 2.8.1 d).

The vicarage consists of one year (12 months) of in-service education, normally in a parish situation. To begin vicarage, a student must have taken all the courses that are specific pre-vicarage requirements (see below). A student may begin vicarage with no fewer than 65 credits and no more than 93 credits.  Most students have about 78 credits when they go on vicarage.  A minimum cumulative curriculum grade point average of 2.35 is required to receive a vicarage assignment. Any student who seeks to go beyond 93 cred-its or to serve a deferred vicarage (completing all academic course work requirements before vicarage) should consult with the director of vicarage to discuss requirements for such exceptions. Vicars are full-time students at Concordia Seminary during the course of the vicarage. Periodic reports are made by the student and the supervising pastor to the director of vicarage. A total of 18 credit hours is granted to the student upon successful completion of the vicarage.

The following courses are prerequisites for vicarage:

EN101  EO101  E102  S100  S115  S116  H100  S124  S125  P101  P120  P130  P131  P140

three of the following, with at least one in each Testament:

EO105   EO106  EO107  EN105   EN106   EN107

Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical pastoral education (CPE) is available on a limited basis for degree credit in the M.Div. program. CPE is conducted under the direction of the Seminary’s CPE advisor.

Application for CPE is made through the registrar, who determines the academic eligibility of the applicant. Students are academically eligible after completing all of the courses that are prerequisites for vicarage and accumulating a minimum of 65 credit hours in the M.Div. program with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher. After a student’s academic eligibility has been established, the application must be approved by the Department of Practical Theology.

Although as many as 12 hours of transcript credit may be granted for CPE, no more than six credit hours are applicable to the M.Div. degree.

Missionary Formation Program

The Missionary Formation Program is a mission-related concentration that allows students to be prepared for special service in church planting and cross-cultural ministry. This program is conducted in cooperation with LCMS World Mission and closely coordinated with its needs for personnel, both nationally and internationally.

Students apply for admission to the program during their first or second year of studies at the Seminary and are accepted upon recommendation by Institute for Mission Studies professors and after interviews conducted by LCMS World Mission staff.

Missionary Formation Program students complete all Seminary course requirements before beginning vicarage. Their vicarage education includes the broad range of experiences in pastoral ministry that other students receive but within the context of the situation in which they will be engaged in church planting or cross-cultural ministry following the completion of the vicarage.

The Missionary Formation Program concentration consists of a series of courses designed to prepare the students for their calling in mission, including:

  1. a year-long Mission and Ministry Seminar  (P-462), which includes parish/mission site experiences and seminar work on campus;
  2. courses with special missional focus (P-460, Mission Practice Now; P-471, Missionary Anthropology; and H-455, History of Missions);
  3. and other elective courses chosen individually by the students.

These courses are available as electives within the general curriculum, and M.Div. students outside the program may participate in these courses.