Admission Standards

Eligibility

Admission to the M.Div. program 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 the M.Div. program at Concordia Seminary 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 must include courses in English composition and writing, and speech. It also should include courses in the humanities, psychology, social sciences, natural sciences, foreign languages, and religion.

A Seminary student benefits from being able to read theological literature in foreign languages, particularly German and Latin. If possible, both of these languages should be included in a prospective student’s baccalaureate program. The Seminary offers courses in these languages as resources and interests indicate.

Pre-Seminary Preparation

The Concordia University System conducts pre-seminary programs that offer sound preparation for theological study at the post-baccalaureate Seminary level. The pre-seminary curriculum “encompasses biblical knowledge, biblical language competency, and understanding of Lutheran doctrine; competency in communication skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening; skills in critical thinking and philosophical inquiry; acquisition of a global perspective; … understanding of and appreciation for the Lutheran ethos, identity, and ethic; and helping the student to perceive, proclaim, teach, and live out the centrality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the whole of life” (Concordia University System Pre-Seminary Mission Statement). Accordingly, Concordia Seminary strongly supports and encourages these programs as a preferred route to pre-seminary preparation.

Entry-Level Competencies: Biblical Languages, Bible Content, and Christian Doctrine

All students admitted to the M.Div. program must demonstrate entry-level competence in the following areas: Old Testament content, New Testament content, Christian doctrine, Biblical Greek, and Biblical Hebrew. Competence is demonstrated by passing either the Entry-Level Competence Examinations (ELCEs) in each area or the corresponding pre-seminary courses conducted by Concordia Seminary (see schedule below). A passing score of 70 percent is required on each of the ELCEs. The Office of Admissions and Ministerial Recruitment will provide information to all applicants regarding administration of the ELCEs.

NOTE: The Admissions Committee ordinarily will grant admission to the M.Div. program prior to the demonstration of competence in these five areas, with the condition that such admission is subject to the demonstration of competence in these five areas. Consequently, students who have not demonstrated competence in any of the five areas must register for the applicable pre-seminary courses before they will be permitted to enroll in M.Div. courses.

The Seminary offers the pre-seminary competence courses according to the following schedule:

Old Testament – Summer Quarter only
New Testament – Summer Quarter only
Christian Doctrine – Summer Quarter only

Elementary Hebrew – Fall and Winter Quarters only
Elementary Greek – Summer and Fall Quarters only

Please note the following guidelines:

  • One may begin taking the content ELCE’s (OT, NT, CD) beginning May 1 of the year prior to enrollment and the language ELCE’s August 1 in the year prior to enrollment.
  • 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 3 days must pass before another attempt to pass the same ELCE. You may continue to take exams in other content areas during this waiting period. This means that fewer attempts will be available to a student as the April 30 deadline approaches.
  • A student who has passed the Old Testament, New Testament, and Christian Doctrine ELCEs by April 30 may register for Greek in the Summer Quarter.
  • A student who has not passed the Old Testament, New Testament, and Christian Doctrine ELCEs by April 30 should register for any applicable pre-seminary courses in the Summer Quarter.
  • A student who is enrolled in one of the biblical languages may exceed 12 credit hours only with the permission of the director of academic programming.
  • A student who is enrolled in one of the biblical languages may take M.Div. courses only with the permission of the director of academic programming.
  • Elementary Hebrew or Greek may be repeated only once. If a student fails one of these courses the second time, the student will be dismissed for academic reasons from the M.Div. program. Such a student may apply for readmission as a Special Student to attempt the twice-failed language course a third time and will be authorized to take the course at the prevailing audit rate but will not be eligible for Seminary-administered financial aid. A student who successfully completes the applicable language course on the third attempt may apply for readmission to the M.Div. program.

Speech

All applicants must provide transcript evidence of satisfactory completion of a college course in the preparation and delivery of speeches. Although St. Louis area community colleges and universities offer such courses, trying to take such a course after arriving at the Seminary may impinge on one’s availability to take the proper Seminary course load. Therefore, applicants are strongly urged to take such a course at an institution in their home area.

Non-Degree Applicants

In a limited number of other cases, applicants without a bachelor’s degree may be admitted as non-degree students. The total number of non-degree students is restricted to a maximum of 10 percent of the total M.Div. student body; therefore, non-degree admissions are highly competitive. Admission decisions regarding non-degree applicants for each academic year are made in the preceding April. In addition to meeting all other admission requirements, non-degree students:

  1. Must have reached age 35 by September 1 prior to their enrollment;
  2. Must cite circumstances (age, family, finances, etc.) that indicate it is unrealistic to expect them to obtain a bachelor’s degree prior to their enrollment;
  3. Must have received grades of “C” or better in courses that earned at least 60 semester hours of credit (90 quarter hours) at an accredited college or university, with the following minimum numbers of credits in specific areas:
    • 12 in English and humanities (composition, communication, journalism, literature, art, drama, music, philosophy, foreign languages—also Greek and Hebrew);
    • 2 in public speaking;
    • 15 in social sciences (anthropology, economics, education, history, political science, psychology, sociology);
    • 6 in science/mathematics (biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physical science); and
    • 25 in electives.
  4. Must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) for all courses taken, including any for which a grade lower than “C” was received.

Transfer Applicants

Students at accredited theological seminaries who wish to transfer to Concordia Seminary should ask the director of admissions and ministerial recruitment for a transcript evaluation. In consultation with the Admissions Committee, the academic advisor and registrar will determine which credits are transferable. Credits used for a degree at another school, credits for undergraduate-level courses, and credits for courses with a grade below “C” are not transferable. In addition to meeting requirements for the M.Div. degree, transfer students ordinarily shall be full-time students for two quarters immediately prior to vicarage and shall spend the entire academic year prior to graduation in full-time residency.

Application

Application forms are available from the Office of Admissions and Ministerial Recruitment. An application is not complete until it includes all of the following:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Application Fee of $50
  • Official Transcripts from each college/university and seminary previously attended
  • Official Report of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores (see “Testing”)
  • Letter of Recommendation from Home Pastor
  • Interview Report from Home District
  • Protect My Ministry background check
  • Applicants who have graduated from, or attended, a synodical college or university within five years prior to enrollment at the Seminary also must provide a letter of recommendation from that institution’s president.

All admissions to the M.Div. program are offered subject to the completion of pre-seminary competencies and to the completion of all application requirements, e.g., official final transcripts from all post-secondary institutions previously attended. A student who continues to have missing items may be prevented from registering for courses until all requirements are complete. The application deadline is March 31 of the year in which you intend to enroll.

Testing

Applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (Revised General Test), except as follows:

  1. GRE General Test scores are available that are less than five years old.
  2. An applicant already has earned a master’s or doctoral degree.

Applicants who are able to use the Internet should contact www.ets.org/gre for information concerning test dates and locations and to register for the Revised General Test. Applicants who do not have Internet access should contact the Office of Admissions and Ministerial Recruitment to obtain a copy of the GRE Bulletin.

International applicants are required also to present a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and may be required to present a score for the Test of Spoken English (TSE). Both tests are available via the Internet. Contact www.toefl.org for information concerning test dates and locations. Applicants who do not have Internet access should contact the Office of Admissions and Ministerial Recruitment to obtain a copy of the TOEFL Bulletin.

When registering for any of the above tests, please indicate that scores should be reported to the Office of Admissions and Ministerial Recruitment, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis Missouri 63105. Concordia Seminary’s institution number is 6115.