Theological education without an academic or professional degree at Concordia Seminary

Residential Alternate Route (RAR)

The Residential Alternate Route (RAR) is the alternate route most closely parallel to the M.Div. Program. Students in this program study alongside those in the M.Div. Program, including the study of the New Testament on the basis of its original language, Greek. The key differences from the M.Div. Program are a reduced number of courses and Old Testament studies are carried out on the basis of the English language.

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 LCMS. 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 one of these programs receives a certificate indicating that a prescribed course of studies has been completed and a theological diploma that certifies eligibility for ordination.

The RAR includes a two-year academic program and a one-year vicarage. The RAR program provides a comprehensive theological education with extensive grounding in both theology and practice, exegetical skills based on the Greek language, and ministerial formation leading to certification as a general pastor. Compared to the M.Div. Program, the RAR program requires fewer courses and Old Testament studies are carried out in the English language. Upon completion of the program, RAR students receive a certificate and theological diploma certifying for eligibility for ordination.

RAR students participate in Resident Field Education and also serve a vicarage, which typically follows the completion of the student’s resident coursework. The place where a student serves a vicarage often becomes the place of their first ordained ministry.

Admission to the RAR ordinarily requires that the applicant be a member of a congregation of the LCMS. Each applicant must meet the criteria of one of the following categories:

  1. Men who are graduates of an LCMS college/university, whose names appear on the LCMS roster of Commissioned Ministers and who have accumulated at least eight years of successful experience as Commissioned Ministers of the LCMS.
  2. Men who ordinarily are at least 35 years of age at the time of application, who ordinarily have accumulated at least 10 years of significant experience related directly to Word and Sacrament ministry within the LCMS (elder, lector, evangelism caller, Bible class teacher, etc.) and who ordinarily have completed successfully at least 60 semester hours of college-level course work.

For more information, review the Academic Catalog and Entry Level Competency Exam requirements.

Personal and Pastoral Formation 15 hours
PRA506 Introduction to Pastoral Ministry 3 hours
Personal and Pastoral Formation Labs (noncredit)
Resident Field Education (noncredit)
Vicarage 12 hours
EXE507 Interpreting and Communicating the Word 3 hours
EXE522 Synoptic Gospels 1.5 hours
EXE525 Pauline Epistles 1.5 hours
EXE7XX English-based Old Testament course 3 hours
Biblical Languages 6 hours
Greek 6 hours
Greek language labs (noncredit)
PRA507 Introduction to Practical Theology 3 hours
PRA511 Homiletics 3 hours
PRA512 Worship and the Word 3 hours
PRA513 Teaching the Faith* 3 hours
PRA514 Pastoral Care and the Word 3 hours
PRA515 Reading and Preaching the Word 3 hours
PRA516 Introduction to Pastoral Leadership 2 hours
PRA517 Pastoral Leadership and Theology 3 hours
PRA52X Homiletics preaching elective 1.5 hours
SYS507 Introduction to Systematic Theology 3 hours
SYS511 Creeds and Confessions 3 hours
SYS512 Systematics I 3 hours
SYS513 Church and World 3 hours
SYS514 Systematics II 1.5 hours
HIS507 Introduction to Historical Theology 3 hours
HIS508 The Reformation and the Lutheran Church 3 hours
Total credit hours for RAR 77 hours

*PRA513 Teaching the Faith is waived for Commissioned Ministers.