LCMS Seminary Education

Seminary Education

LCMS Pastoral Education

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod offers various seminary study programs through its two seminaries:

  • Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
  • Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.

In all programs, certification by seminary faculty is required before a candidate may receive a call to serve as a pastor in the LCMS.


Residential Programs

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

This program at both seminaries forms two-thirds of LCMS pastoral ministry students. It involves three years of on-campus study, plus a one-year vicarage (internship).

Graduates receive a M.Div. degree and may proceed to additional graduate-level study. Ordinarily, a baccalaureate degree is required for admission.

Concordia St. Louis     Concordia Fort Wayne


Residential Alternate Route (RAR/AR)

This program at both seminaries is open to laymen and male ministers of religion-commissioned who meet specific eligibility requirements involving both age and length of service.

The program involves a shorter period of study than the M.Div. program (approximately one year less), and it does not utilize Hebrew in the study of the Old Testament.

It does not result in the awarding of an academic degree, though some students in this program may also qualify for admission to the Master of Arts degree program.

Concordia St. Louis     Concordia Fort Wayne


Non-Residential Programs

Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS)

The Center for Hispanic Studies is operated by Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and offers seminary level pastoral and deaconess formation in the Spanish language.

Prior to entering the seminary level, students complete entrance or congregational level preparatory courses.

At the seminary level, courses are delivered through short-term intensive courses given on campus or at extension-satellite sites. Some courses are taught online.

The curriculum takes serious consideration of how confessional Lutheran theology is applied in various United States Hispanic/Latino communities.

Students serve a two-year concurrent vicarage or deaconess internship under the mentorship of local LCMS pastors. Eligible students can also apply to a M.A. through the Graduate School.

Concordia St. Louis


Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT)

The Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology is a specialized online education program from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The program provides theological education and formation for effective pastoral leadership within immigrant-based churches.

The program is created for men providing pastoral leadership from within an ethnic immigrant community associated with the LCMS.

Participants have the approval and support of their home church and the LCMS district they serve. Each student is supervised by an experienced LCMS pastor.

Concordia St. Louis


Cross-Cultural Ministry Center (CMC)

The Cross-Cultural Ministry Center has been established by Concordia University, Irvine, Calif., in conjunction with Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and the LCMS Pacific Southwest District. The CMC program prepares men for ordained ministry to serve in the sociocultural contexts of specific ethnic populations and multicultural communities.

Concordia St. Louis


Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program

The Specific Ministry Pastor Program is a distance-based, specialized program of theological education available at both seminaries. It is available to those involved in a ministry site where they will serve as vicars for the first two years of the program.

After successful completion of the first two years and certification by the seminary faculty, students are ordained and complete two more years of instruction.

Participants have the approval and support of their home church and the LCMS district they serve.

Each SMP is supervised by an experienced LCMS pastor during and after his program of study, and each program faces restrictions concerning service in the pastoral ministry.

Concordia St. Louis     Concordia Fort Wayne


Specific Ministry Pastor to General Pastor Certification (GPC)

The Specific Ministry Pastor to General Pastor Certification Track is offered at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The program is designed specifically for pastors who have completed the SMP program and desire to continue study in order to be eligible for roster as a General Pastor in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Concordia St. Louis


Specific Ministry Pastor–Español/English Program (SMP-EsE)

The Specific Ministry Pastor–Español/English Program is a cost-conscious, distance-based, Spanish-language program of theological education offered by Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.

The program works in cooperation with Hispanic theological educators from Seminario Concordia el Reformador, Dominican Republic, and around Latin America for the pastoral formation of Hispanic/Latino men serving in an LCMS Hispanic Ministry.

The program follows the basic structure, guidelines and restrictions of the regular SMP program, but it is focused on preparing bilingual Hispanics/Latinos for service to the Lord’s Church in a bilingual Español/English context.

Each SMP-EsE is mentored by an experienced LCMS pastor during and after his program of study.

Concordia Fort Wayne


The LCMS is blessed with dedicated professors of theology at its two seminaries.

Concordia St. Louis     Concordia Fort Wayne

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