The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, through its seminaries in St. Louis and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers many study 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.
Alternate Route: 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. It involves a shorter period of study than does the M.Div. program (approximately one year less) and 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.
Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS): The CHS 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 also are taught online. The curriculum takes serious consideration of how confessional Lutheran theology is applied in various United States Hispanic/Latino communities. Students in the program 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.
Deaf Institute of Theology (DIT): The DIT at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, provides an alternative route to ordination for deaf and hard-of-hearing LCMS members. The curriculum provides the necessary broad foundation for missionary pastoral students. The DIT seminary-level program uses online classes with sign language video clips and mentoring by a local LCMS pastor. Annual on-campus seminars also are required.
Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT): EIIT is a specialized online education program at both seminaries providing 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 that is associated with the LCMS. Participants have the approval and support of their home church and the LCMS district within which they serve. Each student is supervised by an experienced LCMS pastor during his program of study.
Ethnic/Multi-Cultural Pastor Certification Program (EPCP/MPCP): The EPCP/MPCP training programs are a partnership between Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and Concordia University Irvine (California), and the programs are available through the Irvine campus. This four-year program of study (101 master’s credit hours) combines an accredited M.A. degree with contextual vicarage, church-planting activities. It is offered for those seeking to work in ethnic specific or in cross-cultural specific contexts.
Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program: The SMP program is a distance-based, specialized program of theological education at both seminaries and is available to those who are 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 within which 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.
In all programs, certification by seminary faculty is required before a candidate may receive a call to serve as a pastor in the LCMS.
The seminary websites offer additional information concerning the programs listed above: