United Lutheran Seminary


Degrees Available at the United Lutheran Seminary

United Lutheran Seminary appears in our ranking of the 30 Best Theological Seminaries in the United States.

United Lutheran Seminary offers six degrees and four certificate programs for graduate and doctoral students. A popular option is its Master of Divinity, which welcomes students who want to work as chaplains and other roles in their churches. The program includes 72 credits and allows students to graduate in four years or less. Students who cannot visit one of the seminary’s campuses and those who have an interest in online learning can enroll in the distributed learning pathway version of the program. The seminary also offers this as an accelerated program for those who have some church and leadership experience.

All versions of the Master of Divinity program have the same goals. Graduates should learn how to interpret the Bible, work with groups in their churches, serve others in their communities and understand the needs of others. Students have the option of working as individuals and in small groups as they do fieldwork. Some of the classes in the divinity program include The Story of Jesus, The Story of the Early Church, Pastoral Theology and Language of the Early Church and the Church Today.

Also available is a Master of Arts (MA) that includes 51 credits of classes. Students spend two terms working on their thesis papers. While they meet with their advisors and began research in the first semester, the second semester asks them to present their drafts and get feedback before they submit their papers. Some of the requirements of this program do not award students credit, including an anti-racism retreat that teaches them how to work with people of different backgrounds and colors. They’ll also do boundary training on-campus. The seminary lets them complete training off-campus through approved workshops.

MA students can also focus their studies on public leadership or ministerial leadership. In the ministerial leadership program, they can select from focus areas such as theology, liturgy and Biblical studies. The town and country focus area requires that students take classes from the Town and Country Institute. Students who select the black church focus area can take classes through the Urban Theological Institute. In the public leadership focus area, majors learn how to help the community and public at large through church programs.

The seminary also offers a Master of Sacred Theology and a Doctor of Ministry. Both of these programs have similar requirements to the MA and Master of Divinity programs. There are also four certificates that students can earn on one of the seminary’s campuses or online that go along with their degrees. Those certificates include studies in Christian ministry, theological studies, congregational faith formation, and church leadership.

About the United Lutheran Seminary

United Lutheran Seminary is a private seminary and one of the schools affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Before opening, it served as two separate schools in Gettysburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania called The Lutheran Theological Seminary. While the Gettysburg seminary opened in 1826, the Philadelphia seminary opened in 1864. The Evangelical Lutheran Church merged the campuses in 2017 to give students at both schools access to the same resources and opportunities. Also known as ULS, it has an enrollment of around 300 students.

United Lutheran Seminary Accreditation Details

ULS has accreditation for all of its degree programs from the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (CAATS). This allows the seminary to offer graduate and doctoral programs to residents of the United States and Canada. It also has accreditation from an organization in Pennsylvania called the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (CHEMSACS). The seminary’s accreditation will not come up for renewal again until 2027.

United Lutheran Seminary Application Requirements

Admissions representatives can contact students via email and chat with them over the phone. Those representatives can help students understand the requirements of the seminary and what it looks for in new students. Prospective students also have the option of touring the campus and talking to a financial aid counselor before they apply. Students need to decide between taking classes in Philadelphia or Gettysburg when they apply too, but they also have the choice of taking online classes through the seminary. The seminary’s certificate programs are only available for students who live close to the Philadelphia campus.

Students applying to most of the ULS degree and certificate programs need to provide some general information, including a phone number, home address, full name, and email address. They need to have a bachelor’s degree with an undergraduate or graduate grade point average of2.8 or higher. The seminary may accept students who completed a minimum of 78 credits of undergraduate work too. Students also need to provide their transcripts and write an autobiographical essay of five to seven pages. This essay should address the roles they have in their churches, their sense of duty and what they think about the ministry. Both the doctoral programs and the Master of Sacred Theology have the same requirements but also ask for three letters of recommendation.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Most of the programs at ULS charge a tuition rate of $19,500 a year. Students can purchase health insurance from the seminary for $4,900 every year. ULS will waive this requirement for students who have health insurance through their employers or parents. In the STM program, students pay $15,600 in tuition and fees every year. This rate drops to $7,800 a year for students in the Doctor of Ministry program. All students must also pay for their on-campus or off-campus living expenses and textbooks.

Financial support is available from the seminary for all students with a demonstrated need. Students must use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if they want to get an unsubsidized loan from the federal government. They also need to complete the ULS Institutional Financial Aid Application, which the seminary recommends they do by the first of March. Students can retain their financial aid as long as they have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and pass at least 67% of the classes they take. The seminary offers both a housing allowance that helps students pay for an apartment or home and scholarships that cover their tuition and fees. Students in any of the degree programs at the United Lutheran Seminary qualify for one of these scholarships.

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