Accreditation and Educational Effectiveness

Accreditation of Degrees

United Lutheran Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved: MDiv, MA in Ministerial Leadership, MA, MA in Public Leadership, STM, DMin and PhD. ATS is located at 10 Summit Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, Telephone: 412-788-6505, Fax: 412-788-6510.

United Lutheran Seminary is also accredited by The Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSCHE) for Pennsylvania. The following degree programs are approved: MDiv, MA in Ministerial Leadership, MA, MA in Public Leadership, STM, DMin and PhD.

Detail of Accredited Status

United Lutheran Seminary continues under the charter of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Gettysburg Seminary). In 2011 Gettysburg Seminary (as of July 1, 2017, United Lutheran Seminary) received re-accreditation for the maximum ten-year period.

In their report, independent outside evaluators from the two accrediting agencies commended our school for the “deep commitment to the vision of the institution” on the part of students, faculty, staff, the board of directors, alumni and other constituents. Specifically noted was “ample evidence that the institution uses its curricular offerings in ways that order learning, teaching and research to both educational goals and professional qualifications for ministry.”

Statement of Educational Effectiveness/Student Achievement

United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) seeks to educate and train faithful, capable and creative persons for public leadership in Christ’s church to enable the church to fulfill its mission. Our various degree programs combine high academic standards with practical experience to prepare graduates for both lay and ordained ministries. Although the seminary is a Lutheran seminary, it strives to be ecumenical, multicultural, and hospitable in all aspects of campus life. Our faculty is comprised of professors from various faith traditions, and ULS welcomes students from a wide range of denominational backgrounds.

Master of Divinity

This program prepares persons for service in a variety of pastoral settings as ordained pastors or for service in similar leadership positions. The program provides the necessary tools and resources for the spiritual, vocational, professional and theological requirements of pastoral leadership. The degree normally requires the equivalent of three years of full-time classroom study plus the equivalent of a year of full-time field placement.

Of the 159 students admitted to the MDiv program from Fall 2012 through Spring 2016 at one of the predecessor institutions, 106 have already graduated and 16 others continue to be engaged in MDiv studies, a retention rate of over 75 percent. From 2011 through 2018 ULS and its two predecessor institutions awarded MDivs to 385 students, at least 330 of whom found pastoral placements within one year of graduation, while another 26 continued on to further study (some doing pastoral internships). While many of these students engaged studies on apart-time basis, those graduating nonetheless completed the degree in an average of 4.25 years.

Master of Arts in Ministerial Leadership

This degree program prepares persons for leadership service in the church and requires two years of full-time study. In the predecessor institutions, the equivalent degree was the Master of Ministerial Studies. From 2011 to 2019 the degree was awarded to 21 students, at least 16 of whom are known to have found placements in keeping with their vocational goals. The degree was completed in an average of 4 years.

Master of Arts

This degree program provides students the opportunity to pursue a concentration in an area of theological interest while also providing a broad foundation for further graduate study, general educational background, or to pursue personal vocational goals. It requires the equivalent of two years of full-time study. The predecessor institutions offered the Master of Arts in Religion. The two degrees were awarded to 54 students between 2011 and 2019. Students completed the program in an average of under four years.

Master of Sacred Theology

This degree program offers an opportunity for concentrated study in a given area of theological inquiry for those who have completed a first theological degree. The program promotes advanced understanding in a particular theological discipline, increases knowledge and competency for ministry in all of its variety, and provides a foundation for further advanced study. Normally undertaken part-time, the degree may be completed within one year if taken full-time. From 2011 through 2019 the degree was awarded to 84 students, who completed the program in an average of less than 5 ½ years.

Doctor of Ministry

This degree program is designed to enhance the practice of ministry for those who have been serving in ordained ministry for at least three years. Students establish individualized learning goals and devote intensive study to some task or issue in the practice of ministry. From 2011 through 2019 the degree was awarded to 58 students, most of them full-time pastors, who completed the program in an average of under 6 years.

Doctor of Philosophy

This degree program equips persons for vocations of teaching and research and for the scholarly enhancement of ministerial practice. Students select major and minor fields of study as the focus of course work and the dissertation. The program is not currently accepting new students. However, from the inception of the program in 2005 through 2017, 34 students were admitted into the program. Degrees were awarded to 21 students, who completed the program in an average of 5 years. At least 11 of our graduates have found faculty appointments or regular teaching positions, while most others are actively engaged as adjuncts or doing enhanced parish ministry. Nine students remain In the program at various stages; they have spent an average of 6 years in their studies to date.