Admissions
Pursue your passion. Do something with your faith. Challenge yourself at a world-class graduate school of theology. Whether you’re interested in ministry, social justice or serious religious scholarship, CTS will take you to the Next.
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Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Arts (M.A.),
& Master of Arts in Religious Leadership (M.A.R.L)

Applicants must have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Though a variety of college programs provide adequate preparation, it is to the applicant’s advantage to have well developed written and oral communication skills, strong academic references, good critical thinking skills, and coursework in the area of humanities. G.R.E. scores are not required. Applicants are considered for admission based upon the overall presentation of materials within the application, which should reflect the applicant’s promise for service to religious communities, the academy and society. The M.Div., M.A. and M.A.R.L. application process includes:

  • Official transcripts from all academic institutions attended;
  • Four letters of reference—at least two must be academic, one may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a supervisor or friend;
  • Written materials, including an autobiographical statement, as directed for each degree program;
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required of applicants for whom English is not a first language. The exam must be completed no more than two years prior to application. The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.

M.Div Application

The Master of Divinity is a three-year program designed to prepare women and men to serve as transformative religious leaders in the church and society, often in an ordained capacity. This program combines critical reflection with real life application--emphasizing the idea of doing ministry and studying theology in the context of community--with consideration given to the wide and varied spectrums of history, culture, and theological perspective. The Master of Divinity program culminates in a final writing project termed the Constructive Theology Paper. The emphasis placed upon self awareness and the development of transferable leadership skills, also makes this degree appropriate for those preparing to serve in non-church and non-traditional ministry settings such as: health care facilities, human service organizations, governmental agencies, not-for-profit agencies, business and academic environments, community organizations, advocacy organizations, and in the public square.

Qualifications: M.Div. applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree. Certain persons who do not have a Bachelor’s degree may apply as a Student at Large (S.A.L.). See separate application.

1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts and application for financial aid will be submitted in hard copy. Applications must be complete before they will be forwarded to the CTS Admissions Committee for consideration. Please plan accordingly to meet the appropriate deadlines.

You may complete the form in more than one session. If you experience technical difficulty, please contact the Office of Admissions at 773-896-2410 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2. APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by debit card or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card or American Express.) Persons serving as volunteers, team members, Corp members, staff and alums of the AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps, and VISTA are eligible for an application fee waiver. 

3. SUBMISSION: Transcripts and the CTS Application for Financial Aid form should be mailed to:

Chicago Theological Seminary
Admissions Office
1407 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-1507

4. FINANCIAL AID: Applicants wishing to be considered for merit scholarships or need-based grants must complete the application process and submit the CTS Application for Financial Aid by the deadline. Merit scholarships and need-based grants are available for students matriculating in the fall only.

5. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: All applicants must complete the admissions process within two years of submission of the online form. No applications will be held after two years. Applicants who are not accepted to CTS may only re-apply after two years, and must re-submit an application. Submission of an application and the supporting documents assumes that the information is accurate and true to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. All documents submitted as a part of an application become the property of the Chicago Theological Seminary and are not transferrable to a third party.

6. TRANSFER APPLICANTS: Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight (8) courses at CTS to be eligible to receive a CTS degree. Master’s level transfer students who wish to transfer credits into a CTS program must have an admissions interview with the CTS Registrar. In addition to materials required of the degree program into which you hope to transfer, please submit a letter of honorary dismissal as well as transcripts from the Registrar or Academic Dean of your previous school. Please note that a Master’s level transfer student who has one year or less before completing his/her degree may not be eligible for institutional financial aid.

International Students

Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study. International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:

1. TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.

2. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): TOEFL scores are required of applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test. The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120. The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.

3. I-20 FORMS: I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.

M.A. Application

The M.A. (Religious Studies) is a two-year program that allows the student to focus theological study in an area of personal interest. The M.A. culminates in the Master’s Thesis and is an appropriate theological degree for those preparing for further study at the doctoral level; anyone desiring advanced theological study as a foundation for service in another field; active church members and lay-leaders working in non-ordained capacity or others who wish to simply study theology and religion without the aim of entering professional ministry.

Qualifications:  M.A. applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s Degree and may have earned a first theological degree.

1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts and application for financial aid will be submitted in hard copy.  Applications must be complete before they will be forwarded to the CTS Admissions Committee for consideration.  Please plan accordingly to meet the appropriate deadlines.

2. APPLICATION FEE:  A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by debit card or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card or American Express.)  Persons serving as volunteers, team members, Corp members, staff and alums of the AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps, and VISTA are eligible for an application fee waiver.  

3. SUBMISSION: Transcripts and the CTS Application for Financial Aid form should be mailed to:

Chicago Theological Seminary
Admissions Office

1407 E. 60th Street

Chicago, IL 60637

4. FINANCIAL AID: Applicants wishing to be considered for merit scholarships or need-based grants must complete the application process and submit the CTS Application for Financial Aid by the deadline.  Merit scholarships and need-based grants are available for students matriculating in the fall only.

5. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: All applicants must complete the admissions process within two years of submission of application materials. No applications will be held after two years.  Applicants who are not accepted to CTS may only reapply after two years, and must resubmit an application. Submission of an application and the supporting documents assumes that the information is accurate and true to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. All documents submitted as a part of an application become the property of the Chicago Theological Seminary and are not transferrable to a third party.

6. TRANSFER APPLICANTS:  Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight (8) courses at CTS to be eligible to receive a CTS degree. Master’s level transfer students who wish to transfer credits into a CTS program must have an admissions interview with the CTS Registrar.  In addition to materials required of the degree program into which you hope to transfer, please submit a letter of honorary dismissal as well as transcripts from the Registrar or Academic Dean of your previous school.  Please note that a Master’s level transfer student who has one year or less before completing his/her degree may not be eligible for institutional financial aid.

International Students

Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study.  International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:

1. TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.

2. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):  TOEFL scores are required of applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test.  The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120.  The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.

3. I-20 FORMS:  I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.

M.A.R.L. Application

The Master of Arts in Religious Leadership is a two-year program designed to prepare women and men for service in a range of religious, faith-based, community and advocacy settings. The degree provides a foundation in theological education, including theological field education, both to those pursuing lay ministry, and to professionals from fields other than religion who wish to develop or strengthen the theological dimensions of their work.

Students in the Master of Arts in Religious Leadership program choose one of three concentrations: Religious Leadership for Interfaith Engagement, Religious Leadership for Social Transformation, and Religious Leadership for Word and Worship. Students also complete a unit of supervised Theological Field Education, at a site consistent with their concentration. The Master of Arts in Religious Leadership program culminates in a capstone project paper, which integrates a student’s field education and theological studies.

Qualifications: M.A. applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s Degree and may have earned a first theological degree.

1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application for financial aid will be submitted in hard copy. Applications must be complete before they will be forwarded to the CTS Admissions Committee for consideration. Please plan accordingly to meet the appropriate deadlines.

2. APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by debit card or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card or American Express.) Persons serving as volunteers, team members, Corp members, staff and alums of the AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps, and VISTA are eligible for an application fee waiver. 

3. SUBMISSION: Transcripts and the CTS Application for Financial Aid form should be mailed to :

Chicago Theological Seminary
Admissions Office
1407 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-1507

4. FINANCIAL AID: Applicants wishing to be considered for merit scholarships or need-based grants must complete the application process and submit the CTS Application for Financial Aid by the deadline. Merit scholarships and need-based grants are available for students matriculating in the fall only.

5. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: All applicants must complete the admissions process within two years of submission of application materials. No applications will be held after two years. Applicants who are not accepted to CTS may only re-apply after two years, and must re-submit an application. Submission of an application and the supporting documents assumes that the information is accurate and true to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. All documents submitted as a part of an application become the property of the Chicago Theological Seminary and are not transferrable to a third party.

6. TRANSFER APPLICANTS: Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight (8) courses at CTS to be eligible to receive a CTS degree. Master’s level transfer students who wish to transfer credits into a CTS program must have an admissions interview with the CTS Registrar. In addition to materials required of the degree program into which you hope to transfer, please submit a letter of honorary dismissal as well as transcripts from the Registrar or Academic Dean of your previous school. Please note that a Master’s level transfer student who has one year or less before completing his/her degree may not be eligible for institutional financial aid.

International Students

Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study.  International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:

1. TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.

2. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): TOEFL scores are required of applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test. The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120. The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.

3. I-20 FORMS: I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.