Admissions Requirements

Each degree program has its own unique application, requirements and recommended preparation. Please see the specifics for your desired degree below.

MASTER OF DIVINITY (MDIV) & MASTER OF ARTS (MA):

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. GRE scores are not required. The MDiv, and MA 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 US.

MASTER OF SACRED THEOLOGY (STM):

Applicants to the STM Program must have earned a Master of Divinity Degree (or first graduate theological degree providing equivalent theological background) and demonstrate aptitude for advanced theological study. The STM 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.
  • An autobiographical statement, as guided by the questions stated within the application form.
  • A current resume.
  • A two page statement of proposed focus of study, as guided by the application instructions.
  • 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 US.

MASTER OF DIVINITY & SOCIAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (MDIV & SSA):

MDiv/Social Service Administration dual degree in collaboration with the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.

This dual degree program allows a student to complete the requirements of the Master of Divinity and Master of Social Service Administration degrees simultaneously in four years. This combined program is ideal for students who aspire to work at the intersection of ministry and social work, and require credentials in both areas. Application to each program is made separately to the respective institution.

MASTER OF DIVINITY & MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK (MDIV & MSW):

MDiv/Master of Social Work dual degrees is offered completely online in collaboration with CTS and Aurora University.

This dual degree program allows a student to complete the requirements of the Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work degrees simultaneously in four years. This combined program is ideal for students who aspire to work at the intersection of ministry and social work, and require credentials in both areas. Students begin their first year at CTS developing leadership skills and a strong theological foundation. The following three years are done simultaneously at both institutions with combined field education and clinical pastoral education components. Application to each program is made separately to the respective institution.

DOCTOR OF MINISTRY IN PREACHING (DMIP):

Applicants must have a Master of Divinity Degree or equivalent from an accredited seminary or divinity school with a GPA of 3.0 or greater (4.0 scale.) Applicants must also have a minimum of three years pastoral experience serving in a ministry context subsequent to completing the MDiv, and currently serve in a context that involves sustained preaching to a community. Additional information regarding criteria for admission and application materials can be received by contacting the program coordinator at the ACTS Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program Office:

ACTS Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program Coordinator
1407 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 896-2400
fax: (773) 643-1284
www.actsdminpreaching.com

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PHD):

PhD applicants should have earned a master’s degree (or equivalent) in theology or religion from an accredited college, university, seminary, or divinity school, and have a superior academic record in previous undergraduate and graduate education. Applicants should be able to articulate a clear sense of intention regarding goals for advanced study. Students in the program have multiple areas of inquiry to focus their studies. These areas of inquiry include: Sacred Texts and Hermeneutical Strategies, America as an African Diaspora, Womanist Religious Studies, World Feminisms, Interreligious Studies, LGBTQ Studies, and Theology and Cultural Criticism. The PhD 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.
  • A personal essay describing your intention and goals for PhD study as guided by the application instructions.
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • A sample academic/research paper (term paper, discrete section of a master’s thesis, or published essay).
  • Scores from the Graduate Record General Test (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test taken within 7 years of application (GRE Code: 1120).
  • 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 US (TOEFL Code: 1120).

CERTIFICATION PROGRAM (CERT):

Applicants to the Certificate program must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Under certain conditions, persons who do not possess an undergraduate degree may apply to study under the non-degree status of Student At Large with hopes of achieving a certificate at a later date. Though a wide variety of academic and life experience provide adequate preparation from which to pursue a Certificate in Theological Study, it is to the applicant’s advantage to have background in the humanities, strong written and oral communication skills, mature intellectual abilities, and the capacity to think critically. GRE scores are not required. The application process includes:

  • Official transcripts from all academic institutions attended.
  • An autobiographical statement (250 words or less) describing your interest in theological study.
  • A current resume or a brief description of your recent work experience, participation in volunteer
    and community service, religious or church involvement.
  • Two letters of recommendation as described within the Certificate Application Instructions.

STUDENT AT LARGE (SAL):

Student At Large (non degree) status allows an individual to take a course or courses without participating in a degree program. A bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred. Students who do not possess a completed bachelor’s degree may also apply following consultation with the CTS Office of Admissions.

Applicants should demonstrate aptitude for graduate level scholarship. College level course-work, background in the humanities, relevant work and life experience, strong written and oral communication skills, mature intellectual abilities, and the capacity to think critically are advantageous. Applicants with a completed bachelor’s degree must complete a simplified application.

DISTANCE SCHOLAR (DS):

Students interested in taking a specific online course for academic credit may apply to study as a Distance Scholar. A succinct online application is utilized for this purpose. Applicants must confirm access to a computer that meets the minimum requirements for online education at CTS. Criteria for admission varies by course selected and are determined by the instructor. A bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred; however exceptions may be made for applicants with significant life and ministry experiences and at least two years of exemplary undergraduate education. Some classes may require prerequisites. Courses taken as a Distance Scholar may later be applied to an admitted student’s degree program.

TRANSFER STUDENTS:

Students taking accredited Seminary work elsewhere who wish to have that work officially transferred to CTS must make that request in writing to the Registrar. Courses to be transferred must be graduate level, and doctoral level for doctoral students, and normally will not have counted toward a prior degree. Courses with a grade of B- or below will not transfer in. Advanced standing without credit may exempt students from required courses, permitting the substitution of electives to fulfill CTS degree requirements. Transfer credits do not apply to a student’s cumulative GPA. Any questions about what is an acceptable transfer credit should be referred to the Registrar, who will consult with the Academic Dean or other faculty members. Also, work done prior to seven years before entering CTS may not be considered for transfer credits.