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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Student at Large

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 at 773-896-2410.

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.

- Application for S.A.L. – with bachelor’s degree

For students with a Bachelor's Degree

Student At Large Status allows a student to take courses in an area of interest at her/his own pace without the expectation to complete the requirements set by a degree program.  A Student At Large may attain a Certificate of Theological Studies, if she/he successfully completes six courses.  Many students, studying under the status of Student At Large, decide to apply for admission to a degree program at a later date.

Application Instructions

Qualifications:  Applicants utilizing this application must have earned a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution.   Certain persons who do not possess a Bachelor’s Degree may apply as a Student at Large (S.A.L.) utilizing a separate application:Student At Large—Without Bachelor’s Degree.

1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts and letters of recommendation 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. ONLINE APPLICATION FORM: The bulk of your application information will be collected by way of the online form. Read all directions prior to beginning the form to understand the requirements for the degree program to which you are applying.  Prepare your written materials and assemble them in one document to be submitted as an attachment.  Identify the persons who will serve as referents. Gather information regarding institutions attended and degrees received. Determine your form of payment for the application fee.

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..

3. WRITTEN MATERIALS: Written materials should be carefully assembled into one document to be included as an attachment on the online application form.  The application form will refer to this collective document as an “essay”.

  • Autobiographical Statement: Please write an autobiographical statement of approximately 250 words briefly discussing what leads you to pursue theological studies at Chicago Theological Seminary.
  • Resume: Provide a current resume or a brief description of any of the following: your recent work experience, participation in volunteer and community service, religious or church involvement, and any honors/awards you have received.

4. REFERENCES: Persons applying to study under the status of Student at Large must submit two letters of reference:  Normally, two academic references or one academic and one professional reference are required. If you have been out of school for an extended period and are not able to secure an academic reference, please select someone who might be able to speak specifically to your intellectual abilities and gifts for written/oral expression.

5. ACADEMIC RECORDS: Provide the names of all colleges and universities attended or presently attending and indicate the degrees earned or expected on the online form. List them in chronological order. The online form can accommodate up to five institutions.

Request the Registrar of each institution to send an official transcript of all academic work in a sealed and signed/stamped envelope directly to CTS.  Please include transcripts for all post-secondary schools attended, including those at which you did not earn a degree.

6. 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.   

7. 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.

8. GRANTING OF CERTIFICATE: Students studying under the status of Student At Large are eligible to request a Certificate in Theological Studies upon satisfactory completion of six courses. “Satisfactory completion” is defined as achieving a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.  Students interested in receiving a certificate must meet with the CTS Director of Studies to be assessed for eligibility.

9. TRANSFER TO A DEGREE PROGRAM: Courses completed as a Student At Large, with a grade of B or higher, can be applied towards pursuit of the Master of Arts (Religious Studies), Master of Arts in Religious Leadership, or Master of Divinity degrees at a later date.  In order to transfer credit and pursue a degree program, students studying under Student at Large status must apply for admission and be accepted to the degree program desired.

Applicants who do not possess a completed bachelor’s degree must complete a slightly more substantive application.

Application for S.A.L. - without bachelor's degree

For students without a Bachelor's Degree

Student At Large Status allows a student to take courses in an area of interest at her/his own pace without the expectation to complete the requirements set by a degree program.  A Student At Large may attain a Certificate of Theological Studies, if she/he successfully completes six courses.  Many students, studying under the status of Student At Large, decide to apply for admission to a degree program at a later date.

Application Instructions

Qualifications:  In order to be considered for admission, applicants who do not possess a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution 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.

1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts and letters of recommendation 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. ONLINE APPLICATION FORM: The bulk of your application information will be collected by way of the online form. Read all directions prior to beginning the form to understand the requirements for the degree program to which you are applying.  Prepare your written materials and assemble them in one document to be submitted as an attachment.  Identify the persons who will serve as referents. Gather information regarding institutions attended and degrees received. Determine your form of payment for the application fee.

You may complete the form in more than one session. If you experience technical difficulty, please contact the Office of Admissions at 773-896-2420 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

3. WRITTEN MATERIALS: Written materials should be carefully assembled into one document to be included as an attachment on the online application form.  The application form will refer to this collective document as an “essay”.

  • Autobiographical Statement Please write an autobiographical statement (2000 words or less) incorporating a response to the following:
  • Briefly discuss your call or describe what compels you to pursue theological studies.
  • Describe your religious history and/or a personal experience that has led you to pursue theological studies.
  • What are your educational and vocational goals in seeking theological education?
  • What is your view of the church and its ministry and the role you expect to play in them?
  • What do you believe to be the two most important issues facing the church over the next five years, and why?
  • What do you regard as your most important life experience?
  • What aspects of CTS and its program of studies have led you to make this application for admission?
  • Current Resume: Provide a current resume or a brief description of any of the following: your recent work experience, participation in volunteer and community service, religious or church involvement, and any honors/awards you have received.

4. REFERENCES: Persons who have not completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution applying to study under the status of Student at Large must submit four (4) written references.  At least two of the references must be academic in nature, affirming your aptitude for graduate level scholarship. One may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a professional colleague or personal friend. If you have been out of school for an extended period and are not able to secure an academic reference, please select someone who might be able to speak specifically to your intellectual abilities and gifts for written/oral expression.

5. ACADEMIC RECORDS: Provide the names of all colleges and universities attended or presently attending and indicate the degrees earned or expected on the online form. List them in chronological order. The online form can accommodate up to five institutions.

Request the Registrar of each institution to send an official transcript of all academic work in a sealed and signed/stamped envelope directly to CTS.  Please include transcripts for all post-secondary schools attended, including those at which you did not earn a degree.

6. 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.  

7. 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.

8. APPEAL FOR ADMISSION TO THE MASTER OF DIVINITY, MASTER OF ARTS IN RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP, OR CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS: Upon successful completion of a minimum of four (4) and a maximum of eight (8) courses with a grade of “B” or higher, a Student At Large without a Bachelor’s Degree may appeal for consideration for admission to the Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Religious Leadership programs or request approval to pursue a Certificate in Theological Education.  Appeal for admission/approval is made through the Director of Studies for consideration by the appropriate CTS program committee.