Student Life

CTS is not just a seminary, it is a community – a living, breathing, organic community. Whether you join a student organization, attend a worship service, share a post or encourage a classmate, community life is a major part of the CTS experience.

On campus or online, community life is where learning intersects with living. It is where faith begins to shape into praxis. The CTS experience is more than academic, it is the relationships we build with one another and how we learn from each other.

Beyond the classroom, our students meet, bond, challenge, and grow with one another at a number of intersections. Weekly Chapel Services. Lectures. Special events and conferences. Fall and Spring Fest. Community Lunch. Online Worship. Town Hall Meetings. Fireside Chats. Online chat rooms where the entire community can exchange ideas and concerns.

Community Gatherings:

Wednesday Gatherings

Our community represents a diverse array of traditions, beliefs, and life stances. Yet we are united in our shared responsibility to civic engagement, and the creation of a public square that insists on room for everyone. We are united in our desire to live into our commitments. In this critical moment in history, we join in the belief that coming together empowers us all to manifest justice in our world.

Wednesday Gatherings happen virtually via Zoom at 12 noon Central Standard Time through the academic year. Invited speakers, community partners, and members of our community will gather with the intention of putting our faiths into action. Group discussions give space for many voices to share.

We come together to inspire, encourage, and challenge one another to use our voices, bodies, and spirits to build the world we believe is possible.

Other Gathering Opportunities:

Sharing Time is a weekly drop-in virtual meeting where people can come and check-in about how things are going in their personal or academic life. We come to encourage and support one another. Hosted by the Assistant Director of Student Formation & Community Engagement and/or the Student Chaplains

Congregation Visits is a project where each week we feature the gathering of a different faith community. During the semester, we will invite students to participate in a variety of faith gatherings so that they could experience educational and spiritual enrichment in diverse environments. CTS Connect on Facebook hosts the Watch Parties for these various events.

CTS also hosts various annual gatherings or one-time gatherings like the Rooks and Castaneda Lectures, and smaller get-togethers like Scriptural Ghost Stories, Movie Night, Friendsgiving, Happy Hour, and more…

Spiritual Support:

Ms. Rachel Payden, Manager of Student Formation & Community Engagement, and Minister Deneen Collins, Pastoral Counselor both provide care and support for CTS students

We also have a Student Chaplain program, with 7 Chaplains from diverse backgrounds that provide support and care for the students. Incoming students are matched with a chaplain but any student can be matched upon request by Rachel Payden at [email protected].

Lapp Learning Commons:

Research is a critical part of your graduate school experience. That’s why CTS has amassed one of the finest libraries and literary collections anywhere. What’s more, you have access to the collections at a number of other ACTS resources. Click here for more information on the Learning Commons and other research resources available to the CTS Community.

Language & Writing Center:

Another benefit CTS offers students is our Language & Writing Center. This is a free program set up to help, support or tutor students in academic writing. So, if you have been away from school for a while or just would like someone to look over your work, we have you covered. This is especially beneficial for students whose first language is not English and may want a little extra help.

Click here for more information:

Student Organizations:

Each student brings their own passions and experiences to the Seminary. There are several organizations and programs to meet your needs and interests. Here is a list of active groups;

  • Bayard Rustin Society: Seeks to serve the unique needs of Black LGBTQ students.
  • Charles Shelby Rooks Society: The Rooks Society celebrates diasporic ties to Africa, academic excellence, cultural, community, spiritual and social cognizance, and activism.
  • Business of Ministry Action Plan: Business of Ministry Action Plan seeks to help students build a foundation for business success in ministry.
  • Deirdre Jackson & DeMarcus Jones Center for Hip-Hop Thought & Activism: To use Hip-Hop music and culture as a source of intellectual reflection, engagement, civic participation, and resistance.
  • Heyward-Boswell Society: Serves as the outreach and support group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community and their supporters at CTS.
  • International Student Organization (ISO): Mission is to build religious leadership from the multi-diverse cultural and denominational perspectives, nurturing a global understanding.
  • PhD Student Association: Fosters a community of learning among Doctoral students.
  • Student Government Association (SGA): Consists of elected representatives of the student body who serve as liaisons and advocates to the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees.


The CTS campus is located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. It is a desirable, racially-diverse neighborhood, which includes the homes of many notable Chicagoans, including President Barack Obama. Hyde Park is also the home of the University of Chicago. There is a quaint downtown area with trendy shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and markets. Its central location means that it is also well serviced by public transportation. A community imbued with culture, you are just steps away from wonderful museums such as The Oriental Institute, The DuSable Museum of African American History and The Museum of Science and Industry. And let’s not forget the beauty of Lake Michigan, 57th Street Beach and the view of Chicago’s iconic skyline from Lake Shore Drive, all of which are just steps away from CTS. Also, bordering the historic Woodlawn neighborhood, CTS is not only centrally located but resides within a community rich in both cultural diversity and diverse housing options.

  • CTS does not maintain its own residence hall: Each student is responsible for finding, applying for, and securing her/his own housing. However, for the convenience of our students, CTS has entered into an agreement with the University of Chicago which affords CTS students the opportunity to reside in University of Chicago graduate residences. Apartments ranging from studio to 2 bedrooms are typically available. Individuals, families, and students wanting to share an apartment are welcome. A benefit to this housing is that it does not require the typical sizable deposits or fees of other apartments, only a $200 application fee which is refundable should you not secure suitable housing. For more information about how to apply for this housing, see our information brochure: “CTS & University of Chicago Graduate Student Housing.”
  • Other Housing Options: There are a plethora of wonderful rental opportunities in the communities surrounding CTS. Because this is an area in high demand, we suggest you begin your housing search soon after your acceptance. Some of the ACTS Cluster Seminaries offer housing to CTS students, as well. A list of other housing options and resources can be found here.
  • For more housing information, including temporary housing, please send an email to [email protected].


General Policy Statement and Notice of Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment

Chicago Theological Seminary is committed to fostering the full humanity of all its members. All forms of discrimination and harassment impugn the full humanity of any human being and for this reason, are not tolerated in this Seminary. Chicago Theological Seminary does not discriminate, or tolerate discrimination or harassment, against any member of its community on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex/gender, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law in matters of employment or admissions or in any aspect of the educational programs or activities it offers. Click here to be taken to the full policy and see members of the Anti-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment Task Force.