Skip to content
Students at commencement

Non-degree and Graduate Certificate Programs

Equipping leaders for specialized ministry

Apply Now

TEEM program info

Because the mission of God’s people calls for many forms of specialized ministries, Luther Seminary is committed to offering non-degree and graduate certificate programs for students.

Luther concentrates on equipping leaders for specialized ministry. Each program offers a flexible balance between a grounding in the classical theological disciplines, concentration in one’s chosen area, and elective courses taken from any area of the curriculum.

Graduate certificates can be pursued in the following areas:

Bible, History of Christianity and Systemic Theology

The certificate program in Bible, History of Christianity, and Systematic Theology is designed for people who desire a basic grounding in Christian theology and tradition. A student may concentrate in Old Testament, New Testament, History of Christianity or Systematic Theology or choose a combination of courses in these areas.

Children, Youth, and Family Ministry

The certificate program in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry is designed for people who desire a basic grounding in children, youth and family ministry. A student may concentrate in Children, Youth, Family Ministry or choose a combination of courses in these areas. This certificate may be earned in a distributed learning or residential format.

Christian Ministry

The Certificate in Christian Ministry prepares students for public leadership in a variety of contexts and roles. This flexible degree, available on campus or online, allows students to concentrate in a particular area of ministry. Or students can take a variety of leadership courses to fit their vocational goals. In addition to classroom learning, this program includes field experiences to help provide on-the-ground leadership development and a capstone ministry project. This certificate may be earned in a distributed learning or residential format.

Leadership and Innovation for Ministry

The Certificate in Leadership and Innovation for Ministry integrates a robust understanding of leadership with theology, innovation and practical tools. Leaders will develop the capacity to assess complex problems and lead adaptive organizational change. They will also gain a deeper awareness of themselves as effective and flexible leaders. The learning will be practical, connected to a variety of ministry-related organizations and collaborative with a number of partners including faculty, students and local practitioners.

Methodist Studies

This certificate program in Methodist Studies is designed to meet the educational needs of people who are preparing for ministry in Methodist churches. Those seeking ordination are urged to meet with the point person for Methodist Studies or the Student Resource Center to ensure they meet denominational requirements. Find additional information on Luther Seminary's Methodist House of Studies.

Graduate certificate programs are comprised of eight courses. The programs are designed for students who do not already hold a graduate theological degree (M.A. or M.Div.) and the programs are to be completed in one year of full-time residential study or in two to four years through distributive learning and online courses. Through a new application process, students who have completed a certificate program may apply their course work toward a Master of Arts or Master of Divinity degree.

If you have an M.A. or M.Div. and wish to audit a course or receive graduate credit, please use the M.Th. application form and indicate you are applying for the "Graduate Special Student (Non-degree)" program. (This option is not available to international students.)

These graduate certificate programs are designed to equip lay leaders across denominational lines. When completed along with a Lutheran Confessions course, they also qualify as the educational requirement for certification as a deacon (formerly referred to as associate in ministry) in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (See Candidacy Process for Professional Lay Ministry.)


The Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM program) is a collaboration with Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) which helps committed lay people become ordained pastors:

  • those who are already functioning as leaders in their spiritual communities

  • those who are already leading God's people

  • those who have jobs and families and cannot leave their communities

  • those who for one reason or another cannot commit to pursuing an M.Div. degree

Yet they are called by God to become pastors! TEEM can help! Find out more.