Students in chapel

In the M.Div. DL program, students learn to connect coursework with particular places or contexts. This happens in three separate ways:

  • Teaching Congregations
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
  • Internship

Teaching Congregations

In Teaching Congregations, M.Div. DL students experience Christian public leadership in various areas of congregational ministry. In contrast to residential students who become immersed in the seminary context, DL students become immersed in a congregation close to home. As an M.Div. DL student, you will spend three to five hours a week at your contextual site for four semesters during the first half of the program.

Teaching congregations provide:

  • A healthy worshipping community for the M.Div. DL student, so that life continues to be grounded in a congregational setting
  • A mentor pastor who provides ongoing conversation and models pastoral wisdom
  • A setting in which to work out connecting coursework and to develop pastoral leadership

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

M.Div. DL students participate in an accredited CPE program, an ordination requirement for those who seek ordination in the ELCA.


Students, guided by synod candidacy committee recommendations and available congregational opportunities, can choose between a one-year, full-time internship or a two-year, half-time ("concurrent") internship. This typically takes place at the end of the program, when M.Div. DL students become full-time.