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Contextual Learning Office
Candidacy Coordinator

Affiliated Candidates

ELCA candidates at non-ELCA seminaries

Luther Seminary welcomes candidates for affiliation in order to complete educational and internship requirements for Word and Sacrament or Word and Service in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). 

If you have any questions, please contact us. We look forward to working with you as you meet synodical requirements for rostered ministry.

As you plan for affiliation, please note that students are not eligible for scholarships and financial aid from Luther Seminary unless they intend to complete a degree. Non-degree candidates who are completing the six courses noted below, and are not enrolled in a degree program (Master of Arts or Master of Theology) will not qualify for financial aid.

Affiliation at Luther Seminary

Affiliation at Luther offers flexibility and support to fulfill your candidacy requirements as a student preparing for Word and Sacrament or Word and Service ministry. Online course and intensive options are possible with the approval of the candidacy committee. With various degree options (Non-degree Affiliate, M.A. [Studies in Lutheran Ministries - Affiliated Track], and Th.M.), we will work with you to decide the best degree option for your schedule, rate of study, and financial needs. Luther Seminary works to ensure that your time here will be productive, expanding upon the work you have already completed and offering contextual experiences to enhance your readiness for rostered ministry.

Components of affiliation

Affiliation at Luther Seminary integrates the following components to fulfill your candidacy requirements.

Lutheran Learning and Formation – There are several outcomes expected by the ELCA for students to accomplish through their coursework and formation at an ELCA seminary. According to the ELCA Candidacy Manual (p. 49), “The outcomes are:

  1. A solid grounding in Lutheran systematic theology and the Lutheran Confessions,
  2. The articulation of a Lutheran theological perspective through the study of theology, church history, Bible, worship, preaching, Christian education, pastoral care and ethics,
  3. A holistic understanding of ministry in a Lutheran context, including the integrity and varieties of Lutheran worship, and familiarity with policies and practices associated with ELCA polity, assignment, call and mobility, and
  4. participation in current theological conversations within the ELCA, including establishing relationships with future colleagues characterized by mutual support and consolation, accountability and a clear sense of shared mission.” 

The faculty at Luther Seminary expect affiliated students to take a minimum of 6.0 courses at Luther, including:

   HT 0810 Lutheran Confessional Writings 1.0 course
  WO 0515 Public Worship: Leadership in Word and Sacrament, Prayer & Thanksgiving 1.0 course
  IN 0500 Internship 2.0 courses

Additionally, 2.0 course credits from classes beginning with the prefix CG, CL, HC, NT, OT, PR, SG, or ST.

Other courses may be required in consultation with the candidacy committee.

Internship – A year-long, or equivalent, ministry experience in an ELCA congregation is a requirement for ELCA candidacy. The placement and supervision of internship is done through the Contextual Learning office at Luther.

Faculty Approval – Luther’s faculty make an approval recommendation to the candidacy committee including reports from internship and a faculty interview process. Affiliates are assigned a faculty advisor and are expected to participate in group mentoring sessions with this advisor each semester of affiliation in person or via google hangouts.

Steps in affiliation

  • Obtain a positive entrance decision from your synod candidacy committee.
  • Apply for admission through the Office of Admissions and submit entrance approval documents during your first term of studies at a non-ELCA seminary.
  • Once admitted, you will complete the affiliation process by submitting affiliation fee, affirmation of intent, and candidacy release form. 
  • Notice of affiliation is sent to synod and student is assigned an advisor from the faculty
  • Candidate Plan (CP)
    • Conversation may include: candidacy committee, student, Luther Seminary (candidacy and contextual learning staff), and often regional candidacy staff
    • Lutheran learning and formation plan established based on stated outcomes
    • Timing for CPE, endorsement and internship planned
  • Student eligible to begin courses at Luther Seminary
  • Apply for internship through the Contextual Learning Office approximately a year before planned start of the supervised internship.  Internship can take place before or after completing Lutheran learning and formation outcomes. Students must be endorsed by the candidacy committee and attend Internship Orientation before internship.
  • Lutheran Learning and Formation. Courses and formation requirements can take place at any point concurrent to a student's M.Div. program or following the completion of an M.Div. at a non-ELCA seminary. Participate in advising sessions with faculty each fall and spring of affiliation relationship.
  • Complete faculty and synod approval and assignment for first call.

Financial Details

Financial Aid is available for qualified individuals based on degree program at Luther and student status at their home seminary. For more information about financial aid, including scholarship, grant and loan application requirements contact the Financial Aid Office.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to maintain ongoing contact with Luther, initiating contact with appropriate faculty and staff to fulfill the candidacy requirements.

Affiliation and admission to the seminary is based on the admission requirements for the particular degree programs of the seminary. Your affiliation requires continued good academic standing at your primary seminary and continued progress with ELCA candidacy. The ELCA sets the affiliation fee, which is paid to Luther Seminary at the time of affiliation. Other tuition and fees are outlined in the Luther Seminary catalog and are applied after the candidate is enrolled at Luther.