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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Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Arts (M.A.),
& Master of Arts in Religious Leadership (M.A.R.L)

Applicants must have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Though a variety of college programs provide adequate preparation, it is to the applicant’s advantage to have well developed written and oral communication skills, strong academic references, good critical thinking skills, and coursework in the area of humanities. G.R.E. scores are not required. Applicants are considered for admission based upon the overall presentation of materials within the application, which should reflect the applicant’s promise for service to religious communities, the academy and society. The M.Div., M.A. and M.A.R.L. application process includes:

  • Official transcripts from all academic institutions attended;
  • Four letters of reference—at least two must be academic, one may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a supervisor or friend;
  • Written materials, including an autobiographical statement, as directed for each degree program;
  • A brief interview with a member of the CTS faculty, scheduled by the Admissions Office upon completion of the application paperwork.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required of applicants for whom English is not a first language. The exam must be completed no more than two years prior to application. The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.

M.Div Application

Admissions application deadline for Fall 2014 is May 1, 2014

The Master of Divinity is a three-year program designed to prepare women and men to serve as transformative religious leaders in the church and society, often in an ordained capacity. This program combines critical reflection with real life application--emphasizing the idea of doing ministry and studying theology in the context of community--with consideration given to the wide and varied spectrums of history, culture, and theological perspective. The Master of Divinity program culminates in a final writing project termed the Constructive Theology Paper. The emphasis placed upon self awareness and the development of transferable leadership skills, also makes this degree appropriate for those preparing to serve in non-church and non-traditional ministry settings such as: health care facilities, human service organizations, governmental agencies, not-for-profit agencies, business and academic environments, community organizations, advocacy organizations, and in the public square.

Application Instructions

Qualifications: M.Div. applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree. Certain persons who do not have a Bachelor’s degree may apply as a Student at Large (S.A.L.). See separate application.

  1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application for financial aid 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. Once you have completed the first screen and proceed to the next, a PIN will appear at the upper right hand corner of the second screen. For convenience, keep your PIN handy. You will use this number to access your application at any time, once you have exited. Once you have begun your application, you will have 30 days to complete the form. Online applications that are not completed within 30 days will be discarded. 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. .

  • 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.
  • REFERENCES: MDiv applicants must submit four (4) written references. At least two (2) of the references must be academic. One may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a professional colleague or personal friend.

 

List the name, position title (or relationship to you if a personal reference) and contact information for each reference on the online form as directed. Be certain to match the referent to the type of reference requested (academic, pastoral, or professional/personal).

Provide a copy of the downloadable REQUEST FOR REFERENCE to each of the four referents named on your application form. Prior to delivery to the referent, complete the top section, identify the type of reference, and sign the form.

It is an expected courtesy for you to provide each person with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope. Each writer should return the completed reference directly to CTS (or to you) in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back flap.

Reference waiver: Unless otherwise indicated, you waive your right to review letters of reference. Waiving your right will assure freedom of full expression in the evaluation you are asking each person to provide. If you do not wish to waive this right, you must indicate as much on the reference form.

  • 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.

  • 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 refund. Refund will be done by mail following receipt of proof of affiliation.
  • MASTER OF DIVINITY APPLICATION CHECKLIST: A downloadable checklist is provided for your convenience to assist you in organizing your materials and completing the requirements.
  • SUBMISSION: Transcripts, sealed references, and the CTS Application for Financial Aid form should be mailed to:
    Chicago Theological Seminary
    Admissions Office
    1407 E. 60th Street
    Chicago, IL 60637-1507
  • FACULTY INTERVIEW: Once your application file is complete and ready for review by the Admissions Committee, the Office of Admissions will contact you to arrange a brief personal interview with a member of the CTS faculty. The interview may be done in person or by telephone.
  • FINANCIAL AID: Applicants wishing to be considered for merit scholarships or need-based grants must complete the application process and submit the CTS Application for Financial Aid by the priority deadline of February 15. Merit scholarships and need-based grants are available for students matriculating in the fall only.
  • STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: All applicants must complete the admissions process within two years of submission of the online form. 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.
  • TRANSFER APPLICANTS: Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight (8) courses at CTS to be eligible to receive a CTS degree. Master’s level transfer students who wish to transfer credits into a CTS program must have an admissions interview with the CTS Registrar. In addition to materials required of the degree program into which you hope to transfer, please submit a letter of honorary dismissal as well as transcripts from the Registrar or Academic Dean of your previous school. Please note that a Master’s level transfer student who has one year or less before completing his/her degree may not be eligible for institutional financial aid.

 

International Students

Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study. International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:

TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.

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.)

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): TOEFL scores are required of applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test. The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120. The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.

I-20 FORMS: I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. If admitted, your admissions letter packet will include a CTS International Student I-20 Application form and an estimate of the cost of attendance for your degree program. The form will explain the financial documentation requirements for the issuance of the I-20 by the seminary. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.

M.A. Application

Admissions application deadline for Fall 2014 is May 1, 2014

The M.A. (Religious Studies) is a two-year program that allows the student to focus theological study in an area of personal interest. The M.A. culminates in the Master’s Thesis and is an appropriate theological degree for those preparing for further study at the doctoral level; anyone desiring advanced theological study as a foundation for service in another field; active church members and lay-leaders working in non-ordained capacity or others who wish to simply study theology and religion without the aim of entering professional ministry.

Application Instructions

Qualifications:  M.A. applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s Degree and may have earned a first theological degree.

1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application for financial aid 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.  Once you have completed the first screen and proceed to the next, a PIN will appear at the upper right hand corner of the second screen.  For convenience, keep your PIN handy.  You will use this number to access your application at any time, once you have exited.  Once you have begun your application, you will have 30 days to complete the form.  Online applications that are not completed within 30 days will be discarded.  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”.

1. Autobiographical Statement Please write an autobiographical statement (2000 words or less) incorporating a response to the following:

1. Describe your religious history and/or a personal experience that has led you to pursue theological studies.

2. What are your educational and vocational goals in seeking theological education?

3. What do you believe to be two of the most important issues facing society that demand theological response, and why?

2.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.

3. Statement of Focus: Please submit a two-page statement of your proposed focus of study.  This statement should identify the level of prior theological education that you bring, indicate the objectives that you intend to accomplish through your study and note the kinds of courses that would be in pursuit of these objectives.  The focus should be sufficiently broad to ensure that there will be an adequate number of courses offered at CTS and through the other ACTS seminaries to meet your needs.  At the same time, it must be sufficiently narrow to permit you to meet your objectives within the 16 course structure of the program.

4. REFERENCES: Master of Arts; Religious Studies applicants must submit four (4) written references.  At least two (2) of the references must be academic. One may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a professional colleague or personal friend.

List the names and contact information for these references on the online form.  Identify the type of reference (academic, pastoral, or professional/personal).

Provide a copy of the downloadable REQUEST FOR REFERENCE to each of the four referents named on your application form.  Prior to delivery to the referent, complete the top section, identify the type of reference, and sign the form.

It is an expected courtesy for you to provide each person with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope.  Each writer should return the completed reference directly to CTS (or to you) in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back flap.

Reference waiverUnless otherwise indicated, you waive your right to review letters of reference. Waiving your right will assure freedom of full expression in the evaluation you are asking each person to provide.  If you do not wish to waive this right, you must indicate as much on the reference form.

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 refund.   Refund will be done by mail following receipt of proof of affiliation.

7. MASTER OF ARTS APPLICATION CHECKLIST: A downloadable checklist is provided for your convenience to assist you in organizing your materials and completing the requirements.

8. SUBMISSION: Transcripts, sealed references, and the CTS Application for Financial Aid form should be mailed to:

Chicago Theological Seminary
Admissions Office

1407 E. 60th Street

Chicago, IL 60637

9. FACULTY INTERVIEW: Once your application file is complete and ready for review by the Admissions Committee, the Office of Admissions will contact you to arrange a brief personal interview with a member of the CTS faculty.  The interview may be done in person or by telephone.

10. FINANCIAL AID: Applicants wishing to be considered for merit scholarships or need-based grants must complete the application process and submit the CTS Application for Financial Aid by the priority deadline of February 15.  Merit scholarships and need-based grants are available for students matriculating in the fall only.

11. 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.

12. TRANSFER APPLICANTS:  Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight (8) courses at CTS to be eligible to receive a CTS degree. Master’s level transfer students who wish to transfer credits into a CTS program must have an admissions interview with the CTS Registrar.  In addition to materials required of the degree program into which you hope to transfer, please submit a letter of honorary dismissal as well as transcripts from the Registrar or Academic Dean of your previous school.  Please note that a Master’s level transfer student who has one year or less before completing his/her degree may not be eligible for institutional financial aid.

13. APPLICATION FEE:  A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card and American Express), debit card, or direct withdrawal from a bank account.

International Students

Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study.  International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:

1. TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.

2. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):  TOEFL scores are required of applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test.  The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120.  The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.

3. I-20 FORMS:  I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. If admitted, your admissions letter packet will include a CTS International Student I-20 Application form and an estimate of the cost of attendance for your degree program. The form will explain the financial documentation requirements for the issuance of the I-20 by the seminary. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.

M.A.R.L. Application

Admissions application deadline for Fall 2014 is May 1, 2014

The Master of Arts in Religious Leadership is a two-year program designed to prepare women and men for service in a range of religious, faith-based, community and advocacy settings. The degree provides a foundation in theological education, including theological field education, both to those pursuing lay ministry, and to professionals from fields other than religion who wish to develop or strengthen the theological dimensions of their work.

Students in the Master of Arts in Religious Leadership program choose one of three concentrations: Religious Leadership for Interfaith Engagement, Religious Leadership for Social Transformation, and Religious Leadership for Word and Worship. Students also complete a unit of supervised Theological Field Education, at a site consistent with their concentration. The Master of Arts in Religious Leadership program culminates in a capstone project paper, which integrates a student’s field education and theological studies.

Application Instructions

Qualifications: M.A. applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s Degree and may have earned a first theological degree.
  1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application for financial aid 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. Once you have completed the first screen and proceed to the next, a PIN will appear at the upper right hand corner of the second screen. For convenience, keep your PIN handy. You will use this number to access your application at any time, once you have exited. Once you have begun your application, you will have 30 days to complete the form. Online applications that are not completed within 30 days will be discarded. 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”.
  4. Autobiographical Statement: Please write an autobiographical statement (2000 words or less) incorporating a response to the following:
  5. Describe your religious history and/or a personal experience that has led you to pursue theological studies?
  6. What are your educational and vocational goals in seeking theological education?
  7. Which of the three MARL concentrations do you plan to pursue, and why?
  8. What do you believe to be two of the most important challenges for religious leaders in today’s society, and how might these challenges be addressed?
  9. 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.
  10. REFERENCES: M.A.R.L. applicants must submit four (4) written references. At least two (2) of the references must be academic. One may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a professional colleague or personal friend.
    List the names and contact information for these references on the online form. Identify the type of reference (academic, pastoral, or professional/personal).
    Provide a copy of the downloadable REQUEST FOR REFERENCE to each of the four referents named on your application form. Prior to delivery to the referent, complete the top section, identify the type of reference, and sign the form.
    It is an expected courtesy for you to provide each person with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope. Each writer should return the completed reference directly to CTS (or to you) in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back flap.
    Reference waiver: Unless otherwise indicated, you waive your right to review letters of reference. Waiving your right will assure freedom of full expression in the evaluation you are asking each person to provide. If you do not wish to waive this right, you must indicate as much on the reference form.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 refund. Refund will be done by mail following receipt of proof of affiliation.
  13. MASTER OF ARTS IN RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP APPLICATION CHECKLIST: A downloadable checklist is provided for your convenience to assist you in organizing your materials and completing the requirements.
  14. SUBMISSION: Transcripts, sealed references, and the CTS Application for Financial Aid form should be mailed to :
    Chicago Theological Seminary
    Admissions Office
    1407 E. 60th Street
    Chicago, IL 60637-1507
  15. FACULTY INTERVIEW: Once your application file is complete and ready for review by the Admissions Committee, the Office of Admissions will contact you to arrange a brief personal interview with a member of the CTS faculty. The interview may be done in person or by telephone.
  16. FINANCIAL AID: Applicants wishing to be considered for merit scholarships or need-based grants must complete the application process and submit the CTS Application for Financial Aid by the priority deadline of February 15. Merit scholarships and need-based grants are available for students matriculating in the fall only.
  17. 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.
  18. TRANSFER APPLICANTS: Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight (8) courses at CTS to be eligible to receive a CTS degree. Master’s level transfer students who wish to transfer credits into a CTS program must have an admissions interview with the CTS Registrar. In addition to materials required of the degree program into which you hope to transfer, please submit a letter of honorary dismissal as well as transcripts from the Registrar or Academic Dean of your previous school. Please note that a Master’s level transfer student who has one year or less before completing his/her degree may not be eligible for institutional financial aid.
  19. APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card and American Express), debit card, or direct withdrawal from a bank account.

International Students


Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study. International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:
  1. TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.
  2. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): TOEFL scores are required of applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test. The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120. The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.
  3. I-20 FORMS: I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. If admitted, your admissions letter packet will include a CTS International Student I-20 Application form and an estimate of the cost of attendance for your degree program. The form will explain the financial documentation requirements for the issuance of the I-20 by the seminary. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.