Our Mission

Our Vision

We Build Bridges.

We live in a time when hatred defines public discourse, and people are actively working to divide our society, provoking opposition and hostility on the basis of how we differ. At such a time as this, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary prepares those who show great promise for ministry for a life of service and leadership in congregations, social service agencies, communities and the world in great need of pastoral and spiritual guidance.

Louisville Seminary's mission cannot be taken for granted in this polarized society. We build bridges. That doesn't mean that we've got it all figured out here. We build bridges to bring us together in the name of the God who reconciled the world to himself in Jesus Christ. And that doesn't mean that we insist that others agree with us in order to be in relationship with us.

We build bridges because we know we need one another in order to be whole. We build bridges between people of different religious, political, social and cultural perspectives because we know that truth is out there and among us, but we need each other to find it.

We build bridges between different faiths because we know God is bigger than we are, bigger than our ideas about God, bigger than our theologies, bigger even than our biggest hopes and dreams.

We build bridges between persons of different ethnicities, races, tribes, nations and continents because we know that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. We cannot know or love God properly if we cut ourselves off from each other.

We build bridges between people of different sexual orientations. We know that the best way to overcome prejudice is through deep and enduring personal relationships. So we bring people together whatever their differences may be so they can know and learn to respect one another as children of God.

Our Mission

Louisville Seminary educates and forms servant leaders for tomorrow’s ministries. We build bridges:
  • between sacred texts and human lives;
  • between the past and the future;
  • among persons of different faiths, Christian denominations, and cultures;
...all in the name of Jesus Christ, the bridge between God and humanity.

We lament and are anxious because we do not want our world to become less generous, less open, less compassionate, less gracious. We do not want our world to participate in disrespect and hatred, cruelty and violence, nor to justify oppression and torture in the name of freedom.

We want our world to reflect the grace and love of God revealed in and through our Lord Jesus Christ because we know there is no power greater than God's love, and that every claim to power that struts upon this earth threatening to hurt others is full of vain bluff and bluster.

We have reason to fear for the safety and liberty of our LGBTQIA+ community. We have reason to fear for black and brown, Latinx and Asian persons, for Muslims and Buddhists, Sikhs and Jews, indeed for anyone who looks differently, thinks differently or prays differently from the majority. We have reason to fear for the plight of children at the margins, the aged, the poor, the under-insured, the under-educated, the under-employed or unemployed. But we cannot believe that they or we will be well-served by giving in to fear. Instead we are called to do the most courageous thing in the world in this time of division: to love without limits.

"Perfect love casts out fear," we are told by the author of First John, the same author who tells us that "God is love," and that it is impossible to love God without also loving others. "Perfect love casts out fear," believed a persecuted Christian community which wrote this letter sometime between the reigns of the Roman Emperors Domitian and Hadrian.

How in the world could these Christians have said and believed these things in such a time? Simply because their faith was not placed in the hands of the one who held the imperial scepter, but the One who holds all history.

We share this confidence, this faith, and this vision.

We build bridges. The bridges we build bring people and societies and faiths together in the Spirit of Christ Jesus. Just how important that vision remains is magnified every day.

In Depth

Commitments

The Seminary is a community that affirms and trusts the ever-faithful presence and activity of the triune God. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we confess the Scriptures to be the unique and authoritative witness to God's redemptive love for the world. As an institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Seminary has a particular responsibility to preserve and develop the values and insights of the Reformed tradition.

Relationships

Consistent with the Reformed tradition, we are committed to an ecumenical vision of the ultimate unity of the Body of Christ. This vision recognizes the wholeness of the church's mission, respects the global and cross-cultural character of Christian ministry in the world and motivates continuing efforts at interfaith dialogue and practice. The faculty, staff, student body, administration and Board of Trustees of the Seminary represent a broad range of Christian confession. The United Methodist, the African Methodist Episcopal, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion and the Christian Methodist Episcopal communions officially recognize the Seminary as an appropriate school for their candidates to receive their theological education.

Educational Vision

The Seminary strives to provide an educational context in which students and teachers may explore and nurture their vocational commitments while becoming biblically, theologically and historically informed and competent in the diverse skills necessary for ministry. In the Seminary's integrated curriculum, the historical and contemporary resources of the church's thought and practice are in continual interaction with the contributions of our wider culture and with first-hand experiences of the practices of ministry. Through our commitment to scholarly research and teaching, the Seminary provides theological resources for the church by striving to interpret the gospel in an ever-changing world, by extending the horizons of theological inquiry and by shaping the church's intellectual foundation for its faith and ministry.

In all these activities, our aim is to nurture the convictions, character, vision, wisdom and forms of life vital to leadership in the Christian community and the wider culture.

Strategies

The majority of students are preparing for ministries of the Word and Sacrament through the Master of Divinity degree. A significant number are preparing for other types of ministry and scholarship related to the Doctor of Ministry, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, and Master of Arts (Religion) degree programs.

The Seminary serves the wider church community by generating scholarship, educational opportunities, programming and research through the Louisville Institute, continuing and lay education, field education, and the Louisville Seminary Counseling Ministry.

In our life of worship, spiritual development, learning and mutual Christian care, the Seminary community is led by the Holy Spirit to respond to God in Jesus Christ. In our planning and stewardship, and through engagement with significant social struggles and ethical issues, the Seminary community seeks to model faithful Christian discipleship.

Facts

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, one of ten seminaries in the Presbyterian Church (USA), is distinguished by its nationally recognized field education and marriage and family therapy programs, the scholarship and church service among its faculty, and a commitment to training women and men to participate in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ.

Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Founded: 1853 in Danville, Kentucky
History: The only Presbyterian seminary to be supported by both the northern and southern branches of the Presbyterian Church simultaneously.
Library holdings: 170,000 volumes. Six more area libraries expand resources to nearly 3.5 million.

Our Degree Programs:
  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Arts (Religion)
  • Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Doctor of Ministry
Dual Degrees: Theology with Law, Administration, Social Work, and Marriage and Family Therapy; and Master of Arts with Marriage and Family Therapy.

Our Student Body (All Degree Programs):
  • More than 20 denominations represented.
  • More than 25% racial/ethnic student representation.
  • About 60% female to 40% male students
  • About 200 students, with an average age of 37 in the MDiv program and an average of 40 for all degree programs including the DMin.
  • 100% of master's-level students receive financial aid through grants and scholarships, thanks to the Covenant for the Future program, which was fully implemented in 2015.
Our Faculty:
  • 21 professors with credentials from some of the world's leading theological institutions and universities
  • 48% of the faculty is female
  • 62% of the faculty are members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
  • United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, American Baptist, Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, and Lutheran (ELCA) faith traditions are represented.
Our Alums:
  • 2,200 Active Alums
  • 80% have graduated with the MDiv degree
  • 69% are in active ministry; 20% are retired; 8.5% are students or in an inactive ministry period; 2.5% are out of the ministry
  • Alums serve in more than 55 distinct vocational professions, with the majority in church-based ministry

History

More than 160 years old, Louisville Seminary has been building up the Body of Christ in a tradition rooted in Scripture and the Reformed tradition while developing innovative ways to respond to contemporary society's needs.

Its heritage stems from two seminaries founded by two branches of the Presbyterian Church. In 1853, Danville Theological Seminary welcomed its first students in Danville, Kentucky. In 1893, the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary was founded in Louisville. But in 1901, the seminaries in Danville and Louisville were united. For 60 years, the Seminary ministered to the Louisville community from its downtown home at First and Broadway. During the 1937 flood after most of the city was evacuated, some Seminary faculty and administrators stayed behind to shelter refugees trapped by the flood waters. The institution housed nearly 500 servicemen during World War II, and Seminary enrollment surged with veterans retiring from the military after the war.

In April of 1963, spring hailed the rebirth of the Seminary in a new location on Alta Vista Road. The campus is surrounded by historic Cherokee Park with easy access to the City's system of highways. Rebirth came for the Presbyterian Church as well when the northern and southern streams reunited in 1983 after 122 years of separation. The Seminary welcomed the national offices of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to the city of Louisville in the summer of 1987. That same year the Seminary purchased the historic Gardencourt mansion and proceeded with renovations that later received an award for historic preservation. This mansion now provides classrooms, faculty offices, and community meeting space on the Seminary campus.

In recent years, Louisville Seminary joined with other Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) schools to offer tuition grants to all students eligible for assistance based on need. In this tradition of ecumenical cooperation, leadership, and excellence, Louisville Seminary adds to its future with the Louisville Institute , an outstanding faculty, the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and a commitment to a vision for theological education and a commitment to a vision for theological education in an increasingly diverse world.

Accreditation

Louisville Seminary is one of 10 theological schools of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In addition, the United Methodist denomination officially recognizes the Seminary as an appropriate school for its candidates to receive their theological education. Louisville Seminary warmly welcomes individuals from the wider ecumenical community as well. The four degrees for which Louisville Seminary is accredited are:
  • Master of Divinity (CIP 390602)
  • Master of Arts (Religion) (CIP 390601)
  • Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (CIP 390701)
  • Doctor of Ministry (CIP 390602)
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree; Master of Arts (Religion) (MAR) degree; Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) degree; and Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, or call 404.679.4500 for questions about the accreditation status of Louisville Seminary.

Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved: MDiv, MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, MA (Religion), DMin

The Commission contact information is:
The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
USA
Telephone: 412-788-6505
Fax: 412-788-6510
Website: www.ats.edu

The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), 1133 15th Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20005-2710, 202.452.0109.

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is also approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is licensed by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) as a non-public postsecondary institution. For information on making a consumer complaint through CPE, visit this web site.

Educational Effectiveness

The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) requires its members to publish a statement regarding educational effectiveness. Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary provides the following information.

Master of Divinity

This program is designed for students seeking ordination in denominations that require the Master of Divinity degree and for enhancing the ministerial careers of students whose denominations do not require the degree.
Read more about the MDiv program's learning objectives.

Over 70.0% of the graduating class of 2017 was involved in a form of ministry approximately one year after graduation. As of April 2019, 80.0% of the graduating class of 2014 was still involved with ministry.

82.4% of MDIV students in the 2007-2014 cohorts graduated.

Master of Arts (Religion)

This program is designed to meet the needs of people who do not plan to enter ordained ministry, yet who desire to bring a spiritual dimension to their lives, educational background, and work.
Read more about the MAR program's learning objectives.

70.4% of MAR students in the 2010-2015 cohorts graduated. 38.1% of graduates from 2012-2017 were involved either in a form of degree-related ministerial vocation or pursuing further education approximately one year after graduation.

Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

This program is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

The MAMFT program graduates students prepared for entry-level, multicultural professional practice in Marriage and Family Therapy and equipped to reflect theologically on their work and the theories that inform their professional practice.

82.5% of MAMFT students in the 2010-2016 cohorts graduated. 88.7% of graduates from 2013-2017 were involved in a degree-related vocation approximately one year after graduation.
Read more about the educational effectiveness of the MAMFT degree program.

Doctor of Ministry

This is an advanced professional program for those with a Master of Divinity degree and at least three years of post-MDiv ministerial experience. Students who successfully complete the program submit a final, integrative project that demonstrates the ability to perform advanced research and to reflect theologically on the practice of ministry.
Read more about the DMin program’s learning objectives.

53.3% of DMin students in the 2008-2014 cohorts graduated. DMin students must be currently engaged in a ministerial vocation for admission to the program.