Led by the Holy Spirit, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary educates people to proclaim the Gospel, to care for all, and to work for justice in communities everywhere.
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary works toward a world where all can flourish, evidenced by the justice and mercy of God, the welcome of Jesus Christ, and the creativity of the Holy Spirit.
Our Core Values
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary…
- Believes in God, follows the example of Jesus as a model for our lives, and relies on the Holy Spirit;
- Celebrates the rich traditions of the Presbyterian Church USA and Reformed Christianity;
- Achieves excellence through academic rigor, creativity, and critical thinking;
- Commits to anti-racism academically and throughout the LPTS community;
- Models, expects, and promotes gender equity;
- Supports the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons;
- Embraces diversity of ministries including pastors, chaplains, therapists, community leaders, and more;
- Engages our community in action and reflection beyond the classroom;
- Respects the dignity and gifts of all;
- Creates community for one another in worship, celebration, sorrow, and success;
- Values accessibility and inclusivity;
- Welcomes inter-faith and ecumenical study and dialogue;
- Commits to responsible, sustainable care for God’s Earth.
For generations to come, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will become a community that exemplifies and champions God’s love, justice, and inclusive welcome. To achieve our envisioned future, Louisville Seminary focuses on goals specific to Scholarship, Infrastructure, Community, Justice, Whosoever, and Earth Care.
Louisville Seminary will…
- Provide students with an outstanding theological and practical education that prepares them for service in a pluralistic society.
- Retain excellent faculty who form students in their personal, professional, and spiritual lives.
- Support faculty and students in creative and rigorous scholarship opportunities.
- Through grant writing, sabbaticals, and any other means of support, Louisville Seminary will encourage those faculty who are called to research to do that work well.
- Celebrate, publicize, and support the research, writing, and scholarship of members of the Louisville Seminary community.
- Recognize academic work done in the form of public scholarship, ministry, and advocacy that goes beyond the traditional confines of academia.
- Having formed and advertised Black Church Studies as central to Louisville Seminary, we will live into our commitments and support this program so it may become the leading Black Church Studies program in the country – with a focus on research, action, and reflection on Black churches and Black life.
- Louisville Seminary will improve technology to allow for digitally-integrated learning, provide accessible and technologically flexible housing, create an environmentally sustainable physical plant, and enhance connectivity to seminary alums, donors, and the general public.
- All constituencies in the Louisville Seminary community (including employees, administrators, faculty, board members, students, donors, friends, and alums) will share in transparent communication.
- Voices of all constituencies will be heard and honored in appropriate decision-making processes.
- Louisville Seminary will strengthen our commitment to working in common purpose.
- Louisville Seminary will put time, energy, and resources into cultivating community in our midst.
- Louisville Seminary will deepen our ties to other organizations and communities in Louisville.
- Louisville Seminary will embrace the opportunities to make connections with other communities throughout the world.
- Louisville Seminary will work to build cooperative networks across faith communities.
- Louisville Seminary will continue to extend our teaching outside of enrolled students to churches, organizations, and whosoever desires to learn more about our areas of expertise.
- Louisville Seminary aims to identify and dismantle systems of oppression (in pedagogy, in institutional operations, in community, and in Louisville).
- All employees of Louisville Seminary will earn a living wage.
- The contributions of all employees will be recognized and respected.
- Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty and administrators will be supported at the level and in the same manner as their white peers.
- BIPOC faculty and administrators will not have greater workloads than their white peers.
- Louisville Seminary will act to ensure the academic freedom of our faculty.
- Louisville Seminary will strive to resolve conflicts and solve problems through restorative justice processes.
- Louisville Seminary will aim to distribute power equitably in ways that are clear and transparent.
- Strives to offer affordable and accessible theological education.
- Continues to become an anti-racist seminary.
- Continues to become a seminary that affirms people who are LGBTQIA+.
- Continues to become a seminary that welcomes people who have disabilities.
- Continues to become a seminary that welcomes people who are neurodivergent.
- Continues to welcome students of many faiths and those who identify with no religious tradition.
Earth Care Focus
Louisville Seminary will…
- Work toward becoming an ecologically sustainable seminary.
- Work toward becoming a seminary in which connections to place, Earth, and the larger web of creation are fully integrated into our learning.
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 in Religion
- Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
- Doctor of Ministry
Dual Degrees: Theology with Law, Business 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 150 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 its Full Tuition and President’s Scholars programs.
- 17 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.
- 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
More than 160 years old, Louisville Presbyterian Theological 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.
The present Louisville Seminary represents an unprecedented result of cooperation among Presbyterians in the face of regional tensions and competition. 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. Forty years later, in 1893, Southern Presbyterians in the Synods of Kentucky and Missouri founded a rival seminary in Louisville.
In 1901, under the leadership of Dr. Charles Hemphill, the seminaries in Danville and Louisville were united in spite of strong feelings of antipathy between the two spawned by the American Civil War. The cooperation in founding and then supporting Louisville Seminary was an outstanding example of a unified Presbyterian witness to the American people.
For 60 years, Louisville 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 Louisville Seminary in a new location on Alta Vista Road adjacent to historic Cherokee Park. Rebirth came for the Presbyterian Church as well when the northern and southern streams reunited in 1983 after 122 years of separation. In the summer of 1987, the General Assembly voted to relocate the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to Louisville. This gave Louisville Seminary students and faculty the opportunity to form closer relationships with denominational leaders, as well as with leaders of other communions. That same year Louisville 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 spaces.
H. Charles Grawemeyer, who served with distinction on the boards of trustees at Louisville Seminary and the University of Louisville, created the Grawemeyer Awards in 1984. The awards are given annually and recognize innovative ideas in various academic disciplines. In 1990, the Grawemeyer Award in Religion was established and is presented in partnership between Louisville Seminary and the University of Louisville.
In 1990, Lilly Endowment Inc. (an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation) launched the Louisville Institute at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Louisville institute’s mission is the bridge church and academy through awarding grants and fellowships to those who lead and study North American religious institutions, practices, and movements; thereby promoting scholarship that strengthens the church, academy, and society, and ultimately contributes to the flourishing of the church.
To address the mental health needs of the community and to enhance its Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Louisville Seminary opened its on-campus counseling center in 1997. The Louisville Seminary Counseling Center is located on the lower level of Nelson Hall and provides therapeutic concerns in the contexts of family, couple’s, and children’s therapy. Clinical experience for the seminary’s marriage and family therapy students is obtained by serving at the Louisville Seminary Counseling Center and at secondary off-campus practicum sites.
The Laws Lodge Conference and Retreat Center became the newest building on Louisville Seminary’s campus in 2000.
To renew and cultivate partnerships between Louisville Seminary and African American churches and institutions across the region, Louisville Seminary established its Black Church Studies Program in 2009. The program is designed to prepare leaders for African American churches and communities in ways that enable them to navigate issues affecting the Black community. Equally important is the program’s commitment to facilitating dialog, mutual understanding, respect, and ministry between the Black Church and the wider Church in the world.
The Covenant for the Future capital campaign launched in 2013. A key component of the campaign was to establish the Covenant Scholars Program, which would provide 100 percent tuition assistance to all Louisville Seminary master’s-level students. Students in the fall 2015 entering class were the first Covenant Scholarship recipients.
In 2021, Louisville Seminary revised its Mission, Vision, and Values statements as well as its stated short-term and long-term goals. The purpose for this effort was to better articulate the ethos of Louisville Seminary in the rapidly changing landscape of theological education.
Moving forward, Louisville Seminary will continue to prepare individuals for ministry and service in an increasingly pluralistic world. In doing so, Louisville Seminary celebrates the unconditional and everlasting love that God has for all people of every creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, and circumstance. And so the Louisville Seminary Community accepts the invitation, the challenges, and the rewards of emphasizing “Whosoever: A Divine Invitation” as the foundation for engaging the world and building bridges between God and humanity.
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 in 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. 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 in 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
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.
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.
Ninety-three percent of the 2018 entering class has graduated (11) or is still enrolled (4) in the program. Eighty-three percent of the 2019 entering class has graduated (14) or is still enrolled (6) in the program. The program benchmark for graduation rates for each MDiv degree cohort is 80%.
Over 86% of the graduating class of 2021 was involved in a form of ministry approximately one year after graduation. Most are serving as pastors or church staff in congregations with others working as chaplains and in denominational leadership. All fifteen members of the MDiv class of 2022 have vocation-related employment: eight as pastors or church staff, two in CPE/chaplaincy residency, two in teaching, one in social work, and one in community-based, nonprofit work. Additionally, as a group, this year’s graduating seniors seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA) (the seminary’s sponsoring denomination) met or exceeded national pass rates on the PCUSA Standard Ordination Exams in Bible Content, Biblical Exegesis, Polity, Theology, and Worship. The program benchmark for vocationally appropriate placement of MDiv graduates in each cohort is 70%.
Master of Arts in 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.
Four MAR students (66.67%) from the 2018–2019 cohorts have graduated, with two cohort members (33.33%) still enrolled in the program. The program benchmark for graduation rates for each MAR degree cohort is 70%.
Sixty percent of graduates from 2019–2022 were involved either in a form of degree-related ministerial vocation or pursuing further education one year after graduation. The two graduates in the Class of 2022 are employed, one in a church-related position with the PCUSA and the other in a secular job. The program benchmark for vocationally appropriate placement of MAR graduates is 50%.
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 prepares students 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.
Nearly eighty-three percent (82.6%) of MAMFT students in the 2018–2019 cohorts have graduated. [Three students in the 2019 cohort are still active in the program.] The program benchmark for graduation rates for each MAMFT degree cohort is 78%. COAMFTE requires that 65% of students graduate within the maximum program timeframe of 6 years.
Seventy-nine percent of graduates from 2020–2021 were involved in a degree-related vocation one year after graduation, with two others reporting opportunities available and decisions pending. All nine graduates in the Class of 2022 are seeking licensure as associates in marriage and family therapy in a variety of settings (agencies, counseling centers, private practice) with two also enrolling in Ph.D. programs and another seeking a pastoral call. The program benchmark for degree-appropriate placement for MAMFT degree graduates is 70%.
Doctor of Ministry
This is an advanced professional program with those with a Master of Divinity degree and significant ministry experience. Students who successfully complete the program submit a final integrative project that demonstrates the ability to perform advanced, social-scientific research and to reflect theologically on the practice of ministry.
Graduation rates for cohorts 2016–2018 exceeded the program benchmark of 65%. Thirty students of the 39 admitted to these cohorts successfully completed the degree program, for a completion rate of 77%. During academic years 2019–20, 2020–21, and 2021–22, graduation rates for the Doctor of Ministry program steadily improved. Fifty percent of the students entering the program in 2015 graduated, 69.2% of students entering in 2016 graduated, 70.6% of students entering in 2017 graduated, and 89% of the 2018 cohort have graduated. [Five students from the 2017 cohort and one student from the 2018 cohort remain active in the program.]
Doctor of Ministry students must be currently engaged in a ministerial vocation for admission to the program. As a result, traditional placement statistics are not kept for this program. Surveys of recent DMin graduates indicate that the degree has afforded them significant professional opportunities: new pastorates, teaching in the academy, denominational leadership positions, publishing for the church, new ministry careers, and the impetus to pursue other educational degrees (Ph.D., J.D., and MAMFT).
All data presented above draws upon information used in reports to the Association of Theological Schools, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.