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Field Education Basics

Field Education Program Goals 

​Field education is an integral part of preparation for ministry at Louisville Seminary. Through supervised experiences in congregations and agencies, the student has an opportunity to:

  • develop basic skills in the practice of ministry;
  • clarify and focus the sense of call;
  • discern specific gifts for ministry;
  • integrate theology and theory with experience;
  • develop pastoral identity and character;
  • build a network of persons (ordained and lay) who can serve as references as the student seeks a first call and who can continue to be mentors during early years in ministry.


Students at Louisville Seminary experience a wide variety of opportunities for field education. Louisville Seminary requires four units of field education for the MDiv degree program. Two of these units must be in a Congregational setting; the other two units can be in an Agency, Congregation, or Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). See "Varieties of Field Experience" for more information on these and other options.   

While not required, some first year students might want to consider an Agency Placement, in order to explore an area of ministry. Most students postpone field education until their second and third years, to concentrate on academic work the first year. Congregational placements are reserved for second and third year students who have completed basic biblical and theological courses. One unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), which is required by many church traditions for ordination, can fulfill the requirement for two units of Field Education. 

Field Education during the academic year is a 34 week, continuing experience. Sixteen (16) hours of work each week for a semester is required for a unit of field education. Full-time work for ten weeks in the summer gives two units of field education. 

Stipends and Payment

​A stipend is provided for approved agency and congregational field education positions. If the congregation or agency is unable to pay the full stipend, the seminary may provide a stipend subsidy. However if the student continues for a second year at the same site, the seminary will not subsidize the second year.

No stipends are paid to students taking CPE.  However the seminary will pay a local supervision fee for the first unit of CPE.  If a student chooses to take a unit of CPE outside of Louisville, the seminary will pay the unit/tuition fee of that unit up to the amount of the current local supervision fee for the first unit of CPE.  The seminary will not pay application or interview fees for CPE taken outside of Louisville. (See the Field Education Handbook for more information)

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