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: over 137,000 print books, 11,000 eBooks, and 9,200 journals as well as access to 87 research databases including ATLA Religion and APA PsychInfo. Eight area libraries expand resources to nearly 5 million books and journals.
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 51.1505)
- 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.
Professional Licensure Disclosure Statement
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a regional accreditation body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The seminary’s Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree program is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE), which is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the only accrediting agency for graduate degree and clinical training programs in Marriage and Family Therapy in the United States and Canada.
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity (NC-SARA), which allows us to provide distance learning programs and coursework to residents of states other than Kentucky. NC-SARA membership, however, does not grant reciprocity or exempt us from state professional licensing requirements. Three of the school’s degree programs (Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Religion, and the Doctor of Ministry) are not considered professional licensure programs as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. One program, the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT), is a professional licensure program. NC-SARA membership, however, does not grant reciprocity or exempt us from state professional licensing requirements. As a result, licensing requirements in Kentucky may not be recognized as sufficient to obtain a license.
If you are planning to pursue professional licensure in a state other than Kentucky, we strongly recommend that you contact the appropriate licensing entity in that state to seek the most up-to-date information and guidance regarding state licensure requirements before beginning an academic program. Separate from educational requirements, state licensure boards may require applicants to complete professional examinations, background checks, years of professional experience, and so forth.
Relocating while in the course of the MAMFT program to another state may have impacts if the student can remain in the program, meet the state licensure requirements, and/or continue to receive financial aid funding. Prior to considering relocation, please contact the Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy to discuss authorization and licensure eligibility requirements.
Marriage and Family Therapy Education
Requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist vary by state and may involve more than successful degree completion. Graduates who apply for licensure may need to satisfy other requirements, such as completing an application, paying a fee, additional coursework, and passing associated state licensure exams.
Applicants to the MFT Program at Louisville Seminary are advised to compare and identify similarities and differences between Kentucky licensure qualifications and license regulations in the state in which they intend to be licensed. Licensure regulations for all states can be accessed at https://www.aamft.org/Directories/MFT_Licensing_Boards.aspx.
Prior to admission, applicants will be required to acknowledge with signature their understanding that there may be potential differences in licensing regulations across states and provinces. Individuals accepted for admission to the MFT program will work closely with the Clinical Director to review license regulations so as to be informed of the regulatory differences between the state of Kentucky and another state in which they seek to be licensed.
Louisville Seminary’s Marriage and Family Therapy program is accredited and approved by the Kentucky Board of Licensure of Marriage and Family Therapists, and is designed to prepare students to seek licensure in the state of Kentucky. Students wishing to seek licensure as a marriage and family therapist in another state should contact that state’s licensure granting agency for information on specific requirements.
SARA Student Complaint Form
Louisville Seminary is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA), which allows us to provide distance learning programs and coursework to residents of states other than Kentucky. All students receiving their education online may at any time express their concerns about the quality of their distance educational experience.
In compliance with NC-SARA standards, we have a specific form for students to submit any complaints or concerns they may have. For more information regarding our grievance policies and procedures, click here. If at any point you have any questions, please contact Erin Hamilton, the Registrar, at (502) 992-5429 or email Erin.
Educational Effectiveness (revised June 30, 2023)
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 (12) or is still enrolled (2) in the program. Eighty-three percent of the 2019 entering class has graduated (17) or is still enrolled (3) in the program. The program benchmark for graduation rates for each MDiv degree cohort is 80%.
Over 86% of the graduating class of 2021 and 93% of the graduating class of 2022 were 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 community-based and denominational leadership. Of the twenty-one members of the MDiv class of 2023, ninety-five percent have secured vocation-related employment or are pursuing further education: seven as pastors or church staff, three in CPE/chaplaincy residency, two as therapists, one in seminary administration, one in denominational leadership, one in campus ministry, and three in community-based, nonprofit work. Two graduates are pursuing another vocationally-related degree. The one graduate not yet placed is seeking ordination and a ministry position in their respective denomination. The program benchmark for vocationally appropriate placement of MDiv graduates in each cohort is 70%.
According to the ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire for 2022–2023, and in virtually every category, graduating MDIV students gave high marks to their degree program experience as it pertained to their personal growth. The rating scale is as follows: 1 (not at all effective), 2 (not very effective), 3 (somewhat effective), 4 (effective), and 5 (very effective). Averaging scores of 4.6, the respondents’ highest ranked categories (empathy for the poor and oppressed, respect for other religious traditions, self-knowledge, self-confidence, concern about social justice, enthusiasm for learning) reflect the seminary’s mission, values, and commitments.
Graduating MDIV students gave high marks to their degree program’s educational effectiveness in facilitating skill areas such as ability to use and interpret Scripture (4.8), ability to think theologically (4.7), ability to work effectively with both men and women (4.7), and ability to relate social issues to faith (4.6). They also ranked field education as “very important” during their time in seminary and as effective or very effective in developing eight capacities (greater vocational clarity, improved pastoral skills, greater interest in future ministry, more self-confidence, greater sense of people’s needs, better idea of their strengths and weaknesses, greater self-understanding, and improved administrative skills). The average rating of these capacities was 4.7 out of 5.0.
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. There are currently nine students active in the program: five in the 2022 cohort, one in the 2021 cohort, two in the 2020 cohort, and as noted previously, two students in the 2018 and 2019 cohorts. 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. There were no graduates in the MAR program in 2023. 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.
Seventy-nine percent of MAMFT students in the 2018–2019 cohorts have graduated. 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 continue to pursue licensure as associates in marriage and family therapy in a variety of settings (agencies, counseling centers, private practice) with two also enrolled in Ph.D. programs. Six of the seven graduates in the Class of 2023, or 86%, are seeking licensure as associates in marriage and family therapy and are serving in local agencies or counseling centers. One graduate is currently working in a nonrelated field. 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-one students of the 39 admitted to these cohorts successfully completed the degree program, for a completion rate of 79%. 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, 76.5% of students entering in 2017 graduated, and 89% of the 2018 cohort have graduated. [Two 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 Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.