What educational background do I need to apply? What college
courses will prepare me for seminary?
Seminary is a graduate level (post-college) course of study. We want
all of our students to be successful in their course of study at
United, so we look for students who have successfully managed their
college and/or professional careers. All degree program candidates
and non-degree students, including auditors, are required to have
a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a GPA
of at least 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale). We are able to, and do, admit
a small number of mature adults with significant life and vocational
experience who have earned either an Associate’s degree or
at least half of the credits toward a bachelor’s degree.
People from many diverse disciplines
come to study at United. The admissions team looks for strong
analytical and reflective thinking and writing skills, as well
as vocational and academic goals compatible with the mission
of United, when determining a candidate’s readiness to
enroll. More important than your college major is your ability
to read, think, write, and speak well. Courses in history, philosophy,
literature, and religion will serve you well, but the best preparation
is a general education that integrates a variety of fields and
disciplines. If you are seeking ordination, it is always important
to talk with those in your denomination who are responsible for
overseeing the call and ordination process. The sooner you make
those contacts, the better, even if you are just exploring your
options right now.
Can I afford
to go to seminary?
This is an important question, and there is no easy or simple answer.
United provides financial aid and helps students find other sources
of support. In order to be considered for financial aid, students
must be enrolled in a degree program at least half-time.
In addition to a very limited number of
on-campus jobs, United directly provides financial assistance in
- Need-based aid, based on completing
the FAFSA, provides up to 50 percent of tuition for eligible
- Merit-based aid, awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional
We ask students to take the Graduate Record
Exam by February 1 in order to qualify for merit-based aid beginning
in the fall term. Several scholarships allow us to provide between
30 and 100 percent of tuition, some for one year of study and others
for up to four years of study.
Students can apply for both need-based
and merit-based aid. While our scholarships are generous, they
are not unlimited, so it is wise to apply as soon as you are admitted.
Can I work full time
or part time while in seminary?
The majority of students maintain some outside work commitment while
in seminary. Most courses at United are offered in “block
scheduling,” which means classes meet once per week for a
3-hour period in either the morning, afternoon, or evening. People
who work full or part time plan their schedules accordingly, perhaps
taking one full day, two half-days, or a few evenings each week
to attend classes. The schedule of required and elective courses
varies by term; careful planning with your advisor will ensure you
can complete all the requirements for your program within the time
allotted. A general formula for planning your class preparation
time is to allow 3-4 hours of study for each hour spent in class.
How long will it take to complete my
Full-time students can complete a Master of Divinity degree in
three years, but United allows up to seven years (from matriculation
date, not including terms spent as a non-degree student) to earn
the degree. Master of Arts students can complete their program in
two years at full-time attendance, but United allows up to five years to complete
have online courses?
Currently, only one course includes online study, but United is
working toward offering more online courses in the next couple
of years. Some students are taking online courses at other accredited
theological schools in anticipation of transferring the credits
into a degree program at United. It’s always smart to check
with admissions before enrolling in a course you expect to transfer,
whether it is an online course or an on-campus course at another
What if I don’t
know what God is calling me to do?
Many people come to United with a strong passion for a certain area
of study or ministry, while others come trusting that the clarity
they seek will come to them as they pursue their degree. Seminary
is a time of discernment for those still searching, as well as for
those convinced of the path they must follow. At United, theological
education, professional development, and spiritual formation are
integrated into each course and program. This makes United an ideal
place to “figure things out” and learn to “live
the questions,” while discovering the many different ways
in which God is calling you.
Do you have on-campus housing?
Huenemann House, the on-campus apartment building, has 17 units
available for single persons, couples, and single parents with one
child. Two lounges, two study rooms, storage, and laundry facilities
are available. The building, like most of the campus, has wireless
access. The apartments are unfurnished, but include a stove, refrigerator,
and a bath with tub and shower. Utilities and basic cable are included
in the rent. If the apartments do not meet your needs, or if one
is not available, the director
of housing has a listing of off-campus options in the neighborhood.
only for people who want to be ordained? What if I don’t
want to be a pastor?
United prepares students for leadership and service in the church
and in society. Whether ordained or non-ordained, United graduates
work in an amazing array of professional and volunteer roles: as
local church pastors; chaplains in prisons, hospitals, hospice
facilities, and the military; missionaries; educators, teachers,
and professors; youth and young adult ministers; writers, performers,
painters, sculptors, potters, musicians, and photographers; counselors,
therapists, and spiritual directors; CEOs and foundation directors;
consultants; community organizers; denominational executives; and
many others. Seminary graduates are creating new interdisciplinary
ministry connections all the time. They share in common a sense
that their vocation is their ministry--a way they can answer God’s
call in and through their lives.
Who goes to
You will meet all kinds of people at United; our students come
from nearly two dozen Christian denominations and faith traditions.
The student body includes recent college graduates, retirees, and
mid-life people pursuing a second or third career. United students
are men and women, LGBT, single, partnered, from the Twin Cities,
and from around the globe. We can give you statistical averages,
but there are no “average” students at United!
What if I’m
not sure what I believe?
At United, you will not be told what or how to believe. United equips
students with the skills and experience needed to think and speak
theologically, while helping to develop a faith vocabulary that
encourages conversation with diverse voices. At United, theological
diversity is seen as a strength and crucial to the development of
a student’s own beliefs. Rooted in tradition, yet open to
God’s future, United is a place to discover or rediscover
what you believe and how you might live faithfully in the world.
Do I need to be a member of a church
(or a denomination) to attend seminary?
Seminary education does not require membership in any congregation
or adherence to a particular faith tradition. However, for students
seeking ordination or other forms of ministerial endorsement, a
relationship with their particular denomination or community is
essential. We encourage prospective students who are considering
a call to ministry to get in touch with their local church or denominational
body sooner rather than later.
What is unique
about United? Why would someone choose an ecumenical seminary
over a denominational one?
As the premier ecumenical seminary in the region, United is deeply
engaged in faith conversations that cross denominational and theological
lines. United’s ecumenical environment allows students to
learn from a rich variety of experiences and traditions, while
deepening their understanding of their own tradition(s) and preparing
them to serve in highly diverse settings. Specific denominational requirements
for ordination, including internships and polity courses, can almost
always be completed between United and the Minnesota Consortium
of Theological Schools. For more information, visit www.mncts.net.
from other schools transfer into a degree at United?
Credits from graduate-level courses taken at other theological institutions
will usually transfer toward a degree program at United. Transfer
credits may fulfill degree program requirements or may be accepted
as elective credits. The final decision on how a course will transfer
is made by the faculty only after a student is admitted into a degree
program. The registrar works with the admissions office to give
transfer students an ‘educated guess’ as to how credits
will transfer before they enroll. To earn a degree from United,
a person must spend at least one full academic year (the equivalent
of 10 courses for M.Div. or eight courses for M.A.) as a United
Who can I talk to about my options?
The admissions team is ready to listen and answer your questions
via phone, email, or in person. Please don’t hesitate to
contact us anytime at 651.255.6119 or email@example.com.