Lutheran School of Theology Chicago

“To build up the Body of Christ and work for a world of peace and justice that cares for the whole creation.”
Description of PhD program

LSTC provides a rich learning environment for advanced theological study where the classical theological disciplines are held in conversation with the contemporary world. Our partnership and proximity to the University of Chicago and 11 other denominational seminaries provides opportunities for study with distinguished faculty, a broad course selection, and access to premier theological and research collections at JKM Library and the University of Chicago’s Joseph Regenstein Library. International and ecumenical students represent a large and important part of our program with contributions to theological dialogue and community life.

Students can complete the PhD degree in the fields of Old Testament, New Testament, historical studies, theological studies (including concentrations in Christian ethics/ church and society, religion and science, systematic theology, and theological anthropology), and world Christianity and mission.

Advanced Studies Core Commitments

  • Fluency in theological scholarship (incl. scholarly teaching)
  • Sensitivity to context
  • Expertise for ecclesial contexts
  • International learning community
  • Scholarly consortium & networks
Tuition & Housing Costs

Advanced Studies: Master of Theology & Doctor of Philosophy

Tuition* (6 courses at $4,400 per class): $26,400

Activities Fee: $100

Technology Fee: $180Total Tuition & Fees**: $26,680

*Full-time: MDiv=9 courses, MA=8 courses, ThM/PhD=6 courses; Audited courses are charged at half of the course rate indicated for the specific degree program.

**Rates are for the 2021-2022 Academic Year; Other fees may include: Continuing relations fee – $2,200; Affiliation fee – $900; Graduation fee – $350 (plus robe rental)


Family or private apartments (first chart) and Shared occupancy apartments (second chart):

# of Bedrooms Total # Rooms Per Year* Per Month
Studio 1 $9,382 $782
1 4 $11,659 $972
2 5 $12,583 $1,049
3 6 $13,923 $1,160

Type Size Yearly Rate/Student* Monthly Rate/Student
2-Person Standard $6,166 $515
2-Person Large $6,666 $555
3-Person Economy $4,365 $364
3-Person Standard $4,786 $399
3-Person Large $5,272 $439

*All apartment rates are for unfurnished apartments and do not include costs for telephone, cable, or internet. Electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash, and recycling are included. Does not include a one-time $300 application fee.


Tuition Assistance and Financial Aid Fellowships

LSTC joyfully offers an abundance of scholarships. Donations from individuals, churches, synods, and multiple foundations enable LSTC to provide scholarships at a higher level than ever before, allowing for generous financial aid offers for most students.

LSTC Visionary Scholarships

  • Presidential scholarships (full tuition annually)
  • Dean’s scholarships (half tuition annually)
  • Servant scholarships ($5,000)

At this time, there are no separate scholarship applications required for LSTC Visionary Scholarships; scholarships are awarded at the time of admission based upon merit. Please note that an application for admission into LSTC programs is January 15, 2022 (PhD and THM degrees) and February 7, 2022 (MDiv, MAM, and MA degrees). 

Other Scholarships

Public Church Fellows Program

LSTC’s innovative Public Church Fellows program combines service at a community non-profit or social service agency with intentional small group reflection and faith formation. Public Church Fellows receive a $500 monthly stipend during the academic year.

Housing Stipends

A key component of LSTC’s claim as a “community to form leaders to form community” is our affordable and classic Chicago apartments right down the street from our main building. These apartments are already heavily subsidized, but we are now able to provide housing stipends for some students every year, which can cover your rent expenses.


Hispanic/Latine Faculty

José David Rodríguez
Augustana Heritage Chair of Global Mission and World Christianity
Expertise in Latino/a Theology and Post-colonial thought 

Eliseo Pérez-Álvarez
Associate Professor of Lutheran Systematic Theology and Global Lutheranism

Hispanic Centers and Programs
  • The goal of the Albert “Pete” Pero Multicultural Center​ is to be a resource for the whole church: local congregations, synods, seminary communities, and the churchwide expression. The purpose of the Center is to bring together laity, students, theologians, and others to discuss and develop strategies that address basic questions and issues related to being a multicultural church. 


    One of the marks of LSTC is its commitment to provide multicultural theological education for all. At the same time, LSTC is committed to the preparation of students from under-represented ethnic constituencies for rostered leadership in the ELCA and the world. Approximately half of the seminary’s PhD students, as well as a significant number of D.Min., MDiv and Masters degree students, are international students or students of color from the United States.

    Our world is not culturally static, but globally dynamic. We serve African Descent, Arab, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic (Latinx/Latino/Latina), Native American (First Nation), and Euro-American constituencies. Truly, we serve a mighty God and our calling is awesome.

  • LSTC is a partner seminary in the national Hispanic Summer Program, where Latinx seminary students regularly come together for an ecumenical educational experience that deals with the issues and experiences of Latinx churches and communities. The application for the annual Hispanic Summer Program after often due by February of each year.
  • The Language Resource and Writing Center (LRWC) is a cooperative program between LSTC and McCormick Theological Seminary to support students whose first language is not English. We help students develop skills through reading/writing and listening/speaking instruction. We also seek to provide a rich global and theological context to help ensure that what LSTC international students experience is relevant for their future ministry
  • Spanish for Ministry​ is now a regular course for LSTC students, and Spanish modules are being incorporated into all worship
Neighboring Institutions or Programs

Chicago has more people studying theology than any other city except Rome, Italy. The 11 Chicago-area seminaries that make up the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) make up the largest portion of those students. LSTC students may cross-register for any courses offered by ACTS members.

Yearly events
Each year LSTC hosts a variety of lectures, workshops, and other special events featuring Hispanic/Latino/a speakers, themes,
and culture. The following are a few recent examples:

In July/August of 2017, LSTC hosted the annual convocation of the Association of Teaching Theologians on the theme “Global
Lutheranism in 2017: Vitality and Challenges.” Along with LSTC PhD students, leading theologians from the Iglesia Luterana
Mexicana, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gathered for three days
of scholarly presentations on topics including inculturation of signature Lutheran themes, interfaith matters, biblical
hermeneutics, “culture war” hotspots around the globe, authority issues at work in defining Lutheran identity, and ecclesiology.

A number of travel seminars are offered annually, and include participation and leadership by Hispanic/Latino/a faculty and
students. Recent travel seminars have visited the Holy Land, Spain, India, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The annual Academic Forum at LSTC features student research projects. In February, 2016 , the presentations included Lydia
Hernandez-Marcial, “Life under the Sun: A Puerto Rican Reading of Ecclesiastes,” and Francisco Herrera, “The Delight of Being
Jesus’ Bed Slave: The Marvelous Christian Indecency of the 18th Century Moravians.”

On October 13, 2015, Rev. Martín Junge, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, delivered the annual Scherer
Lecture, inaugurating the three-year commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at LSTC. The title of his talk
was “From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017.” As a native of
Argentina, Rev. Junge is the first LWF General Secretary from Latin America.

In September of 2014, the Lutheran World Federation held its 3rd International Consultation on Biblical Hermeneutics, with a
focus on the Gospel of Matthew. Scholars attending this consultation as presenters and participants from Latin America
included Mercedes Garcia-Bachmann, Felipe Gustavo, and Vitor Westhelle.

On November 19, 2013, the Rev. Dr. Javier R. Alanis gave the annual Lutheran Heritage Lecture, entitled “Lutheran Heritage,
Mexican Ancestry, and the Future of the ELCA.”

Library Resources
The JKM Library provides access to one of the largest and strongest collection of scholarly resources in the country. It’s total
collection numbers 409,091 of which 1367 print titles are in Spanish. In addition, JKM provides electronic access to Referencia
Latina, an online database of Latin American scholarly publications in Spanish. JKM’s staff are active in teaching researchers
how to use scholarly resources. Just as importantly, JKM is in formal consortial relationships with the 84 academic libraries that
form I-Share, the libraries of the ACTS consortium, and the libraries of the University of Chicago. Thus, through JKM, LSTC
students and faculty/staff have access to 24 million​ scholarly items.
Contact Information

The HTI person to contact for information on PhD studies at Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago is:

Name:     José D. Rodríguez
Title:        Augustana Heritage Chair of Global Mission and World Christianity
Phone:    773-256-0772

The Person in Charge of Enrollment:

Name: Ms. Gloria Vicente
Title: Advanced Studies Program Coordinator; International Student Administrator
Phone: (773) 256-0745
Fax Number: (773) 256-0782