Application for Admission - PhD Program

To apply for the MAR and MDiv Programs, go here.
To apply for an Advanced Level Degree Program (STM, DMin), go
Learn more about the PhD program here.

Admissions Office
PhD Program
7301 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, Pa 19119
Program information:
Admissions information:

Application Instructions

  1. Complete the application form in its entirety.
  2. Select the pay by Credit Card option or mail the application fee of $45 (check made payable to "LTSP PhD Program").
  3. Provide a brief essay (about 1000 words) discussing what has led you to pursue PhD studies, your vocational objectives and your reasons for wishing to study at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP).
  4. Include a statement of your commitment to pursue this course of study without interruption until its conclusion, including full-time during the required period of residency (the first two years). Residency is understood to be at least 50 hours per week (Monday through Friday) in study, course work, assistant teaching, and other on-campus activities from September through May. Include your reasons for believing that this commitment is feasible.
  5. Supply one academic paper in your intended area of concentration and representative of your finest work. The paper must be written in English and should be no longer than 40 pages.
  6. References: Send the supplied forms to the appropriate persons to be completed and returned directly to the office of admissions (PhD). Note: LTSP reserves the right to contact those who provide references and others for additional information pertinent to your application.
    1. Three letters of academic recommendation. These should ordinarily be written by professors who know you well and can write about your personal and academic qualifications and your suitability for your chosen field of study. (Click for Reference form in Adobe PDF format)
    2. Confidential report of academic standing (required). A report of your standing at the institution where you are currently enrolled or that you most recently attended. The form should be completed by the dean, registrar, or other appropriate official. (Click for Reference form in Adobe PDF format)
    3. Ecclesiastical reference (strongly recommended for U.S. citizens; required for international students). A letter of reference from an appropriate ecclesiastical officer. (Click for Reference form in Adobe PDF format)
    4. Institutional endorsement form (optional). If an institution of higher learning or an ecclesiastical organization has indicated its probable intention to employ you upon completion the PhD degree, please have the appropriate officer (e.g. dean, president, director) of that institution complete this form. (Click for endorsement form in Adobe PDF format)
    5. Have official transcripts from each college, seminary, or graduate school that you have attended--whether or not you received a degree--sent to the admissions office. If you are presently enrolled as a student, please list the courses you are taking or plan to take this year and have a transcript of your fall semester grades send to the admissions office as soon as possible.
    6. Make arrangements for your Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE) scores to be sent to the admissions office by the application deadline. Our institution code is 2371.
    7. (For applicants whose language of origin is not English and/or previous instruction was not in English, including all applicants from abroad) The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Written English (TWE) are required. The tests must have been taken within two years of applying to this program and the scores must be sent to the admissions office by the application deadline. Our institution code is 2371.

      You must also submit a letter from a professor (or similar person) that vouches for the quality of your ability to read technical material and to write in English at a level suited for study in doctoral degrees. You will also need to pass an examination in English comprehension and composition administered by LTSP on our campus. Admission to the program will not take place unless and until all of the English language requirements are met.

    8. Include any other information that might assist us in gauging your suitability for PhD study.
    9. Housing is limited. Please complete the enclosed housing form in order to be considered for campus housing.
    10. A financial aid form is also enclosed in this packet. Should you wish to apply for financial aid, which is limited, please send the form to the admissions office no later than January 15th.
    11. All application materials must be submitted to:
      Admissions Office
      PhD Program
      The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
      7301 Germantown Avenue
      Philadelphia, PA 19119
      All materials must be submitted no later than January 15.

Contact Information
(First, Middle, Last)
(Include Area Code)
(Include Area Code)
PhD Specialization
Major and Minor Concentration
Major and Minor Concentrations must be different
(Different Than Major Concentration)

List colleges / universities / seminaries attended with dates and degrees. Have the registrars of each of the institutions listed below send official transcripts to the admissions office (PhD Program).

Academic Honors
List academic or special honors you have received in college, seminary, or other institutions of higher learning.
If you have published any books or articles of a scholarly character, please list them along with pertinent information about them (publisher, date, etc.)
Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Ancient Languages
Please indicate how much study you have done and your level of reading fluency in one or more of these languages
Modern Languages
Please indicate how much study you have done and your level of reading fluency in two or more of these languages:
Anticipated language study
TOEFL and TWE (if applicable - see instructions)
Please give the date on which you took (or will take) these tests:
Please list names, titles and contact information (including address, phone and email if available) for your references.
Reference # 1
(Include Area Code)
Reference # 2
(Include Area Code)
Reference # 3
(Include Area Code)
Confidential Report of Academic Standing
(Include Area Code)

(strongly recommended for U.S. Citizens; required for international students) (Click for Reference form in Adobe PDF format)

(Include Area Code)
Institutional Endorsement (optional)
(Include Area Code)
For applicants not now citizens or permanent residents of the United States
If you are already in the United States
Background Questions
Students at LTSP are expected to be not only academically gifted but also to conduct themselves in the same highly ethical manner that the church requires of its professional leaders.
Question #1
Have you ever been placed or academic or disciplinary probation, or been suspended, dismissed, or asked to wiPhDraw by any educational institution?
Question #2
Have you ever been investigated for or convicted of a felony of any sort or misdemeanor of any sort (other than a traffic violation)?
Question #3
Have you ever been involved in any ethical, moral or sexual misconduct that led to resignation from a work or volunteer position and/or been investigated or convicted by church or civil authorities?
(Please be sure the file is saved in either a .txt, .doc, .rtf, or .pdf format before attaching it)  The file name should include your name i.e. - admissions essay for John Smith)