LSTC, Augsburg University form partnership for five-year BA/MDiv degrees

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) and Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minn., are launching a five-year BA/MDiv degree called the Public Church Scholars. Students in this program will complete two degrees in five years: a bachelor of arts in Theology and Public Leadership from Augsburg and a master of divinity from LSTC. 


“We are delighted to partner with Augsburg University in the exciting and innovative Public Church Scholars program,” says Matthew James, LSTC admissions director. “This program is one way that we are working diligently to both raise up new leaders and break down the barriers to ministry that some experience when answering their call to serve the church and the world.” 


The goal of this program is to prepare intentional leaders of a multiracial, multiethnic public church. In Christian community, students will explore theological education, leadership formation, and experiential learning in an internship in preparation to be public leaders in the church. LSTC has long been committed to, and known for, its Public Church emphasis in leadership that focuses on community engagement, public witness and social transformation.  


Ole Schenk, 2020 LSTC graduate who also did his internship at Augsburg, calls this a “dynamic pathway for future public leaders.” 


“It's an achievement to celebrate,” Schenk said. “As someone who has studied at LSTC and served as a pastoral intern at campus ministry at Augsburg, I can strongly attest to how both schools augment each other's vision even further. We’re moving our theologies of vocation, grace, and the cross and taking them into the public issues of the neighborhood. Students at both schools are doing this visionary work."     


Elements of the new Public Church Scholars program include: 

Co-curricular formation including a supportive cohort of peers 

Generous financial aid 

Training in equity and inclusion, cultural competency and vocational discernment 

Spiritual direction practice (individual and group) 

Life coaching and professional mentors 

Accompaniment through the candidacy process for ordination into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA. 

Completion of Clinical Pastoral Education 

Paid four-year part-time contextual learning and internship in a congregation or faith-based non-profit 


This pilot program is supported by a grant focused on increasing the opportunities for students to study pastoral leadership in the church. Application instructions, further information and contact information can be found online at // and at // Or contact a member of the LSTC Admissions team at or 773.256.0727 with questions. 


About LSTC 

The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere. LSTC recognizes that our school stands on the lands of the Potawatomi, Miami, and Peoria peoples. For thousands of years before their forced removal, this was their traditional homeland, and it continues to hold their ancestral stories and wisdom. We honor and thank the elders of these and other nations, past and present. These lands are still home to many indigenous people, and we are grateful to learn in this place. To learn more visit