One of eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) was established by Lutherans of German origin in 1830 and is the nation’s second-oldest Lutheran seminary in continuous existence. In Columbia since 1911, the seminary previously occupied several sites in South Carolina and from 1872 to 1884 was located in Salem, Virginia. In meeting its mission “to prepare men and women for the public ministries of the church,” the seminary offers three graduate degrees in theology: the master of divinity degree (three academic years and one year of internship) for those preparing for the ordained ministry; the master of arts in religion degree (two academic years) for those preparing for some other professional work in the church or for further graduate study; and the master of sacred theology degree for pastors and other professionals engaged in Christian ministry. In cooperation with the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia, a doctor of ministry degree is also offered.
With a student body of approximately 170, LTSS employs fifteen faculty, which includes a director of a program in Atlanta designed for African American students. The seminary requires a January term that involves off-campus cross-cultural experiences and also maintains a cooperative relationship with Lutheran seminaries in Gettysburg and Philadelphia. Although approximately eighty percent of the student body is Lutheran, the seminary also carries an ecumenical flavor, with ten to fifteen other denominations represented. The majority of students come from the Southeast and return to serve churches in that region, but roughly fifteen percent come from other states.
Anderson, H. George, and Robert M. Calhoon, eds. “A Truly Efficient School of Theology”: The Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Historical Context, 1830–1980. Columbia, S.C.: Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, 1981.
Voigt, Gilbert P. Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Columbia, S.C.: LTSS Board of Trustees, 1955.