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About Us

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Main Building and Smith Tower

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has been at the forefront of Christian theological education for more than 160 years. The seminary offers rigorous, intellectually challenging academics paired with a commitment to intentional spiritual formation that trains the mind, body, and spirit. Through diverse curriculum taught by our distinguished faculty and prominent practitioners, you will be stretched theologically and exposed to new models of ministry.

As a result of the merger of three institutions over the course of its more than 160 year history, Garrett-Evangelical brings together the best of progressive and evangelical values: critical and creative reasoning, evangelical commitment, and prophetic participation in society. Really, you could say it’s in our institutional DNA.

Garrett-Evangelical’s numerous connections and partnerships provide students with an abundance of resources and opportunities. Located in the geographic center and heart of Northwestern University, students can take classes at Northwestern, utilize its library resources, and more. The Association of Chicago Theological Schools, as well as joint programs and certificates with other outstanding institutions, are also available to help tailor your degree to your calling.

Mission Statement

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is a graduate theological school that prepares skilled, bold and articulate leaders who share the transforming love of Jesus Christ. Related to the United Methodist Church, with an ecumenical and international reach, we prepare leaders who are equipped to live and proclaim the Gospel and to teach in diverse congregations and educational settings. Our teaching and learning settings will be places of hospitality where we pursue respect and reconciliation in all encounters.

Racial Equity and Diversity Inclusion

In 2015-2016,  we have made Racial Equity and Diversity Inclusion a priority at Garrett-Evangelical. It is our goal to ensure we are equitable, just, and inclusive in our relationships with the variety of diversity we encounter (e.g., racial, ethnic, cultural, age, sexual orientation, disability) within our community and in the surrounding community. 

We have partnered with the YWCA of Evanston to perform a Racial Equity and Diversity Inclusion Audit at Garrett-Evangelical. Specifically we have been working with Donique McIntosh and Eileen Heineman, Co-Directors of the YWCA Racial Justice Program. As part of their research, they have conducted focus groups with the leadership team, faculty, staff, and students. They used feedback from the focus groups to create a survey specific to our institution. We expect to receive the YWCA's Garrett-Evangelical Racial Equity and Diversity Inclusion Audit Report in mid to late May. The YWCA will be using the focus group discussions, survey results, and their review of our web presence, policies and procedures, strategic plan, and other important communications as the basis for this report.

Based on initial conversations with the YWCA, we anticipate that by the Fall 2016 we will: 1) work with the YWCA to create a Racial Equity Diversity Inclusion Committee as a standing structure in our organization; and 2) partner with the YWCA to provide specialized training for each of our constituencies (faculty, staff, and students) to ensure we all know how to create a welcoming and affirming space for all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background.

In Spring 2015, Garrett-Evangelical worked with two consultants who lead Circle of Trust® conversations with faculty, staff, students, and trustees on the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusive welcome. During the May 2015 Board of Trustees meeting, our trustees affirmed the following five recommendations for LGBTQ+ inclusive welcome:

  • Pursue curricular and co-curricular changes that include classroom based experiences, as well as workshops with outside presenters. Curricular changes would include more theological exploration of human sexuality, including LGBTQ+ issues. Both curricular and co-curricular changes could include more experiential learning to get to the “heart” of these issues, understanding that we cannot examine them on an intellectual basis alone. The curricular and co-curricular changes also could include skills-based classes and workshops that introduce tools for engaging difficult conversations across culture, identity, and theological differences.
  • Offer coaching, mentoring and vocational counseling for students - particularly those on an UMC ordination track - to gain a clear understanding of the denominational realities, as well as to explore various vocational options inside and outside of the UMC. 
  • Commission a task force (comprised of faculty, students, trustees, and staff) to identify specific areas for policy and structural change at the Seminary. This could include gender-neutral bathrooms and policies about what is said in the classroom.
  • Re-examine the 1997 trustees and faculty statements to determine whether they should be revised to reflect full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people. In these discussions, the trustees and faculty may want to consider the question: What does celebration look like?
  • If the Seminary chooses to create a bolder statement for inclusion of LGBTQ+ people, how would it “go public” with this stance?

Based on this affirmation, these action items were included in our Strategic Plan and a task force of faculty, staff, students, and trustees was assembled in late 2015. The purpose of the task force is to review the five recommendations from the Circles of Trust® conversations, to research and propose potential actions, to seek, when needed, approval from the appropriate constituency (faculty, staff, students, Leadership Team, Trustees), and take action.

At its May 2015 meeting, the Board of Trustees also affirmed the Sacred Worth, student LGBTQ+ group, statement as follows:

Sacred Worth at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is a student group that seeks to advocate for the dignity, rights, and issues of the LGBTQ+ communities and their allies. It is a place of fellowship and support for all persons. We affirm that all persons are of sacred worth, created in the image of God. Every effort is made to recognize the rights of all people and to celebrate each person regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Educational Effectiveness

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is a graduate school of theology that prepares skilled, bold and articulate leaders who share the transforming love of Jesus Christ.  Related to The United Methodist Church, with an ecumenical and international reach, we prepare leaders who are equipped to live and proclaim the Gospel and to teach in diverse congregations and educational settings.  To this end, measuring the educational effectiveness of our programs is Garrett-Evangelical’s ongoing commitment.

Evaluating educational effectiveness is an iterative and ongoing process carried out by our Office of Institutional Assessment.  We continually seek to improve our pedagogy and the educational quality of programs for our students.  The assessment work of the seminary ranges from interviews with alumni/ae to the gathering of data for metrics that are reviewed several times a year.  On an annual basis we carefully review the data made available to us from the Association of Theological Schools through the Graduate Student Questionnaire and utilize that information as one of many bases for our continuous improvement of curricula and student services.  We also look to our significant markers for student learning for keys to improving our degree program pedagogy.  For example, each degree program requires a mid-program evaluation that guides students toward successful completion of the program.  Every three years the seminary reviews the mid-program evaluations themselves in order to evaluate how well the degree program is meeting student needs for learning.  These, as well as other, evaluation tools are employed on a set and continuous schedule in order to identify educational effectiveness issues as they arise.  A key component of this schedule is the tracking of graduation rates and the average length of time for the completion of a degree. 

Basic information by the various degrees offered and completion rates are as follows:

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

This professional degree for pastoral vocation provides the academic qualification for ordination as elder or deacon by The United Methodist Church and other denominations.  The MDiv offers students the opportunity to choose from ten different concentrations, such as urban ministry, youth ministry, social justice, and African-American Church Leadership.  In addition, the program prepares students with high academic achievement for doctoral studies in religion.  The current completion rate for the MDiv degree is 73% with an average completion time of 3.7 years.

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Master of Arts degrees equip students in the following areas of specialized ministry:
Christian Education, Music Ministry, Pastoral Care and Counseling, and Spiritual Formation and Direction.  These programs prepare students for leadership in congregations and agencies in specialized ministries.  They also meet educational requirements for those seeking ordination as deacons in The United Methodist Church and for elders preparing for specialized ministries.  The current completion rate for the MA degree is 75% with an average completion time of 3.4 years.

Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)

This two-year degree program allows for specialization in a chosen area of research and provides preparation for doctoral study in religion.  It can be combined with a professional degree.  Areas of specialization include:  Old Testament, New Testament, History of Christianity, Theology and Ethics, Liturgy, and Religion and Personality.  The current completion rate for the MTS degree is 84% with an average completion time of 2.9 years.

Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)

The DMin is an advanced degree in Christian ministry that prepares students for spiritual leadership in the church and enhances their competence as practical theologians.  The DMin reflects the seminary’s commitment to meeting the needs of leadership in the church and the serious theological reflection that is foundational to this task.  Tracks include: Congregational Leadership, African-American Congregational Leadership, Spiritual Direction, and Mission in the Contemporary United States.  The current completion rate for the DMin degree is 57% with an average completion time of 5.6 years.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

This program prepares persons for teaching and research in theological seminaries, departments of religion in colleges and universities and church leadership.  PhD students may specialize in one of five program areas:  Biblical Studies; Christian Education and Congregational Studies; Liturgical Studies; Pastoral Theology, Personality, and Culture; and Theology, Ethics and History.  The current completion rate for the PhD degree is 72% with an average completion time of 6.3 years.


Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is accredited by two associations of schools, each with rigorous standards that challenge the seminary to assess its work in light of its mission and of common standards for excellent schools. The seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. The following degree programs are approved by the Association of Theological Schools: M.Div., M.A. in Christian Education, M.A. in Pastoral Care and Counseling, M.A. in Music Ministry, M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Evangelism, M.T.S., D.Min., and Ph.D.

The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
Fax: 412-788-6510

Regionally, it is accredited by:

Higher Learning Commission
30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, IL 60602-2504
(800) 621-7440



In addition, Garrett-Evangelical is on the approved seminary list and is regularly evaluated by the Commission on Theological Education of the University Senate of The United Methodist Church.


2016-2021 Strategic Plan

Garrett-Evangelical is a servant seminary dedicated to preparing spiritually grounded and prophetic leaders for the church, the world, and the academy who are well equipped to:

  1. Proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a religiously pluralistic world;
  2. Guide others in a life of deep spiritual formation and commitment;
  3. Serve with culturally sensitive competence;
  4. Collaborate as public theologians for the wellbeing of all persons and creation;
  5. Lead transformative change for the sake of community and the global world.

We are sensitive to the changing landscape of theological education. These are exciting and challenging times that are truly historic in terms of the innovation necessary to respond to the shifting needs of the church and the world. In October 2015, the 2016-2021 Strategic Plan was approved by our Board of Trustees with this in mind. All of our strategies require sustained attention to embody our call as a servant seminary to the church, the world, and the academy, to attract students, and to provide relevant and robust theological education in this century. Follow the link below to read the Strategic Plan of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

2016-2021 Strategic Plan