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About Us

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Main Building and Smith Tower

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is deeply committed to being a servant seminary that prepares bold spiritual leaders who are public theologians. We seek to bring values and faith commitments to bear in the public square for the common good and for the purpose of making a transformative impact in the church, the academy, and the world.

- President Lallene J. Rector

Founded in 1853, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary serves the church, the acedemy, and the world by preparing public theologians and scholars. We equip our students to proclaim the good news of the Gospel, to foster deep spirituality in the lives of others, to serve with cultural competence and commitment to racial equity, and to lead transformative change for the wellbeing of all persons and creation.

Located on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, Garrett-Evangelical offers rigorous, intellectually challenging academics paired with a commitment to intentional spiritual formation that trains the mind, body, and spirit. Through a diverse curriculum students are stretched theologically and exposed to new models of ministry that equips them for ministry in the 21st century.

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.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary does not discriminate, or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification prohibited by law in admissions, recruitment, financial aid, employment, housing, services, or in its educational programs or activities.

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 ongoing process carried out across our degree programs. We continually seek to improve our teaching practices and the educational quality of programs for our students. Assessment processes range from course evaluation questionnaires to review of degree and program goals to interviews with alumni/ae. We annually review the data made available to us from the Association of Theological Schools through the Graduate Student Questionnaire (GSQ) and utilize that information as one of many bases for the improvement of curricula and student services. Two key components in the GSQ report are the assessment of Educational Effectiveness in Facilitating Skill Areas which students consistently rate as effective to highly effective, and the Level of Satisfaction with School’s Students Services and Academic Resource, in which students report a general level of satisfaction. We also look to our significant markers for student learning for keys to improving our degree program pedagogy, including a mid-program evaluation that guides students toward successful completion of the program and the final projects specific to each degree 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. 

Other key measures of effectiveness include graduation rates, the average length of time for the completion of a degree, and continuing enrollment. These are listed below for each degree program for students entering between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2015.


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 M.Div. offers students the opportunity to choose from a variety of concentrations, including 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. 

% Completed Average Years to Completion % Still Enrolled % Withdrawn or Change of Degree
58.1 3.4 21.7 20.1


Master of Arts (M.A.)

Master of Arts degrees equip students in the following areas of specialized ministry: Christian Education (MACE), Music Ministry (MAMM), Pastoral Care and Counseling (MAPCC), and Spiritual Formation and Direction (MASFD). 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.

  % Completed Average Years to Completion % Still Enrolled % Withdrawn or Change of Degreee
MACE  57.1 2.9 19 23.8
MAMM  68.8 2 0 31.3
MAPCC  40.4 2.7 25.5 34
MASFD  82.4 2.8 17.6 0


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, Personality and Culture. 39% of graduates in this program over the past five years have gone on to advanced academic study.

% Completed Average Years to Completion % Still Enrolled % Withdrawn or Change of Degreee
45.3 2.6 28.1 26.6


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: Community Organizing, Congregational Leadership, Spiritual Direction, Strategic Leadership for Black Congregations, and Preaching. 

% Completed Average Years to Completion % Still Enrolled % Withdrawn or Change of Degreee
46.7 3.6 21.7 31.5


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. Of our graduates over the past five years, 58% currently serve as faculty or administrators in higher education, 8% as directors or administrators in denominational agencies, 24% as pastors of congregations, and 10% in other agencies or programs.

% Completed Average Years to Completion % Still Enrolled % Withdrawn or Change of Degreee
35.2 5.6 46.7 18.1



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