Our location in the San Francisco Bay Area and at the Graduate Theological Union is integral to the excellence of what we do.

A Wealth of Complements

We are located in one of the most exciting, diverse, and educated metropolitan areas in the world. The urban centers of San Francisco, Oakland, and Silicon Valley are minutes to the west; thousands of acres of regional parkland border the campus to the east. In this rich and vibrant setting, our students deepen their Lutheran identity, engage multiple cultures, take seriously religious pluralism, and deepen their commitment to ministry in the public sphere.

On the Cutting Edge

PLTS is plugged into the world-class resources of The Graduate Theological Union and the University of California, Berkeley. Our students benefit from and contribute to this vibrant location.


We were founded in Berkeley, California in 1952. The Seminary’s history extends to the Pacific Theological Seminary, established in Portland, Oregon in 1910, before moving to Seattle in 1914.

Seminary in the West

Like our predecessors, we were instituted to meet the needs of Lutheran congregations in the West—a frontier context in which tradition must be renewed and cultivated within rapidly changing cultural settings.

Cooperative Ventures

During the 1960s we began enriching our educational resources through cooperative institutional ventures. In 1962, with other Protestant and Roman Catholic seminaries and the University of California, Berkeley, we founded the Graduate Theological Union. In 1963 we formalized our relationship with the American Lutheran Church. By 1985 we were jointly operated by the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.

Territory of Service

Today we are the only ELCA seminary in the western half of the United States. Covering 13 states, our territory of service includes nearly two-thirds of the country.

Institutional Agility

Still a young seminary we retain institutional agility. As we have for fifty years, we continue to fine-tune curriculum and community, responding to the changing demands of today’s ministries.