PLTS’ location is vital to its success. Our aim is to develop leaders for ministry who are equipped to serve the church and the world in the twenty-first century. Two aspects of our location—the Graduate Theological Union and the San Francisco Bay Area—provide a context for theological education without rival.
The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the largest, most diverse, and most educated metropolitan areas in the country. Our campus in Berkeley is adjacent to the University of California, and minutes from the urban centers of San Francisco, Oakland, and the Silicon Valley, and from thousands of acres of regional parkland. Cultural and religious diversity are not just concepts at PLTS.
We are a founding member of the Graduate Theological Union—a consortium of 17 independent graduate-level theological institutions that are within walking distance of each other. Our 1350 students and 150 faculty members are Jewish, Muslim, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Baptist, UCC, Methodist, Catholic, Unitarian, Buddhist, and, of course, Lutheran. We offer 750 courses per year, from Biblical Studies, to Art and Religion, to Islamic Philosophy. We are not a loosely connected consortium, with schools that are miles and miles apart and requiring cross-registration for classes. Rather, we publish one course catalog and students register for classes in an open-registration process, meaning that students are welcome in classes offered across all schools.
At PLTS and the GTU Students find themselves in the position of putting their faith and theology into words that are accessible to people who have never heard it before. We think that is good practice for ministry. Theological education at PLTS is a model for the way religions and denominations can work together in a spirit of collaboration that doesn’t detract from their individual theologies. We prepare church leaders for the twenty first century.
12 Reasons to Choose PLTS As Your Seminary!
1. Our New Curriculum Puts You on the Cutting Edge of Theological Education
After consultation with congregations, pastors, and ELCA church administrators, our faculty implemented a new program-wide curriculum. This new curriculum is designed to combine the resources of traditional Lutheran theology with the skills needed for ministry in God’s world today.
2. A Strong Sense of Lutheran Identity
PLTS was founded to meet the needs of Lutheran congregations in the West—a frontier context in which tradition cannot be taken for granted, but must be cherished, renewed and cultivated. While attentive to rapidly changing cultural settings, PLTS has always been strongest when we remember that we exist to serve our churches in their mission.
3. An Agile Institution
Still a young seminary, PLTS retains a vibrant institutional agility. As it has been for fifty-five years, PLTS is able to fine-tune curriculum and community to meet the changing demands of today’s ministries
4. Our Student Body has Diverse Goals
Our students are preparing for pastoral ministry, lay ministry, teaching professions, and/or spiritual renewal. This diversity within the community makes for a rich learning and living environment. We challenge each other, reflect together, and ensure that the learning process is interesting, rewarding, and fun!
5. PLTS has an Incomparable Learning Context
PLTS is one of 17 communities that form the Graduate Theological Union (GTU). All 1300 GTU students are able to take courses at any and ALL of these schools and the world-class University of California, Berkeley. The possibilities for individualized course design within areas of interest are almost limitless
6. Our Ecumenical Learning Environment Prepares You for Ministry
This ecumenical environment is an important training ground for those preparing for positions in church leadership. The variety of faith systems represented in the GTU will healthily challenge and focus your beliefs so that you are better prepared to articulate your faith and converse sensitively with people of other faiths.
7. Specialized Training for Contemporary Ministry
PLTS offers specialized training in youth and family ministry, cross-cultural ministry, and multi-cultural ministry, as well as the inherent training that comes from studying in the largest theological consortium of its kind in the world. PLTS prepares leaders for today’s churches—and tomorrow’s
8. The Library Resources are Almost Inexhaistible
The GTU’s Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, housing the resources of all 17 institutions, is the most comprehensive theological library in the country and one of the best in the world. Combined with the vast collections of the U.C. Berkeley libraries, PLTS offers incomparable book and research resources for the serious student.
9. Look Unto the Hills—And the Bay!
PLTS is on a hill overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate. Our’s is a beautiful, quiet campus in the presence of a large metropolitan area. With the beautiful Bay to the West and the expansive Tilden Regional Park with its hiking trails, bike paths, and pristine beauty to the East, PLTS students can just as easily meditate and reflect in the tranquil quiet of the hill or visit the city and its bustling activity and life. Choose what best suits you! It is all right at our doorstep.
10. A Supportive Community
At PLTS students quickly discover that they are part of a supportive community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. While encouraged to pursue individual interests and programs of study, PLTS students enjoy a network of relationships helping them navigate and integrate their classroom work, their contextual ministry experiences, and their life of faith.
11. Rich Social and Cultural Opportunities
The San Francisco Bay Area offers unique social and cultural opportunities. Choose from the arts, music, dance, theater, cinema, cuisine, architecture, nature, history, and more. Spending your seminary years in a world-class city will broaden even the most worldly person’s horizons.
12. Ethnic Diversity
The USA is an ethnic and culturally diverse country, on its way to having no ethnic majority, no English speaking majority, and no religious majority. This is California today. Come study in the context where issues of diversity meet theology in practical reality.