The primary purpose of Bethany Seminary is to train pastors for the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and her broader international fellowship. To this end the program of study at Bethany revolves around the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree which is the first professional degree needed to be ordained as a pastor.
The MDiv program is an intensive program made up of over 100 academic credits spread over a three-year residency and culminating with the composition of a graduate-level thesis. Before entering the seminary the student must demonstrate a working knowledge of the Biblical Greek and Hebrew languages—a requirement usually satisfied with four semesters of Greek and Hebrew at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota. In addition to the three years of classroom work, the student spends his final year of study in a parish of the ELS or Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) where he serves as a Vicar, or student pastor, working under an experienced pastor. Then, after all coursework has been completed and all requirements fulfilled, the student is awarded the M.Div. degree and named a Candidate of Theology, eligible for a call as a parish pastor in the ELS or the church bodies in fellowship with the ELS. For more information on the M.Div. degree, please consult the current seminary Catalog.