Since its inception, CUW has proudly supported the Church by preparing workers to serve as Ordained or Commissioned Ministers within the LCMS. That good work continues today.


Census numbers released last month by Concordia’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness show CUW as a leader within the Concordia University System in this regard. A comparative fall 2021 enrollment report of CUS schools shows CUW has:

  • The most church work candidates enrolled (224 candidates)
  • The largest pre-seminary program in the CUS (61 candidates)
  • The second-largest Lutheran Teacher Diploma program (3 candidates behind Nebraska)
  • Robust numbers enrolled in its Director of Church Ministries program (44—More than any DCE program in the System)

Additionally, Concordia University Wisconsin maintains a strong Lutheran-Christian population among students pursuing non-rostered degrees, demonstrating the university’s dedication to preparing workers who will strengthen the Church in all vocations of life:

  • 87% of traditional undergraduates are Christian (The second-largest percentage, after CUAA’s 90%, within the CUS)
  • 1,247 of those students are Lutheran (The largest number in the CUS)
  • 72% of graduate-level learners are Christian, with 20% of those identifying as Lutheran (The most in the CUS)

Church work tracks

The good work of preparing called workers for the LCMS continues today through four main routes: pre-seminary, Lutheran Teacher Diploma, Director of Church Ministries/Pre-deaconness, and parish music. CUW also offers the sole parish nursing certificate within the Concordia University System. While not a rostered position within the LCMS, many nurses who have graduated from CUW’s program have gone on to serve within a congregational setting.

Explore Church Work

Pre-seminary

Is God calling you to teach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments as an LCMS pastor? CUW encourages pre-seminary students to take a major in Applied Theology and a major or minor in Theological Languages. However, pre-seminary students can major in any program at the university, such as business, education, or health professions. Those in the pre-seminary track take required courses, like New Testament, Biblical Theology, and Greek, in order to provide a solid foundation before heading off to Seminary.

Learn more about pre-seminary

Lutheran Teacher Diploma

God has called and equipped you to be an inspiration to students in the classroom. At CUW, you will be prepared to share the Gospel using the gifts and platform God has given you. Earn your Lutheran Teacher Diploma in early childhood, elementary, a dual major of early childhood and elementary, special education, or secondary education. Students can focus on concentrations which have been carefully and creatively designed to meet the needs of students for today and tomorrow. Over the past 5 years, CUW has placed nearly 100% of its graduates within five months after graduation.

Learn more about LTD

Director of Church Ministries (DCM)/Pre-deaconess

Your calling is to serve the Church in evangelism, mission, parish teaching, youth ministry, or pre-deaconess/social ministry. You’ll be ready to support Bible studies, community outreach, mercy work, and administrative duties. Since no two graduates will have the exact same roles, you’ll take management and leadership courses that will help you adapt to any situation. You’ll gain a solid foundation with a theology major, and you’ll diversify your skillset with two minors. The first minor is in church ministries and the second minor is in nonprofit management so that you can understand how operations work at a church or nonprofit organization.

CUW also offers an online DCM certificate program in an adult accelerated format. This 47-credit program grants graduates a certificate and makes them eligible to receive a call within the LCMS as a DCM.

Learn more about DCM (including pre-deaconess specialization)

Learn more about online DCM certificate

Parish Music

Parish musicians teach the faith through music. Discover the many ways you can serve through Parish Music: from learning to direct choirs and instrumental groups to supporting the structure of the Divine Service, you’ll develop your skills from training with practicing church musicians. As you learn to lead the congregation through music, you’ll have many opportunities to grow in your vocation as a parish musician.

Learn more about parish music

Learn more about Master of Church Music

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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