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Public Church Scholars

Are you called?students

  • Do you hope for vibrant churches?
  • Do you believe in leadership development for the common good?
  • Are you called to be a pastor?
  • Let us accompany you on that journey!

5 Years, 2 DEGREES

The Public Church Scholars five-year degree pathway prepares students to be intentional leaders for the future of a multiracial, multiethnic, public church. In this educational pathway, students will take a deep dive into theological education, leadership formation, experiential learning in an internship, and preparation to be public leaders in the church.

Students in this pathway will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Public Leadership from Augsburg University and a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary. These degrees will be completed in five years, therefore a student’s pathway through them will vary from the traditional forms of these degrees.

Some unique elements of the Public Church Scholars program include:

  • Supportive cohort of peers
  • Spiritual direction practice
  • Training in equity and inclusion
  • Professional mentorship
  • Accompaniment through the candidacy process for ordination
  • Completion of Clinical Pastoral Education
  • Paid four-year paid internship in a congregation or faith-based non-profit


As a new kind of urban, student-centered university, Augsburg is educating students as stewards of a more inclusive democracy, engaged in their communities and uniquely equipped to navigate the complex issues of our time. Because we are rooted in a robust theological tradition, we are committed to shaping character, inviting vocational discernment, and building biblical literacy. This identity shapes the way in which the Public Church Scholars degree seeks to create a pastoral leadership degree program rooted in theological convictions that compel us to live and lead with an openness to the complexities of our world and our neighbors.

As the educational foundation for Public Church Scholars, the public church framework is committed to placed-based vocational discernment in the public square for the common good. Public Church Scholars learn to practice and lead accompaniment, interpretation, discernment, and proclamation and this framework supports their preparation to be pastors and leaders in the church.


This pathway will address the barriers of overall cost of education and reduce the length of time required to complete a pastoral leadership degree. This pathway also provides college access to the ministry profession for underrepresented and minoritized students.

  • Scholarships available for students in the cohort
  • 98% of Augsburg students receive financial aid
  • Reduced cost for seminary
  • Paid internships
  • Eight years of school in five years


  • Augsburg University educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.
  • Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities called and sent by the Holy Spirit to witness to salvation through Jesus Christ and to serve in God’s world.

first cohort ENROLLING Fall 2020!

Our team is committed to identifying, recruiting, and enrolling a diverse and hopeful cohort of emerging ELCA leaders to serve in the public church for the sake of the world.

Apply now to join the Fall 2020 cohort and to request general information, fill out the inquiry form below.

Request Information


Adrienne Kuchler Eldridge

Adrienne Kuchler Eldridge ’02

Public Church Scholars Program Director



This pathway has been made possible through a generous grant from the Kern Family Foundation, a Wisconsin-based private philanthropic foundation committed to education for future church leaders.