Admissions Requirements

Church/Pastoral Recommendation Form

All applicants must receive official endorsement from the local church where they are a member. Family members may not complete this form. There may be instances when the Admissions Office requests additional information from references.

How to provide the recommendation: This endorsement is provided through the online recommendation form located in the application. After you enter your recommender’s information, they will be automatically e-mailed a link to an electronic copy of the recommendation form.

What you’ll need: Be prepared with the name, e-mail address, and phone number of the individual(s) who will be providing your recommendation.

Questions? Contact the Admissions Office with any questions regarding your church/pastor recommendation.

Doctoral applications require 2 additional recommendations: We suggest that a professor or a business acquaintance who can speak to academic performance complete the 2 additional recommendation forms required for doctoral students.

What if I am the pastor of my church?
We still request a church/pastor recommendation, but it can come from another leader in the church. (Such as another pastor, elder, or deacon.)

What if I am related to the pastor of my church?
We would ask you then request a recommendation from a non-family member who is in some sort of leadership capacity at your church.

Academic Transcripts

Transcription from the educational institution or institutions that conferred any required degrees should be submitted to the Admissions Office. Diploma applicants must submit an official copy of their high school diploma or GED, unless the applicant has completed a minimum of 24 hours of college credit. An official transcript will include grades received for each course, date of graduation and should be sent directly from the college or school attended to the Admissions Office.

How to request transcripts: Contact the registrar or academic records office of your previous institution(s). They may e-mail the transcripts (directly or via 3rd party such as Parchment) to or mail copies to:

Southern Seminary Office of Admissions
2825 Lexington Road
Louisville, KY  40280

Please allow 2 weeks for mailed transcripts to be processed by our office.

Additional Requirements

  • Application Fee: At the end of the application, you will be asked to provide the $40 application fee.
  • Spiritual Autobiography: The Spiritual Autobiography is made up of three small sections. Each section is a 1000 characters or less explanation of 1) your understanding of the gospel, 2) your conversion and spiritual growth, 3) your call to ministry and reason for applying to SBTS. You will write your autobiography in the designated section of our online application. MATS applicants must indicate that they understand that the MATS degree is designed for laypersons only and not for those pursuing vocational ministry.
  • Academic Paper: This is a requirement for Advanced Master of Divinity and all Research Doctoral applicants. Applicants are required to submit a writing sample from their undergraduate or seminary education, respectively. This requirement allows for proper analysis of an applicant’s writing and research abilities. Please submit an unmarked sample from your previous schooling. It should be a clean copy and may account for former professor’s editorial comments. You will upload this paper on the application.
  • Placement Tests (Advanced M.Div. Applicants only): Students applying to the Advanced Master of Divinity are required to pass Greek and Hebrew placement exams. These exams cover Southern’s Elementary Greek & Hebrew language courses & can be completed at a distance with a proctor. Advanced M.Div. applicants must first apply for admission and submit all required documents. Upon receipt of all application materials, applicants will be reviewed for preliminary admission to the program. At which point, the student should contact the School of Theology ( to make arrangements for placement tests. (Not required for Boyce Alumnus Advanced M.Div. Applicants)

Doctoral Applicants


Please refer to each degree program webpage for more information:

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants should be familiar with the entirety of the international admissions process. More information is found at the link below:

International Student Admissions

Still have questions?

That’s why we’re here! Contact us through the information listed below.


Phone: 502-897-4200

Office hours: M-F, 8 am – 4:30 pm EST

Admissions Homepage

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