Seminary students are church leaders in training. As a student in Calvin's pre-seminary program, you'll take courses to prepare you for any number of seminary programs nationwide.


The pre-seminary program at Calvin is a series of classes in English, speech, philosophy, psychology, history, Greek and sociology designed for students who are interested in pursuing ordained ministry. This program can be paired with any major at Calvin, as most seminaries receive graduates from a variety of fields and academic interests. Recent graduates of Calvin's pre-seminary program have gone to some of the most prestigious schools in the country, including Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Duke and Fuller.

Careers in Pre-Seminary

  • Religion Professor or Teacher
  • Missionary
  • Pastor
  • Youth Minister
  • Author

See job placement rates for Calvin grads.

Student involvement

Attend the annual Seminary Fair to investigate schools from a wide variety of denominations and traditions; complete a 10-week internship as a Jubilee Fellow; join in department-wide events like lectures and seminars.

Course Requirements 2013-14


The department of congregational and ministry studies (CMS) serves as the home of the pre-ministry advising program. A team of advisors connected to this department is committed to guiding students through the process of discerning a call to ministry by means of one-on-one conversations and occasional events and programs held throughout the year. Students interested in ministry should direct any questions to one of the following advisors:

  • M. Lundberg (religion and adjunct CMS), coordinator of pre-ministry advising and primary pre-seminary advisor
  • T. Cioffi, director of the Jubilee Fellows program
  • L. Barger Elliott, professor of youth ministry
  • M. Hulst, college chaplain
  • J. Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) recommends that pre-seminary students develop the ability to think carefully, communicate clearly, and do independent research. Pre-seminary students should also learn about human culture and society, and may find it useful to develop proficiency in biblical languages, Latin, and modern languages. Due to differing expectations from different seminaries, the college has no formal program of pre-seminary study, but rather presents a series of suggested courses that students can consider in consultation with the college?s pre-seminary advisors. Pre-seminary students should consult the catalogs of the particular seminaries that they are considering attending for the specific admission requirements of those schools.

Because many Calvin students choose to attend Calvin Theological Seminary, and because of the close relationship between the two institutions, the admission requirements of the seminary are included here as an example of typical seminary admissions expectations: Students must meet all of the college?s requirements for a bachelor?s degree, as well as the admissions requirements of the seminary, including a minimum GPA of 2.67. Calvin Theological Seminary recommends that pre-seminary students emphasize the following areas of study: classical civilization, English, Greek, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and theology.

Calvin Seminary?s master of divinity (MDiv) program prepares persons for ordained ministry. To enter the MDiv program, pre-seminary students should complete the following courses:

  • At least two semester length courses in English (including literature), history, philosophy (preferably history of philosophy), natural science, social science, and speech
  • Four semesters of Greek are encouraged.
  • In order to fulfill these suggestions, Calvin students should include the following courses in their undergraduate programs:
    • GREE-205 New Testament Greek: The Gospels
    • GREE-206 New Testament Greek: The Epistles
    • PHIL-251 History of Western Philosophy I
    • PHIL-252 History of Western Philosophy II
    • CAS-101 Oral Rhetoric
    • CAS-200 Advanced Oral Rhetoric
    • CAS-203 Introduction to Performance Studies (recommended)
    • CAS-240 Group Communication (recommended)

Calvin Seminary's Master of Arts degrees (with concentrations in evangelism and mission, educational ministries, worship, pastoral care, youth and family ministries, and Bible & theology) prepare persons for leadership in various areas of church ministry. The seminary recommends that students take one college course each in English, literature, philosophy, and speech, as well as two each in history, natural science, and social science. In addition, for the MA in evangelism and missions, one college course is required in cultural anthropology; and for the MA in worship, two college courses are required in music or the arts.

Calvin Seminary's master of theological studies program provides a theological education that emphasizes vocational objectives for students who are not seeking ordination, as well as preparation for further academic study in Bible and theology. It is recommended that college students take at least two semester length courses each in English (including literature), history, philosophy, natural science, and social science. Four semesters of Greek are encouraged.

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Calvin College Course CatalogCurrent students please download your course catalog for complete degree requirements.


Dollar amounts reflect awards given for the 2014-15 academic year.

Julius and Sylvia Becksvoort Scholarship
  • amount of award: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • pursuing a pre-seminary course of study; planning to attend Calvin Theological Seminary
  • GPA 3.00+
  • financial need considered
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Bolt Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,200
  • junior or senior psychology major or pursuing a pre-ministry program
  • GPA 3.3+
  • financial need required
  • psychology students apply through the psychology department
    pre-ministry students apply through the Calvin Portal
Willis and Gertrude DeBoer Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,800
  • any class level
  • GPA of 2.8+
  • financial need required; pre-seminary or pursuing religious studies
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Eugene and Joan Deur Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,200
  • sophomore or junior education major, pursuing a pre-ministry program or missions
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Rev. Donald J. Drost Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • first year
  • HS GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; first preference graduates of Western Michigan Christian High School
  • automatic consideration
Reverend Bernard Haven Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,600
  • first-year
  • HS GPA 3.0+
  • financial need considered; child of missionary
  • submit a letter to the Financial Aid Office ( describing your qualifications by February 1
William and Marybeth Haverkamp Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,500
  • first-year
  • financial need considered; demonstrate an interest in pursuing studies that will lead to the ministry, teaching or business; demonstrate commitment to and evidence of volunteerism or student leadership
  • automatic consideration
Jacob and Kathryn S. Hekman Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,100
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; planning to attend Calvin Theological Seminary
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. and Mrs. Lee S. Huizenga Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,600
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.2+
  • financial need required; interest in missions or service work
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
James and Dolly (Hofman) Strikwerda Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 2.5+
  • evidence that the scholarship is needed to help meet educational expenses
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
John R. and Annie Struyk Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • financial need required;demonstrate Christian character and involvement in extracurricular activities in the community and college
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
William and Anna Vanden Bosch Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,900
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 2.70+
  • financial need required; have a record of being active in ministry in their local congregation or other Christian ministry; preference to those who plan to pursue ministry in the CRC
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
John S. Vander Heide III Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,400
  • senior
  • GPA 2.67+
  • financial need not required; planning to seek ordination through Calvin Theological Seminary
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
View all scholarship opportunities


Todd Cioffi

Todd Cioffi
Assistant Professor
Department of Congregational & Ministry Studies
HL 315H
(616) 526-7797

Lynn Elliott

Lynn Elliott
Youth Ministry Adjunct
Department of Congregational & Ministry Studies
HL 315G
(616) 526-7628

Mary Hulst

Mary Hulst
Adjunct Professor, Chaplain
Department of Congregational & Ministry Studies
CA 144
(616) 526-7617

Matthew Lundberg

Matthew Lundberg
Associate Professor, on leave 2012-13
Department of Religion
HL 385
(616) 526-8875

John Witvliet

John Witvliet
Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Director; Professor (Worship, Theology, Congregational and Ministry Studies)
Department of Music
HL 389
(616) 526-6806

Talk to us

Matthew Lundberg Matthew Lundberg
Program Director
Department of Congregational & Ministry Studies
HL 385
(616) 526-8875


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