Deaconess Studies

Are you interested in reaching out to serve others? Do you feel a call to work with those in need across the nation or the world?

If so, you may have a calling to enter Concordia University Chicago's long-standing Deaconess Studies program. Through a series of coursework, you will be equipped to serve people in need through congregations, agencies, institutions or missionary work. 

Concordia-Chicago Deaconess Studies Program Overview

CUC offers the only undergraduate program leading to deaconess certification in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Students can become certified and practice in their field in just five years, including a one-year paid internship. students can also combine their studies with programs in education, social work or not-for-profit business management. 

Community is an important part of deaconess student life. Students meet regularly to study God’s word, pray and worship. They also gather for retreats, fellowship and fun. Community life extends to the professional deaconess who prays regularly for students and visits campus for Bible studies and classes.

To date, more than 180 women have completed the Deaconess Program since its beginning at Concordia University Chicago in 1980.

Deaconess Studies Course Information

At the end of successful program completion, students will earn a bachelor of arts degree and are eligible to receive the LCMS deaconess certification and/or placement as an LCMS deaconess, although this is not a guaranteed certification or placement.

You will take courses in deaconess ministry, Lutheran doctrine and ministry skills. You will also have guided practical experience in field work and a year-long internship to serve those in need. Your courses and our faculty will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

Deaconess students may double major in areas such as education or minor in social work, sociology, psychology, biblical languages or Spanish. Many students also choose to combine their undergraduate training with a master’s degree in gerontology, social work, counseling or business administration.

For details about required courses and course descriptions, please visit our online catalog

Deaconess Studies Opportunities

The year-long, paid deaconess internship is a great opportunity for students to tryout the things they’ve learned in the classroom and to grow from new experiences. CUC’s interns have served in institutions and congregations throughout the U.S. and in the mission field in countries such as Guatemala, China, Thailand, Germany, England and others. Assignments for internships are made by the program director after consultation with each student.

CUC’s location provides easy access to the cultural, learning and servant opportunities of Chicago. A rich variety of Lutheran congregations and service organizations exist within an easy distance to campus. Our library is one of the oldest and most complete theological libraries in the Synod, with access to the resources of other major Chicago schools.