Through the long-standing Deaconess Program, you will be equipped to serve people in need through congregations, agencies or missionary work.

Since 1980, Concordia University Chicago has prepared over 200 deaconesses for service. Through the Deaconess Program, you will be equipped to serve in congregations, agencies, or mission fields of the Church. Deaconesses care for souls enduring life’s storms, teach God’s Word to young and old alike, and coordinate the Church’s mercy both among Christians and in the community.

Study Format

  • On Campus

Degree Overview

CUC offers the only undergraduate program leading to full deaconess certification in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Students can become certified in just five years, including a one-year paid internship. Students major in Theology and combine their studies with a minor in areas such as education, social work, psychology, Biblical languages, Spanish, or other choices.

Deaconess students also take many courses in diaconal theology, ministry, and history. Guided practical experience happens in 200 hours of field work and a year-long internship.

Community is also 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 professional working deaconesses who pray regularly for students, serve as adjunct instructors, and visit campus for Bible studies and classes.

At the end of successful program completion, students will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and are eligible to receive LCMS certification and/or placement as a deaconess, although this is not guaranteed.

Deaconess Certificate

Frequently Asked Questions

Degree Requirements

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


A year-long, paid deaconess internship is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to put into practice the concepts 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 in countries such as Guatemala, China, Thailand, Germany and England. Assignments for internships are made by the program director after consultation with each student.

Service Opportunities

In an agency, the role of the deaconess intern will be determined by the specific needs of the residents and the agency.  Ordinarily, there should be some opportunity to:

  • Care spiritually for the residents (under the chaplain's guidance)
  • Lead Bible study groups
  • Coordinate volunteers
  • Develop new resident participation groups
  • Learn the structure of the agency
  • Develop social service skills
  • Use music or other special talents, according to ability
  • Become aware of community resources for the residents
  • Learn to work with families of residents

In the parish, the deaconess intern ordinarily should have some experience or acquaintance with the following areas:

  • Caring spiritually for the hospitalized, home-bound, grieving and needy
  • Leading women's Bible study group(s)
  • Teaching religion classes, weekday school, Sunday School
  • Caring for women and youth
  • Developing new Bible study groups
  • Participating in evangelism (either through an existing training program or by leading a program according to her particular competency)
  • Understanding congregational structure through observation and participation
  • Coordinating volunteers (altar guild, greeters, VBS workers, youth leaders, etc.)
  • Participating in specialized ministries (widowed, single, divorced, handicapped, etc.)
  • Working with ladies' societies and LWML groups
  • Using her own special talents (drama, music, art, etc.)

In the mission field, the role of the deaconess intern will be determined by the specific needs of the mission site.

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