Jump to Navigation


Ministry Career Enrollments are Declining: 2013 Study

Current seminary enrollment patterns are complex, with the number of seminary students on the uptick during the 1990s but peaking in 2004. Since then, enrollment has stagnated. Meanwhile, nationwide, overall master's level program enrollments have increased at 10 times the rate of seminary enrollments, according to a study by Auburn Seminary published in the magazine InTrust, a journal of the Association of Theological Schools, a membership association of over 250 seminaries and schools of religion in the U.S. and Canada.

In addition, more seminary enrollees have undergraduate degrees and high grade point averages while fewer seminary enrollees are preparing for church or synagogue ministry careers, and more are preparing for non-faith community ministry opportunities. Interestingly, women's rate of enrollment has dropped off faster than men's, and while white enrollments have dropped since 2005 (by 17 percent), African American and Hispanic enrollments have grown (7 percent and 26 percent, respectively). Asian American and foreign enrollments have also declined (7 percent and 9 percent, respectively) from their peaks.

"The implications of these findings for theological schools are sobering. Few if any institutions can count on substantial enrollment growth in the next period. Powerful religious and social trends, including shrinking college enrollments now that the numbers of 18-year-olds has peaked, make an enrollment turnaround unlikely," the study concludes. 

For more on theological education enrollments, read our feature article, "Theological Education Rebounds, but Fewer Students Enroll." For more on seminaries and seminary enrollments, see "Best Resources for Researching Seminaries," and explore the subcategory "Research on Seminaries" under our "Research" tab.



Liturgical Meditations from Fuller Studios

 The liturgical calendar spans the life of Christ in a single year—from anticipation (Advent), to hope (Christmas...

The Spiritual Practice of Humor

We live in a time of tension and conflict, arguing and fighting for what we believe is true. Many of us are attracted...

Volunteer and Live Longer Religious Lives

Ohio State researchers in June pored over hundreds of obituaries from across the country. They found that people with...


Thu, Sep 27, 2018 - 09:00 am
The dates for Homecoming 2018 have been set for Sept.

Popular Tools

Compare Yourself
How do you compare to the rest of the U.S. population?
Religious Preference:

Widget provided by: