Graduate Diploma in Parish Services

The Graduate Diploma in Parish Services (GDPS) program is a two-year full-time course of study primarily designed for candidates who seek to serve in the diaconal ministry of LCC within a congregation. This program is not designed for those who wish to serve as deacons in Lutheran schools. Members of other church bodies are welcome to enroll in the program, with the understanding that they will be studying Lutheran theology. A maximum of 6 credits may be taken as an Open Studies student, full time or part time, prior to entering the GDPS program. Those who desire to prepare for diaconal ministry in LCC must ordinarily have been active members of an LCC or partner church congregation for two years. Candidates must enjoy satisfactory health and demonstrate good character, commitment to Christian ministry, and diaconal suitability.

Diploma Requirements

The Graduate Diploma in Parish Services requires satisfactory mastery (minimum grade of C) of 49 credit hours according to the following distribution, as well as satisfactory completion of all required Co-curricular Units (CCUs), Field Education, and a Final Overarching Exam.

Click below to investigate the five areas of study required for a Graduate Diploma in Parish Services.

Exegetical Theology (9 credits)

  • EXE 100 Introduction to the Study of Scripture

  • One Old Testament elective

  • One New Testament elective



Systematic and Historical Theology (12 credits)

  • HIS 110 Apostolic Fathers through the 7th Ecumenical Council OR HIS 120 Middle Ages and Reformation

  • SYS 101 Theological Foundations

  • SYS 200 The Lutheran Confessions

  • One elective in the areas of systematic or historical theology.



Theology in Praxis (28 credits)

  • PRX 105 Introduction to Diaconal Ministry

  • PRX 102 Personal & Vocational Formation

  • PRX 103 Academic Foundations

  • PRX 231 Christian Education 1

  • PRX 232 Christian Education 2

  • PRX 240 Christian Care and Counseling

  • PRX 255 Theology of Missions and Evangelism

  • PRX 310 Internship

  • PRX 410 Diaconal Ministry Seminar



Co-Curricular Units

In recognition that the Graduate Diploma in Parish Services is preparation for the vocation of diaconal ministry, a practical component of the degree is required of all students. This component comprises the earning of co-curricular units (CCUs). For LCC students, CCUs also partially fulfill the requirements of the Vocational Certificate in Diaconal Ministry.

For LCC students, CCUs are intended to foster the ability to function effectively with a Lutheran mindset and within a Lutheran context. Thus, field education and the development of diaconal skills is one component of the CCUs. It is expected that CCU experiences will also enrich and permeate each student’s academic work and the collective educational atmosphere of the classroom. Students are encouraged to reflect upon every CCU experience in order to assess both the uniqueness of its context and those aspects which can be applied to other contexts. They should be prepared to discuss their observations with the faculty, field education supervisor and fellow students.

For students not seeking certification in Lutheran Church-Canada, the total number of required CCUs are developed by the Director of Field Ed. in consultation with an appropriate representative from the student’s home church body.

Detailed information about CCUs will be shared with students by the Director of Field Education at the Student Orientation in September.



Vocational Certificate in Diaconal Ministry

All students in the GDPS program who register their intention to be rostered as deacons within Lutheran Church—Canada are eligible for the Vocational Certificate in Diaconal Ministry. This certificate certifies that the candidate has demonstrated his or her doctrinal commitment and personal suitability for the diaconal ministry of Lutheran Church—Canada through satisfactory academic, practical, and personal development.

The faculty grants Vocational Certificates in Diaconal Ministry upon the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Certification for Placement. CLS reserves the right to request that additional course work or reading assignments be completed before a Vocational Certificate in Diaconal Ministry is awarded.

Completion of the Graduate Diploma in Parish Services does not guarantee that the student will receive a Vocational Certificate in Diaconal Ministry.