Mission and Tradition

A Community after God's Heart:
Shaped by Faith in One God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
We seek to follow Jesus,
Walk in the Spirit,
Join God's Mission.

We are a Christian seminary dedicated for forming God's people for Servant leadership in ministry and mission:

  • Gathering in gratitude and faithfulness, to be reformed according to the Word of God.
  • Growing in the Church's biblical faith in the Triune God.
  • Excelling in theological education and scholarship.
  • Living as faithful stewards of God's Gifts.
  • Engaging the changing needs of the Church and World.


The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary was founded in 1852 to reach out to German settlers pouring into the Midwest. The seminary provided theological education to those called to serve the region as evangelists and pastors. The school - initially known as Van Vliet Seminary after founder Adrian Van Vliet - was renamed the German Theological School of the Northwest in 1864.

In 1870, the seminary was accepted by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church as a theological institution of the church. Because few of the students had college educations, undergraduate studies were eventually added. On June 17, 1920, a new charter was issued, renaming the school the University of Dubuque, of which the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary continues to be a vibrant and guiding community.

Since 1998, the seminary has been educating Commissioned Ruling Elders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) through distance education to provide leadership for smaller congregations. We also provide continuing education for teaching elders in distance format.

Beginning in 2007, UDTS became one of a handful of mainline theological institutions accredited by the Association of Theological Schools to offer up to two-thirds of the Master of Divinity courses via distance education. In 2014 we started offering the Master of Arts in Mission and Discipleship in both distance and residential formats. Most recently, in 2015, the seminary faculty started teaching in the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, offered completely online by the University.

The seminary faculty actively pursues excellence in online and residential pedagogical strategies. Throughout its history, the faculty and staff of UDTS have been dedicated to our mission, forming God's people for servant leadership in ministry and mission.