International Students

Degree Programs

International students are always welcome and eligible to pursue a degree from UDTS. However, the seminary believes that it is most appropriate for students to obtain their basic theological education in the context of their own culture. For that reason, we recommend that international students study while based in their own country. For these students we offer the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership as a fully online course of study. A reduced tuition cost for this degree is granted to a few international students every year. Please ask the Admissions office for more details.

We do not ordinarily recommend that international students pursue a degree that requires residential courses on the seminary campus. Exceptions to this rule may be made upon specific request from the applicant’s sponsoring denominational authorities. Such a request should include an explanation of why the student cannot, or is not being urged to, obtain equivalent training in his or her home country.

Unfortunately, there are no university-provided scholarships for international students accepted into our residential Master of Arts in Mission Discipleship or our residential Master of Divinity degree programs may receive a scholarship. The student is responsible for tuition and the cost of books, room and board, medical insurance, travel and other living expenses. Students will need to show adequate proof of their ability to pay for these expenses prior to being awarded an I-20 from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services.

International students who have completed the Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent, have been engaged in full-time ministry for a minimum of three years, and are currently employed in a ministry setting are eligible to apply for admission to the Doctor of Ministry degree program. Institutional 
financial aid is not available for D.Min. students. See the section on Degree Programs for more information.

Church Endorsement

Ordinarily, international applicants will be considered for admission only if they can present evidence of full endorsement of their plan of study by the church (denomination) from which they come. This endorsement shall be in the form of letters of recommendation from denominational leaders. Such letters must be originals (not copies), signed and dated by the person providing the recommendation. They should be submitted on the official letterhead of the person providing the recommendation.

English Competence

The seminary’s language of operation is English. International applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate adequate ability in written and spoken English. This ability is ordinarily demonstrated through a score of at least 220 (computer-based scoring) or 550 (paper-based scoring), or 80 (Internet-based scoring; minimums of 19 reading, 19 writing, 21 listening, 21 speaking) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants are expected to arrange to have their TOEFL scores sent directly to the seminary by the testing agency.

Information about TOEFL Testing Dates and Locations May be Obtained From:

Test of English as a Foreign Language
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151 U.S.A.
Telephone: 609.771.7100


An applicant’s academic transcripts or certificates must demonstrate the completion of at least a bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree or its equivalent, as well as whatever postgraduate studies have been completed. All transcripts or certificates should bear the official seal of the college, university or seminary and should be accompanied by a letter from the registrar, dean or other academic official indicating the level of work completed. Transcripts or certificates should be sent directly to the UDTS Seminary Admissions Office by the college, university or seminary and must be accompanied by a translation in English.

Fees and Scholarships

The cost of living and education in the United States are quite high. To avoid situations of confusion or misunderstanding, we insist that international applicants demonstrate adequate financial support: from their own funds, from church or other sources in their home countries, or from UDTS.

  • Students Providing Their Own Financial Resources
    Some international students are supported in their education by funding from personal, church, or government sources. The seminary will require such students to provide documentation of financial support in the form of bank statements, letters from scholarship granting agencies, etc. before granting admission and issuing the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service’s I-20 form (which is required to obtain a student visa). The amount of funding documented in this way must be adequate to provide for tuition, fees, books, room, board, medical, and miscellaneous expenses, and travel to and from Dubuque. International students studying in the United States on an F-1 student visa are not ordinarily permitted to seek paid employment.

Application Deadline

International applicants should submit all application materials to the UDTS admissions office by December 1 for consideration of admission during the next academic year. This allows sufficient time for processing a student visa.