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United is One of Only 18 ATS-Accredited Seminaries with Five Consecutive Years of Growth

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, UNITED STATES, January 25, 2024. In its 2023 Holiday Colloquy Online issue, ATS (The Association of Theological Schools) noted that just 18, or 6.5 percent, of 279 ATS-accredited seminaries demonstrated steady year-over-year growth during the past five years. United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities—one of those 18—realized an 82 percent five-year growth rate, and is one of the only theologically progressive seminaries on the list.

United’s growth is a remarkable achievement, especially in a timeframe when more than half of seminaries have been seeing stable or declining enrollment.


As Chris Meinzer, senior director and COO at ATS, wrote, “In 2007, a shift occurred and fewer than 50 percent of ATS schools grew year-over-year;… this trend has essentially continued through fall 2023, when it is projected that 45 percent of ATS schools will have grown and 55 percent will have declined.”

Reflecting on United’s appearance on the shortlist of growing seminaries, President Molly T. Marshall shares: 

“When looking at the ‘ecclesial family’ of schools, it is interesting to note that only Roman Catholic and Orthodox schools are showing a slight increase. Evangelical schools are down by .9 percent, and mainline schools are down by 3.6 percent. This makes United’s growth all the more significant as the trend for mainline schools is negative.”

Why is United growing? President Marshall reflects:

  • United has a desirable curriculum that emphasizes social transformation, theology and the arts, interreligious engagement, and public theology.
  • United has gifted, student-focused faculty members who excel in their disciplines as well as their teaching. 
  • United welcomes students with myriad religious, spiritual, and theological leanings. This is reflected in the unique interreligious nature of the chaplaincy program.
  • United has expanded online offerings to include Flex courses in both the DMin and master’s degrees to meet students’ need for scheduling flexibility.
  • United is as interested in the questions as the answers.

United envisions a future filled with hope, creativity, and sustainability. The seminary looks ahead with eager anticipation to continue realizing its mission: preparing innovative and compassionate leaders for the equipping of churches, other faith communities, and society toward justice and peace.

Media Contact: Nathanial Green
Director of Marketing & Communications


About United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
Founded as a welcoming, ecumenical school that embraces all denominations and faith traditions, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities has been on the cutting edge of progressive theological thought leadership since it was established in 1962. Today, United continues to train leaders who dismantle systems of oppression, explore multi-faith spirituality, and push the boundaries of knowledge.

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