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Each semester or term, students will be provided information regarding registration and course offerings for the upcoming semester or term. Students register through the online student portal (link at the top right corner on the Seminary’s website), where they log in using the passcode provided when they were admitted. Students on academic probation or who have unpaid bills may find their access blocked and may need to fill out a paper registration form.
Students cannot register for directed study, independent study, or cross-registration courses through the portal, but must submit the appropriate paper form to the Registrar’s office (available as PDF files through the “Resources” link on the Seminary website).
The Seminary may occasionally find it necessary to cancel courses. Students whose courses are canceled will be allowed to change their registration after drop/add day without penalty.
The Seminary seeks to provide students with the information and advising necessary for them to complete their studies successfully and in a timely manner. However, Erskine Seminary is a graduate school and students are expected to take responsibility for themselves and their learning. Students are therefore responsible for familiarizing themselves with curricular requirements, academic policies, and various resources (course schedules, academic worksheets, support, etc.) and for making wise decisions about their course of study. In particular, students should note the following:
- Curricular requirements for each degree program are outlined in this Catalog and in Academic Worksheets available on the Seminary’s website (see “ETS Student Documents” under “Resources”). Students should use the academic worksheets to monitor their progress with their advisors.
- In general, master’s degree students should take 500-numbered courses before taking 600-numbered courses, and 600-numbered courses before 700-numbered courses.
- Course descriptions identify core and elective courses, and specify if there are any course prerequisites (other courses students must take first), etc.
- The course schedule for each year is posted on the Seminary’s website to assist students in planning their course of study.
- Students seeking ordination must become familiar with their denomination’s requirements and should be in frequent contact with appropriate denominational officials to review their progress. Students should consult with their faculty advisors to determine the best way to meet these requirements.
The following program directors serve as academic advisors:
- MDiv Dr. Mark Ross
- MDiv – Chaplaincy Dr. Michael Milton
- MAPM Dr. R. J. Gore
- MATS Dr. R. J. Gore
- MACC Dr. Cathy Sparks
- ThM Dr. Matthew Miller
- DMin Dr. Loyd Melton (until the dissertation supervisor is selected)
• Students in their last year of study must meet with their advisors to review their progress and finalize a plan for completing their degree. This senior audit must be completed before students can apply for graduation (see the Academic Calendar for specific dates).
Students should carefully plan their courses each semester or term to ensure that they will be able to give sufficient time to their studies, as well as to work, family, ministry, and other responsibilities. Following the Carnegie calculation, a standard three-hour course requires three hours per week in class plus six hours outside of class, or at least nine hours per week (approx. 135-140 hours of interaction time), regardless of course modality or length. A four-course load at the master’s level is equivalent to a full-time job (a 40-hour week). It is often wiser to take fewer courses in order to master course content and be better prepared for effective ministry.
The normal full-time academic load is 12 hours per semester for MDiv and MACC students, 9 hours per semester for MATS and MAPM students, and 6 hours for ThM or DMin students. The Seminary has established maximum allowable loads for each semester and term (below), while overloads may only be granted by the Dean in exceptional cases.
MDiv, MACC MATS, MAPM ThM, DMin
Fall 15 hours 12 hours 6 hours
Spring 15 hours 12 Hours 6 hours
Summer 12 hours 9 hours 6 hours
Audit and Continuing Education
Auditors and CEU students are permitted in most courses on a space-available basis, subject to the approval of the course instructor. They may participate in class discussions at the invitation of the instructor, so long as their participation does not limit participation by credit students, but they do not submit assignments, do not receive grades, nor earn academic credit. All auditors and CEU students will register for courses using the paper registration form available on the Seminary website, under “Resources.” Senior citizens (60 yrs. and up), alumni, and spouses of Seminary staff, faculty, and students may audit without charge. Other auditors and CEU students are required to pay a course fee and no financial aid is available to them. Students may not change from audit or CEU to credit after the drop/add deadline.
Registration Changes – Drop/Add Policy
Students who wish to add or make changes in their registration can do so in the student portal or submit a completed Drop-Add form (available on the Seminary website) to the Registrar’s office by the drop/add day (published in the Academic Calendar). Students may not make any changes after the drop/add day or after the first meeting of an all-day class. Courses dropped prior to the drop/add day will not appear on the student’s transcript.
For full semester online classes (15 weeks) and online classes scheduled for the first eight weeks of the semester (online term 1), students who wish to make changes in their registration must follow the instructions listed in the above paragraph. For 8-week online classes scheduled for the second half of the semester (online term 2), students will be able to drop courses by a later drop day (published in the Academic Calendar).
Course Withdrawal Policy
Students may withdraw from courses after a drop deadline (and before the final day of the course) without academic penalty but will be subject to the Seminary’s published tuition and fee refund schedule. Students will not be eligible for financial aid of any kind (including Federal loans) when they retake a class from which they have previously withdrawn. Students’ transcripts will show a W for the course(s) from which they have withdrawn after the drop deadline. In order to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP), students may have no more than 20% of the courses listed as W.
Students who are registered for one or more courses remain enrolled until they formally drop their courses by submitting a completed Drop/Add form or they withdraw by submitting a completed and signed Course Withdrawal form (available on the Seminary website) to the Registrar’s office. Failing to attend class or talking with a faculty or staff member about withdrawing does not constitute withdrawal. Students who do not formally withdraw through the Registrar’s office before the end of the semester or term will receive failing grades and will receive no refund of tuition or fees.
School Withdrawal Policy
Students may withdraw from the Seminary by submitting a completed and signed School Withdrawal Form (available on the Seminary website) to the Registrar’s office. They must also settle all financial obligations to the Seminary, subject to the policy on refunds in this Catalog. Students will not be considered to have withdrawn from the Seminary in good standing until they have paid all outstanding accounts, returned all library books, and have turned in their keys, key fobs, and other institutional property.
The Seminary reserves the right to require the withdrawal of a student at any time if the student’s academic record, financial accounts, or conduct are unsatisfactory to its officials.
Change of Degree Program
Students who wish to change degree programs or add a second master’s program must submit a completed Degree Program Change form (available on the Seminary website) to the Registrar’s office and pay any fee that may be required. The form must be signed by the student, the director of the degree program that the student wishes to enter, and the Dean. Students seeking to enter a ministry-related degree (MDiv, MAPM, DMin) may be required to obtain additional references that address their potential for effective ministry.
In order to provide a necessary foundation for their studies, entering master’s students must register during their first year for PM 502 Christian Vocation and Transformation (not required for MACC students), BI 501 Bible Survey (or pass the Bible Challenge Exam), and BI 502 Principles of Exegesis.
ThM and DMin Continuous Enrollment
Advanced students (ThM and DMin) must remain continuously enrolled in order to remain active in the program. DMin students must register each term (fall, spring, and summer); ThM students must register each fall and spring. Students who are not registered for a course, thesis (ThM), or dissertation (DMin), must register for continuation (TH 081 or DR 091) unless they have formally requested and been granted a temporary withdrawal.
Students wishing to receive transfer credit for courses taken from other institutions must present official transcripts for evaluation. Courses may be considered for transfer credit only if they come from appropriately accredited institutions or from other institutions with which Erskine Theological Seminary has a partnership (e.g., BibleMesh, Reasons to Believe). Additionally, such courses may be considered for transfer credit only if they are directly relevant to students’ course of study. Transfer credits can only be accepted for up to two-thirds of the credits required for any degree program at Erskine Theological Seminary. In other words, at least one-third of the credit hours required for a degree must be earned at Erskine. Only courses with grades of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher may be considered for transfer credit into the MDiv, MATS, and MAPM programs. Only courses with grades of B or higher may be considered for transfer into the MACC, ThM, and DMin programs.
Applicants may request an initial, unofficial evaluation of the transcript during the admission process, but the final, official evaluation of the transcript will not be completed until students have been admitted and enrolled; in some cases, final evaluation will be completed only after completion of the student’s first semester or term of study at Erskine.
Furthermore, courses considered for transfer credit must be of a comparable level (e.g., undergraduate courses may not be transferred into master’s programs; and only courses designed specifically for advanced students may be applied to ThM and DMin degrees.) No transfer credit will be given for prior experiential or portfolio-based learning, or for denominational training programs for which no academic credit was earned.
Additionally, in consultation with their program advisors, students may transfer courses from BibleMesh or Reasons to Believe, but only courses that are not offered by Erskine and are necessary for degree completion can be transferred. Contact the Dean’s office for details and approvals.
Students with relevant undergraduate majors, such as biblical studies, theology, or pastoral studies, may request transcript evaluation for Advanced Standing without Credit (AS – certain basic courses are waived in lieu of more advanced work) or Advanced Standing with Credit (AS/C) in which students may receive credit for up to one third of a master’s level degree program. Advanced Standing with or without credit will only be considered for a 300 or 400 level undergraduate course based on the academic rigor of the course and the student’s performance.
Students pursing the MATS degree may be able to complete the degree in one year of full-time academic study if they have prior extensive undergraduate studies in religion and/or other appropriate foundational areas.
Erskine Seminary follows a semester schedule. Courses completed on a quarter system are divided by 1.5 to determine semester hour equivalents (e.g., three quarter hours equal two semester hours).
See the program requirements for each degree program for limitations on transfer credit and other details.
Directed and Independent Study
A directed study is an elective course from the Seminary’s Catalog taken individually under the direction of a faculty member instead of a regularly offered course; required courses may not normally be taken as directed study. An independent study is a course designed by the student and the professor to enhance the student’s knowledge in a particular field of study. Students must submit the appropriate completed and signed form (available on the Seminary website) to the Registrar’s office. The Independent Study form must be accompanied by a detailed description of the work the student is expected to complete.
Erskine students are able to take courses through Erskine at a number of other institutions. The Seminary maintains a cooperative agreement with the Carolina Theological Consortium (CTC, including Columbia International University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary-Charlotte, and Reformed Theological Seminary-Charlotte). Erskine students have cross-registration and library privileges at all these institutions.
Students may cross-register and pay Erskine tuition rates for courses at CTC institutions, subject to certain limitations:
- Permission to cross-register in a particular course ultimately rests with the host institution and cannot be guaranteed. Decisions are normally made on a space-available basis after the host institution’s registration period for its own students has closed.
- Students must secure approval from Erskine’s Registrar office in advance.
- Counseling courses that lead to state licensure are not included.
- DMin courses from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary-Charlotte are not included.
- RTS-Virtual and Gordon-Conwell Semlink courses are not included.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
Students may receive academic credit for completion of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at a certified CPE training facility upon submission of a signed copy of the supervisor’s final evaluation that includes the supervisor’s certification that the unit was completed successfully. Ordinarily, the CPE units must have been completed within the past ten years.
Students wishing to obtain master’s level CPE credit must register for three hours credit (1 unit) or six hours credit (2 units) in the semester following completion of the CPE training program. A grade (pass/fail) and academic credit will be awarded upon receipt of the supervisor’s evaluation and certification. More information about CPE, including distance education CPE opportunities, may be found in the Seminary “Student Documents” folder on the Erskine Seminary website, “CPE at Erskine.”
DMin students who have previously completed three units of CPE (9 hours) may apply to the DMin director to receive credit for Functions electives as determined by the program director and the Dean of the Seminary. DMin students who have completed more than three units of CPE may petition the Dean to receive up to three additional hours of credit as a Functions elective.
Institutional Review Board
At Erskine, the IRB serves a regulatory function that is essential to ensuring both ethical and legal standards regarding data and research at the institution as a whole. As a vital part of this Christian community, it is essential that the process of maintaining the highest standards be clear to all individuals. This includes all research involving talking to people, surveys, biomedical assays, interventions, analyses of personal information, etc. All faculty, staff, and students at Erskine are required by federal law to submit such forms BEFORE collection of any data. The information for submitting an IRB proposal and the required forms are all available on Erskine’s IRB page.
Students will ordinarily be governed by the degree requirements stated in the Catalog in effect when they first enrolled at Erskine. Students who fail to maintain good academic standing either by not registering or by being suspended must reapply and will then be governed by the provisions of the new Catalog, which may reflect curricular changes adopted by the Faculty.
Instructional Time (Credit Hour Calculation)
Erskine Theological Seminary has adopted the Carnegie unit as the standard for all course offerings, i.e., a standard-length semester (approximately 15 weeks) with one hour of class contact and two hours of external student work for each contact hour. For three credit-hour courses that meet once a week, the standard is three hours of direct faculty instruction per week with six hours of external student work per week. All other modalities, including one-week intensives, 8 or 13/16-week online classes, hybrid (a combination of in-person and online) classes, directed studies, seminars, and reading courses all require students to engage in the equivalent of 135-140 hours of programmed study per three-hour semester credit course.
Class Attendance Policy
Class participation is considered an important part of the total educational experience at Erskine Seminary. Students are expected to attend classes on a regular basis and are responsible for the mastery of all materials required in the course. Each professor will indicate in writing the specific class attendance policy at the beginning of each course. In general, for in-person courses, students are allowed up to three hours of unexcused absence without penalty. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange for making up any missed class time and subject matter.
Students who are currently in ministry or preparing for ministry are encouraged to attend meetings of their regional church bodies. Those who notify their instructors in advance will not be penalized for missing class, but students will be responsible for class lectures, discussions, assignments, etc. that they missed.
Deadlines for Submitting Student Work and Grades
|Type of Course||Work due no later than||Grades due no later than|
|All classes||Last day of semester or term||3 days after last day of semester or term|
|ThM and DMin|
|Once-a-week classes||Last day of semester or term||3 days after last day of semester or term|
|Spring intensives (DMin)||Last day of semester or term||3 days after last day of semester or term|
|Summer intensives (DMin)||Last day of semester or term||3 days after last day of Fall semester|
Students may use recording devices in class only if (1) the professor grants approval and (2) the student signs an agreement that the use of the resulting recordings will be restricted to studying for that or closely related courses and will not be released, copied, duplicated, or used for any other purpose.
Examinations are normally given at the end of each semester or term. Professors are free to give or not to give examinations in a given course.
The Seminary employs the following grading scale:
|Master’s and ThM Students||DMin Students|
|Letter Grade||Numerical||Grade Points||Letter Grade||Numerical||Grade Points|
The following grades are not used in calculating grade point average:
|AU Audit||I Incomplete||P Pass||W Withdrawal|
|CR Transfer Credit||NC No Credit||R Repeated Course|
In calculating a student’s grade-point average, the total number of quality points accumulated by the student is divided by the total number of semester hours attempted by the student at Erskine Theological Seminary. Courses transferred from other institutions or using the Pass/Fail option apply toward graduation, but do not affect the student’s grade-point average at Erskine Seminary. Grades from cross-registration courses are computed into the student’s grade-point average.
Required courses (including required electives) must normally be taken for a letter grade. Only truly free electives may be taken pass/fail, and only at the discretion of the professor. Students who wish to take a course pass/fail must submit a completed and signed form to the Registrar’s office. A grade of “P” (pass) is not computed in determining the grade-point average.
Final course grades are available via the student portal where students may view their entire transcript (unofficial). Due to privacy concerns, grade reports are not mailed or emailed to students.
The grade of I (incomplete) is given at the discretion of the professor. An incomplete grade is normally given when the student has substantially completed the requirements for a course but has been prevented by extraordinary circumstances from completing the remainder of the course requirements. Students who wish to request an incomplete should do so prior to the end of the semester or term by making their request to the instructor. If the instructor grants the request, he/she will submit an incomplete grade. The instructor must remove the incomplete in any course by February 1 for the fall semester, July 1 for the spring semester, and October 1 for the summer term, otherwise grades will be automatically changed to F. DMin incompletes from summer intensives need to be removed by February 1. Students must determine in advance from the instructor when work must be submitted prior to these deadlines. Only the Dean (in consultation with the instructor) may grant extensions of incompletes beyond the established completion date. Otherwise, these grades automatically become F.
Students may not carry more than two incomplete grades beyond the deadlines found in the Academic Calendar. Students having more than two incomplete grades will not be permitted to register for the following semester or term.
Right to Appeal a Grade
Students have the right to appeal a grade received in any course. Any appeal must be initiated in writing within six months after the close of a semester or term. It is the responsibility of the student to check with the Registrar if grades are not posted in a timely fashion. The appeal must include specific issues regarding the grade and must be sent first to the professor. If the resulting correspondence between the faculty member and student does not resolve the differences, the student may make a written appeal to the Dean of the Seminary, providing a complete copy of the correspondence between the student and faculty member. If differences are not resolved with the Dean of the Seminary, the student may make a final appeal by submitting a letter to the Provost, along with copies of all correspondence relating to the case and any other documentation deemed appropriate. Other issues may be addressed under the Seminary’s Grievance Policy (see the Student Handbook).
Courses may be repeated, but the original grade assigned for a course remains unchanged on the transcript. The repeated course is recorded on the student’s transcript, the new grade replaces the original grade into the overall GPA, and the hours are counted only once toward graduation. Students must pay full tuition for any repeated courses and are expected to retake the entire course and not submit only the missing or inadequate work from the first attempt.
If the student takes a different course instead of the original course taken, the original course grade remains on the student’s transcript and both grades are computed in the grade point average (GPA).
Repeated courses are charged with full tuition and are not eligible for financial aid or institutional scholarships. The VA will pay for a repeated course if the student failed it the first time, but not if the student wishes merely to improve a grade.
Students may, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), review their educational records upon request. Such records are not available to unauthorized persons without the student’s written approval. Students are urged to check the accuracy of their grade records at regular intervals during their academic career.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that all transcript requests be made by the person to whom the record belongs. A transcript must be requested in writing (NOT by email) using the Transcript Request form available on the Seminary website (under “Resources” and “ETS Student Documents”). Please note that we will not process a transcript request without the student’s signature, date, and payment. Fees for transcript requests may not be charged to a student’s Erskine account. No transcript will be sent if the student has an outstanding financial obligation to the Seminary or is not in good standing. Please allow seven (7) working days to process transcripts.
Master’s students who fail to register for at least one class in two consecutive semesters (not counting summer terms) will be suspended and will have to reapply through the admissions office if they wish to return. Readmission is not automatic.
Advanced students (ThM and DMin) must remain enrolled each semester: DMin students must register each term (fall, spring, and summer); ThM students must register each fall and spring. Students who are not registered for a course, thesis (ThM), or dissertation (DMin) must register for continuation (TH 081 or DR 091) or they will be automatically suspended, unless they have been granted a temporary withdrawal. Suspended students who wish to complete their degrees must request to be readmitted by the Post-Graduate Committee. Readmission is not automatic.
Advanced students whose circumstances require them to interrupt their studies may request a temporary withdrawal by submitting a letter to the Post-Graduate Committee through their program director. An approved withdrawal does not count against the maximum time allotted for the student’s degree.
Probation and Suspension
A student is given an academic warning when the GPA for any semester or term falls below the minimum required for their degree (2.0 for MAPM, MATS, MDiv, or Diplomas; 3.0 for MACC, ThM, and DMin), even if the cumulative GPA remains satisfactory. An academic warning is given to advise the students whose work in that particular semester or term is not of the quality needed to earn their degrees. Students who receive a warning are encouraged to carefully review their extracurricular commitments and study habits to ensure that their work in succeeding semesters and terms will be sufficient to complete their degree.
A student is placed on academic probation at the end of any semester or term in which his/her cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below the minimum required to earn a degree (2.0 for MAPM, MATS, MDiv, or Diplomas; 3.0 for MACC, ThM, and DMin). Academic probation serves as a warning that the student’s work is not of sufficient quality to receive the degree. The following regulations apply to academic probation:
- Students on probation are required to develop an Academic Plan in consultation with their program director before they may begin classes for the following term.
- The program director and the Dean must approve the semester’s course load for students on probation.
- Students on probation must attend all classes unless specifically excused by the professor.
- Students on probation should limit extracurricular activities.
- A student placed on probation will not be eligible for institutional scholarships during the probationary semester or term but may be eligible for federal funds.
- If, while on academic probation, the term GPA falls below the minimum for their degree program, the students will be suspended from Erskine Theological Seminary. Otherwise, students will remain on academic probation until the cumulative GPA is no longer below the minimum for their degree program.
Note: In the event of extenuating circumstances involving Seminary error, a waiver granting eligibility for financial aid may be granted for one semester or term to any student who has been placed on academic probation. Such waivers must be approved by the Dean.
If while on academic probation the term GPA falls below the minimum for their degree (2.0 for MAPM, MATS, MDiv, or Diplomas; 3.0 for MACC, ThM, and DMin), the students will be suspended from Erskine Theological Seminary.
Readmission Following Suspension
- Readmission is not automatic. Students who have been suspended may apply for readmission after one semester by sending a letter to the Dean along with a completed Academic Plan at least two weeks before the beginning of the semester or term in which they hope to reenroll. The letter must address specific changes the students will make to ensure that their academic work will meet the required standards.
- Students readmitted following suspension will be placed on probation in the semester or term in which they return. All provisions regarding probation (above) apply.
- If, while on probation following suspension and readmission to the Seminary, the student’s term GPA falls below the minimum required for the degree program, the student will be suspended indefinitely.
- Students returning following academic suspension are not eligible for any financial aid (institutional or Federal) while on probation. All other policies pertaining to academic probation outlined above also apply.
Erskine Theological Seminary is authorized by the Board of Trustees to confer degrees in January, May, and September of each year. Students’ transcripts will not show that the degree has been conferred until after the official conferral date, even if all requirements have been completed earlier.
Applying for Graduation
In order to receive their degree, students must submit a completed and signed Graduation Application to the Registrar’s office and pay the appropriate fees. (The form is available on the Seminary website.) Applications are due by September 15 for January conferrals, by December 10 for May conferrals, and March 1 for September conferrals. Students must have completed their senior audit with their advisors before submitting their application for graduation. Students must clear all business office, Seminary, and library accounts two weeks prior to the conferral date. Students who fail to meet requirements by the conferral date must reapply for graduation and pay an additional fee.
The graduation fee covers the cost of the diploma, the cap and gown, and other expenses related to graduation (even for students who are not able to attend the Commencement service). If a student applies for graduation but does not meet the requirements for the specified conferral date, he/she must reapply for graduation, and an additional fee will be charged.
Erskine College and Theological Seminary holds a single commencement service in May of each year to honor students whose degrees are being conferred at that time or have been conferred the previous September or January. All students are encouraged to participate in the service.
Master’s level students (MDiv, MAPM, MATS, and MACC) who expect to receive their degrees in September and wish to participate in the preceding May commencement service must have no more than six credit hours remaining at the end of the spring semester and are able to complete the remaining work by August 31.
ThM and DMin students may participate in May’s commencement service only if final, corrected copies of their theses or dissertations have been submitted by April 15. ThM and DMin students whose degrees are conferred in September or January will be invited to participate in the following May’s commencement service.
Erskine Seminary honors students each year during commencement exercises in May.
The Zondervan Publishing House Awards in Biblical Greek and Biblical Hebrew are presented to the first-year language students who do the most outstanding work in the biblical languages.
The Douglas Joel Culver Award in Hebrew, established in 2007 in memory of Erskine’s late Old Testament professor, is given to the second-year Hebrew student who does the most outstanding work in the use of Hebrew for pastoral ministry.
The Ray A. King Church History Award, established in 2004 in honor of a former Church History professor, is given to the student who does the most outstanding work in Church History courses.
The Bruce G. Pierce Award for Christian Leadership was established in memory of a student who exemplified Christian humility, service, and leadership. Bruce tragically lost his life in an automobile accident in 2000, just weeks before he was to graduate. This award is presented annually to the graduating master’s student who “most completely integrates a spirit of Christian servanthood with principles of Christian leadership.”