Undergraduates who anticipate enrolling in the Seminary are encouraged to pursue a wellrounded course of study with a broad foundation in the liberal arts, including English, history, philosophy, Bible and religion, and the social sciences. Graduates with degrees in other fields, however, may still pursue a theological education.
In order to be admitted to Erskine Seminary, students must normally possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Students applying to the ThM or DMin programs must also possess an appropriate graduate degree. Applicants must demonstrate the academic ability needed to succeed in graduate education as well as the personal and spiritual qualities appropriate to their desired program of study. Students whose degrees are from unaccredited institutions, or whose previous academic work does not meet Erskine’s standards, may be admitted on probation.
Students are encouraged to apply by August 1 for enrollment in the fall semester, January 1 for the spring semester, and May 1 for the summer term. The requirements for admission into Erskine Seminary’s degree programs are evaluated by the admissions office and the Graduate Committee (for MDiv, MAPM, and MATS) or Postgraduate Committee (for ThM and DMin) to ensure that only students capable of doing graduate-level work are admitted.
Students applying to the Seminary’s master’s degree programs (MDiv, MAPM, and MATS) must submit the following:
- A completed application form;
- Signed adherence to Erskine College and Theological Seminary’s Statement of Faith and Statement of Biblical Distinctives.
- A $35 nonrefundable application fee;
- Official transcripts for all degrees previously earned. These must show a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.5 grade point average (GPA) for application to the MDiv, MAPM, and MATS. (Students with a lower GPA may be considered for admission on probation.)
- Two letters of recommendation from persons who know them well and can address their Christian character, commitment, potential for effective ministry (such as a pastor, mentor, or colleague in ministry), and aptitude for advanced academic work (such as a former teacher). (The Seminary reserves the right to request additional recommendations.)
- A brief testimony of faith in Jesus Christ.
- A two-page essay stating why they would like to pursue a seminary education.
1. A completed application form including
- Signed adherence to Erskine College and Theological Seminary’s Statement of Faith and Statement of Biblical Distinctives.
2. A $35 nonrefundable application fee;
3. Official transcripts for all degrees previously earned. These must show appropriate graduate degrees from accredited institutions with a 3.0 graduate grade point average. (Applicants with a GPA between 2.75 and 2.99 may be considered for admission on probation; those with a GPA below 2.75 may be considered on a case-by-case basis.)
- ThM applicants must possess a MDiv or another graduate theological degree providing equivalent academic background (e.g., MA in Theological Studies or MA in Religion).
- DMin applicants must normally possess a master’s degree (of at least 72 credits) in a ministry related area (usually an MDiv) and at least three years of ministry experience.
4. Two letters of recommendation from persons who know them well and can address their Christian character, commitment, potential for effective ministry (such as a pastor, mentor, or colleague in ministry), and aptitude for advanced academic work (such as a former teacher). (The Seminary reserves the right to request additional recommendations.)
5. A brief testimony of faith in Jesus Christ.
6. A 600-word statement explaining how the program will contribute to their competence in academic work, ministry, or service to the Church.
7. (ThM applicants only) Submission of a master’s level academic paper (at least 10 pages, double spaced, with notes and bibliography properly formatted).
8. (DMin applicants only) A brief resume of their experience in ministry. Applicants must ordinarily have at least three years of full-time ministry experience following completion of their MDiv. Students with less than three years of post-MDiv experience must provide information about ministry experience and qualifications for advanced ministerial studies.
9. An interview may be deemed necessary to establish the student’s level of interest, aptitude, and personal qualities necessary to engage in advanced study.
Students who lack an undergraduate degree may apply for admission into one of the diploma programs. These students and those applying for any of Erskine’s Graduate Certificates must submit a completed Special Student Application and follow the same admission process as outlines for the master’s degree programs.
Students admitted in the diploma programs will have the opportunity to convert a completed Diploma into a master’s degree, if they subsequently acquire an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, by submitting an official transcript documenting the completed undergraduate degree program and conferral date, along with the applicable fee.
Students applying for any of Erskine’s Graduate Certificates (4–5 courses and 12–15 credit hours) must submit a complete Special Student Application and follow the same admission process as outlined for the master’s degree programs.
Auditors and CEU students are permitted in most courses on a space-available basis, subject to the approval of the course instructor. All auditors and CEU students must submit a Special Student Application and pay the published admission fee.
Students wishing to audit courses for personal enrichment must complete a Special Student Application and pay course auditing fees. Any senior citizen (65 and older) and Erskine alumni can audit Seminary courses at no cost.
Students who are not seeking a degree but wish to take courses for academic credit may apply as non-degree students by submitting a Special Student Application form. These students pay all regular tuition and fees, and do not qualify for any type of financial assistance. They may not take more than six courses without applying and being admitted into a degree program.
Master’s students who have not been enrolled for more than a year are considered to have withdrawn from the Seminary. Those wishing to reenroll must submit a letter to the admissions office explaining the reasons for their absence, requesting readmission, and outlining their plans for completing the degree.
Advanced students (ThM and DMin) who do not remain continuously enrolled will be suspended. Those who wish to return must send a written request to the Postgraduate Committee through the appropriate program director.
Fees for reapplication and readmission will be assessed. The Seminary reserves the right to require a full application from those seeking readmission after a substantial length of time (or for other reasons).
Students who have been suspended for academic or other reasons and wish to reenroll must follow the instructions they were given at the time of their suspension.
Erskine Theological Seminary follows the guidelines and regulations set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for all international students applying. To be eligible to enter the United States on a F-1 visa or F-1 student status, students must be qualified to pursue a full course of study on a full-time basis at an academic institution. When applying for a F-1 visa, applicants must prove to a U.S. consular official that they wish to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of study and that they have a permanent residence in a foreign country and have no intention of abandoning that country.
Erskine Theological Seminary is allowed to issue a Form I-20A-B to a foreign applicant only after the following conditions have been met:
1. The school has received all required application materials as outlined above (e.g., application, application fee, transcripts, references, essay, etc.).
2. The school has received proof of the applicant’s financial responsibility and other supporting documents and has reviewed and evaluated them at the school’s location in the United States.
3. The school has received their TOEFL score of at least 550 (out of 677) for paper-based examination, 213 for computer-based examination, or 80 (out of 120) for internet-based examination (if their native language is not English).
4. The school has determined that the applicant’s qualifications meet all standards for admission and that the applicant has adequate English skills for the intended course of study.
5. The school official responsible for admission has accepted the applicant for enrollment in a full course of study.
NOTE: Applicants who completed their undergraduate degree at an institution outside of the United States should submit their transcripts to World Education Services (WES) for a credential evaluation. A credential evaluation is a comparison of one’s academic accomplishments to standards in the U.S. WES will generate a report that is sent to Erskine Seminary. As a rule, Erskine Seminary will only accept foreign transcripts that have been verified by a credential evaluation service.
Erskine Theological Seminary must receive reliable documentation indicating that the applicant has financial resources adequate to meet expenses at this institution. These funds must come from any dependable source, including scholarships, fellowships, sponsoring agencies, or family. The documentation must demonstrate that the applicant has adequate funds on hand for at least the first year of study and that, barring unforeseen circumstances, funding will be available
from the same or equally dependable sources for subsequent years. Tuition, fees, room, and board for the first full year must be paid prior to enrollment. Applicants are also responsible for their own transportation and medical expenses.
Applicants should be aware that they may be required to present documentary evidence of financial support at the time they apply for a visa and again to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when they arrive in the United States.
Once applicants have been admitted to the United States as a F-1 student, they must meet certain obligations in order to maintain their status. Under current regulations, they must:
1. Have a passport that is kept valid at all times, unless exempt from the passport requirement.
2. Attend the school they were authorized to attend.
3. Continue to carry a full course of study.
4. Leave the United States by the anticipated completion date shown on Form I-20, or, by that date, apply to the school for a program extension.
5. Apply to the school to continue from one educational level to another at the same school.
6. Limit employment, both on-campus and off, to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session.
7. Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization. Students must be enrolled in F-1 status for one full academic year before they may be authorized by USCIS to work off-campus based on unforeseen severe economic hardship.
8. Report a change of residence to USCIS within 10 days of the change.
In addition, Erskine Seminary requires that students first consult Erskine’s SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) Designated School Official (DSO) when requesting verification of enrollment, transcripts, or other school documentation that they may need during their enrollment at Erskine. The DSO will then submit a request, or authorize them to submit their request, to the respective Seminary office from which they need or desire the documentation. This policy is to ensure that the DSO is informed of any plans or changes that could potentially affect the student’s visa status.
International students who wish to enroll in online courses must be aware that the USA Patriot Act places certain restrictions on the use of distance education courses to complete degree requirements. Federal regulation 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) states:
For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken online or through distance education and does not require the student’s physical attendance for classes, examination, or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An online or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing. If the F-1 student’s course of study is in a language study program, no online or distance education classes may be considered to count toward a student’s full course of study requirement.