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Applying to Erskine

Undergraduates who anticipate enrolling in the Seminary are encouraged to pursue a well-rounded 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. Students must also 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, MATS, and MACC) or Post-Graduate Committee (for ThM or DMin) to ensure that only students capable of doing graduate-level work are admitted and that the programs are consistent with the Seminary’s mission.

Master's Programs

Students applying to the Seminary’s master’s degree programs (MDiv, MAPM, MATS, and MACC) must submit the following:

  1. A completed application form;
  2. A $35 nonrefundable application fee;
  3. Official transcripts from all schools which have awarded them a degree. 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, or a minimum 3.0 GPA for application to the MACC. (Students with a lower GPA may be considered for admission on probation.)
  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 in special circumstances.)
  5. A two-page essay stating why they would like to pursue a seminary education.
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Advanced Programs (ThM and DMin)
  1. A completed application form;
  2. A $35 nonrefundable application fee;
  3. Official transcripts from all schools which have awarded them a degree. These must show appropriate graduate degrees from accredited institutions with a 3.0 graduate grade point average. ThM and DMin applicants must possess a MDiv or an appropriate MA or the equivalent in a relevant field, from an accredited institution. 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.
  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 in special circumstances.)
  5. A 600-word statement explaining how the program will contribute to their competence in academic work, ministry, or service to the church.
  6. (ThM applicants only) Submission of a master’s level academic paper (at least 10 pages, double spaced, with notes and bibliography properly formatted).
  7. (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 additional information about ministry experience and qualifications for advanced ministerial studies.
  8. An interview may be deemed necessary to establish the student’s level of interest, aptitude, and personal qualities necessary to engage in advanced study.
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Diplomas

Students who lack an undergraduate degree may apply for admission into one of the diploma programs that parallel some of Erskine’s degree programs: Diploma in Divinity (=MDiv), Diploma in Practical Ministry (=MAPM), and Diploma in Theological Studies (=MATS). Applicants must complete the admission requirements as outlined above for master’s degree programs.

Students may 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.

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Continuing Education

Students wishing to enroll for Continuing Education (CEU) credit must complete a Non-Credit Student Application and submit a $35 non-refundable application fee. Courses taken for continuing education do not receive any academic credit and cannot be converted to academic credit or applied toward a degree program at any time in the future.

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Auditors

Students wishing to audit courses for personal enrichment must complete a Non-Credit Student Application and submit a $35 non-refundable application fee. It is not possible to change from credit to audit after the drop/add deadline of the semester.

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Erskine Seminary Graduates

Graduates of Erskine Theological Seminary who wish to pursue a second degree must normally complete a new application. Graduates who completed their studies within the past year need only submit a written request to the admissions office.

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Special (Non-Degree) Students

Students who are not seeking a degree but wish to take courses for academic credit may apply as special students by submitting a completed application and the $35 non-refundable application fee. Special students pay all regular tuition and fees, but they may not take more than six courses without being admitted to a degree program.

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Returning Students

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 have not remained continuously enrolled will be suspended. Those who wish to return must send a written request to the Post-Graduate 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.

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International Students

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 the institution. To be eligible to enter the United States on an 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 an 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 scoreof at least 550 (out of 677) for paper-based examination, 213 for computer-based examination, or 80 (out of 120) for internet-based examination (only 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 an 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.

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Transfer Credit

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 and 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.

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.

Advanced Standing

Students with relevant undergraduate majors, such as biblical studies, theology, or pastoral studies, may request transcript evaluation for Advanced Standing without Credit (certain basic courses are waived in lieu of more advanced work) or Advanced Standing with Credit in which students may receive credit for up to one third of a master’s level degree program. Advanced Standing without or with Credit will only be considered for 300 or 400 level undergraduate courses in which students received at least an A-. 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.

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.

Back To Top Erskine Theological Seminary, the graduate school of theology of Erskine College 210 South Main Street P.O. Box 338 Due West, SC 29639 800-770-6936 or 864-379-6596