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Columbia Theological Seminary Admissions Essays

Columbia Theological Seminary invites international students (persons who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S.) to apply to for admission to any of our seven degree programs. Basic degree programs include the following: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Practical Theology, and Master of Arts (Theological Studies). Advanced degree programs include Master of Theology, Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Counseling, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Educational Ministry.

NOTE: The Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Educational Ministry are not full-time degree programs. International applicants whose visa status does not require full-time enrollment may apply for admission to the Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Educational Ministry programs.

TOEFL Scores: If English is not a first/native language, an official score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be submitted with application. Scores may be no more than 2 years old from the date of application for admission.

  • International Student applications will not be considered complete until additional documents are received
    • Visa and Legal Status
      • If you currently reside in the United States on a visa, you must submit as part of your application:
        • A copy of your current visa or Form I-797-A
        • A copy of your current I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency
    • If English is not a first/native language, an official score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be submitted with the application. Scores may be no more than 2 years old from the date of application for admission.

If accepted to a degree program at Columbia Seminary, you must immediately contact the International Programs Office (intlprog@ctsnet.edu) for assistance obtaining an F-1 Visa or instructions for transferring your SEVIS record to Columbia from another US institution. Prior to being issued a form I-20 for Columbia Seminary attendance, you are required to provide the International Programs Office current, certified documentation that you have a minimum of $30,000 (USD) available to you for your support during one full year (12 months) of study.

If your dependents (spouse and/or children) will accompany you to Columbia, you must provide the International Programs Office current, certified documentation that you have a minimum of $45,000 (USD) available to you for your/your family’s support during one full year (12 months) of study. These amounts are subject to change as increases in cost of tuition, housing, food, etc. occur.

Contact the International Programs Office (intlprog@ctsnet.edu) for additional information regarding this requirement.

For persons seeking general information, the current academic catalog is available online here.

NOTE: Applicants should not come to Atlanta until they have received a formal letter of acceptance from the Admissions Committee to a degree program and have obtained the necessary visa. Accepted students without proper immigration documents will not be allowed to enroll for classes.

Financial Requirements

Students in advanced professional degree programs (DMin and DEdMin) are not eligible for financial aid, neither are they permitted to work, except on campusand such opportunities at Columbia Theological Seminary are very rarely available.

Insurance

International students are required to carry the school-sponsored hospitalization insurance for themselves and all accompanying family members.

For more information:

Office of International Programs
Columbia Theological Seminary
P.O. Box 520
Decatur, GA 30031
USA
404 687-4618
404 377-9696 (fax)
intlprog@CTSnet.edu

 

 

 

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What degree programs do you offer?

General Questions

  • Why do I keep reading about Basic and Advanced Degrees?
    • Our degrees fall into one of two categories: Basic and Advanced. Basic Degrees include our MDiv, MAPT, and MA(TS) degrees. Advanced Degrees include our ThM, DMin and DEd Min degrees.
  • Can I attend part-time in a degree program?
    • Yes, Columbia does allow students to enroll on a part-time basis in all degree programs. In the MDiv, MAPT, and MA(TS) degree programs, part-time status is when a student is enrolled for less than 9 credit hours in the fall or spring semesters, or 3 credit hours in a summer term.
  • Can I attend part-time in a degree program?
    • Yes, Columbia does allow students to enroll on a part-time basis in all degree programs. In the basic degree programs, part-time status is when a student is enrolled for less than 9 credit hours in the fall or spring semesters, or 3 credit hours in a summer term.
  • What if I want to take one course?
    • Students may apply as special students for the purposes of taking one course. Any credit earned as a special student will be credited toward the degree if the student applies and is later accepted into a degree program. See our Want to Take a Course? page.
  • How long will it take to complete a basic degree program?
    • Full-time students may complete the MDiv degree in as few as three (3) full years. A student’s program may be lengthened or shortened by a variety of factors, such as participation in internships or taking a reduced load or increased load in any given semester. The MA(TS) and MAPT programs may be completed in as few as two (2) years. The Dual Degree may be completed in as few as four (4) years.

Admissions Questions about Basic Degrees

  • Do I have to have a certain major in college to apply for admission to a basic degree program?
    • No, as long as your bachelor degree is from an accredited higher education institution, your major can be in any subject.
  • What kind of accreditation is needed by the institution where I earned my bachelor degree?
    • Columbia accepts degrees accredited by the following regional accreditation agencies: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Association of Schools and Colleges; North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  • If I attended an institution that is not accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies, may I still apply to a degree program?
    • Ordinarily, Columbia does not admit students who have undergraduate degrees from educational institutions not accredited by one of the six agencies. However, a student who would like to seek admission may apply. In addition to the standard admission application requirements, the student must submit an additional essay. This essay will be assigned during the admissions process.
  • I do not have a bachelor degree. Can I still be considered for admission into a basic degree program?
    • Those without a bachelor degree are not eligible to enter a degree program.
  • What are the requirements to apply?
    • To be considered for admission for the MDiv, MAPT, or MA(TS) programs, prospective students must a) have completed a baccalaureate degree, or its equivalent, at an accredited university or college, b) submit a completed application form, c)complete an admissions interview, d) official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, e) recommendations (3 for MDiv and MAPT applicants; 4 for MA(TS) applicants), f) complete a background check, and g) application fee
  • Do you require an admissions interview?
    • Yes, an interview is one of the requirements to be considered for admission into a basic degree program. Admissions interviews are conducted by a member of the Admissions Committee. Applicants for the MA(TS) and MAPT programs interview with the director of the program to which they wish to apply. We prefer interviews to happen on-campus, but will make alternate arrangements if an on-campus interview is not possible.
  • Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test?
    • Test scores from the GRE are not required.
  • When are your admissions deadlines?
    • The deadline depends on when you intend to start. Check out the Reminders & Deadlines page on our website to see which deadline you need to meet.
  • How much is the application fee?
    • $50.00 for all degree programs.
  • Can I check the status of my application?
    • Yes! When you apply, you create a username and password that you use to access your application. Visit the Self-Service Center portal to edit and submit your application. Your admissions decision will be published there as well and you may confirm your enrollment as well in the Self-Service Center. We do not offer a paper application.
  • I am applying to a basic degree program.  How long before I know the decision of the Admissions Committee?
    • Columbia has rolling admissions, which means we consider applications as they are completed. We do our best to get a decision back to you within one month of receiving all of your application materials. You can always call the Admissions Office to get a better idea of when you will receive news of your decision.

Money Questions

  • How much is tuition?
    • Tuition is based on credit hours. For our basic degree programs, tuition is $440 per credit hour or $1,320 per course. For our advanced degree programs, tuition is $522 per credit hour or $1,566 per course.
    • You can see more here: Tuition & Fees page.
  • Does Columbia offer academic scholarships?
    • Yes, the Columbia and Honors scholarships are awarded each year by the Admissions Committee to a limited number of entering basic degree students. These are both renewable merit scholarships. Students interested in being considered for these scholarships must submit all admission application materials by January 15th.
  • Does Columbia offer need-based financial aid?
    • Yes, any full-time MDiv, MA(TS), or MAPT student, regardless of denomination, may apply for need-based financial aid. New students must complete the FAFSA for aid eligibility determination. Please select your desire for need-based aid on your admissions application.
  • Who should I contact with my specific financial aid questions?
    • Lucy Strong, Associate Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, 404-687-4529, StrongL@CTSNET.edu

Admissions Questions for Transfer Students

  • I am already in a basic degree program (MDiv, MA, etc) at another institution, but I would like to transfer. Is that possible?
    • Students in good standing in other ATS accredited seminaries may apply as transfer students. In addition to the standard application requirements, transfer students must submit a letter from their academic dean indicating that they are students in good standing.
  • How many credits can I transfer from another institution into Columbia’s MDiv program?
    • Students applying to the MDiv degree program may receive no more than 45 credit hours for work completed at another Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredited seminary completed within the past five years. Transfer credit will only be given for courses passed with a grade of B or higher. A student who has completed a Master of Arts (MA) degree from an ATS accredited seminary may transfer in up to half of the MA degree toward Columbia’s MDiv degree. The determination of whether or not courses taken at other institutions may receive credit, and whether credits transfer as required or elective hours is made by the Office of Academic Affairs.
  • How many credits can I transfer from another institution into Columbia’s MAPT program?
    • Students applying to the MAPT degree program may receive no more than 18 credit hours for work completed prior at another Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredited seminary completed within the past five years.. Transfer credit will only be given for courses passed with a grade of B or higher. The determination of whether or not courses taken at other institutions may receive credit, and whether credits transfer as required or elective hours, is made by the Office of Academic Affairs.
  • How many credits can I transfer from another institution into Columbia’s MA(TS) program?
    • Students applying to the MA(TS) degree programs may receive no more than 15 credit hours in the five fields of the program from institutions for work completed prior to admission to the program. No transfer credit may be obtained for work done more than 36 months before admission. Transfer credit will only be given for courses passed with a grade of B or higher. The determination of whether or not courses taken at other institutions may receive credit, and whether credits transfer as required or elective hours, is made by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Admissions Questions for International Students

  • I am an international student. May I apply to a basic degree program (MDiv, MA[TS], MAPT)?
    • Yes, international students (persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents) may apply for the degree programs. The application deadline for all international students is March 1st for summer or fall enrollment.
  • Do I need to take the Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?
    • All applicants for whom English is not their first language must pass the TOEFL before admission and enrollment for credit can be attained. Those seeking admission to a basic degree program must score at least 220 (computer format), 550 (written format), or 76 (internet format) with minimum scores in the following areas: Reading 22; Listening 16; Speaking 16; and Writing 22.
    • Those seeking admission to the ThM, DMin, or DEdMin programs must score at least 86 (iBT) with minimum scores in the following areas: Reading 22; Listening 20; Speaking 20; and Writing 24.
    • TOEFL scores must be no more than 2 years old from the date of application to any of the degree programs.

Questions about Campus Visits

  • Can I visit the campus?
    • Absolutely! We encourage anyone who is considering study at Columbia to come visit us. The best way to get a feel for the campus and community life is to come for a visit.
  • When should I plan to visit?
    • The best time to visit is when the semester is in session so that you can attend class, talk with current students and professors, tour housing, worship, and share meals with the community. You may want to consider joining us for one of our Seminary Weekends for prospective students held each academic year in November and February.
  • Is there a place to stay on-campus?
    • We have guest rooms available for overnight stays and we welcome spouses and children to come as well.
  • How do I schedule a visit?

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