Educational Effectiveness

To ensure that its educational programs fulfill the seminary’s mission of forming leaders for the Church and world, Columbia Theological Seminary (CTS) engages in regular practices of assessing the effectiveness of its programs.

Effectiveness in Degree Programs

One of the ways we assess effectiveness is to ask our graduating students to reflect on their ministerial or skills preparation. The instrument we use for this, the Association of Theological Schools Graduating Student Questionnaire, is used by 120-140 accredited seminaries of all types, sizes, and denominations across the United States and Canada. It asks graduates to rate their satisfaction level with aspects of the education they received based on progress of learning skills needed for future work using a scale from 1 (worst) to 5 (best).  The chart shown here represents the responses of our students graduating during the academic year 2016-2017.  In addition, when asked the question as to how well the curriculum in their degree program met their educational goals, 75% of the students answered “excellently” or “very well”, with others answering “adequately”.  There were no responses of “not very well” or “poorly”.

In the graduate exit survey for 2017 advanced degree graduates, 81% of those graduating responded that the curriculum in their degree program met their educational goals either excellently (38%) or very well (43%).

Another important indicator for CTS is performance on the Presbyterian Church (USA) exams which are taken by MDiv students seeking ordination. During the academic year 2015-2016, the aggregated passing rate for takers of the Presbyterian written ordination exams was consistently higher than the national passing rate for takers across the nation in each subject area. On the four major exams, CTS students scored between 4% – 25% above the national passing rate, depending on the exam. The aggregated pass rate for the exams was 13% above the comparable national passing rate.

Graduation Rates

Another measure of student achievement and educational effectiveness is the rate of graduation of students. Below is a chart for all programs for entering classes beginning with 2008. These statistics reflect completions of entering classes through 2014 as of May 2017.

Going full-time, a student might expect to graduate from the program in the following number of years:

MA(TS)- 2 years, MAPT – 2 years, MDiv – 3 years, ThM- 1 year, DMin- 4 years, DEdMin – 4 years