Frequently Asked Questions
What degree programs do you offer?
- Master of Divinity (MDiv)
- Master of Arts (Theological Studies) (MA[TS])
- Master of Arts in Practical Theology (MAPT)
- Master of Theology (ThM)
- Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
- Doctor of Educational Ministry (DEdMin)
- Doctor of Theology (ThD)
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.
How much is tuition?
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, taking 12 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters, 3 credit hours in January term, and 6 credit hours in the summer terms 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) program may be completed in as few as two (2) years, taking 12 credits in the fall and spring semesters. The MAPT program may be completed in as few as two (2) years and one (1) summer, taking 12 credits in the fall and spring semesters and taking 6 credit hours in one summer term.
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 furnish test scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test. For more information on the GRE General Test, visit www.ets.org.
I do not have a bachelor degree. Can I still be considered for admission into the MDiv program?
Those without a bachelor degree are not eligible to enter the MDiv program.
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.
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 basic degree programs. Please review the International Students page before submitting an application. The application deadline for all international students is March 1st for summer or fall enrollment.
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) appropriate degree program supplemental form with autobiographical essay, d) official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, e) reference forms produced by Columbia (3 for MDiv and MAPT applicants; 4 for MATS applicants), f) complete a background check, g) self-disclosure form, h) (for MDiv and MAPT applicants only) church endorsement form from one’s home church or letter of endorsement from a sponsoring Christian organization, i) complete an admissions interview, and j) application fee. Applications materials for each program may be downloaded from the website.
What is the church endorsement form or letter of endorsement?
The church endorsement is a form to be completed by the governing body of your home congregation that confirms their knowledge of your desire to attend seminary and affirms their support of that decision. This form is not to serve as a recommendation from a pastor or minister. For PCUSA applicants, the session of your church will complete this form. For applicants from other denominations, the governing board of the church should complete this form. The letter of endorsement is a letter submitted on behalf of an MAPT applicant who intends to serve in a specialized area of ministry that does not required ordination. The letter should be submitted by a sponsoring Christian organization for which the applicant serves, intends to serve or has some formal relationship with.
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, ordinarily, interview with the director of the program to which they wish to apply. This interview is best done on campus.
Interviews for the ThD program are offered by invitation only after an application has been submitted and reviewed.
Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test?
Test scores from the GRE are not ordinarily required, but may be requested in some circumstances.
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. Those seeking admission to the ThD program must score at least 95 (iBT) with minimum score of 21 in each of the four sub-areas. TOEFL scores must be no more than 2 years old from the date of application to any of the degree programs.
When are your admissions deadlines?
Check out the Reminders & Deadlines page or our website.
How much is the application fee?
$65.00 for all degree programs.
Can I check the status of my application?
You may check the status of your application by calling the Admissions Office at 404.687.4517 or emailing us at Admissions@CTSnet.edu.
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 files as they are completed. All files that are complete prior to a scheduled admissions meeting will be considered at that meeting, and applicants will be immediately notified thereafter. During the academic year, the admissions committee meets monthly.
Does Columbia offer academic scholarships?
Yes, Columbia, Honor, and Deans Scholarships are awarded each year by the Admissions Committee to a limited number of entering basic degree students. Students interested in being considered for these scholarships must submit all admission application materials and scholarship application by March 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. Financial Aid applications and related materials are provided only after a student has been admitted into a degree program.
When can I apply for need-based financial aid?
Applicants may apply after they are admitted into a basic degree program. Password protected financial aid materials are available online. Admitted students will receive information on how to access materials in the acceptance letter. Students must be enrolled full-time in the MDiv, MAPT or MA(TS) program to be eligible for aid.
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. We are always happy to host guests. We have guest rooms available for overnight stays and we welcome spouses and children to come as well. 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 the campus and housing, attend 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. You may download a registration form for the weekend on our website or just give us a call to schedule a time that is convenient for you. Our number is 404.687.4517 (local) or 1.877.548.2817 highlighting (toll free).
How do I contact the Financial Planning Office?
Financial Planning Office
Columbia Theological Seminary
PO Box 520
Decatur, GA 30031