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.
One of the ways we do this 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).
Another important indicator for CTS is performance on the Presbyterian Church (USA) exams which are taken by over 75% of our MDiv students. During the academic year 2012-2013, the passing rate for takers of the Presbyterian ordination exams was consistently higher than the national passing rate for takers across the nation. On the four major exams, CTS students scored between 4% – 14% above the national passing rate, depending on the exam. The overall pass rate for the exams was 10% above the comparable national passing rate. In addition, 91% of those taking all four exams passed at least three of them.
In the graduate exit survey for 2012 advanced degree graduates, 92% of those graduating responded that the curriculum in their degree program met their educational goals either excellently (52.6%) or very well (39.5%).
In a survey of faculty who served as advisors on final DMin and DEdMin projects, 87% rated the projects that they read as “having demonstrated methods of pastoral research necessary for mature pastoral leadership” to a great degree.
Since 2004, all students who have entered the ThD program have either graduated or are continuing in the program. All graduates in that period have found employment either in academic settings as professors, in agency or church settings, or in private practice.
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 through May 2014.
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