May 28, 2023  
Academic Catalog - Spring 2015 
Academic Catalog - Spring 2015 [ARCHIVED]

Graduate Admissions Policies

A prerequisite to entrance into any master’s degree program at the Seminary is a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by a recognized regional or national professional accrediting agency. Graduates of colleges and universities located outside the United States and other applicants will be considered on an individual basis. Not all applicants who meet the minimum requirements can be accepted.

All questions about admission policies or requirements should be directed to the Admissions Office, SEBTS, P.O. Box 1889, Wake Forest, NC 27588-1889; phone: (919) 761-2280 or e-mail:

Apply Online for a Graduate Degree.

Academic Preparation for Seminary Degree Programs

The applicant whose undergraduate degree program features a strong liberal arts component should be well-prepared for seminary studies. At least 60 hours of coursework in the following disciplines is advantageous:

  • English, language and literature.
  • Classical languages (for example, Latin, Greek, or Hebrew).
  • Modern languages (for example, French, German, or Spanish).
  • History, including non-Western as well as American and European studies.
  • Philosophy, particularly its history and methods.
  • Natural sciences, both physical and life sciences.
  • Social sciences, including psychology, sociology, economics, and anthropology.
  • Fine arts and music, with emphasis on creativity and symbolic communication.
  • Religion (world religions, biblical studies, theology, Christian history).

Whatever their academic background, students should bring to the Seminary a broad understanding of the world and should possess the ability to communicate well. An awareness of the world in which we live includes a knowledge of persons and ideas, an understanding of significant movements in history, and an appreciation for the physical universe. Communication is of central importance in ministry. The entering student must be able to think rationally, read with comprehension, as well as write and speak clearly.

Additional information and specialized requirements for applicants are included in the descriptions of the respective degree programs.

Graduate Admission Procedures

Application for admission is made through the Admissions Office. The following items are needed before an application is considered. (Note: Original forms are required. Faxed copies will be accepted only in certain situations.)

  1. A completed application form

a. A completed Medical Information Form
b. A completed Immunization History Form (North Carolina State Health Department standards require that a completed immunization record be received by   Southeastern.)
c. Official transcript(s) from all post-secondary schools attended, sent directly to the Admissions Office from the Registrar of each school previously attended
d. A completed Church Recommendation Form
e. Spouse’s completed Personal Statement (if married)
f. A completed Southeastern Covenant

  1. Three completed Character Reference Forms (one must be from a pastor)
  2. A nonrefundable application fee of $40
  3.  A completed criminal background check

In some cases, additional documents may be required.

Applicants to Southeastern waive all rights to privileged knowledge of the decision making process leading toward admission. All references and other evaluative documents will be confidential. The decision of the Admissions Committee acting officially on behalf of the faculty is final. However, an applicant who fails to be admitted may reapply with the same application materials for the following term or year only if materials have not passed the 1 year expiration policy.

Background Checks
In order to facilitate student admission to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern it is necessary to conduct background checks for all applicants for on-campus studies and most distance learning students. This background check is performed by Certified Background, a consumer reporting agency, with a report provided to the institutions Admissions Office. A copy of the report is available to the applicant through the online service portal of Certified Background.

Each applicant must authorize Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern to obtain a background check in order to satisfy the admission requirements as set by the institution. The information provided through the background check will be used in making admissions determination by the Admissions Committee of the institution. The only exclusions to the background check will be special exemptions made for Distance Learning students, namely students admitted through a short application for one course off-campus, college applicants under age 18, or certain international applicants. These exemptions are monitored by the Admissions Office, which has the right to administer the exemptions as necessary.

The information to be obtained from the report can also be used by other officers of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern if authorized by the student. This would include employment, missions travel, and other services as required by the institution. A separate release form will be needed for the release of information from the student’s applicant file. Further, the requests for release cannot exceed two years from initial provision of report. If the period of two years has passed, another report may be required.

Instructions for completion of the necessary background checks are available on our website and through our online application. It is necessary for online/digital applications that you provide a digital signature that provides authorization for the report to be provided.

On application to any program, the student must submit to a Criminal Background Check and a Certified Background review. This includes, but is not limited to, a review of:

• County of Residence Criminal Records
• Residence History (last 7 years)
• Social Security Verification
• Nationwide Sexual Offenders Registry Scan
• Nationwide Criminal Database

Criminal background check
Students must clear a criminal background check before admission. Failure to undergo the background check will result in exclusion from admission consideration. If the background check indicates criminal behavior the student may not be awarded admission to the institution. Students may appeal the decision and will have the opportunity to present information to dispute the background check.

What if there is a conviction on the report?
The student is allowed by law to examine the report and will be allowed to dispute any findings contained in it, if they are turned down for admission because of negative information found in the background report. If a conviction was wrongly reported, the student may request that the report be amended to change this mistake. However, the occurrence of such errors is very infrequent. In some cases, one conviction may not be a permanent barrier to admission. Simply being honest about one’s past can potentially answer questions about character that arise based on the report.

Graduate Application Deadlines

Completed applications for Credit-Only, certificate programs, M.A., M.Div., and Th.M. may be submitted up to 12 months prior to the application deadline. The deadline for application is 30 days prior to the beginning of the semester or term in which the student expects to enroll. Late applications may require delayed enrollment. Students are not allowed to register for classes until their application has been approved.

Applications for the M.A. (Ethics, Theology, and Culture) and Th.M. with Thesis programs must be submitted at least 60 days prior to registration for consideration by the appropriate committee.

Students planning to live in campus housing should note that space is limited, and housing applications are processed by the Housing Office after the student is accepted to the Seminary for enrollment.

Graduate Admission Process

Applications take approximately 30 days to process after all required items are received by the Admissions Office. The Admissions Committee treats all material confidentially. If approved, the application file will remain valid for purposes of admission for one year from the date of approval. If enrollment is delayed beyond one year or if this application is not approved, a new updated application with accompanying forms must be submitted. Interested parties may contact the Admissions Office at 919-761-2280 or with any questions about applications or about the admission process.

Provisional Acceptance

Under certain circumstances, applicants may receive a conditional or a restricted admission. For example, applicants may be admitted conditionally prior to receipt of a bachelor’s degree if they have transcript evidence of at least 112 hours toward their bachelor’s degree. The College at Southeastern students who have been approved through the Southeastern Collegiate Partnership (SCP) and have been admitted conditionally may take up to 30 hours of seminary courses. These seminary hours will not be applicable to their undergraduate degree. No more than 30 semester hours of Seminary work may be completed until the condition is removed. Details of any condition or restriction upon enrollment will be stated in the official letter of admission.

Southeastern Collegiate Partnership

All graduate students who have completed undergraduate courses in the area of biblical studies/Christian studies at an accredited institution may request to have their transcripts evaluated by the Registrar’s Office for eligibility in the Southeastern Collegiate Partnership (SCP). If the student has received an A or B in courses meeting SCP criteria, the student may be eligible to earn credit on the master’s level for corresponding classes in the seminary. To earn credit the student must pass a proficiency test or complete an intensive seminar for eligible classes. Other options may be available, and students are encouraged to contact the SCP office for further information at 919-761-2284 or

Graduate New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation is mandatory for all new students, as the days are filled with pertinent information and activities that allow new students to register for classes, pay bills, learn about policies, and meet the faculty and staff. The New Student Orientation page on the Southeastern website contains more information (


The deadline for Credit-Only application is 30 days prior to the beginning of the semester or term in which the student expects to enroll. Late applications may require delayed enrollment. Students are not allowed to register for classes until their application has been approved.

Application for admission is made through the Admissions Office. The following items are needed before an application is considered (note: original forms are required; faxed copies will not be accepted):

  1. A completed Credit-Only Application form and recent “head and shoulders” photo (color or black and white)

a. A completed Medical Information Form
b. A completed Immunization History Form (North Carolina State Health Department standards require that a completed immunization record be received by Southeastern.)
c. Definition of Categories Form
d. A completed Church Recommendation Form
e. A completed Southeastern Covenant

  1. A nonrefundable application fee of $40
  2. A completed criminal background check

Credit-Only status, permitting up to 30 hours of transferable credit work from the Seminary, is available to those who properly apply and qualify for admission. Students should not interpret acceptance under Credit-Only status as a guarantee of being admitted into a degree program in the future.

Whether this academic work will transfer into a degree program at another institution is determined by the transfer policies of that institution.

Seminary courses transferred to an undergraduate program cannot be transferred back into any Seminary-degree program. A student who through this process finds that Seminary degree requirements would be a duplication of previous work would be allowed to take non-duplicating courses in the same field in order to meet the hour requirements of the Seminary degree. The exception would be biblical languages, which would be treated under the advanced standing guidelines.

World Education Services Evaluation Requirements

To ensure accurate assessment of international transcripts, a World Education Services (WES) evaluation is required of all students who have studied outside of the United States. All official transcripts from non-US post-secondary educational institutions must be translated (as applicable) and sent directly to WES by the issuing institution. This is required before an admissions file will be considered complete. Information is available at

Students can apply for an evaluation on the WES website, and should apply for the Course-by-Course evaluation if they have completed any university-level coursework.

If transcripts and diplomas are in languages other than English, students must provide a translation. On the WES form, the student must request a copy of the report to be sent to “a third party” and indicate the following:

Office of Admissions
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
PO Box 1889
Wake Forest, NC 27587-1889

WES evaluations may take up to 4-6 weeks to be completed.

International Students

The admission procedure for international students requires additional information and processing time due to Seminary policies and the requirements of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. The International Student Admissions Policies section of this catalog contains more detailed instructions.

Auditing Courses

With the professor’s approval, students, student spouses, friends of the Seminary, and other interested parties may audit seminary courses if there is space available. Auditor applications are available from the Registrar. Audit fees apply; see Tuition, Fees, & Financial Aid for more detail. Individuals who are not students of Southeastern must also complete a credit-only application through Admissions. Non-credit courses such as Theological German and Theological Latin are not available to auditors.

Unique Admissions Requirements for Graduate Degree Programs

Master of Arts (Ethics, Theology, and Culture)
Admission to the Master of Arts (Ethics, Theology, and Culture) degree program is based on the following application elements. Note that application for admission to the M.A. (Ethics, Theology, and Culture) program should be made at least 60 days prior to matriculation.

  1. A set of completed standard application forms, including a background check, and the M.A. (Ethics, Theology, and Culture) application form
  2. Minimum 3.0 GPA in an accredited baccalaureate degree program. Applicants with degrees from colleges or universities outside the United States will be considered on an individual basis
  3. Five confidential reference forms (non-family): 1 pastor; 2 personal character; 2 academic
  4. A graded research paper from a graduate or undergraduate course, or the GRE Writing Assessment
  5. Applicants for whom English is a second language must achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (100 on the internet based TOEFL) or present an equivalent demonstration of ability to read and write English at a graduate level

Graduate Transfer of Credits in Master’s Programs

Credits earned at other schools may be applied toward degree programs at Southeastern, subject to certain conditions: the credits must be of a comparable graduate level, in a subject appropriate to the student’s degree program at Southeastern, and awarded by a recognized accredited school. Other guidelines may also apply.

Students transferring credits to Southeastern must maintain a C average on courses taken at Southeastern in order to graduate (students enrolled in advanced degrees must maintain a B average).

Persons seeking to transfer to Southeastern must make application through the normal admission process. Upon request, Southeastern’s Registrar will evaluate the official transcript and inform the student of the credit that may be transferred.

Transfer students in the master’s programs must complete at least one-half of their degree hours through Southeastern and must complete the equivalent of one year of full-time academic study at the main campus or at an extension site that has been approved for degree-granting status. (The one-year requirement amounts to at least half of the required hours for the M.A. and one-third for the M.Div.) Not more than 12 of these on-campus hours may be taken in practica, individualized study, travel-based courses, or similar special classes. Details of all transfer policies are provided by the Registrar.

Seminary master’s-level courses that are counted toward an undergraduate degree cannot be transferred back into any Seminary master’s degree program.