Generally, yes. Western Seminary is a graduate school of ministry that, for degree and diploma programs, requires a baccalaureate degree. Western does offer the Advanced Studies Certificate, a 16-hour non-credit certificate that can be earned entirely by distance education. For more information, please visit the westernseminary.edu/Admissions/programs.htm website.
Yes! Western Seminary now offers the 64-hour Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) degree program through the Online Campus. This program does require that students attend two threshold courses and orientation in approximately 6 days at the start of the program, and that they complete a one week capstone course on the Portland campus at the end of the program. These campus times together are designed to help students from around the world develop relationships with other students and faculty that will be important for program success and for the future as they take their place among Western's graduate alumni in ministry. For more information, please view our program page at http://www.westernseminary.edu/onlinemabts .
The Online MA (BTS) degree can be completed in approximately 4 years while the statute of limitations for Master of Arts programs is now 5 years. Does that mean that a student cannot exceed the 5 year limit? No, but students must show consistent progress in their program and the currency of your courses could later become an issue. The best option is always to be diligent in your studies and to complete the program as designed. If students maintain the recommended pace, they will be completed long before the statute of limitations becomes an issue.
Students may receive one extension of up to 4 weeks upon written request and approval by WSCLL. Continuing progress in the course must be demonstrated before a request for an extension will be considered. It is very important, therefore, that you engage your learning center, and complete your progress reports from the first week of the course.
Students who request and receive a course extension will not receive on-time completion points.
Extensions will not be granted for the last week of your session. Extensions will be granted for a period of from 1 - 4 weeks from the end date of the session.
An extension may impact your eligibility to register for a course in the next semester if it is determined that you have not made Satisfactory Academic Progress (not a CLL determination). If you have any questions, please contact Mark Baker for assistance.
Students may be eligible for a refund if notification is received in writing within the first several weeks of the semester. For more complete information and eligibility criteria, click here to review the helpful policy reminders that were included in the How to Get Started Right brochure / webpage.
Generally students are able to register for up to 4 credit hours at a time. Those who are new to the program may choose to be conservative in their enrollments until they feel comfortable with the workload expectations of graduate study and the distance delivery format. Our desire is always that you succeed fully in each distance education course and that you not become overwhelmened by the worldload and under-perform in multiple courses.
New CLL students may also prefer to register for 16-week “A” session courses initially unless their educational programs demand a more accelerated pace. The “A” session will afford new students the time needed to become comfortable with seminary distance courses.
For more information, please contact Mark Baker in the WSCLL offices, or the Registrar’s office.
Students enrolled in distance learning "A" session will have 16 weeks from your course start date to complete your coursework. Those enrolled in sessions "B" or 'C" will have 8 weeks for completion. WSCLL personnel will provide you with a recommended course completion schedule that guides your activities week by week, and our course mentors and weekly progress reports help you to stay on track.
Please note, however, that all coursework must be submitted prior to the 16th week ("A" Session), or 8th week ("B" and "C" Sessions) of your course. To ensure that your final grade has been submitted and that you are able to enroll for your next course, the last week of each session is reserved for your course instructor to complete all grading*. In addition, in this final week you will be required to complete and submit your course evaluation form which, for purposes of "taking attendance," will represent your final course obligation. Remember that you must complete this evaluation step in the final week of the session even if you have previously submitted all other course requirements.
* Your course syllabus states that a penalty of up to 10% per day may be assessed by your course instructor (mentor) for all work turned in during or after that final week of the session. If you feel that you are falling behind, we heartily recommend that you contact your instructor (mentor) as early as possible to discuss a plan for course completion. Our goal is not to punish but to help you complete your course successfully and in a timely manner. Please remember that your next-semester enrollment is dependent upon your having made Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), a standard established to conform to federal financial aid guidelines.
Federal financial aid regulations now state that all distance education courses must be scheduled within the normal start and end dates of each semester. To help students who need more scheduling flexibility, WSCLL now offers both a 16 week "A" session that begins with the start of the semester and ends on the final day of the semester, and two 8-week sessions. The first, session "B", begins on the first day of the semester and ends 8 weeks later. The second, session "C", begins with the 9th week and ends on the 16th week...the same day as the end of the "A" session.
If you need distance education courses for financial aid, you must register for either Session "A" and / or Session "B" courses to qualify. Session "C" is designed for students who find after the semester begins that they have more time in their schedule and they can take another course, or for those who effectively wish to jumpstart their studies before the next semester. We encourage you to register through SIS during the open enrollment period of each semester. For more information, please contact Mark Baker in the distance education offices.
No. You may take up to 12 credit hours before you need to apply for acceptance. We do recommend, however, that if you have any desire to pursue a certificate, diploma or degree program for credit, you should apply for the appropriate program as early as possible. Admission to a program is not guaranteed even if you have completed the 12 credit hours.
WSCLL is both regionally accredited (NWCCU), and professionally accredited (ATS), meaning that most schools will accept credits from Western Seminary when they apply to the desired program. Transfer of credits in every instance, however, is at the sole discretion of the receiving institution. Before you take a course that you want to transfer, contact the other school and verify that they will accept the course(s) that you would like to take by distance education.
Students typically gain access to their course learning centers and Integr@te course downloads up to 3 weeks prior to the session start date. If you have registered successfully, don't worry if it doesn't show up before then. And if you are registered for a "C" session course, you will not have access until 3 weeks before the "C" session start, even though the "A" and "B" sessions have begun. If you reach 2 weeks before your session start date, however, and the class still doesn't appear, please contact Mark Baker in the CLL offices by email or at 503-517-1900.
All courses taken through the Center for Lifelong Learning make extensive use of computer-based Internet tools for content delivery, student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction. The lack of a computer...or at least consistent access to a computer...that satisifies our mimimum system requirements would make completion of a course difficult if not impossible. Any student who intends to take a certificate, diploma or degree program, and who does not currently own a computer possessing the requisite capabilities would surely benefit from investing in a new computer. Desktop, and frequently laptop or notebook computers, are now available for several hundred dollars - a one time investment that will pay dividends for years. To invest financially in a degree program today without also investing in the tools required for success will probably not end well.
We do not yet require that you purchase a webcam for your CLL coursework. That may come, however, in the very near future. We do, however, recommend that you have one available as we make increasing use of web conferencing options for coursework and program-level communications.
If you do not yet have a webcam - and many of you probably already have a webcam built into the bezel of your preferred laptop or tablet - we have found the Logitech C920 to be a very good high definition camera that works well with most systems. This is, in fact, the webcam of choice here in our program and in other areas of Western Seminary. It can be purchased through Amazon.com for $69.99 or from other local and online sellers.
When participating in a web conference, we do make one very strong recommendation. If you are able to connect your computer directly to an ethernet port rather than relying upon a wireless connection, you will almost certainly find that the quality and consistency of the experience is improved significantly. Wireless connections have more difficulty with the high data rates required for efficient video conference and should be used only if a hard-wire connection is unavailable or impractical.