New Student Guide
Welcome to Western Seminary!
We exist to equip people like you who desire to make a difference, and we’re excited to help you prepare for strategic kingdom impact. Please know that our staff and faculty are available to assist you each step of the way.
This New Student Guide has been designed to help orient newly-admitted students to campus life at Western. Please set aside about 15 minutes to carefully review it before attending the on-campus Orientation. We believe that the information we have provided you throughout the guide is essential to your success as a Western student – which leads us to require that everyone read it before registering for classes. If you have other questions or would like further assistance, please feel free to call the Student Services office at (503) 517-1800 and one of our team members will be happy to help.
Provided you have been admitted, upon completion of this guide you will have the opportunity to receive a PIN and register for classes online.
Thank you. And again, welcome!
Your Role as a Student
Our Student Handbook includes all of the important policies and procedures that relate to student life at Western -- from academic information, to guidelines for conduct and character, to special student programs and benefits. It's available online and we ask that you familiarize yourself with its contents. You'll find the Student Handbook at http://www.westernseminary.edu/handbook.
In addition to providing you with helpful information and resources, the Student Handbook serves as a contract between you and the school.
Our primary means of communicating with you will be via email – confirming your registration in a class, letting you know about a course schedule change, sending the Portland campus newsletter, or responding to Financial and Academic petitions. Please plan to check your account often. If you change your email address while attending Western, please let us know right away. If you don’t have an email address and need help creating an account, let us know and we’ll be happy to help.
Forms You Need to CompleteAs a student at Western, you must complete and submit the following forms. If you've already completed these forms, you are not required to submit them again. Please bring your completed copies to our on-campus Orientation or mail them to us, attention Hannah Hayes, at Western Seminary Portland Campus, 5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, Oregon, 97215.
- Wireless Internet Access You’re invited to use our secure wireless internet network. We will provide you with the student password upon receipt of your Student Wireless Agreement, which explains our internet access policy and indicates your commitment to operate within our user guidelines.
- Student Mailbox Professors use student mailboxes to return assignments and exams.
- Student ID Card Your student ID card will allow you to check out books with our partner libraries and receive student discounts at local businesses.
- Authorization to Release Information To protect your privacy, we will never release information about your grades, registration, or student account balance without your advance written permission. If you anticipate that a spouse, employer, or other party may have a legitimate interest in your student records during the course of your studies, please submit this form so that we can work with them accordingly.
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccination Form The State of Oregon requires that we collect this verification from all degree program students during the first semester of study. We appreciate your assistance in helping us comply.
- Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit Memo Our degree programs are designed to provide comprehensive Bible and theology training for students, starting from the basics and building toward advanced concepts. If you graduated from a Bible college or transferred from another graduate school, you may apply for Advanced Standing or Transfer Credit within your first semester at Western Seminary. If you think that your educational experience qualifies you to do so, please let us know right away -- we don't want you to miss the deadline.
Classes to Take First
We've created a few resources to help you start selecting your courses now. If you are an M.A. in Counseling student, please view a sample curriculum plan. All other students should refer to our Classes to Take First worksheet.
If you register for something now, and your advisor later indicates that it would be better to change your course selection, you will be able to do so at no charge. Drop fees are waived during your first semester of enrollment. More information about our online courses is available at the end of this guide.
Course schedules for the entire academic year are posted on our website. Refer to course schedules to learn which classes are available for audit, where each class will be held, whether or not a particular course has a prerequisite, and the schedule for each class we offer in a given semester. Course schedules are subject to change, and regularly updated on our website. Schedules are posted by campus on our website.
Registering for Classes
How to Register through the Student Information System
What can I do through the Student Information System (SIS) online?
- Add and drop classes
- Pay tuition
- Check grades
- Update your personal information in our records (address, email address, phone number, etc…)
To access SIS, go to our website and click on the link at the top right-hand corner. You will need two numbers to access SIS: your student ID (the six-digit number which you received in your admittance letter) and a PIN, which you will receive upon completing this New Student Guide. The first time you log in to SIS, you will also be prompted to answer a challenge question, which will allow you to re-set your PIN in the future, should you forget it.
To register for classes, enter your student ID and PIN and click on “Registration.” Select “Portland Campus” (or “Online Campus” for online courses). Select the semester for which you want to register. Take a moment to read through the notice regarding add and drop fees and requesting registration changes. Then click on “I Have Read the Above” to proceed to registration.
Courses are listed in alphabetical order. To register, simply click on the course ID, and then indicate if you would like to register for credit or audit (if applicable). You will be automatically returned to the main screen, where your courses will be listed. Please click on the button labeled “Submit for Approval” to send a notification email to your advisor. This allows him or her to approve your registration and complete the process. You will be notified via email once your courses have been approved.
You must click “Submit for Approval” after adding each new class in order for the registration to be processed.
Before Classes Start
Once you’ve registered for classes, please download and review the course syllabi for each of your classes. Many of our courses will require that you have already read material or completed initial coursework before the first day of class.
You can find required textbooks on your course syllabi. We recommend that you purchase your books online. Websites like Amazon.com often enable you to purchase your books at discounted rates.
Please be aware that should you decide not to enroll in a class or should your book requirements change, you will be responsible for returning your books. Expenses for textbooks may be upward of $300 per semester. We invite students to use books on reserve in the library and network with peers through our Facebook group to purchase used books whenever possible.
Tuition is due in full by the end of the first week of classes.
Should you wish to learn more about a monthly tuition payment plan or financial aid, please refer to the reference links at the end of this guide.
If you live at a distance from campus and plan to complete the majority of your program through online and In-Ministry hybrid courses, please click on the link below for information which will relate to your needs as a non-residential student. If you are a tradtional Portland campus student, please continue to the next page. Thank you!
Our campus is easily accessible by bicycle, bus and automobile. If you choose to drive to Western Seminary, you will not need a parking permit to use the parking lots. You are welcome to park in the paved parking lots on the north and east sides of the campus. As a courtesy to our neighbors, we ask students not to park on the north side of Madison Street or the east side of 57th Avenue. For the safety of your belongings, we recommend that you do not leave your car in the parking lots overnight.
Student Center and Cafe
Western Seminary’s Student Center and café are located in the chapel basement. The Student Center is designed as a space for you to enjoy meals, study, check your mailbox, access our wireless internet network or visit with friends. Our café provides hot meals on select days throughout the week. Additionally, there are deli-style sandwiches, snacks, chips, fruit and microwaveable entrees available for purchase. You can purchase food from the café by using our IOU system or by paying in cash. Please be aware that any IOUs that are not paid by the end of the month will be applied to your student account.
Our library belongs to a consortium of five Christian college and seminary libraries which have merged their holdings into one online database, giving you access to more than 93,000 volumes and nearly 230 theological journal subscriptions. We have valuable resources on the Bible, theology, counseling, and a selection of entertaining fiction as well. The library is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You will be able to check out books and access the online database once you have requested and received your student ID card.
Campus Safety and Security
Western has an on-campus caretaker, Chris Smith, who is available to assist students 24 hours a day. If you would like an escort to your car after an evening class, if your car battery dies and you need a jump start, or if you feel your safety is threatened in any way, please call Chris at 503.720.0635. We also invite you to contact Physical Plant Director Cliff Stein any time safety or security is a concern, at 503.459.9676.
Twice a year we publish a directory of all Portland campus students, staff and faculty. For your privacy, we only release the directory to current students, and welcome you to opt out if you prefer that your photograph, telephone number, email or address not be included. If you’d rather not be included in the directory, please let us know by submitting the Right to Privacy form to our office.
The Purpose of On-Campus Orientation
Our on-campus Orientation is designed to provide you with the most important information you’ll need to know to successfully embark on your studies at Western. During fall and spring orientation, you will have an opportunity to meet President Randy Roberts and hear firsthand his vision for the seminary and prayer for you as a student. At all of our orientations, you will meet other students in your degree program and learn how your specific program has been designed to equip you for ministry. You will learn about the distinctive elements of your program and have your questions answered. Finally, you’ll receive some academic advising and gain an overview of your first year and beyond.
Our Spring 2015 New Student Orientation is scheduled for Friday, January 2 from 1-6 p.m. Please mark your calendar now and save the date for this important event.
RSVP for Orientation
We appreciate your timely response to our Orientation RSVP so that we can prepare a meal for you and your guests. Your spouse is warmly invited to join you – in fact, we have special programs designed for student spouses and would love to meet your husband or wife and have a chance to share about the opportunities available for preparation as a partner in ministry. We do not offer childcare during Orientation. If your children are not comfortable sitting and listening for extended periods of time, you may want to make alternate arrangements for them.
Our Staff: We're Here to Help You
Now that we’ve provided you with a general overview of seminary life, we invite you to contact us directly to answer additional questions or provide further assistance. Don’t know where to start? Feel free to call the office at 503.517.1800 and our receptionist will be happy to connect you with the appropriate staff member.
Thank you for completing our New Student Guide!
Please call Hannah Hayes to receive your PIN and register for classes. Her direct line is 503.517.1833.
Please review the following links to see which resources may be of interest to you.