Western Seminary Online Orientation

San Jose Online Orientation

The Student Services Staff would like to welcome you to Western Seminary.  We are delighted that you have chosen us for your educational and ministerial pursuits.  As a student at Western Seminary, you will receive the highest quality theological education available.  Our faculty members desire to personally invest in your life; to serve you with their expertise and wisdom in their respective fields.

As a new student, we would like to equip you with everything you need to help make your transition as smooth as possible.  Students at Western need to know how to register for classes, where to access grades, how our advising works, how tuition is paid, and much more.  The purpose of this orientation is to help you become familiar with the tools and services you will use at Western Seminary.  If you have not yet applied or been admitted, please contact our Enrollment Department for further assistance.

Using this Online Orientation and spending time in preparation will have significant benefits throughout your time at Western.  Please read this orientation carefully.  At the end, you will be quizzed on information you have read.  You will need to complete this quiz in order to receive your PIN.  If you have any questions that have not been answered upon completion of this online orientation, please do not hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Enrollment Options

Since we believe in making a seminary education more accessible to those who want formal biblical and theological training, Western Seminary makes an intentional effort to provide various enrollment options for students.

Residential Courses

Residential courses are classes that meet on campus.  Each of our master’s programs require that at least 30 credits of courses be completed on campus as “residential” courses, though students are not required to live near to or on campus to complete them.  These courses are known as our Traditional Course offerings.  Traditional semester classes meet most weeknights and/or Saturdays for 4-5 hour blocks.

There are also two other options for residential courses.  The In-Ministry Track is an option available for students in part-time or full-time paid ministry.  For more information on this track, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  The Monday Track is a scheduling option open to students who prefer attending classes on Mondays rather than Saturdays.  You can view these courses or the upcoming semester in our course schedule.

Non-Residential Courses

Non-Residential enrollment options include Online courses and Hybrid courses. Online courses allow students to view class lectures on a computer, collaborate with fellow classmates online, and connect with a course instructor. With more than 80 courses on demand, this option is ideal for students unable to make it on campus. Hybrid courses integrate online course content with intensive off-campus class sessions, combining the strengths of distance education with in-class interaction with other students and faculty.

For more information, visit our Accessible Scheduling page.

Advising

It is vital to your success as a student that you keep in frequent contact with your academic advisor.  Therefore, once you are admitted to Western Seminary and are considering which courses to take first, please contact your academic advisor (assigned to you in your admission letter) to set up an appointment.  He or she will be extremely helpful in guiding you through the courseload that would be best for you in light of your family, work, and ministry commitments.  Your advisor will also help you with course selection, informing you of the recommended sequence of courses for your particular degree program.

It is highly recommended that you check in with your academic advisor prior to registration each semester.  We do have one annual mandatory advising session prior to fall registration.  A registration hold will be placed on your student account until that advising session has been completed and a Student Services staff member has been notified.

The Student Information System (SIS)

Your online student information account provides you with a variety of student services accessible from anywhere with internet access.

Online Registration

All admitted students will need to register for their courses on the Western Seminary website via the Student Information System (SIS).

  1. To enter the Student Information System, click the link in the upper right hand corner of the website.
  2. Enter your student ID and PIN.
  3. You’ll see a page with your general information (i.e. name, address, email address, degree program, etc.) and a menu of student services options.  Click on the “Registration” link.
  4. Select campus location.
  5. Select term/session.
  6. Read the “Important Information.”  Click “I have read the above.”  (This information provides students with add and drop deadlines, the refund schedule, late fee schedule, etc.)
  7. Now you can register.  You will see a list of courses organized alphabetically by the course ID number (i.e. CNS 501S, DBS 506S).  Click on the course ID number of the course you want to add, and then you will see a window where you can add the course.  Click “Add Course.”
  8. Once you’ve selected your courses, you’ll see them listed under “My Registration.”  Your courses will show a status of “Pending.”
  9. Click the “Submit for Approval” button to make sure each of your courses reads “Submitted.”  Your registration will not be complete without this step!

If you run into any problems with SIS Registration, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

SIS Continued: Paying Your Tuition

There are multiple ways a student can pay his or her tuition: credit card, check, or AMS Tuition Pay.  Tuition is due during the first week of each semester, and our Student Information System allows you to view your student ledger and pay your bill online from the comfort of your home or office.

Credit Card

We accept VISA, MasterCard, and Discover payments.

  1. Sign in to SIS (with student ID and PIN).
  2. Click “Pay on Account.”
  3. Enter your credit card info.

Check

If you prefer to pay by check, you may mail your check to Western Seminary to the address below:

Western Seminary
Attn: Katy Shaw
5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97215

AMS Tuition Pay

If it is just not possible to pay tuition in full during the first week of the semester, an alternative payment plan is available through AMS Tuition Pay. (There is a charge associated with this service.)  Tuition Pay allows students to make monthly payments on tuition.  Please note that you should enroll with AMS Tuition Pay soon if you plan to use their services during your first semester at Western Seminary. 

AMS Tuition Pay

A student may not secure grade reports, transcripts, or attend classes in any subsequent semester, if s/he has not completed payment for courses already taken.  Please be diligent about planning your finances each and every semester.

SIS Continued

View Your Grades

Grades will be posted on the website and can be viewed via the Student Information System.  From the main menu in SIS, click “My Course History.”  You’ll be able to view courses you’ve taken as well as the grades you’ve earned.

Holds

Occasionally, you may find one or more holds on your account that may prevent you from registering, viewing grades, etc.  If you have a question about a hold, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Update Contact Information

If any of your personal contact information changes during your time at Western Seminary, please update that information via SIS and also please notify This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Financial Aid

Students come to seminary with an eagerness to learn, though they must balance their enthusiasm with realistic planning about how they will cover their training costs.  Indeed, the primary responsibility to pay will rest on the student.  However, students are invited to explore the financial aid options available from Western Seminary and various outside organizations that can help provide for and manage school expenses all the way to graduation.  In order to qualify for most kinds of financial aid below, students must be enrolled half time (4 hours) and be admitted to a degree program.

There are three types of Financial Aid:  Institutional, Federal, and Outside Aid. Options include scholarship, loans, grants, and more. 

Financial Aid

Coursework and Books

Course Syllabi

Course syllabi are posted on our website prior to the start of each new semester.  Course syllabi will note any reading assignments that need to be done prior to the first class meeting and also provide a list of required textbooks necessary for the course.  We encourage students to check the syllabi page frequently to ensure that they can order books as soon as the syllabi are posted.  We have found that the sooner students begin reading, the better equipped they will be for class.

Course syllabi

Books

Western Seminary's San Jose campus does not have a campus bookstore.  Required textbooks can be purchased through Amazon.com or similar websites.  Some required books for reading may be found at local libraries.

Campus Facilities

Parking

Students travel to campus by foot, bicycle, CalTrain, bus, or car.  If you drive to Western, please note that we share a parking lot with a number of businesses.  Out of respect for our neighbors, please park only in the areas designated for Western Seminary. 

Parking Map

Campus Hours / Building Hours

The official business hours for Western Seminary are 10 am – 6 pm, Monday through Friday.  Additionally, the campus is open whenever classes are in session.

Key Cards

Our campus is located within a commercial building shared with other businesses, so please be aware that the front doors to the building at 469 El Camino Real will be locked from 6 pm – 7 am Monday through Friday, as well as all weekend. To gain access to the building, you will need a key card. This key card will be distributed to you at the mandatory New Student Orientation.

Library Hours

The Library is open Monday through Friday 10 am – 6 pm and whenever weeknight classes are in session, as well as on Saturdays until 6:00pm.  Sharon Ho, the San Jose Campus Librarian, is available most Tuesday evenings, and Saturdays 9 am – 4 pm.

The Western Seminary Library invites students to bring food and experience fellowship as you study!

Library

Communicating with Western Seminary

Email

Western Seminary’s primary means of communicating with you is by email.  We use email to notify you when you have been registered for a class, to inform you of changes in the class schedule, and to stay in touch about important campus information.  Some professors also require submission of papers and other assignments via email.  Therefore, it is imperative that you have an email address that you check regularly.

The Western Wave

At the San Jose campus, we distribute a monthly e-newsletter, The Western Wave, to all current students.  This is our means of sharing vital and specific information related to the San Jose campus.  It is important for you to read this each month.

Campus Mailboxes

You will be assigned a campus mailbox at the beginning of your first semester as a student at Western Seminary.  Some professors use student mailboxes to return assignments, papers, and exams.  Student directories and some other items will also be distributed via campus mailboxes.

Appointments

You are welcome to schedule an appointment with a staff or faculty member anytime.  All staff and faculty members schedule their own appointments, but if you are having trouble contacting someone, simply call our main number (408.356.6889) and ask for a Student Services staff member to assist you.

Health Insurance

Although finances are often tight during seminary, we believe that there are some things you simply cannot do without.  One of these is health insurance.  With health costs steadily rising, a simple medical test or procedure can cause you to go into financial crisis, if you are not properly insured.  Therefore, Western Seminary requires all students to be covered by health insurance.

Health Insurance Options

Student ID Card and Directory

Student ID Card

Your picture will be taken at the mandatory New Student Orientation and a student ID card will be issued and placed in your campus mailbox a few weeks later. You can use your student ID card to receive discounts anywhere a student discount is offered.

Student Directory

Western Seminary prints a photo directory for students, faculty and staff twice per academic year (fall and spring semesters).  To opt out of our directory, download the Your Right to Privacy form to request that your information not be printed.  You will receive a student directory during your first semester as a student.  In all subsequent semesters, if you would like a student directory, please request one from a Student Services staff member.  Reminders will be sent out each semester to notify students that the directories are available.

Students with Disabilities

Western Seminary is committed to responding to the needs of students with disabilities.  The seminary does not have a program into which all students with learning disabilities fit.  Instead, Western students are assisted individually as their needs dictate.  It is our goal to assist each Western Seminary student to reach his/her full academic and ministry potential.  It is the responsibility of students with disabilities to identify themselves and the nature of the disability, so that Western can make arrangements for learning support services.  Please contact Ashley Mitchell, the seminary’s Section 504 Coordinator, for more information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503.517.1819.

Opportunities for Spouses

Learning Together Program

Western Seminary aims to serve the spouses of our students, and the Learning Together Program is a great resource for spouses.  This program allows the spouse of a student enrolled in a degree program to register for one course (non-credit) per semester and receive a scholarship toward the cost of the non-credit course.  The amount the non-credit spouse pays is dependent upon the number of credits the degree student spouse is taking in a particular semester.  Please see the cost guidelines on the Non-Credit Application and Registration Form for more details.  The spouse who takes part in the Learning Together Program must register prior to attending class. Please contact Carrie Priest at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for help with this process.

Conclusion

We’ve done our best to answer some of your basic questions through this Online Orientation.  We realize that more questions might arise for you as you begin registering for courses and transitioning to becoming a student, so please feel free to contact Carrie Priest, Director of Student Services, at 408.356.6889 x405 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

We are here to serve you.  Thanks for taking the time to complete Western’s Online Orientation.

Take Our Online Orientation Quiz

Get in Touch

Carrie Priest
Carrie Priest
Director of Student Services
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
408.356.6889 x405