Creative Schedule Options

We know that our students are busy, and incorporating seminary training with other important family, work and ministry responsibilities.  Below you'll find a menu of course schedule options designed to help you pursue your training with creative and flexible schedules. Both core classes and electives are offered.

Distance Education - Online Campus

Western Seminary Online Campus provides students the option of enrolling in over 80 courses, both core classes and electives. These options offer schedule flexibility, as well as the opportunity to catch up or get ahead in a degree program. In some instances, students enrolled in an online course may meet with a faculty member at a convenient location for several hours of course discussion. Student may enroll in a full 16 week session, or they have the option of choosing between two 8 week sessions. Visit the Online Campus Students page for course listings, course syllabi, and other information. Online courses cannot be used to fulfill residency requirements.

Residency Options

The following types of classes can be used to fulfill residency requirements:

Block Schedule

These classes meet multiple times during the semester. It may be for one weekend per month, or perhaps a few 2-3 day periods throughout the semester. Students travel to campus multiple times, but not on a regular basis.

Intensive Classes

These classes meet all day, each day, for just a few days, allowing students to complete class sessions during just one week. Typically the majority of the reading is due by the first class session, with some assignments due after the class meets.


Hybrid classes combine on-campus interaction with an online component of instruction. The reduced seat time classes may meet on alternate weeks, one weekend a month, or several days consecutively. To supplement the live, in-class discussion, students will view online lectures and participate in some form of online classroom activity. Regardless of when the on-campus sessions are held, hybrid courses run the entire semester.

Traditional Class Schedule

These are classes that meet weekly or bi-weekly throughout the semester. Students benefit from regular interaction and accountability.

Non-Residency Options

The following types of classes cannot be used to fulfill residency requirements.

Independent Study

The Administrative Committee, in consultation with an academic advisor and proposed course instructor, may grant permission for a student to enroll in a regular course through Independent Study. Extenuating circumstances for which approval of the Independent Study Request is warranted include a schedule conflict which prevents a student from attending a regularly scheduled class and/or the lack of an Online Campus option. To submit an Independent Study Request, the student should:

  1. Submit an Academic Petition to their advisor for approval, explaining the extenuating circumstance which warrant an exception to the normal academic policy.
  2. Upon advisor approval of the Academic Petition, find a professor who is willing to be the instructor for the Independent Study.
  3. Work with that professor to write a proposed syllabus.
  4. Submit the Academic Petition, signed by their advisor, the Independent Study Request form, and the proposed syllabus to the appropriate party specified on the form.
  5. The Assistant Registrar will notify the student via email of the Administrative Committee’s decision, and will register the student for the Independent Study if the request has been granted.

The deadline for requesting Independent Study is published on the course schedule for the upcoming semester. The Academic Petition and Independent Study Request forms are available online.

Individualized Study

The Administrative Committee, in consultation with an academic advisor and proposed course instructor, may approve an individualized course of study. This elective permits students to design and pursue personalized courses. The course numbers for master’s-level studies are generally listed in the catalog with a 580 numeration for master’s-level students; 680 for Th.M students. To be eligible for approval, the study must:

Not replicate a course normally offered in the regular curriculum.

Have the support of the faculty member who would potentially supervise the study.

Pursue defined objectives which are clearly set forth in a course syllabus prior to registration.

Be undertaken by a student maintaining an overall grade point average of at least 3.4 in the degree program.

Students must use an Individualized Study Request form to request registration. Both instructor and advisor approval are required.

Web Conference Classes

For students who prefer the classroom setting but can’t travel to campus, we offer a web conference format. Students register for a regularly-scheduled Western Seminary class. However, instead of coming to campus and sitting in the classroom, students take the class from the convenience of their own home or office. How? They log in to a website that displays all of the images that are projected in the classroom. This includes PowerPoint slides, Word documents, internet searches, etc. The student sees every image that is projected on the screen at the front of the classroom on their own computer. Additionally, web conference students are involved in all of the lectures and class discussions via a telephone connection. They can participate fully in class discussions, ask questions at the moment they arise, and hear live lectures – all without traveling to campus. Not all classes can be taken via web conference, and this is not always an option on some campuses, so students should contact the Student Services office for additional details, in advance of registering for a class.