Golden gate bridge

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Other Frequently Asked Questions 

Will Western find a mentor for me?

No. The expectation is that cohort students have a mentor in mind for the cohort when they apply.

Is this an Online Program?

It is the 2020's, so of course there are online components to this program! However, the classes are live, and the interaction is face-to-face. Professors may have students submit work online, or give information through an online portal, but these are in-person courses. The only reason why it falls into our online campus is because we may have live classes meet at locations not on the Western Seminary San Jose Campus. 

Can I web-conference into the all-day Friday class?

It is vital to have all students present for each of the four all-day Friday classes in the semester. We will not allow web-conferencing in to those days. Obviously there are emergency exceptions, like hospital situations such as birth, death or illness, but aside from emergencies, we expect students to be present for the all-day Friday class sessions. Students are expected to attend and participate in classroom activities as directed by the instructor and as noted in the course syllabus. In order to receive residential credit for a course, students must attend at least 80% of the scheduled class meetings. When a student anticipates that an absence of 20% or more of the class time is necessary, permission in advance by academic petition is required. Given the fact that each Friday is basically the same value as one unit earned, missing one Friday would convert to 25% or 50% of a class session. Since you will know the schedule in advance, there may need to be sacrifice made, even for good cause like ministry. We expect church events, retreats, and other non-emergency situations to take a back seat to cohort Fridays.

What will a course load look like time-wise?

Whether you're registered for a traditional campus course, a hybrid course (with content delivered both in the classroom and online) or an online course, you can use these metrics as general rules of thumb:


hours of out-of-class

study per hour of instruction time


hours of instruction time

per credit


hours of out-of-class study

per credit

The only difference with this standard is the classroom time lessened to one Friday per unit. This will mean that other work must substitute for that missed seat time.

How soon in advance with the schedule be posted?

You will know what the schedule will be at least one year in advance.

How does the mentor assess the student's competency in ministry?

Mentors will be trained by Western how to review the 2 papers and 2 assignments in their ministry class each term. Those grades will be Pass/Fail.

Will the schedule look differently in summer months?


Will I receive a grade for courses?

Yes. Bible and Theology courses will be graded like any seminary course.  Ministry courses will be graded by the mentor as Pass or Fail.

The following criteria are used at Western Seminary in assigning a final grade:

A = Excellent; superior achievement of course objectives
B = Good; commendable achievement of course objectives
C = Satisfactory; acceptable achievement of course objectives
D = Poor; marginal achievement of course objectives
S = Satisfactory; adequate achievement of course objectives
U = Unsatisfactory; insufficient achievement of course objectives
F = Failure to advance in the course to the extent necessary for credit to be given
W = Withdrawal; official permission granted to withdraw from the course after the final date for dropping the course

Temporary notations are used:

I = Incomplete; a temporary extension
IP = In Progress; continuation into subsequent term

Grades have been assigned the following numerical values for the purpose of computing the grade point average:

Grade Points/Credit Grade Points/Credit

A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0

Students may view grades by logging in to the Student Information System at the conclusion of each semester in which course work is attempted. Courses which are assigned a Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory grade are not computed in the grade point average. Transfer credits are not included in the determination of the grade point average.

As of Fall 2016, Western’s academic committee and faculty implemented a minimum grade standard which states, only classes in which a student receives a grade of a C- or higher will count toward graduation requirements. Meaning that if a student receives a D+, D, or D- in a required course, the class will need to be repeated to demonstrate C- work or higher and thus meet the minimum grade standard. Elective classes may be repeated if desired or a student can take a different elective and earn the minimum grade needed. Note: D+, D, or D- grades earned in a class prior to Fall 2016 (and within statute of limitations) will still count toward graduation.

A course in which a student has received a grade of C, D, or F may be repeated. When completed, only the last grade will be used in determining the grade point average. However, both grades will appear on the student’s permanent record.

A student has one full semester to protest in writing any grade received. The protest must be received in the form of an Academic Petition addressed to the Registrar’s Office.

Can I join the cohort as a non-paid church staff member?

This program is designed for people whose sole vocational focus is in the church. Whether an intern, a part-time staff member at a church, or independently wealthy full-time volunteer at your church, cohort participants need to be actively engaged in their ministry at the church. This program is not designed for someone working full-time in the marketplace and going to school. The church ministry is very much a classroom for this program.