International Students

This school is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students.

Admission Requirements

International student applicants are expected to meet the same admission standards as other applicants. A four-year, postsecondary, baccalaureate degree or its full educational equivalent, with above-average marks, is required. The chosen degree program at Western should be compatible with his or her vocational and ministry objectives. International students are required to continue working toward a degree as a full-time student at all times. They are not permitted to enroll as non-degree students.

Admission Process

  1. Complete the online application, follow the process described, including sending a $50 application fee, statement of Christian experience, and personal references (forms provided). Official transcripts are required from all institutions attended following secondary school. To be official by U.S. standards, the transcript must be sent directly from the college or university to the Admissions Office of Western Seminary.
  2. Present proof of English language proficiency.
  3. Present proof of financial support. Forms will be sent upon receipt of application.
  4. Official admission is not granted until a complete review of all required documents is conducted by the Admissions Office. The last step in the process is the issuing of the Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status (Form I-20), which is necessary to obtain the F-1 international student visa. This cannot be done until all materials are received, including proof English proficiency and proof of financial support.
  5. All international applications must be postmarked no later than the following deadlines: Fall (June 1), Spring (Oct. 1), and Summer (Feb. 1). Please note that while we accept admission throughout the year, the preferred starting semester is in the fall. Some programs, such as the Doctor of Intercultural Studies, require fall admission.

Dependent Study

As of May 2015, adult dependents in F2 immigration status are permitted to pursue academic study which includes both non-degree and degree programs so long as the study is not full time. Dependents must also meet the admission requirements and go through the regular application process as outlined in the Catalog. This includes providing proof of English Proficiency as well as proof of current F2 status.

Financial Requirements

International students are required to provide a financial guarantee that will cover their study and living expenses for one year. It is expected that, barring unforeseen circumstances, adequate funding will be available from the same or equally dependable sources for subsequent years. This is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The financial guarantee must include living expenses for any dependents as well.

The guarantee must indicate the individual(s) or organization(s) that will actually provide the funds for study and living expenses. This is accomplished by:

  • Showing that the international student is sponsored by an organization which will guarantee the necessary support and round-trip transportation for the student and dependents; or
  • Producing a letter from a financial institution indicating that the student has sufficient funds to cover the cost of tuition, books and fees, living expenses for the student and family, and round-trip transportation; or
  • Providing similar proof, from individuals or organizations wishing to contribute to the student’s support, that sufficient funds exist to cover the international student’s financial obligations. A signed statement must be provided from individuals that they will actually provide this finance.


The terms for F-1 international student status do not permit employment except on the campus of study. Spouses or children of F-1 students are forbidden to work on or off campus in any capacity or to accept payment of any kind (unless they hold resident alien status or are U.S. citizens.) Because Western Seminary is not a residential campus, few jobs are available on campus. These jobs are generally not available to entering students, as hiring is usually prior to the arrival of new students.

Medical Insurance

Due to the high cost of medical care, Western Seminary cannot assume the financial responsibility for hospitalization and medical expenses for students. All students are required to purchase health insurance or provide proof that they have current medical insurance from their organization or family which meets the standard set by the Seminary.


Western Seminary is not a residential campus and does not provide housing accommodations.

Full-Time Status

According to U.S. law and Department of Homeland Security regulations, as well as seminary policy, international students are required to maintain a full-time study load throughout the academic year. The minimum full-time study load for the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Graduate Studies Diploma/Certificate programs is eight credits. For the Master of Theology and Doctor of Intercultural Studies/Doctor of Education programs, the minimum full-time study load is six credits. For the Doctor of Ministry program, the minimum full-time study load is three credits. No more than one class or three credits of online coursework can count toward the minimum full-time study load. A vacation period, typically the summer semester, is allowed after two semesters of full-time status.

International Student Office

The International Student Office at Western Seminary is tasked with all matters related to international students. It is overseen by the Director of International Student Services with additional support from Student Services staff. The Director of International Student Services helps, to varying degrees, in all areas of the student experience for international students (recruitment, admissions, advising, student life, etc.) In addition, the Director of International Student Services is available to answer questions, provide counsel and encouragement, and assist students with their adjustment to the new academic environment and culture. From each student’s initial inquiry to departure, the International Student Office is involved in meeting student needs and guiding students through the steps to succeed at Western Seminary. The International Student Office also sponsors a number of events to help international students, starting with an international student orientation each fall. From time to time there are also workshops dealing with relevant topics such as adjusting to life in the United States, filing taxes, navigating the health system, etc.