Our Characteristics

While making our education increasingly accessible in a variety of settings, Western Seminary remains a single institution dedicated to maintaining consistent quality in the following spheres:

Spiritual Life Development

Scripture clearly teaches that effectiveness in ministry requires godly character. Western Seminary thus seeks to establish a campus environment that fosters genuine spiritual growth. This spiritual development serves as one of the overarching objectives in its curriculum, and every course is expected to make some contribution to one’s maturing into Christ-likeness. Character development is also a major focus of both faculty and field mentoring. The foundation for this growth is provided by required courses in biblical spirituality, which address the responsibilities, resources, and results involved in the development of Christian character. Many of these courses also include a small group component that provides a peer relational structure aimed at stimulating each student’s progress in the Christian life.

Doctrinal Commitment

Western Seminary’s theological stance remains consistent with its evangelical heritage. The school consciously submits to the authority of inerrant Scripture and models a hermeneutical framework that interprets the Bible in light of its grammatical, historical, literary, and theological contexts. The doctrinal understanding to which its core faculty annually subscribe is detailed in the Faculty Teaching Position.

Program Diversity and Flexibility

God calls people to ministry in a manner consistent with the gifting and passions He has given them. Consequently, Western’s programs seek to honor a diversity of ministry callings through both the breadth and depth of its curricular options. The school offers a half-year certificate, a one-year diploma, six different master’s degrees, the Master of Theology (ThM), and three doctoral programs. Western has also worked diligently to ensure significant flexibility within these programs. For example, the Master of Divinity’s design allows students at least eight credits of electives that they can align with their personal calling. Most of the other programs allow similar opportunity for students to be active partners with their faculty advisor in shaping their studies to align with their educational desires and ministry calling. When this flexibility is combined with Western’s core Bible, theology, and biblical spirituality courses, the result is a program that equips men and women for a specific ministry and grounds them in sound theology, biblical understanding, and spiritual maturity.

Local Church Participation 

From its earliest days, Western Seminary has maintained a focused commitment to serve and build the local church. Since Western nurtures leaders for the church, responsible involvement in a local congregation is expected of students, staff, and faculty. Furthermore, representative leaders of these churches are constantly invited to both assess the curriculum and to help deliver it, so as to maintain the relevance of the content and skills being imparted. Practical internships within the church and parachurch environments further help to ensure that all graduates are well-grounded in actual ministry experience.

Experienced and Accessible Faculty 

The heart of any seminary is its faculty. Each Western faculty member is expected to blend personal piety, academic scholarship, and ministry experience so as to serve as a credible model of spiritual maturity and expertise. Western’s attractive faculty-to-student ratio promotes personalized interaction between each student and his or her professor. Furthermore, many faculty members bring to their teaching a firsthand understanding of the dynamics and challenges of intercultural ministry.

Diversity of Student Body 

Western’s students come from a wide diversity of national, cultural, and denominational backgrounds. Studying in this community – men and women from a spectrum of ages, ethnic backgrounds, disciplinary specialties and denominational affiliations – is a very stimulating component of seminary education, and represents the beautiful complexity of the kingdom of God.

Trustworthiness and Accountability 

The investments of hundreds of individual donors and local congregations account for approximately 15% of each student’s total cost of education, thereby helping keep tuition costs comparatively low. Western’s careful stewardship of these gifts conforms to the guidelines of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The Seminary has been a member of ECFA since 1983. The various third party approvals listed below (cf. Accreditation, Approvals and Affiliations) further demonstrate the school’s commitment to educational best practices and compliance with quality control standards.

Equipping Women for Ministry

At Western Seminary we are engaged in equipping both men and women for strategic ministry roles. We believe males and females equally bear God’s image, and that the Holy Spirit equips his people, both women and men, with a wide range of gifts for the building up of his body, the Church.

This conviction is compatible with a range of perspectives held by true Christians who count Scripture to be authoritative. Some believe every role in local church leadership should be available to both men and women, while others hold that Scripture reserves certain leadership roles in the local church to qualified men only. Variations of both general views have been represented among our faculty, but the latter position has been and remains the most common among our faculty as a whole.

We welcome students with different views, and we strive to provide a safe, supportive, and hospitable learning experience for students who embrace different convictions regarding this matter. Our professors invest wholeheartedly in equipping both men and women to thrive in service to Christ and his Church, and we are committed to cultivating an equally welcoming environment for our female and male students alike.

Western Seminary is a place to wrestle with ideas in light of Scripture as one seeks to understand the gospel more fully and to gain the skills necessary to be an effective minister of that gospel in the Church and to the world. We encourage female students to study at Western, and it is our goal and prayer that they will find their time here to be gratifying and enriching, and that it will prove to be effective preparation for fruitful ministry.