Curriculum Change Overview

Important to Know

  • Switching catalog years is permanent. You will always have the option of moving to a new catalog year, if it is of benefit to you, but you cannot go backward.
  • Students with advance standing may find it to their advantage to complete under the current catalog year, as changing catalog years impacts advance standing.
  • Western Seminary will not refund or make credit adjustments for any unapplied credits as these courses were required at the time you enrolled in them.
  • It is your responsibility to know and understand the additional non-course requirements, such as a CPCE exam or client hours. Check your handbook or with your advisor.
  • Your advisor, your campus student service director and the Registrar's Office are here to help you with further questions.

Steps to Changing Your Curriculum

After reviewing the new program information and determining that you are interested in changing curriculums, complete the following steps:

  1. Discuss the desired change with your advisor or Student Services Director.
  2. Fill out the appropriate form (below) to declare your intent. This is an important step because it determines your degree requirements in order to graduate.
  3. Done! Your new degree progress report will appear in your S.I.S. account once your intent to change form has been processed and the subsequent term begins.   

Curriculum Changes

2020–2021 Curriculum Change

The 2020–2021 curriculum change impacts all Master of Divinity, Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies), and Master of Arts (Ministry and Leadership) students as follows:

1. Master of Divinity

MF531 and MF532 have moved from zero (0) credits each to one (1) credit each, reducing overall electives by two (2) credits. For more information, view the MDiv Curriculum Change Conversion Chart.

2. Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies)

MF500 has moved from zero (0) credits each to two (2) credits, reducing overall electives by two (2) credits. For more information, view the MA(BTS) Curriculum Change Conversion Chart.

3. Master of Arts (Ministry and Leadership)

MF531 and MF532 have moved from zero (0) credits each to one (1) credit each, reducing overall electives by two (2) credits.

In addition, all restricted electives have been opened up to be general electives.

For more information, view the MA/ML Curriculum Change Conversion Chart.

Students should use the following flow chart to determine next steps:

MF Curriculum Change Student Process

If in using the above chart, a student would like to switch to the 2020–2021 catalog year, he/she should submit the Curriculum Change Form.

Note: MF courses that were previously completed for zero (0) credits can not be modified to be one (1) credit.

2019–2020 Curriculum Change

There are two major updates starting in fall 2019–2020:

1. A change in the MDiv and MA(BTS) language curriculum. 

To learn more, view the video below. 

2. A change in the Counseling curriculum offerings. 

Students will now have the option of choosing between multiple possible specializations:

  1. Completing your current specialization; to see your current requirements, log in to S.I.S. > Student Records > My Degree Progress.
  2. The 2019–2020 Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) specialization.
  3. The 2019–2020 Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Child/Youth Specialization. (Portland only)
  4. The 2019–2020 Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling (MCFC) specialization. (SAC and SJ only)
  5. The 2019–2020 Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) specialization. (SAC and SJ only)

The Counseling department has created informational slides for Sacramento and San Jose students, in order to aid in the understanding of these changes and how they impact you:

Of note: The MFT specialization will only be available for a short time, as the CMHC and MCFC are more portable to other states for licensure and will better serve you in your future practice.

In addition, if you upgrade to a 2019–2020 specialization, you will be required to complete 700 total clinical hours, of which 280, minimally, are client contact.  You may not revert to a previous catalog year once you’ve officially upgraded to one of the new specializations.

Students are encouraged to talk to their advisor about the change. Once decided, fill out a Request to Change form for your state of study and email the completed form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Portland Request to Change Form - Current Students 

SAC/SJ Request to Change ForM - Current Students

2018–2019 Curriculum Change

For the 2018-2019 school year, there are two major updates starting in fall 2018-2019:

1. A title change for the MFT program. 

As of the 2018-2019 school year, the Marriage and Family Therapy program will be phased out. As a current student, you have the option of deciding if you would like to finish out your current MFT program (and graduate with a degree in Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy) or switch into the new degree program Master of Arts in Counseling – Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling (MAC for short).

Switching to the new program could shave up to 5 credits off of your degree completion requirements.

Of note, the 2018-2019 MAC degree maximum allowable transfer or advance standing credits for either the BL/TH subject areas is 8 credits.

2. A transition to a new Bible and Theology curriculum.

In 2017–2018, Western Seminary introduced a new Bible and Theology curriculum. As of 2018–2019, it is being introduced to counseling students.

These new courses consist of BL506, BL507, TH506 and TH507 and are taught on campus. They cover all of the content in the old BL511-513 and TH511-513 series but are designed specifically for counselors—to help you integrate Bible and Theology concepts in working with clients. Overall, the new courses require fewer credit hours than the previous Bible/Theology sequence. 

2017–2018 Curriculum Change

The 2017–2018 curriculum change impacts all Bible and Theology programs, especially the MDiv program.

Next Steps

If you are considering a change to the new 2017-2018 curriculum, we recommend that you take the following steps:

  1. Read through the new academic catalog description and the rationale behind the change.
    It is important for you to understand just how the new curriculum differs from the old one. In most cases, it will benefit you to move to the new curriculum, and we encourage you to consider it. For example, the new 2017-2018 curriculum requires fewer credit hours and may enable you to take fewer courses, depending on which courses you have completed to date. However, the new curriculum also introduces a degree candidacy process for those programs that require ministry formation courses (MDiv and MA/ML), and this may apply to you, depending on which courses you have completed to date.
  2. Consult your advisor about changing into the 2017-2018 curriculum.
    Once you have completed the updated checklist as much as possible, you should be able to compare it against your prior program checklist to see how the curriculum will differ. This curriculum change isn't a "one size fits all" process and really depends on what makes the most sense for your particular situation. Your advisor can help you consider the options and determine what is in your best interest.
  3. Complete the Request to Change to New Curriculum form, and submit it.
    If you determine you want to change to the new 2017-2018 curriculum, we need you to take formal action to declare that you want to make the change. If you don't submit the request, we will assume that you intend to complete the former curriculum requirements. One important aspect to consider is that once you change to the new curriculum requirements: you can't later return to the old requirements so making this decision in consultation with your advisor is helpful. Requests can be submitted starting at any time. 

    Note:  If you are planning to change degree programs (e.g., from MA(BTS) to MDiv 2017–2018 curriculum), then you will need to use the Request to Change Degree Program form.

Forms You May Need


    • Request to Change to New Degree Program
      This is a request to change to a different program than the one to which you are currently enrolled and have been admitted. Admission to Western Seminary is by program, so a change to a different degree requires approval to change to the new degree program and must be done before the start of a term in which the new program takes effect.
    • Academic Petition
      For any adjustments to curriculum requirements that are not addressed by any other form.