Answering Your Questions

I am an MA/MFT student. How does this affect me and my program requirements?

As of fall 2018, the MA/MFT program will be phased out so students are encouraged to move to the MA in Counseling program. None of the CNS course requirements change for either the 2017-18 or 2018-19 catalog. However, if you haven't yet completed your Bible and theology courses, there are some changes that actually may reduce the number of credits required for your program. In addition, the new Bible/theology courses are designed specifically for you as you integrate biblical truth with the counseling profession. Your advisor or program director can help you plan your schedule. You can also plan it using these guides:

  • If you have taken ALL your Bible and theology credits, you will need to do NOTHING more.
  • If you have NOT YET started your Bible and theology credits, we suggest you begin with the new Bible and theology courses starting in fall 2018.
  • If you have taken SOME of your Bible and theology credits and you change the MAC program, you will now ONLY be required to take 8 credits worth (instead of the 12-13 credits required in the MFT program). The Registrar's Office can confirm how your prior Bible/theology classes will convert to the new program requirements.

    See the MAMFT program conversion chart for more information on how the old BLS/THS classes (offered prior to fall 2017) convert to the 2017-18 Bible & theology curriculum.

I am a current student, can I switch to an updated degree program?

If you are a student graduating in the current school year, the new programs don't begin until fall of the next school year, so you will still graduate under your current program.

If you are a student planning to graduate next school year or beyond, then after you review the new curriculum and degree requirements, you can set up a meeting with your advisor to see if switching to the new degree programs is in your best interest. In preparing for your advisor meeting, review the degree audit on S.I.S. to see where you currently stand and how your completed coursework converts into the new degree requirements. Degree requirements for the new program can also be provided for you as needed. 

After talking with your advisor you want to formally change programs, you will need to turn documentation letting us know. 

Please note: You must be currently enrolled as a M.Div., MA(BTS), MA/ML, MFT/MAC student to transfer into new curriculum for those programs. All non-degree, GSC, or GSD students simply take courses as offered and when admission requirements have been met, contact the admissions team for how to apply for one the full degree programs.

If I decide to change to a newer catalog, can I change my mind later?

Good question. Once you request and are approved to change from the current program into the new catalog, no, you may not change back. This is one of the conditions you will agree to in the when submitting the request to change. 

How do I complete a program audit for my degree?

A program audit helps you get an idea of where you stand in your current program and what's left to complete before graduation. Use the degree planning tool in S.I.S. to see when you completed each course requirement and how it meets a requirement for your degree. The courses left to take will stand out as they will not have completion dates. If you are considering a new program, your advisor can help you run a sample audit for a new degree. If you and your advisor have specific questions, you can contact your student service team and/or Michelle Workman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Can you tell me about the new course number system?

In addition to improving our core content and focusing our training, we've also made some administrative updates. You will notice new course ID numbers starting in the 2017-2018 school year. These numbers are more intuitive and give a student indication of when it’s best to take a class. For example, the 501 classes are best to take in your first year of coursework. You'll also find that some of the courses will have new titles, as those courses are part of the updated curriculum for these programs. Use the conversion charts to see the equivalencies from the old curriculum to the new.

How do these changes affect online degree programs, specifically?

Threshold Courses & Orientation:

  • Online degree students are still required to come to Portland for six days during their first year to attend orientation and the lectures of the threshold courses. Those who are planning to come for orientation and threshold week in summer 2017 will take MFM500 Discovering and Developing Your Ministry Potential and SFS501 Learning to Love God and Others. When the new curriculum goes into effect in fall 2017, students will then begin taking MF501 Introduction to Theological Study and Ministry Formation and CS501 Loving God and Others.

Online MA(BTS) Degree Students:

  • Online campus students who are under the new curriculum of the Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) program are required to sit in on the lectures of MF501 Introduction to Theological Study and Ministry Formation during orientation and threshold week, taking the courses as a pass/no pass course. In this case, MF501 will count towards the residency requirements of those online MA(BTS) students, even though the pass/no pass status of their registration will not accrue credit hours towards completion of the degree. To receive a Pass, students must complete learning projects assigned in the course and pay a lab fee.
  • Those online MA(BTS) students who have requested to change to the new curriculum and who are scheduled to come to Portland for the summer 2017 orientation and threshold week have the option to complete MFM500 for "open elective" credit during the summer semester or they may postpone their trip to Portland until the new course MF501 is offered in fall 2017 or later.

Online M.Div. Degree Students:

  • Students in the online Master of Divinity program must still take at least four credit hours of residency courses on the Portland Campus during the middle of their program. Students can choose any four or more credits within their program requirements that meet on the Portland Campus.

Capstone Courses:

  • All online degree students are still required to return to Portland in spring semester of their final year to attend the lectures of their capstone course, TH504 Integrating Ministry and Theology. For students in the online MA(BTS) program: Exegetical and Open tracks, TH504 will therefore occupy two credits of “open elective” in the degree requirements.

I have already taken some MFM courses. What is required for the degree candidacy process for me?

If you have already completed MFM500 and MFM501-2, then nothing else is required unless you want to continue the ministry formation sequence. Keep in mind that any ministry formation courses following the first two courses are optional, however many students appreciate the formative environment that these courses provide and may choose to continue.

If you haven't yet completed MFM501-2 by the end of summer 2017, you will need to register for the next appropriate course in the ministry formation sequence and then participate in the degree candidacy evaluation process (more details forthcoming, but this is designed to help the formation and integration of your learning within your ministry context). These courses are offered Pass/No Pass and carry no academic credit, and are designed to promote the formation required to prepare for the degree candidacy evaluation. They are strongly encouraged until degree candidacy has been achieved.

If you decide to stay in the current program that requires four semesters of MFM coursework (MFM501-4), you will still need to complete four credits of ministry formation to complete your degree requirements. We will create special sections of MF531-534 for one credit each (note: they will be zero credits, Pass/No Pass for those in the new curriculum). However, you will probably need to request that we register you manually for these sections since they may not be available for registration via S.I.S.. In this case, fill out an academic petition to request being added to this class manually. 

If I took part or all of the prior systematic theology series, how would a change to the new curriculum impact me?

Please refer to the conversion charts for your degree program to determine which theology courses would remain for you to take within the new curriculum. Also note that the new curriculum requires you to complete 12 credit hours within TH501-502-503, which is two more credit hours than the prior systematic theology series THS501-502-503. In order to reach the new total of 12 credits, you may have to take an elective in biblical or theological studies. For example, if you completed THS501-502-503 for 12 credits, you may take an elective for 2 credits in biblical studies (BL5XX) or theological studies (TH5XX).

What other things do I need to consider before changing to new curriculum?

Glad you asked. Most students will benefit from changing to the newer curriculum and degree requirements. Some however, may need to make modifications. Read thru these instances and see if any of them apply to your circumstances. 

Students receiving Financial Aid Loans or Grants:  Financial Aid requirements may mean you have to maintain a certain credit load. Check with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what credit loads per semester are required for your circumstances.

Students in Chaplaincy Track:  While most will have not problems with our new degree requirements, it would be wise to check with your service branch or hospital system to see if they require specific requirements different from ours.

Students wanting to pursue a Th.M.:  If you have questions about the requirements for a Master of Theology (Th.M.) from Western Seminary review our Th.M. information page. Some programs may ask students to meet minimum credit standards. Professor Todd Miles at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. can answer Western specific questions. 

International Students:  International students may need to stay within certain credit loads and residency hours. Recheck your requirements and refer questions to International Student Coordinator, Andy Peloquin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If I change to the new curriculum, will it impact my financial aid?

There are various requirements associated with receiving financial aid. For example, there are minimum credit hours which must be completed per semester, per adjacent semesters, and per academic year, and the requirements vary depend on the type of aid each student receives. As you consider whether to change to a new curriculum, pay careful attention to any financial aid credit hour requirements which pertain specifically to you, and if you have questions, please contact our Financial Aid office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I am an international student. How might a change to the new curriculum impact me?

If you study at a U.S. location of Western under a student visa, there are credit hour requirements to the granting of your visa. As you consider whether to change to the new curriculum, pay careful attention to the availability of courses so that you can continue to meet those credit hour requirements during any semester in which you will study in the U.S. under a student visa. Andy Peloquin, International Student Coordinator (and Dean of Students) can assist with more specific questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When can I start registering for the new curriculum courses?

This summer we will open registration on S.I.S. on March 6th and leave it open until April 6th. You will see old curriculum course numbers and course names for summer term. 

Fall 2018 open registration begins in July. You will start seeing new course numbers and curriculum in S.I.S. at that time. 

Who can I talk to if I need clarification or help?

Your advisor will be a primary resource for you, however if you can't reach them, you can also talk with your Campus Director or Student Services Coordinator.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.