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New Student Guide

New Student Guide

Welcome to Western Seminary! 

We are committed to your Gospel-Centered Transformation. Whether your ministry is in a church, a counseling setting or in the marketplace, we desire to develop your conviction in the Gospel, grow your character in the image of Christ, and equip you in ministry and professional competency. It is a pleasure to be a part of your graduate training.

This New Student Guide has been designed to help orient you to life at Western Seminary. Please set aside about 15 minutes to carefully review it before attending the on-campus orientation. 

If you have other questions or would like further assistance, please feel free to contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; one of our team members will be happy to assist you.

Thank you, and again, welcome!

Your Role as a Student

Student Handbook

Our Student Handbook includes all of the important policies and procedures that relate to student life at Western—academic information, guidelines for conduct and character, key contacts and more. It is your responsibility to be familiar with the policies outlined in the Handbook, and it is available online for your reference at any time.

Email Communication

Our primary means of communicating with you will be via email. Through email, we confirm your class registration, make important announcements, respond to financial and academic petitions, and more. Please plan to check your email account often. If you change your email address while attending Western, please change it as soon as possible in S.I.S..

Forms to Complete

As a student at Western, you must complete and submit the following forms, as applicable, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Authorization to Release Information  To protect your privacy, we will never release information about your grades, registration, or student account balance without your advance written permission. If you anticipate that a spouse, employer, or another party may have a legitimate interest in your student records during the course of your studies, please submit this form so that we can work with them accordingly. We encourage you to be wise and use discretion in who has access and to what types of information. 
  • Vaccination Form (Portland Campus Only) The State of Oregon requires that we collect this verification from all degree program students during the first semester of study. We appreciate your assistance in helping us comply. 
  • Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit Memo  Our degree programs are designed to provide comprehensive Bible, theology, ministry and clinical counseling training for students, starting from the basics and building toward advanced concepts. If you graduated from a Bible college or transferred from another graduate school, you may apply for Advanced Standing or Transfer Credit within your first semester at Western Seminary. If you think your educational experience qualifies you to do so, please let us know right away—we don't want you to miss the deadline.

Starting Your Academic Program

We know you may be heading into your time at Western Seminary with more questions than answers. This guide is designed to help answer some of the common questions that we get from incoming students, like yourself.  We hope it equips you for the exciting journey ahead!

How Do I Get Started?

Upon admission, each new student is matched with a staff or faculty member who will serve as his or her advisor. You'll find your advisor's name listed in your acceptance letter and on your S.I.S. profile.

Your advisor serves as your guide and primary source of academic, spiritual and emotional support during the course of your studies at Western. Please plan to meet with your advisor each semester before registering for classes to check-in regarding your degree program progress and discuss scheduling options.

What Classes are Offered Each Semester?

Our Academic Calendar runs on three terms—fall, spring, and summer. Schedules and syllabi for the term can be accessed online on a rolling basis in order to help you plan out your upcoming semester. 

Open Registration is the season in which you prepare for the upcoming term, meet with your advisor, and register for classes. During this time you can add and drop classes as you like. Any registrations approved by advisors are posted the day after open registration closes and tuition fees will be added to our student ledger.  Key term dates are as follows:

Term  Time frame Open Registration Dates Registration/Tuition & Fees Post
Fall Early September to mid-December July 1–31 August 1
Spring Early January to mid-April November 1–30 December 1
Summer Late April/early May to mid-August March 1–31 April 1

To register for classes on S.I.S., click "registration" on the sidebar, at the right-hand side of the screen. Then click the button "Add a course." Then select your campus, semester, type, course, and add to the cart. Once your cart includes all of your desired classes, click "submit;" an email of your selected courses will then be automatically generated to your advisor for approval. Once your advisor approves your courses, you will also receive an email receipt; you will also receive an email receipt from the Business Office once open registration has ended and your tuition fees have posted to your student ledger, but we will cover more on paying tuition later in the guide.

How Much Time Should I Devote to My Studies?

Many people start classes assuming they won't need to make adjustments to their time commitments. 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

We have created a Time Budget Calculator to assist you in evaluating your current commitments in order to aid in this adjustment.

What About Transfer Credit and Advanced Standing?

Transfer credit and advanced standing can allow many students to significantly decrease the number of credits required to complete their degree programs. As you head into your program, take time to explore how either of these options could serve you.

How Do I Pay Tuition?

Tuition is due the Friday before the start of term. You will receive an automatic email from the Business Office once tuition has posted. Tuition is due even if you are waiting on financial aid or a scholarship; credit will be applied to your account once the additional aid is received.

At that time, you have two options for payment:

  1. Pay your tuition in full.
    All payments can be submitted under the Business Office tab in S.I.S.. Making payments online is easy, convenient, secure, and saves time. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit cards; however, there is a 2.65% fee on debit and credit card transactions. To avoid this fee, either select and pay by eCheck or mail a check to Western Seminary, Attn: Cashier, 5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215.

  2. Sign up for a payment plan.
    This option allows you to create a "contract" for payment and spread the cost of your education out over multiple months throughout the semester. There is a $20 administrative fee to initiate a payment plan each semester. Once a plan is initiated, payments must be made by the first of every month. Failure to make a scheduled payment will result in a $50 late fee.

Begin by determining which payment option works best for you; you are able to add a payment plan at any time, should you decide to use one in the future.

If at any time you have any questions regarding your account, the Business Office Cashier is happy to help via phone (503.517.1800) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

If you are a student with VA, WorkSource or other arranged tuition aid, we are here to help certify your tuition needs. Planning and communication are key, so please work with the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in order to ensure that we are able to serve you well.

Let's Talk about Tech

The Student Information System (S.I.S.)

What can I do through the Student Information System (S.I.S.) online?

  • Register for classes
  • Pay tuition
  • Apply for financial aid
  • Contact your advisor
  • View your degree progress
  • Check your grades
  • File academic or financial petitions
  • Update your personal information (e.g. email address, mailing address, etc.)

To access S.I.S., you can always find the link on the bottom of our website. Your login information will be the same username and password you created for your online application. 

Logos Bible Software

For each term you are enrolled in classes, an Educational Resource Fee will be applied to your student ledger. This fee provides you with Logos Bible Software access, S.I.S. and other technology improvements and other library and information resources. Note: Your Logos access will start when the term starts; you'll receive an email invitation to download the software two weeks prior to the start of the term. Upon graduation, it will be yours to keep.

Once you've registered and been approved for your first term, you will receive an official activation email from FaithLife. Follow the instructions in the email to download your software package. If you lose this email or need account help, contact FaithLife customer service at 800-875-6467. They will be able to grant you access.

You can also learn more by accessing the online Logos Training Resources.

Cline-Tunnell Library

Our library belongs to a consortium of five Christian college and seminary libraries. This consortium has merged their holdings into one online database, giving you access to more than 93,000 volumes of text and nearly 230 theological journal subscriptions. You will be able to check out books and access the online database once you have requested and received your student ID card

Writing Guide

All counseling programs adhere to APA Guidelines for writing. All divinity programs follow Turabian style. Resources like Purdue Owl can assist you. Your professors, librarians, and Student Services team are also here to help you along the way.

Policies + Procedures

Your Safety and Security

We recommend that you do not leave valuables visible or in your car while on campus; in addition, we do not recommend leaving your vehicle in the parking lot overnight. While break-ins are rare, we want to help protect your valuables.

Western Seminary has an on-campus caretaker, Chris Smith, who is available to assist students 24 hours a day by calling 503.720.0635. We also invite you to contact the Physical Plant Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., any time safety or security is a concern at 503.459.9676.

Your Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. 

In addition, Western Seminary subscribes to Title IX which states, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance".

Take time to know and understand your rights as a student, as they will serve you in the future.

Lastly, we may publish a campus directory. For your privacy, we only release the directory to current students; however, if you’d rather not be included in the directory, please let us know by sending the Right to Privacy form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Your Learning

Disability Services at Western Seminary is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to programs and services on our campus. We work to create an environment where students with disabilities on our campus are welcomed, valued, and respected by all members of our community.

If you are interested in receiving disability accommodation, you can learn more on our website.

Your Western Seminary Team

The Western Seminary family is committed to serving you throughout your time with us. We are committed to your gospel-centered transformation and want to assist you where we can. With that, there are a number of key contacts that you will want to familiarize yourself with. At any time, feel free to reach out to those contacts, as they are delighted to serve you.

Our First Family Gathering

On-Campus Orientation

Our on-campus Orientation is designed to provide you with the most important information you will need to be successful in your studies at Western Seminary. You will have an opportunity to meet President Randy Roberts and hear firsthand his vision for the seminary and heart for you as a student. Furthermore, you will meet other students in your degree program and learn how your specific program has been designed to equip you for ministry. Finally, you’ll receive some academic advising and gain an overview of your first year and beyond.

Orientation Schedule

New Student Orientation for Fall 2020 will be held on TBD. All incoming students are expected to attend.
Check-in for MA Counseling (and GSD-C) students begins at 8:15 AM and at 9:15 AM for all divinity students.
Lunch will begin at 12 pm. Activites will conclude at 3:15 pm. Guests are welcome.

Sample Schedule

RSVP for Orientation

Are you planning on attending orientation? We want to learn a bit more about you. Complete the Get to Know You form, so we can be prepared to best serve you as you begin your journey at Western Seminary.


You Did It!

Thank you for completing our New Student Guide! 

Wondering about next steps? Download the New Student Checklist. Should you have any questions, we are here to help! Welcome to the family!


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