Students-New-Student-Guide-BW

New Student Guide

Welcome to Western Seminary! 

We're committed to training Christians to guide and strengthen the Church and, forever transforming lives with the Gospel. 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 professtional Competency. It is a pleasure to be a part of your graduate training. Please know that our staff and faculty are available to assist you each step of the way.

This New Student Guide has been designed to help orient newly-admitted students to campus life (in person or online!) at Western. Please set aside about 15 minutes to carefully review it before attending the on-campus orientation. We believe that the information we have provided you throughout the guide is essential to your success as a Western student – which leads us to require that everyone read it before registering for classes. If you have other questions or would like further assistance, please feel free to call the Student Services office at 503.517.1800 and one of our team members will be happy to assist you.

Provided you have been admitted, we encourage you to login to our Student Information System (S.I.S.), and register for classes upon completion of this guide. 

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 -- such as academic information, guidelines for conduct and character, special student programs and benefits. It's available online and we ask you familiarize yourself with its contents. You'll find the Student Handbook at https://www.westernseminary.edu/handbook.

In addition to providing you with helpful information and resources, the Student Handbook serves as a contract between you and the school.

Email Communication

Our primary means of communicating with you will be via email – confirming your registration in a class, letting you know about a course schedule change, sending the Portland campus newsletter, or responding to Financial and Academic petitions. Please plan to check your email account often. If you change your email address while attending Western, please let us know right away. Updates can be made from your S.I.S. account. If you don’t have an email address and need help creating an account, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.

Forms You Need to Complete

As a student at Western, you must complete and submit the following forms. If you've already completed these forms, you are not required to submit them again. Please bring your completed copies to our on-campus Orientation or mail them to us, attention Student Services, at Western Seminary Portland Campus, 5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, Oregon, 97215.
  • Student ID Card  Your student ID card will allow you to check out books with our partner libraries and receive student discounts at local businesses.
  • 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 other 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.
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccination Form  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 and theology 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. Additional Advance Standing Information

Starting Your Program of Study

Academic Advising

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 admittance letter. Your advisor serves as your advocate 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. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please feel free to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for assistance. Additional Advising Information

Classes to Take First

We've created a few resources to help you start selecting your courses now.

If you register for something now, and your advisor later indicates that it would be better to change your course selection, you will be able to do so at no charge. Drop fees are waived during your first semester of enrollment. 

Preparing for Academic Success

Many people start classes assuming the won't need to make adjustments to their time commitments. Graduate studies are robust and require more reading than in undergraduate work. For every credit hour a student takes, there is at least two, if not three hours of outside reading and homework required. Here are a few additional resources to supplement your readiness:

Course Schedules

Course schedules for the entire academic year and by campus are posted online and will appear on S.I.S.. Refer to course schedules and descriptions to learn which classes are available for audit, where each class will be held, whether or not a particular course has a prerequisite, and the schedule for each class we offer in a given semester. Course schedules are subject to change, and are regularly updated. A class is not guaranteed unless minimum registration is met.

Your Online Gateway to Registration and Information:

The Student Information System or what we call... S.I.S.

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

  • See the name and contact information of your advisor and the degree program you are pursuing
  • Register for classes by adding and dropping classes to your registration cart
  • Interact with the Business Office to see your account ledger and pay tuition
  • Apply for Financial Aid (loans and grants) and review past or pending aid disbursements
  • Review your course history and degree progress
  • Check your grades
  • File and request any academic or financial petitions
  • Receive notices of account holds on needed action or for messages regarding academic warnings/probation, advisor meetings, etc.
  • Update your personal information in our records (address, email address, phone number, etc…)

To access S.I.S., you can always find the link from our website. Look in the upper right hand corner. Your login information will be the same username and password you created for your online application. If you ever forget, use the "forgot my username or password" links. If you don't think you have an account, click "I don't have an account" and the system should recognize your next steps needed. If you're ever totally lost about logging on to S.I.S. contact the Student Services team at your campus or Western's front desk at 503.517.1800. 

Specifics on Class Registration

Our Academic Calendar and school year runs on three terms - fall, spring and summer. Traditionally fall term stars in early September, spring term starts in early January, and summer term starts in late April or early May, depending on calendar year.

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. 

It's encouraged newly admitted students do much of their planning durning open registration, but please know that as a new student you have more time. New Students have until the start of term to complete registration.  

Term  Time frame Open Registration Dates Registration/Tuition & Fees Post
fall Early September to mid-December July 1 - 31 August 1st
spring Early January to mid-April November 1 - 30 December 1st
summer Late April/early May to mid-August* March 1 - 31 April 1st
* Note in Summer term we may offer classes that meet in shorter time frames (sections) they are all considered summer courses.

When registering for your second term at Western, you'll be considered at "returning student" with us. There are a few things to be aware of as a returning student. (This is outlined in the Student Handbook, so you can refer to it later if needed.)

  • Returning students need to register for at least one class during open registration.
  • If returning register does not register for one class during open registration, a $50 late registration fee may be assessed.
  • Course add and drop fees may apply outside of open registration. S.I.S. and tuition/fees page outlines these fees.

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." Select your campus, semester, type, course, add the the cart. Be sure to 'submit' the class(es) to your advisor for approval. You will be notified via email once your courses have been approved by your advisor. You will also receive an email from the Business Office Cashier when tuition fees have posted to your student ledger. Tuition is always due the Friday before the start of the term.

If you have any questions or would like additional assistance, please feel free to contact the Registrar's Office: Sandy Foster at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503.517.1810.

Before Classes Start

Course Syllabi

Once you’ve registered for classes, please download and review the course syllabi for each of your classes. Many of our courses will require that you have already read material or completed initial coursework before the first day of class. Contact information for your professors and important notices will appear in the syllabus also. The syllabus serves as your contract and informs you of your responsibilities as a student.

Textbooks and Required Resources

You can find required textbooks and resources on your course syllabi. We recommend that you purchase your books online. Websites like Amazon.com often enable you to purchase your books at discounted rates.

By Federal Law schools are required to disclose textbooks and expected retail costs. We list each required text or resource in the syllabus. Expenses for textbooks may be upward of $300 per semester. Please be aware that should you decide not to enroll in a class or should your book requirements change, you will be responsible for returning your books or any expenses incurred. We invite students to use books on reserve in the library and network with peers through our Facebook group to purchase used books as needed.

Logos Bible Software

For each term you are enrolled in classes, an Educational Resource Fee will be applied to your student ledger. This fee goes to provide you with Logos Bible Software access (when enrolled in eligible degree program), 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. Upon graduation it will be yours to keep.)

Access Logos Training Resources online under the Students/Resources section.

Paying Tuition and Fees

Tuition is due in full by the Friday before the start of term. S.I.S. will post tuition due date as will your email from the Business Office.

We highly encourage students to pay their tuition safely and securely through S.I.S.. You may pay by echeck for free or use a debit/credit card for a service charge. TuitionPay is an option for monthly payments for eligible degree students. Detailed payment options can be found on our tuition payment page. Please feel free to contact our Registrar Office or Business Office cashier at 503.517.1800 to discuss your balance, make a payment or ask questions related to tuition.  

If you are waiting for Financial Aid loans are grants, you are still expected to pay and or make arrangements for your tuition bill by the Friday before term deadline. One way to do this is to use TuitionPay. It is to your advantage to make tuition pay arrangement earlier so less is due at the start of the contract. Refer to TuitionPay for complete details. 

If you are a student with VA, WorkSource or other arranged tuition aid, we are hear to help certify your tuition needs. Planning and communication are key, so please work with the Western VA representative for your campus and the Registrar's Office. Additional Information for Veterans

Campus Life

Parking

Our Portland campus is easily accessible by bicycle, bus and automobile. If you choose to drive to Western Seminary, you will not need a parking permit to use the parking lots. You are welcome to park in the paved parking lots on the north and east sides of the campus. As a courtesy to our neighbors, we ask students not to park on the north side of Madison Street or the east side of 57th Avenue.

We recommend that you do not leave valuables visible or in your car while on campus. While break-ins are rare, we are on a campus located in the city and we have a fair amount of people walking and biking in the neighborhood. It is also recommended or your vehicle in the parking lots overnight. If you ever have concerns for parking or saftey, please contact Physical Plant Director, Cliff Stein, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at 503.459.9676 (mobile number).

Student Center & Coffee Closet

Western Seminary’s Student Center is located in the Johnson Chapel basement. The Student Center is designed as a space for you to read, visit with friends, check your email, and/or utilize our vending machines. Daily newspapers are also on the tables avaliable for your perusal. We are in process of remodeling this space and hope to make improvements to add to your comfort, study and time on campus. Additional reading areas and meeting space can be found in the library.

The Coffee Closet is one of our newest spaces gifted by the Student Ministry Team. Located on the 2nd floor of Bueermann Hall near our classrooms, the coffee and tea is free and occasional sweet treats are found there.

Cline-Tunnell Library

Our library belongs to a consortium of five Christian college and seminary libraries which have merged their holdings into one online database, giving you access to more than 93,000 volumes and nearly 230 theological journal subscriptions. We have valuable resources on the Bible, theology, counseling, and a selection of entertaining fiction as well. You will be able to check out books and access the online database once you have requested and received your student ID card. Please click HERE for library hours.

Campus Safety and Security

Western has an on-campus caretaker, Chris Smith, who is available to assist students 24 hours a day. If you would like an escort to your car after an evening class, or if your car battery dies and you need a jump start, or if you feel your safety is threatened in any way, please call Chris at 503.720.0635. We also invite you to contact Physical Plant Director, Cliff Stein, any time safety or security is a concern, at 503.459.9676.

Campus Directory/Rights to Privacy

Twice a year we publish a directory of all Portland campus students, staff and faculty. For your privacy, we only release the directory to current students, and welcome you to opt out if you prefer that your photograph, telephone number, email or address not be included. If you’d rather not be included in the directory, please let us know by submitting the Right to Privacy form to our office.

Attending Orientation

The Purpose of 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. During fall and spring orientation, you will have an opportunity to meet President Randy Roberts and hear firsthand his vision for the seminary and prayer for you as a student. At all of our orientations, you will meet other students in your degree program and learn how your specific program has been designed to equip you for ministry. You will learn about the distinctive elements of your program and have your questions answered. Finally, you’ll receive some academic advising and gain an overview of your first year and beyond.

Orientation Schedule

New Student Orientation is usually scheduled the Thurdsay before the start of term.  
Spring 2018 - January 4th
MA Counseling (and GSD-C) students meet at 12 p.m. for program orientation.
All other students meet at 1 p.m.
We will end with a community dinner from 5 - 6 p.m..

Please mark your calendar now and save the date for this important event.

RSVP for Orientation

We appreciate your timely response to our Orientation RSVP so that we can prepare a meal for you and your guests. Your spouse, significant other or friend is warmly invited to join you – in fact, we have special programs designed for student spouses and would love to meet your husband or wife and have a chance to share about the opportunities available for preparation as a partner in ministry. We do not offer childcare during Orientation. If your children are not comfortable sitting and listening for extended periods of time, you may want to make alternate arrangements for them. They are more than welcome to come to the community dinner.

RSVP Online

Our Staff: We're Here to Help You

Now that we’ve provided you with a general overview of seminary life, we invite you to contact us directly to answer additional questions or provide further assistance. Don’t know where to start? Feel free to call the office at 503.517.1800 and a Student Services team member will be happy to connect you with the appropriate staff member.

Portland Campus Directory

At A Glance Resources

Thank you for completing our New Student Guide!

Please review the following links to see which resources may be of interest to you.