New Student Guide - All Campuses

Welcome to Western Seminary! 

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.

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!

Please set aside about 15 minutes to carefully review it before beginning your time with us.

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(s), make important announcements, respond to financial and academic petitions, and more.  Please plan to check your email account often, and on occasion, verify that any key emails did not end up in your spam/junk folder. All new students will receive a email address. Western requires that this email be used rather than a personal email address.  

Consider Transfer Credit and Advanced Standing

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. Transfer credit and advanced standing can allow many students to significantly decrease the number of credits required to complete their degree programs.

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. Please note that transfer requests typically take 6-8 weeks to process, so be sure to submit yours early!

For more information, review the Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit Memo.

Forms to Complete

The following forms must be completed and submitted, 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, under FERPA, 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. 
  • Right to Privacy While we do not currently publish a student directory, in the event that we would, you have the right to remove any information from that directory. This form allows you to state your specific preferences if desired.
  • Vaccination Form  (Required for 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. 

Starting Your Academic Program

How Do I Get Started?

Starting Your Academic Program

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. Students are required to connect with their advisor each semester before registering for classes to check-in regarding degree program progress and discuss scheduling options.

What Classes are Offered Each Semester?

Our Academic Calendar runs on three semesters (or terms)—fall, spring, and summer. Schedules and syllabi for the term can be accessed online, when available, in order to help you plan out your upcoming semester. 

Open Registration is the season in which you prepare for the upcoming term, connect with your advisor, and register for classes. During this time you can add and drop classes as you like. 

Worried that you did not register during open registration? No worries! There is grace for your first semester; be sure you register for your classes when you are able, and mark your calendar for future open registrations.

Key semester dates, for future reference, 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 the "Registration" tab on the sidebar, at the right-hand side of the screen. Then click the button "Add Courses." 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.

A note about COVID-19: In order to comply with state safety guidelines, we are offering limited flex classes on Portland campus and when able classes in Northern California. For more information about Western during this pandemic look to our COVID-19 updates.

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: 


credit hour 


hours of instruction time 


hours of out-of-class study time 

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

How Do I Pay Tuition?

Tuition is due in full by the first Friday of the semester. You will receive an automatic email from the Business Office once tuition and fees have been 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.

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.

eCheck or Check
The recommended method of payment is eCheck or check. Checks must be mailed to Western Seminary, Attn: Cashier, 5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215.

Credit or Debit Card
Western Seminary accepts Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. However, please note that there is a 2.65% fee on debit and credit card transactions.

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. A payment plan must be set up no later than the Friday before the start of the semester.

If you need to make adjustments to your payment plan after the semester has started, you can do so by logging in to S.I.S., canceling your current payment plan, and setting up a new plan.

Once a plan is initiated, payments must be made to the plan by the first of every month, manually (by eCheck, check, debit or credit card). There is no automatic payment option at this time. Please set a reminder accordingly, as failure to make a scheduled payment will result in a $50 late fee.

If you have questions regarding your account, the Business Office Cashier is happy to help via phone (503.517.1800 ext. 1888) 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. in order to ensure that we are able to serve you well.

What Does the Educational Resource Fee Cover?

For each term you are enrolled in classes, an Educational Resource Fee will be applied to your student ledger. This fee, among other things, provides you with Logos Bible Software access, S.I.S., additional technology improvements, library resources, and information resources. The fee does not apply for Non-Degree or Coaching students.


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. phone number, mailing address, etc.)
  • So much more!

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

Stellic Degree Planning Software

Stellic is a comprehensive degree planning tool that allows you to: 

  • Plan your degree interactively by dragging, dropping, and adding courses between semesters to keep track of prerequisites, constraints and typical course offerings. 
  • Track your progress toward degree completion, including viewing completed in-progress and remaining requirements for your program.
  • Plan courses that fit your schedule.
  • Chat directly with your advisor. 


Get Started with Stellic

To start using the Stellic degree planning platform, click the button below. Then login using your Western Seminary credentials -- the same credentials that you use to login to S.I.S.

Login to Stellic

Logos Bible Software

Logos Bible Software 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. If you register after this point, you will receive your login within one week of registering.

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.

The Library and Primo

The Library and Primo

Western Seminary students have access to more than 50,000 print volumes of texts, access to over 180,000 e-books, and thousands of journals through the database. Head to the Library page to utilize these resources.

The online database Primo is a discovery service that provides one-stop searching for library resources. You can access electronic, full-text resources directly through your browser.

Portland and Sacramento students can also utilize Primo to locate physical items at their respective campuses, whereas San Jose students can use the San Jose Library Catalog to search for physical items available at the San Jose Campus.

Be sure to take advantage of these resources throughout your time with us!

Policies + Procedures

Your Safety and Security

We recommend that you do not leave valuables visible or in your car while on campus. While break-ins are rare, we want to help protect your valuables.

In addition, we recommend walking to your car in pairs at night. If you do not feel comfortable at any time, please contact your campus-specific safety representative or, in the event of an emergency, call 911.

If at any point, you are on campus and have a safety or security concern, we also invite you to report the concern by contacting the following individuals:

  • Portland | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Campus Security, 503.517.1878
  • Sacramento and San Jose | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Executive Dean NorCal, 916.488.3720 x307

Your Rights

Your Rights

In addition to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 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." In addition, it offers a variety of information regarding our sexual harassment policies and procedures.

Take time to know and understand your rights as a student, as they will serve you in the future. We are here if you have any concerns.

Your Learning

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

You can learn more about disability accommodations, and how to request them, 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. At any time, feel free to reach out to one of the key contacts at your campus:

Writing Guide

Western Seminary has an official writing resources for all students. All counseling programs adhere to APA Guidelines for writing. All ministry 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.

Our First Gathering

New Student Orientation and Global Campus Threshold Week

On Campus Orientation

Our new student orientation, held on zoom during COVID-19 restrictions, is mandatory for all new students. The orientation will provide you with the most important information you need to know as a student and also to be successful in your studies. Also, this is an opportunity for you to meet your fellow classmates, faculty, and staff who will walk alongside you throughout your time at Western Seminary.

Threshold Week is a week long time for Global (Online) campus students to gather on Portland's campus for additional orientation and classes. Due to COVID-19, we are unable to meet on campus at this time. Your advisor will provide information regarding adjustments to the Threshold Week.

Your New Student Checklist

Beyond reviewing this New Student Guide, there are a number of things that you can do to set yourself up for success as you enter your time at Western Seminary. All of your important next steps can be found on the New Student Checklist. 

Keep this checklist on hand so you can see what you have yet to do to be ready for your first semester here.


Campus-Specific Information

There is also important information that is specific to your campus.

To be sure that you've reviewed all information related to your campus, please select your campus below.


You Did It!

Once you've downloaded the New Student Checklist and reviewed your campus-specific information, you've officially completed the New Student Guide and are that much closer to starting your studies with us.

If there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

Welcome to the family!

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