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Students Online Orientation

San Jose Online Orientation

San Jose Online Orientation

The Student Services team would like to welcome you to Western Seminary!  We are delighted that you have chosen us for your educational and ministerial pursuits.  As a student at Western Seminary, you will receive the highest quality of theological education available.  Our faculty members desire to personally invest in your life and to serve you with their expertise and wisdom in their respective fields.

As a new student, we would like to equip you with everything you need to make your transition as smooth as possible.  Students at Western need to know: how to register for classes, where to access grades, how our advising works, how tuition is paid, and much more.

The purpose of this orientation is to help you become familiar with the way things work at Western Seminary.  If you have not yet applied or been admitted, please contact our Admissions Department for further assistance.

We believe this Online Orientation and the time spent in preparation will have significant benefits throughout your time at Western.  Please read this orientation carefully, and feel free to contact us afterwards if you have any questions that have not been answered. 

Student Information System (S.I.S.)

The Student Information System (S.I.S.) is your online student portal, where you can access your academic records as well as other important information. To name a few, you can update your contact information, register for classes, check grades, access course history, pay tuition, submit academic/financial petitions,  and submit application to graduate, through your S.I.S. account.

Student Handbook

The Student Handbook includes all of the important policies and procedures concerning student life at Western -- from academic information, to guidelines for conduct and character, to special student programs and benefits. It is available online and we ask that you familiarize yourself with its contents. In addition to providing you with helpful information and resources, the Student Handbook serves as a contract between you and the school.



Western Seminary uses e-mail to notify you of important information and updates. This includes, but not limited to, confirmation of your course registrations, changes to your class schedule, important deadlines and campus updates. Therefore, it is imperative that you check your e-mail regularly. You may also receive e-mails from the Western family in Portland, San Jose, and Sacramento.


You are welcome to schedule an appointment with a staff or faculty member anytime. All staff and faculty members schedule their own appointments, but if you need assistance, please feel free to call the San Jose campus' main office number at 408.356.6889 and listen for the extension that fits your needs. 

E-mail is Western's primary source of communication. Be sure to read all e-mails with the suffix.

Academic Calendar

Western holds three terms each academic year: fall, spring, and summer.  

Open Registration

Students are encouraged to register for classes during Open Registration. During this period, students may add/drop courses without incurring any fees. Students who do not register for any courses during Open Registration will be charged a one-time $50 late fee when adding courses after this period. 

Open Registration Periods 
Fall Semester: July 
Spring Semester: November 
Summer Semester: March

It is important to register early because of the following reasons and more:

  • Some courses involve assignments to be completed prior to the first class session.
  • Some courses may be in jeopardy of being canceled due to low registrations.
  • Books need to be ordered in time for course assignments to be completed.

Academic Advising

Meeting and connecting with your academic advisor regularly is vital to your success as a student and to achieving your educational goals. You should reach out to your academic advisor upon being admitted to Western Seminary and prior to registering for classes each semester. Your advisor will guide you through course selections, recommend sequence of courses, and help you maintain a balanced courseload in light of your family, work, and ministry commitments. 

You are highly encouraged to work with your advisor to map out your plan for graduation. The Graduation Plan (Grad Plan) is a roadmap that outlines which courses you will be taking in a given semester. While it is helpful to follow the Grad Plan closely to stay on track, we know that life circumstances may require some modifications to the Grad Plan.

Some of the key questions your advisor may go over with you are:

  • How many credits do you want to take at a time?
  • When do you want to graduate?


How to Register 

Students register for courses through their SIS account.

  1. Log into your S.I.S. account
  2. Once logged in, you’ll see the main page with your general information (name, student ID number, address, phone, e-mail address, degree program, and advisor name).
  3. On the right hand side of the page, under Student Services, click on Registration.
  4. Click Add Courses
  5. From the drop down menu, select the desired campus location, semester, and type of course (credit/audit), and then click View.
  6. Read the important information displayed on the page and acknowledge by clicking I HAVE READ THE ABOVE button.
  7. The list of courses available for registration will be diplayed.
  8. To select the course you would like to register for, click Add to Cart (located next to the code and description of the course).
  9. To add more courses, click Add More.
  10. Once you’ve selected all your courses, click Review Cart.
  11. Click the Submit for Registration button to complete your course registration (your registration will not be completed without this last step!).

Your S.I.S. username is your firstname.lastname, for example: western.seminary

If this is your first time logging into S.I.S. and/or if you do not have an account yet, please click on SemConnect User Account System to create one. You will be required to enter your personal information. Upon submission, you will receive a notification, prompting you to create a new password. Once you have done so, you will re-login using your new username and the password you have just created.

If you run into any problems with S.I.S. registration, please contact Student Services.

Course Offerings

We believe in making seminary education more accessible and therefore, we offer traditional, online, as well as hybrid courses. Traditional courses are courses that meet on campus. Online courses do not meet on campus; content is delivered through video lectures while students interact and collaborate with fellow classmates and instructors through virtual asynchronous discussions within the online classroom. Hybrid courses integrate online course content with intensive off-campus class sessions, combining the strengths of distance education with in-class interaction with other students and faculty.

As a student, you are welcome to take classes offered at any of Western Seminary physical campus locations and online.

Residence Requirements

The master's degree programs require a certain number of credits to be completed "in residence" (i.e. on campus). Please refer to Degrees and Programs to view the residence requirements for your degree program. To fulfill residence requirements, students must take courses that are considered residential courses. 

Residential Courses

Residential courses are classes that meet at one of Western Seminary's physical campus locations (San Jose, Sacramento, or Portland). Hybrid courses are considered residential courses.

Non-Residential Courses

Non-residential are classes that do not meet on campus, for example: online courses. Courses that are offered via live web-stream to the campus are considered non-residential courses.

Course Syllabi & Books

Course syllabi are posted on the Syllabi page as well as on the Schedules page. Reviewing course syllabi, in conjunction with consulting with your advisor, is a great way to help you make a decision about which courses to register for. Syllabi include course descriptions, objectives, assignments, as well as a list of required textbooks for each course.

Course Syllabi

Western Seminary's San Jose campus does not have a campus bookstore. You can purchase the required course textbooks through or similar websites. The Amazon links for the required textbooks are provided in the course syllabi.

A Great Giving Opportunity
If you would like to help support the training mission of Western Seminary, you can use this Amazon search link to order your books and other products from As an Amazon Associate, the Western Seminary system in Oregon and California benefits from each qualifying purchase - and all at no cost to you!

Tuition and Payments

Tuition Due Date

Tuition is due in full the Friday before the start of the semester, regardless of when the class meets for the first time. For example, when the summer semester begins on Saturday, May 2, tuition is due in full by Friday, May 1. 

Students may not obtain transcripts and/or attend classes in any subsequent semester if they have not completed payment for courses already taken. Please be diligent about planning your finances each and every semester.


Please log into your S.I.S. account to check your balance and make payment by e-check or credit card (credit card payment is subject to processing fee).

You can also mail a check to Western Seminary, Attn: Cashier's Office, 5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215.

Monthly Payment Plan

Western also provides students with the option of making monthly payments on their tuition. To do so, students are required to sign up and set up the monthly payment plan by Friday before the start of the semester. A nominal fee applies to each semester a payment plan is set up for.


Financial Aid

We make every effort to keep the tuition at Western Seminary as low as possible. In fact, a significant portion of your educational costs are not even charged to you as tuition, they are subsidized by donors who have chosen to support students like you. Nevertheless, there are still costs involved and our Financial Aid Office maintains a webpage with a variety of options for tuition assistance. Options range from scholarships, loans, grants, and more.

Federal Student Aid

If you qualify for federal financial aid, or plan to apply for a federal loan, please be aware of the number of credits required to continue receiving funding. Students wishing to reapply for a federal loan will must complete at least 2 semesters and 10 credits of training. 

Western Seminary Grants and Scholarship

Students receiving Western Seminary's need-based grant or the President's Pathway Scholarship are required to complete 15 credits over the course of an academic year (three consecutive semesters) to requalify for the following year.

For more information regarding financial aid and its processes, please refer to the Financial Aid Office website or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The financial aid webpage is certainly a great place to start!


Disabilities Accommodation Information

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.

By federal law (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), a person with a disability is any person who:

  1. Has a physical or mental impairment;
  2. Has a record of such impairment; or
  3. Is regarded as having such an impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities such as self-care, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, or learning.

Disability Services reviews requests for academic accommodations due to a disability and makes recommendations as appropriate.

How Do I Apply for Accommodations?
  1. Contact the ADA Coordinator: Michelle Workman | 503.517.1912 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  2. Request documentation and apply for an ADA Accommodation
  3. Submit application to Disability Services
  4. The ADA Coordinator will contact student in regards to accommodation options
  5. If approved, a letter will be generated to the students’ professors
  6. Ongoing support and communication will take place throughout each semester
How Do I Get Tested for Disability?

If you think you might have a disability but have never been tested, contact Ashley Mitchell and she can discuss testing options off-campus. Due to the expertise and time involved, some tests may have a fee which is the responsibility of the student.

Transfer Credit and Advanced Standing/Substitutes

Western Seminary is designed to train students who have never had any previous theological education. However, if you have recently graduated from a Bible college, a Christian university, graduate school or seminary, you may qualify for transfer credit or advance standing. Please review the Transfer Credit & Advanced Standing Memo to find out more about these options.

Transfer Credits

Students who have completed relevant graduate-level studies at another institution may be eligible for transfer credit. Typically, transfer credits are accepted from schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools or regional accrediting associations. For credit to be granted, the student must be admitted to a degree program, and the previous work must be approximately parallel (80% or higher equivalence) to the content of a Western Seminary course. If you believe you are eligible to receive transfer credit, please submit the Transfer Credit Request Form prior to or during your first semester of enrollment at Western Seminary.

Advanced Standing/Advanced Substitutes

Students who enter seminary with knowledge of the Bible, theology, hermeneutics, etc., may be eligible for advanced standing and/or advanced substitutes. Students will be tested on their current knowledge of the course content, usually in an informal interview. If the evaluator determines that the student has a competent, current understanding of approximately 80% of the course content, then the student would be eligible for advanced standing and/or advanced substitutes. The following comparison will help you understand the difference between advanced standing and advanced substitutes:

Advanced standing
Credits are waived from the degree program, reducing the number of credits required for degree completion.

Advanced substitutes
The substitution of advanced divisional courses for required courses (no actual reduction in credits).

Applicants or admitted students who believe they may be qualified for advanced standing/advanced substitutes should submit the Advanced Standing Request Form.

Please note that students must complete advanced standing assessments prior to or during their first semester of enrollment at Western Seminary.


We hope that this online orientation helps prepare you as you begin your studies at Western. We understand that more questions may arise along the way. The San Jose Students page will be an excellent resource for you. At the same time, please also feel free to contact our Student Services staff at 408.356.6889, ext. 405.

We want to pray for you. You are now part of the Western learning community and family, and we are honored to walk alongside you in your educational journey. We know that you have already invested much time seeking God throughout this process and we encourage you to continue to do so. Please feel free to share any prayer needs or requests. We believe that "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

Mandatory New Student Orientation for Summer 2020 Students:
Friday, May 1, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Counseling Program Orientation Starts at 9:00 a.m.


To complete and confirm completion of this online orientation, please take the Orientation Quiz by clicking the button below.