Questions to Ask a Seminary

The Character of the Seminary

  • Are you affiliated with a university?
  • Are you an independent seminary?
  • Are you sponsored by a particular denomination?
  • Were you founded by a particular denomination?
  • What is your main purpose? Do you prepare students for ministry, or for an academic vocation, or both?
  • What do your students do after graduation? Where do they pastor? Where do they go for graduate work? Do they go into para-church ministries (InterVarsity, Young Life, etc.?) How many become missionaries? What other vocations do they pursue?
  • Do you have a Statement of Faith? If so, are graduates required to subscribe to it? Do you have official policies on homosexuality, women’s ordination, etc.? (If you are concerned about a particular issue, be sure to ask.)
  • How would you describe the theological environment at your school? The spiritual atmosphere?

The Student Body

  • How many students attend your seminary? Do they commute, live on campus, close to campus? (This strongly affects the student ethos.)
  • How old are your students? How many come straight from undergraduate programs?
  • How many (what percentage) are in the M.A., M.Div., M.Th., D.Min., etc?
  • How many part-time, full-time students?
  • How many work?
  • How long do students take to finish a degree?
  • What denominations do your students come from? How many men? Women? What races are represented in your students? Foreign countries?

The Faculty

  • What is the faculty/student ratio?
  • What percentage of your faculty has terminal degrees in their fields?
  • Where did they get their education?
  • How many have pastoral experience?
  • How many men? Women?

The Curriculum

  • What degrees do you offer? What specialized programs do you offer? (Youth ministry, counseling, etc., Ask about your particular field of interest)
  • What courses are required? How many electives can I take?
  • Can I specialize in Old Testament, Theology, Church History, Counseling, etc.?
  • What languages are required?
  • Will I be able to skip some (introductory) courses because of my Westmont education?
  • Is field education a part of the curriculum? What kinds of placements are available? Do you help students find placements? Is there a faculty-student mentoring program?

Finances

  • How much does it cost? Semester or Quarter system? Financial aid?
  • What is the average debt of graduating students?