Admissions FAQs

Admissions FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions before Admission:

Q. Do I need a bachelor's degree?

Yes. Westminster is a graduate-level institution and requires a bachelor's degree for admission to all programs.

However, Westminster allows an exception for a limited number of individuals over the age of 30, who have completed five years of ministry experience and 30 undergraduate level academic credits but who do not hold a bachelor's degree, to seek admission to the M.Div. and M.A.C. programs. For more information about this exception, please contact the Admissions Office at admissions@wts.edu.

Q. I graduated from my last institution several years ago and no longer have a professor to complete the required academic reference. Can I ask an employer to complete it instead?

If you have been out of school for more than 4 years, then you may have an employer complete the reference to the best of his or her ability.

Q. Do I have to take the GRE?

Ph.D. applications will not be reviewed without official GRE scores. Applicants to all other programs are not required to take the GRE.

Our institutional code for score reporting purposes is 2976. For more information about the GRE, contact the Educational Testing Service or visit www.gre.org.

Q. Who has to take the TOEFL and TWE exams? Do I have to take them even if I'm a U.S. citizen?

Regardless of your citizenship, if English is not your native language, and English has not been your language of instruction from the primary grades onward, you are required to take the TOEFL and TWE.

You may make arrangements to take the TOEFL and TWE by contacting the Educational Testing Service via the website www.toefl.org, or call 1-800-GO-TOEFL.

Q. What are the required minimum TOEFL and TWE scores for admission to Westminster?

The required scores are as follows:

  • All Master’s level degree and Certificate applicants:
  • TOEFL – iBt 88–89; Computer-based 230; Paper-based 570; TWE – 4.5
  • D.Min. applicants:
  • TOEFL – iBt 88–89; Computer-based 230; Paper-based 570; TWE – 5
  • Th.M. and Ph.D. applicants:
  • TOEFL – iBt 100; Computer-based 250; Paper-based 600; TWE – 5; TSE – 50

 

Q. How long should I expect to be in seminary?

This all depends on your program requirements. Most of our programs of study require proficiency in Greek and Hebrew. Unless you have already learned these languages (and have demonstrated this on proficiency exams), you are required to take these courses in addition to all the required courses in your program. Full-time students can reasonably plan on three years to complete the M.A.R. and four years to complete the M.Div., including language courses.

Q. What college should I attend to prepare for graduate study at Westminster?

Westminster requires that applicants have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. We encourage prospective students to pursue a liberal arts degree before seminary, but a number of our students enter with a background in the sciences. You may wish to ask your pastor to recommend a college that suits your career goals and theological tradition.

Q. For whom is the M.Div. program designed?

The purpose of the M.Div. program is

  1. to train men for the pastoral ministry and to equip them to meet ecclesiastical requirements for ordination (Pastoral Ministry Track);
  2. to train men and women for gospel ministries of a more specialized sort (General Ministries Track), such as counseling, Christian education, youth work, college and university student ministries, and service in urban settings.

 

Q. For whom is the M.A.R. program designed?

The M.A.R. is an academic program which may serve either as a terminal degree (especially appropriate for Christian professionals such as physicians, attorneys, teachers, administrators, writers, and other laymen who desire a solid biblical foundation for the work in which they are or will be engaged) or as a degree leading to further academic work (such as the Th.M., D.Min., or Ph.D.).

Q. For whom is the M.A.B.C. program designed?

The M.A.B.C. is designed to train men and women preparing to serve Christ in occupations other than ordained gospel ministry. This program is a terminal degree and not intended to prepare you for further theological studies. Note that the program does not provide official licensure in counseling.

Q. With what denominations is Westminster affiliated?

Westminster is a non-denominational seminary in the historic Reformed tradition. Our graduates serve in the Presbyterian Church in America, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Korean-American Presbyterian Church, and in nearly 100 other denominations.

Q. What makes Westminster distinct from other institutions?

Westminster has several distinctives that set it apart from other seminaries:

  • A groundbreaking Biblical Counseling program that seeks to apply all theological disciplines to life and ministry;
  • Presuppositional apologetics in the tradition of Cornelius Van Til;
  • Use of the original Hebrew and Greek texts for all Old and New Testament courses and some Systematics courses;
  • Biblical Theology in the tradition of Geerhardus Vos.

Q. Why should I move to the greater Philadelphia area?

The greater Philadelphia area is unique because it is ...

  • near an urban area, ideal for those looking to pursue ministry in such settings;
  • a rich cultural setting with museums, theaters, concert halls, and historic sites;
  • in close proximity to Washington D.C. and New York City.

Q. After I submit my application, when will I know if I am admitted?

Once your master’s level application is complete, decisions generally take about four to six weeks. Ph.D., Th.M., and D.Min. application decision times vary depending on the meeting times of the selection committees.

Q. Can I earn or begin a degree through distance learning?

Westminster offers distance-learning courses only for those who live out of the area and want to begin the M.Div. or M.A.R. degree before matriculating to our campus to complete their studies. A limited number of courses are offered via this format.

Q. My church is very large, and my pastor does not know me well enough to write a church reference for me. How can I get a church reference?

While a pastor is our preferred church reference, we will also accept a reference from an elder, deacon, or other church leader. Please attach a note explaining why your pastor is unable to complete the reference for you.

Q. Will my other graduate credits transfer to Westminster?

Graduate courses in religion will sometimes transfer to Westminster. The faculty makes decisions about transfer of credit after an applicant has been admitted to a program. Greek and Hebrew courses do not transfer, but students may test out of language courses by taking our language placement exams. Biblical Studies classes that did not require work in Greek and Hebrew cannot be transferred as required courses, but up to three hours of each may be transferred as Old and New Testament electives.

Q. I’ve been taking classes at CCEF (The Christian Counseling and Education Foundation). Will my courses transfer to Westminster?

Westminster will accept credits from five CCEF courses free of charge. All CCEF courses must be completed prior to a student’s enrollment in Westminster. For more information please see the catalog.

Q. I have a low college GPA. Should I still consider applying to Westminster?

While Westminster considers a student’s GPA, it is only one of many factors that go into our decision process. We welcome all students to apply, regardless of their GPA.

Frequently Asked Questions after Admission:

Q. How much is the deposit?

There is a $100 deposit that confirms your plans to attend Westminster.  This deposit will be credited to your account and put towards your tuition and fees. The deposit can be paid online, or by cash/check at the WTS business office on the third floor of Machen (the main building).

Q. When do I register?

Registration will occur during Orientation events. You will meet with your academic advisor prior to registration to ensure your program and course-related questions are answered. During Orientation, you will schedule an appointment with your advisor and with the registrar. This first semester will be the only time when you will register in person.  Subsequent registration will be online. Further information about your online account will also be covered during Orientation.  

Q. Should I apply for financial aid? If so, when should I apply?

Once you have been admitted, you can submit an application to the Financial Aid Office for scholarship and loan opportunities.  Be sure to research which scholarships (Westminster and external scholarships) are available to you!   

Q. When do I buy books, and what should I start reading?

The cheapest place to get books is through the Westminster Bookstore! Prior to the start of the semester, a list of books for each course can be found on the bookstore website. This is a valuable resource that can also save you money! The links below are to past course syllabi for selected first year classes. Feel free to get started on the reading!  ST 101; AP 101; CH 211; PT 111.

Q. How do I find housing?

We have an exclusive housing website for admitted students. These postings are from individuals and families in the community who want Westminster students! Also, you can post your own situation and connect with fellow students to find Westminster roommates. You can also review the apartment complexes WTS students have lived in as well as use the local realtors.  

Q. When do I start languages and in which track?

To finish the M.Div. in three years or to finish the M.A.R. in two years, you must take a summer course in either Hebrew or Greek. If you are not concerned about finishing within that time frame, you may also take a summer course, but it is not required. There are three semesters required for each language, and we offer two semesters of Hebrew in the summer and simultaneously we offer one semester of summer Greek. You have the following options for language tracking

Available Greek Tracks:

Semester/Term Greek a Greek aa
(same content as Greek a)
Greek b
(Review)
Greek c
(Rapid review)
Summer NT 011a
(4 hrs.)
none none none
Fall NT 012a
(3 hrs.)
NT 011aa
(4 hrs.)
NT 012b
(3 hrs.)
NT 013c
(2 hrs.)
Winter none NT 012aa
(2 hrs.)
none none
Spring NT 013a
(3 hrs.)
NT 013aa
(4 hrs.)
NT 013b
(3 hrs.)
none

Available Hebrew Tracks:

Semester/Term  Summer sequence  Traditional  sequence Extended sequence
Summer OT 011 (Hebrew 1)
OT 012 (Hebrew 2)
none none
Fall OT 013 (Hebrew 3) OT 011 (Hebrew 1) OT 011 (Hebrew 1)
Winter none
OT 012 (Hebrew 2) none
Spring none OT 013 (Hebrew 3) OT 012 (Hebrew 2)
June none none OT 013 (Hebrew 3)

Fall -
Subsequent Year

none none OT 013 (Hebrew 3)
(same class as OT 013 June sequence)

For those who have already studied some of either language and want to test out, see the Placement Exam section of the website.

Q. Should I work during seminary? Where might I work?  It is all dependent on your specific situation. However, there are plenty of job opportunities in the community that students take advantage of: retail, security, church staff, etc. Also, you can review the opportunities posted by Student Affairs here.