Admissions FAQs

Admissions FAQs


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Q. Do I need a bachelor's degree?

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

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?

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

Q. Do I have to take the GRE?

A. PhD 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?

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

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

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

A. The required scores are as follows:
All Master level degree and Certificate applicants:
TOEFL – iBt 88-89; Computer-based 230; Paper-based 570; TWE - 4.5
Dmin applicants:
TOEFL – iBt 88-89; Computer-based 230; Paper-based 570; TWE - 5
ThM and PhD applicants:
TOEFL – iBt 100; Computer-based 250; Paper-based 600; TWE - 5; TSE - 50

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

A. Most of our programs of study require proficiency in Greek and Hebrew. Unless you already have these languages (and demonstrate such 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 MAR and four years to complete the MDiv, including language courses.

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

A. Admission to Westminster requires 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. Who is the MDiv program designed for?

A. The purpose of the MDiv program is 1) to train men for the pastoral ministry and to equip them to meet ecclesiastical requirements for ordination (Pastoral Ministry Track); and 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 urban service.

Q. Who is the MAR program designed for?

A. The MAR 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 ThM, DMin, or PhD).

Q. Who is the M.A.B.C. and M.A.U.M. program designed for?

A. The M.A.B.C. and M.A.U.M. are degree programs designed to train men and women preparing to serve Christ in occupations other than the ordained gospel ministry.  These programs are terminal degrees and are not intended to prepare you for further theological studies. The program does not provide official licensure in counseling.

Q. What denomination(s) is Westminster affiliated with?
A. 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?
A. Westminster has several distinctives that set it apart from other seminaries:

  • A groudbreaking Biblical Counseling program that seeks to apply all theological disciplines to life and ministry.

  • A unique Urban Mission emphasis.

  • Presuppositional apologetics in the tradition of Cornelius Van Til.

  • Use of the original Hebrew and Greek texts for all courses in Old and New Testament courses and some Systematics courses.

  • Biblical Theology in the tradition of Geerhardus Vos.

Q. Why should I move to Philadelphia?
A. Philadelphia is a unique area with many opportunities:

  • A location near an urban area, ideal for those looking to pursue ministry in urban areas.

  • A rich cultural setting with museums, theatres, concert halls, and historic sites.

  • Close proximity to Washington D.C. and New York City.

Q. After I submit my application, how long will I wait until I know if I am admitted?
A. 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?
A. 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.

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?
A. 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 credits transfer to Westminster?
A. 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?
A. 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?
A. 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.