5.3 Academic Affairs

5.3 Academic Affairs


5.3.a Graduating in Absentia

Westminster has a strong heritage of learning in community. Our commencement ceremony is a significant time in which this community comes together to send our graduates into the world to do the Lord’s work. Because of this, we wish for all graduates to be present at the ceremony. However, if a student is not able to attend, he or she must request to receive his or her degree in absentia, which is granted only by permission of the Seminary. A student’s request to graduate in absentia will be considered if one of the following applies:

  1. The student has completed the requirements for his or her degree at the end of the winter term.
  2. The student will be living outside the continental United States at the time of graduation.

Requests to graduate in absentia should be submitted in writing to the Academic Affairs Office.

5.3.b Knowledge of the English Bible

A thorough knowledge of the English Bible is expected of all recipients of the M.Div., M.A.R., M.A.B.C., and M.A.U.M. degrees at Westminster. Every student entering the Seminary should do so with as comprehensive a knowledge of the English Bible as possible.

The English Bible Assessment will be administered to all new students matriculating into the above degree programs during Orientation for evaluation purposes. This examination will not count toward a student’s G.P.A. because it will be used to measure a new student’s baseline knowledge and understanding of the Bible at the time of seminary entry. In the event that a student receives a perfect score on the English Bible Assessment, the student will be exempt from the English Bible Exam.  

Each student is required to take the English Bible Exam upon completing one year of full time study (or after completing 24 credit hours).  The exam cannot be taken prior to completing 24 credit hours, and cannot be taken later than the end of the winter term examination period of the year in which a student expects to graduate. If a student finishes coursework during the fall semester or winter term, the exam must be passed by the September of his or her last fall semester. The examination will be administered at the beginning of each semester and at two other times during each academic year (see the academic calendar and website for exact dates). All questions will be taken from the English Standard Version Study Bible in conjunction with the English Bible Exam Narrative Study Guide.

If the exam is not passed by the specified time, with a minimum score of 80 percent, the student will be required to take PT 013P English Bible Survey. For tuition charge, see section 8.1.b Financial Information.

5.3.c Theological Writing Standards

The ability to produce quality written work in English is expected of all Westminster degree recipients. Mid-career students and students from a non-liberal arts background find it helpful to review English rhetoric and grammar, and strengthen their research and citation skills. International students with extensive English language training, as well as those with advanced degrees in other professional fields, find it advantageous to learn the expectations of American academic writing; to study the special features of theological genres; and to receive feedback on their linguistic accuracy. Westminster is committed to helping students improve their writing through the PT 033P Advanced Theological Writing course and through programs and services offered by the Center for Theological Writing (CTW).

All non-native English speakers must take PT 031P Advanced Theological Writing I in the first semester of their program unless their TOEFL score is higher than 111iBT (or 630 and 5.5 TWE [paper based]). Faculty members may also require a student to enroll in PT 031 Advanced Theological Writing. The Registrar will be notified by the faculty member if a student is required to take the course. See the course description in section 7.6.1 for further requirements. For tuition charge, see section 8.1.b Financial Information. In order to maintain satisfactory academic standing and continue in a degree program, the student must continue to take an Advanced Theological Writing course (PT 033P and, if necessary, PT 035P) until receiving a  “PN” (passing grade indicating fulfillment of the requirement). If a new or reinstating student fulfilled the Advanced Theological Writing requirement while previously a student at Westminster, the student is not required to take PT 031P again.

In addition, faculty members may direct students whom they identify as needing help on their writing to receive tutoring at the CTW. See section 2.10.f for more information.

5.3.d Academic Policy for Dallas Westminster Students

The Dallas Teach-Out Agreement made and entered into as of November 2009, by and between Redeemer Theological Seminary, Inc., and Westminster Theological Seminary, Inc. supersedes all other noted academic polices.  For questions and concerns, please contact the Registrar’s Office.