Policy on Graduate Transfer Credits
Applicants who wish to apply graduate-level coursework completed at a regionally accredited university, divinity school, or seminary into the MA or MDiv programs must provide applicable transcripts and syllabi. Applicants may transfer up to 20 quarter credits from another ATS-accredited institution into the 60-credit MA degree program and up to 36 quarter credits into the 108-credit MDiv degree program.
To receive transfer credit, each course must be at least three graduate quarter credits and be equivalent to courses taught in the School of Theology at SPU. Each course will be considered on a case-by-case basis as to the fulfillment of specific curricular requirements. A minimum grade of B will be needed for transferred work. All courses applied toward the graduate degree must be taken within seven years of admission. In all cases, the final 36 MDiv credits or 20 MA credits must be taken at SPU.
Applicants who (1) have been granted a master’s degree from another regionally accredited university, (2) have taken graduate level coursework in theology or a field related to the cross-disciplinary courses offered in some MA tracks, or (3) have taken coursework related to the MDiv degree will have their transcripts evaluated during the admissions process.
Second Master’s Degree
Students holding a master’s degree from an accredited institution may earn a second master’s degree at Seattle Pacific under the following conditions:
- The student meets the normal admission requirements for admission to the University and to the specific degree program.
- The student meets all degree requirements for the second degree.
- Credits earned by the student while taking his or her first master’s degree may be used to meet the requirements of the second master’s degree, provided those credits were taken within seven years of admission to the second degree program.
- Regardless of how many credits from the first master’s degree are counted toward the second master’s degree, the student will in any case complete a minimum of 27 credits on his or her approved program of study at SPU after being admitted for the second degree. Of these 27 credits, at least 15 will be in 6000-level courses.
- The specialization in the second master’s degree program will be different from that of the first master’s degree. The student may work toward two master’s degrees simultaneously.
Policy on Transfer of Credits for MDiv Students with MA Degrees in Hand
A student, who has completed a Master of Arts (or equivalent degree) from an institution belonging to the Association of Theological Schools, may petition to have up to 68 credits earned toward said degree apply toward a Master of Divinity degree at Seattle Pacific Seminary. The following conditions obtain:
- An official transcript from the institution granting his or her MA degree must be on file at SPS.
- He or she must have attained a grade of at least B (= 3.0) in any graduate theology course which he or she is petitioning to apply toward an SPS MDiv, and may be asked to submit the syllabus of that course to ensure that the material covered therein is equivalent to the SPS course from which he or she is asking to be exempted.
- Any course in the SPS MDiv curriculum which is equivalent in topic and credit count to a course taken for the student’s MA may qualify for exemption.
- (Note 1: The ceiling of 68 credits is computed by adding the minimum number of credits that an SPS students who earns both an MDiv and an MA must earn [108 + 20 = 128], and then deducting the minimum number of credits that an SPS student must earn for a standalone MA .)
- (Note 2: SPU stipulates that “To earn any SPU master’s degree, [a student] must complete no fewer than 33 credits, at least 27 of which must be completed after [the student is] admitted to a degree program. The last 15 credits toward [the] degree must be earned at SPU” [2020-21 Graduate Catalog]. 68 credits applied toward a 108-credit degree would leave 40 credits to be completed at SPU.)
- (Note 3: ATS stipulates that “the maximum amount of transfer credits it accepts for its degree programs . . . may not exceed two-thirds of the program’s total credits” [2020 Standards of Accreditation, 3.12]. 68 credits is slightly less than two-thirds [62.96%] of the required 108 credits.)
Policy on Substitutions for Required Graduate Core Courses Based on Undergraduate Coursework
Students who have taken one or more undergraduate courses in Bible, church history, theology or ethics (either courses or a minor in theology or a related discipline) from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution may petition for a substitution of one or more SPS “academic core” courses (i.e., THEO 6010, 6020, 6030, 6040, 6050, 6060, 6070, 6080, and 6090) such that they take another course (e.g., elective) instead. To qualify, the following conditions must ordinarily be met.
- Only 5-quarter-credit or 3-semester-credit upper division undergraduate courses qualify to allow a student to substitute other courses for specific graduate core courses.
- Only courses taken within three years before admission to the SPS qualify allow a student to substitute other courses for specific graduate core courses.
- Only courses in which a grade of A- (= 3.7) or better was achieved qualify to allow a student to substitute other courses for specific graduate core courses.
- A maximum of three 3-credit graduate core courses (maximum of 9 credits) can be substituted for upper division undergraduate courses.
- Note: the substitution of a core course for elective courses does not reduce the total number of graduate credits a student must complete for his or her degree.
- Whenever possible, a student who substitutes a core graduate course for another course will be expected to replace that course with another in the same general field (e.g., a Bible course with another Bible course, or a theology course with another theology course). In cases where no other graduate course is available in our curriculum (e.g., church history), the Associate Dean or faculty advisor will assist the student in selecting a suitable alternative.
- This substitution process does not decrease the number of credits required for the degree.
- Note: In rare cases, one or more of these conditions may be waived by the Dean of SOT or the Associate Dean, though in such cases a written rationale for the waiver, supported by adequate documentary evidence, must be furnished by the student.
Policy on Advanced Standing for Incoming Seminarians with Undergraduate Degrees in Theology and Related Disciplines
A student who has graduated from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution with a major in theology or some related discipline (as determined by the SOT Dean or the Associate Dean) may petition for “advance standing” (as defined in Educational and Degree Program Standard 3.31 of the 2020 Standards of Accreditation of the Association of Theological Schools). To qualify, the following conditions must ordinarily be met.
- An official transcript from the institution granting his or her baccalaureate degree must be on file at SPS.
- He or she must have attained a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (= B).
- He or she must have attained a grade of at least A- (= 3.7) in any upper division undergraduate theology course which he or she is petitioning to have counted toward an SPS master’s degree, and must submit the syllabus of that course, to ensure that the material covered therein is equivalent to the SPS course from which he or she is asking to be exempted.
- Only 5-quarter-credit or 3-semester-credit upper division undergraduate courses qualify to exempt a student from graduate core courses.
- Only courses taken within three years before admission to the SPS qualify to exempt a student from graduate core courses.
- SPS courses eligible for exemption are restricted to those in the “academic core” (i.e., THEO 6010, 6020, 6030, 6040, 6050, 6060, 6070, 6080, and 6090).
- No more than fifteen credits of graduate work will be awarded to MDiv students qualifying for advance standing. No more than nine credits of graduate work will be awarded to MA-Theology students qualifying for advanced standing . That is, the student must complete at least 93 credits of graduate work to complete the MDiv or 51 credits of graduate work to complete the MA.
- Note: In rare cases, one or more of these conditions may be waived by the Dean of SOT or Associate Dean, though in such cases a written rationale for the waiver, supported by adequate documentary evidence, must be furnished by the student.
Students entering with Greek and Hebrew credits from their undergraduate studies may test out of Hebrew I and II (THEO 6201/02) or Greek I and II (THEO 6101/02). The following applies and further clarifies this policy:
- Students cannot test out of Hebrew III or Greek III (Theo 6203/6103) and must complete these two courses (6 credits) in partial fulfillment of their Biblical language requirement (for any degree which requires languages as part of the course requirements, such as the MA in Christian Scripture).
- To fulfill the remaining 3 credits in the Biblical language requirement, students may substitute an appropriate course in which they utilize Greek or Hebrew as part of the class.
- *Note: If a student has only taken one of the biblical languages in their undergraduate studies they must complete the full sequence of the other language for the fulfillment of their Master's degree requirements.