Academic Programs

Academic Programs

As a graduate school, ESR holds out a standard of excellence significantly higher than expected in most undergraduate studies, and a student should expect to spend a minimum of three hours of work per week outside class for every semester hour of course work taken in a given semester. This is in keeping with the standards appropriate for seminary education.

Students who perform minimally in their course work will come under review by the faculty, and if the faculty requests it, the Dean will place the student on academic probation for a specified length of time. A student who fails to pass two or more courses will automatically be placed on academic probation for the next nine semester hours of their work. If the student's work fails to improve sufficiently during the designated time, the faculty may request the Dean suspend or dismiss the student for academic cause. If the student does passing work for the period, the Dean will remove the academic probation.

Prospective students should have a well-rounded undergraduate education. Especially important is training in critical reasoning, the thoughtful assessment of texts, standard library research techniques, and the essay as a form of communication. Helpful subject matter to have studied includes English language and literature, history, philosophy, natural sciences, social sciences, the fine arts and music, Biblical and modern languages and religion. It is also expected that students will have basic computer literacy skills, as these abilities are required for research and writing. More important for success in seminary than specific backgrounds, however, is the student's demonstrated capacity for creative learning, self-discipline and the pursuit of excellence.

Occasionally, admission is granted to students who lack an undergraduate degree from an accredited school. Such admissions are exceptions to the usual process, and must be in accord with the guidelines of ESR's accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools.

For students who desire to participate in theological education at a less demanding pace, ESR offers the Occasional Student option, either residentially or through ESR Access. Occasional students attend ESR on a part-time basis and may take up to two courses per semester.