Northeastern Seminary

Prospective Students | Explore Your Calling

Choosing Theological Education

Below are several questions posted by The Fund For Theological Education the-fund-for-theological-education-logo(FTE).  FTE original documents can be found here. NES has developed a response to each question based on our unique perspective.

Denominational Requirements 
First and foremost, if you are considering graduate theological education as a path to ordination or a form of sanctioned ministry in a denomination or particular tradition, be sure to familiarize yourself with the requirements of that tradition.  Some denominations require their ministers to complete part or all of their ministerial programs in their denominational or diocesan institution.  Others maintain a list of schools outside the religious tradition that are acceptable for ministry preparation.  If this is the case, your options may be prescribed for you, narrowing your choices considerably.

NES: Northeastern Seminary is approved by many churches and denominations, ask if your faith group is among these. If not, NES will contact your church or denomination to seek approval. Approval not only means a likelihood of placement when you graduate but strengthens the possibility of student financial assistance while a student.

Educational accreditation is a rigorous process by which an institution is evaluated by an external organization for educational quality and effectiveness. For graduate theological education, the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) serves as this accrediting agency. To be accredited, a school must undergo an initial review that examines a wide variety of factors, including library holdings, faculty quality and financial stability. The ATS Commissioners repeat this process on a regular basis to make sure each of its schools is maintaining an acceptable level of academic quality. Take note that while all the degrees in most schools are approved, schools can offer new degrees that are not yet approved by the ATS.

NES: No other seminary in New York has more accreditation than NES to guarantee the quality of your theological education. Northeastern Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE), and the NY State Board of Regents. Why should you be concerned about accreditation?  You can be confident that your credits will transfer to other graduate schools or that licensing bodies for denominations, hospital, military, and prison chaplains program will accept your degree.             

Student Body 
When looking at theological schools, you may assume that most students will be similar to you in age and stage of life. However, across the U.S. and Canada, student bodies of theological schools are becoming more and more diverse in nearly every way. Theological schools attract a cross-section of society, including more women, students of color, and international students than ever before. Also, older students who are looking to change careers or enhance their current vocation through theological education represent a significant portion of theological students. This means students can benefit from a broader diversity of academic and professional experience as well as intergenerational perspectives that can significantly impact theological reflection and construction.

NES: Northeastern Seminary offers the excellent dimension of diversity.  Over 30 different Christian denominations are represented in our student body.  Thirty-six percent of our students are from traditionally under-represented ethnic and racial groups, and 35 percent are women. The average age of a student at NES is 43 in 2011. Students range in age from 22 to 79.

It is also important to take a close look at the faculty. Though it takes some investigation, you can learn much about a school through the character of its faculty.  If you have the luxury of a campus visit, consider meeting with one or two faculty members. This is an excellent way to experience how faculty relates to students.

NES: On campus information meetings are conducted monthly to offer prospective students the opportunity to meet NES faculty and sit in on classes to help them decide if NES is a good fit. Individual sessions may also be scheduled for more convenience by contacting admissions at 585.594.6802 or

Facilities and Technology 
During a campus visit, pay attention to the classrooms, libraries, student housing (if any) and grounds.  You will also want to learn about the technological capabilities of the school.

NES: Northeastern Seminary has full wireless computer capability, a student computer lab, the latest in classroom technology, and a responsive technology support staff.   Click here to view resources at the state-of-the-art B.T. Golisano Library.

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