Northeastern Seminary


Prospective Students | Frequently Asked Questions About Seminary

What is the Core?

At the heart of the M.Div. and M.A. degree programs is the Core curriculum consisting of courses that integrate the traditional studies of biblical and systematic theology, church history, spiritual formation and Biblical interpretation. These courses combine for a 9-credit semester in an integrated, holistic and non-sectarian approach. For more information about our integrated curriculum, click here.

What is meant by Post-Core?

These are courses offered to complete the M.A. and M.Div. degrees after the Core courses are completed-some are required in the degree and others are electives.

When are courses offered?

All master's level coursework is offered in evening blocks, one evening per week. Students enrolled in the Core meet Tuesday or Thursday night from 6 - 10 p.m. Those who enroll in the fall term have class on Thursday night. Those who begin in the spring meet on Tuesday evening. Post-Core courses are offered on Monday nights and are open to students who have completed the first Core class in their first semester.

Who can take courses at NES?

Students with an accredited bachelor's degree may take courses for graduate credit or for audit. To take a class for credit means you will complete all assignments and be graded; to audit means you will attend class for personal enrichment only and will not be graded. Those who have not yet been admitted to the seminary may take up to 6 credit hours of courses per term as unclassified students, and up to a maximum of 12 credit hours overall, before needing to be admitted into the Core on a full-time basis.

For those who do not have an accredited bachelor's degree, consider taking certificate courses at NES through the Certificate in Theological Studies (CTS) or its Hispanic-focused El Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (CHET). Learn more by visiting the Web site or by requesting information from the admissions office.

Is your coursework easier than traditionally scheduled seminaries?

No, this is an academically rigorous graduate level curriculum. Students will invest around 15-25 hours each week in research, reading, and writing. Most students find they can balance their course work along with family and employment (30-40 hour/week) responsibilities.

Do your classes meet year-round?

No. Students can take up to two months off depending on whether or not they enroll in our "summer term" that takes place in May and June for elective courses. Classes resume in late August.

What are faith sharing groups (FSGs)?

FSGs are an integral part of the personal and spiritual formation curriculum at NES. FSGs are small groups comprised of 8-10 students that meet every other week for 60-90 minutes during the Core.

FSGs are not traditional small groups: while mutually supportive and focused on our personal growth and relationship with Jesus Christ, they are not specifically aimed at counseling or support.

Each group is assigned a trained facilitator who leads the group in listening to God and each other, and in giving expression to how God is growing them at the moment. The experience is formative rather than instructional and thus respects the diversity of Christian traditions represented in each group.

Do lay leaders participate in these master's degree programs?

Absolutely! Many of our students are employed outside full-time parish ministry and serve as social workers, professors, police officers, engineers, lawyers, nurses, teachers, and the list goes on. Our students have typically been in long-term lay ministry and long to deepen their biblical knowledge.

What is the difference between the master's degree programs?

The M.Div. degree is a professional degree preparing individuals for Christian leadership. It is the preferred (and in many denominations - the required) degree for pursuing pastoral, ordained ministries (i.e. senior pastors, missionaries, chaplains, etc.). In the M.Div. program individuals require more foundation in Biblical studies, theology and in practical ministry disciplines such as preaching, counseling, teaching, administrating, and leadership. Today's church leader must be skilled in many disciplines.

The M.A.-Theological Studies degree, while providing the same foundational studies (Core), focuses less on extensive preparation for pastoral leadership and more on specific subject areas and theological fields of study. Traditionally, it is the degree of preference for those going into deaconate (lay), or Ph.D. studies for the teaching profession.

The M.A. in Transformational Leadership is a professional degree that equips leaders for a variety of ministry contexts including non-profit, parachurch and community based settings. The degree builds on the foundation of a deep, sustained engagement with biblical and historic Christian thought.

The M.A. in Theology and Social Justice is a professional degree for people working in local churches, missions, global justice ministries, social work, and social policy. The program is designed to address the effects of poverty, violence, and discrimination at all levels of society.

Some denominations and independent churches will ordain individuals with the M.A. degree.

How long will it take to finish these degrees?

The M.Div. degree can be completed in four years and the M.A. degrees can be completed in two to three years. For the dual degree programs offered concurrently with the Master in Social Work with Roberts Wesleyan College, M.A. students should anticipate about four years to complete both degrees and M.Div. students about five years to complete both degrees.

How does NES facilitate community in an adult commuter program?

Because we believe that community is a vital aspect to spiritual growth, in addition to class discussions and faith sharing groups, we offer community and cohort chapels, spiritual retreats for groups as well as the entire seminary body (including alumni), student receptions, online course forums, and conferences. Many of these events are optional, but exist to foster an atmosphere of unity.

Why cohorts? What is a cohort?

A cohort is simply a group of individuals with something in common. At NES, the commonality is that each cohort starts and moves through the Core in a group ranging from about 20-24 students. Cohorts are large enough for mutual support, good flow of ideas, etc., and small enough for you to be known as much as you wish to be known. Learning, personal growth, and persistence in the program are all enhanced in the community of a cohort. Outside the Core, students' course schedules are designed individually.

How can I afford seminary?

Several scholarships and options for financial aid are available to students. Please visit the financial aid section of our website for more information.

What are my financial aid options (grants/loans)?

There are several loan and grant options available to students. You must complete your FAFSA application online before ANY aid can be disbursed. NES also offers an interest-free monthly tuition payment option with Nelnet for masters and doctoral students. Other available scholarship applications will be made available following your first year of study.

Where do you stand theologically? Are you conservative, liberal, evangelical, charismatic?

We have chosen not to be aligned with any of those terms, not because they cannot be descriptive, but because they are more often divisive. NES, though it has a Wesleyan heritage, is defined more by being centered on those Christian teachings that have been "believed everywhere, always, and by all people" (Vincent of Lérins). We have chosen to speak of ourselves as being rooted in the classic Christian faith. We take a firm stand on those traditional tenets of the Christian as defined by the Church in the Old and New Testament of Scripture.

Click here to read the NES theological position. We welcome all Christians and seek not to promote any one denomination or theological perspective, but rather to enable each student to become effective ministers of Christ.

My denomination requires specific coursework for ordination.

NES serves students from some 30 church denominations, many offering varying requirements. We recommend that you meet with an NES faculty advisor to make sure your denomination requirements are met during your time at NES.

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Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College | 2265 Westside Drive, Rochester, NY 14624-1997 | 800.777.4RWC or 585.594.6802 | Contact Us/Directory | Sitemap & Search