In order to be considered for acceptance, a student applying for enrollment in the seminary must supply the following:
- Completed application (application form obtained by clicking here) Applications for admission must ordinarily be in the seminary office one month prior to the start of a semester or the beginning of a directed study or distance learning course.
- Official transcripts from previous undergraduate schools should be mailed to the BTS office directly from the school. The official transcript is due in the seminary office within 30 days of application for admission.
- Receipt of $30.00 application fee (one-time, non-refundable fee). The application fee for doctoral students is $175.00. The application fee is required when application is submitted and is non-refundable. Payment of the application fee does not guarantee admission to the seminary. A letter of acceptance will be mailed upon the approval of the application for admission.
- Applicants must provide three completed reference forms (click here) from:
- Your Pastor
- Business or other reference
- A close friend
- College professor or other instructor
- An officer of your church
For those students registering as a degree candidate, an interview with the Seminary President or Vice President may be required prior to admission.
Degree Seeking Students
Prerequisite requirements for degree seeking students vary according to degree level. Certificate applicants are required to have a high school diploma or have completed the General Educational Development (GED) test. Applicants for a master’s level program must have an earned bachelor’s degree from an approved school. However, certificates may be earned without an undergraduate degree. Applicants to the doctoral programs must have a master’s degree from an approved school. Additionally, more specific prerequisites may apply to individual programs. Applicants should refer to the degree listings in the catalog for further information. All applications are reviewed by the Vice President. The VP evaluates schools to determine acceptability of prerequisite degrees and transfer credits.
As many as 10 percent (10%) of the students in master’s level degree programs may be admitted without possession of the baccalaureate degree or its equivalent, provided the applicant can demonstrate by some objective means that he or she possess the knowledge, academic skill, and ability generally associated with persons who hold the baccalaureate degree. Admission of such students is restricted to persons with life experience and sufficient evidence of undergraduate credits that has prepared them for theological study at the graduate level. The decisions will be made by the President or Vice President of Academic Affairs.
A limited number of students may be admitted to courses as audit students.
Individuals who apply and are accepted to BTS, but who do not take any courses in a year, must re-apply to BTS. Applications will be kept on file for two years.
Students sometimes find the need to take a break in completing courses due to personal or professional matters. If a student returns to complete a degree with BTS, and has not taken classes in a two year period, the student may return to the seminary but must submit an updated application; new references are not required. In addition, the student must comply with the degree requirements under the current catalog at the time of returning to seminary.
Students who have been awarded the BTS Master of Arts in Biblical Studies degree may continue their studies in pursuit of a “higher” Masters degree, such as a Master of Divinity degree. Because academic credit may not be applied toward two different degrees, the student, upon earning the “higher” degree, forfeits the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies degree and all rights associated with that degree.
Non-Degree Seeking Students
An individual in the process of completing a degree at another approved institution may apply as a non-degree seeking student at BTS, pending completion of the degree from the other institution. Those not pursuing a degree at the time of enrollment are admitted as non-degree seeking students and must show the Vice President that they have the background and course prerequisites necessary for the courses in which they are interested. This category of enrollment does not constitute admission to the school as a degree seeking student in any BTS program.
Students who wish to transfer from other graduate institutions should apply for admission in the usual way, submitting with their application and required admission documents a completed transcript of their graduate work. A request for transfer credit should be accompanied by a catalog containing the course descriptions from the previous institution. The credits must be of a comparable graduate level and the courses must apply to the BTS curriculum.
Credit for work completed in other institutions may be granted after evaluation by BTS. No credit will be given for work receiving less than a “C” or its equivalent. Grade point averages will only be determined by work completed at Birmingham Theological Seminary.
Transfer credit will be given the grade of “T”. Students are required to pay a posting fee of $30 per transfer credit hour. Bachelor/undergraduate courses cannot be transferred as graduate courses. Credits are not given for “Life” or ministry experience. Course work completed to earn a Bachelors or Masters Degree cannot be used toward earning another degree. Core courses in the various degree programs at BTS (equivalent courses at other institutions will be considered on a case by case basis) need not be repeated to pursue another degree. Only professional components of the additional degree must be completed. Some additional work may be required.
Transfer students must complete at least one-third of the hours required for any degree program at Birmingham Theological Seminary. Transfer students may be required to take more than the minimum requirements for graduation because courses taken elsewhere may not be equivalent to those in the BTS curriculum and all courses are transferred at the rate of two (2) credit hours per course.
Acceptance to Seminary
A student is considered fully accepted when all required documentation is received and approved. A student may be accepted to BTS provisionally when there is outstanding documentation such as an official transcript. Upon acceptance to the seminary, a letter of acceptance is issued to the student.
In order to validate program prerequisites and transfer credits (if applicable), official transcripts are required within 30 days of application. Copies or student-issued transcripts may be used during the enrollment process for preliminary evaluation; however, they are not considered official.
To be considered official, transcripts must be sent to BTS via one of the methods:
The educational institution sends the official transcript directly to BTS via postal mail, or
The educational institution sends the official transcript to the student in a sealed envelope, and the student sends the sealed envelope to BTS. (If the seal is broken before arriving at BTS, the transcript will not be considered official)
Students who fail to ensure that all official transcripts have been submitted to BTS: (1) may not be admitted to a particular BTS degree program or be allowed to continue in the program, (2) will not be permitted to graduate until they have ensured that BTS has received all of the required official transcripts.
If international transcripts are not in English, an English translation is also required. Whenever possible, BTS will evaluate international credentials in-house. For any international credentials BTS determines must be evaluated by an approved outside evaluation agency, BTS will notify the applicant/student accordingly. The applicant/student will be responsible for contacting the outside evaluation agency, as well as any costs incurred.
For more information on admission, click here to read the catalog.
International Students: (click here for more info)
All International students, who intend to attend classes in the U.S., must apply for admission to Birmingham Theological Seminary. The admission process must be 100% complete prior to the issuance of Form I-20 and before the applicant is eligible for enrollment. In order to be in compliance and to meet all requirements, please read and adhere to the following:
- Review of your academic credentials. Applicant must be able to provide proof of a baccalaureate degree from an undergraduate institution.
- Meeting the required scores for English as a second language. The score is required by non-native English-speaking countries. A score of 530 is required for the written exam, a score of 213 is required for the computer-based exam and a score of 80on the internet based exam. The TOEFL score may be waived for the following:
- Non-native speakers who hold degrees or diplomas from post–secondary institutions in English-speaking countries.
- Non-native speakers who have successfully completed at least a two-year course of study in which English was the language of instruction.
- Applicants who transfer from institutions in the United States or Canada whose academic course work received favorable critique relative to its demands and duration.
- Non-native speakers who have taken the test within the past two years.
- Non-native speakers who have successfully pursued academic work at schools where English was the language of instruction in an English-speaking country for a specified period, generally two years.
- Legitimate sponsor. To ensure that your sponsor is both willing to sponsor you for the duration of your studies and is capable of doing so, an Affidavit of Financial Support form must be completed in its entirety, with appropriate supporting documents. The form must show the documents of support in American dollars.
- A complete and properly filled out BTS application form and International student supplemental form. Both forms must be filled out in their entirety as part of the application and admission process.
- Make arrangements for a place to stay in the U.S. Many students have friends, relatives or sponsor(s) who live in Birmingham with whom they may be welcome to stay temporarily or throughout the duration of their course of study. Every student must have a local address on file with the Birmingham Theological Seminary. The seminary must be informed immediately of a change of address. It is imperative that we have a current local address on file at all times
- Upon receipt of Form I-20 from Birmingham Theological Seminary, do the following:
- As soon as possible, make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in your country. Any delay could affect your approval. In some countries:
- Embassy appointments must be made several months in advance. The embassy should issue a U.S. Visa, valid for at least one year.
- Complete necessary financial preparations.
- Upon arriving in Birmingham, please call the seminary office at 205-776-5650 to schedule an appointment. Bring the following to your scheduled appointment: Form I-20, Visa, Passport, I-94 card and proof of medical insurance.
- At that time we can assist you with setting your degree plan and preparation for the upcoming semester.