Admissions Policies and Procedures

Are you ready to apply to Southwestern?

If you plan to become a student of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary within the next 12 months, please visit our web site at www.swbts.edu/applynow and complete the online application. You may also contact the Office of Admissions to request that we mail you an Application for Admission. If you have taken class in the past three years, please contact the Office of the Registrar for readmission.

Frequently asked questions:

Following are answers to the most often asked questions regarding admission to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The answers to these questions represent the official admission policies and procedures.

What is Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary?

The seminary is an institution of the Southern Baptist Convention and has as its basic purpose to provide theological education for individuals engaging in Christian ministry. The Christian ministry includes the numerous ministries which have emerged in the churches and the denomination for which theological education is necessary or desirable. Training for these ministries is provided in the six schools of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: The College at Southwestern, School of Theology, School of Evangelism and Missions, School of Church and Family Ministries, School of Church Music, and Havard School for Theological Studies.

What is the Southwestern M.Div.?

The Southwestern Master of Divinity prepares students for the broadest range of Christian ministries. Students receive training in theological disciplines such as Old Testament, New Testament, church history and historical theology, systematic theology, ethics, and philosophy, as well as applied disciplines such as pastoral ministry, preaching, evangelism, and missions. In addition, students may use elective hours to pursue concentrations in any school at Southwestern in accordance with their ministry goals and academic interests. The M.Div. is the only approved master's degree for a student preparing for a pastoral or preaching ministry, as well as any other ministry largely comprised of biblical teaching. The Southwestern M.Div. can be pursued through three schools: the School of Theology, the Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, and in Houston through the Havard School for Theological Studies.

Who can (or should) attend Southwestern?

In its admission policies the seminary assumes the student has been identified as a prospective minister by announced intent, proven conduct in accordance with Christian standards set forth in the Bible, active church involvement, and unqualified approval from the church where they are currently members. Some of the required credentials include:

  • a mature Christian character
  • evidence a desire for Christian ministry (shown through the application process)
  • a record of active church service
  • a record of academic achievement
  • promise of continued intellectual and spiritual growth
  • a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 2.0, is prerequisite to all graduate degrees. (Persons who do not have a baccalaureate degree may apply to enroll in a Bachelor of Arts program through the College at Southwestern.)
  • proficiency in English or the language in which the program is taught

As a Southern Baptist educational institution, the seminary is redemptive, but not rehabilitative, in nature. Therefore, a person should not come to seminary with serious family, health, emotional, or financial problems. The pressures of study, church participation, family, finances, and other such factors weigh heavily upon the seminary student and the student's family. These pressures can be a vital factor affecting the physical and mental health of the student.

Who must apply to attend Southwestern?

Individuals seeking admission into any course of study resulting in earned academic credit must submit an application for admission to the Office of Admissions. All supporting documents that are part of the admissions application must be received before an admission decision will be made. Registration for classes will be possible only after the Admissions Committee has granted approval for admission. Appropriate application forms and supporting documents are linked to the specific course of study on the seminary's web site at www.swbts.edu/applynow. These are also available by calling the Office of Admissions at 1.800.SWBTS.01.

Who should delay submitting an application?

Students who have been divorced for less than one calendar year or who are currently separated are usually not accepted. The Admissions committee may also take theological, ethical, and other issues into consideration for acceptance.

Individuals who have been convicted of a crime, other than a traffic violation or a similar misdemeanor where only a fine was assessed, should wait a minimum of two calendar years after the sentence has been served (including probation) before submitting an application.

How do I apply to attend Southwestern?

For convenience, Apply Online. All inquiries regarding admission to the seminary should be addressed to the Office of Admissions, P.O. Box 22740, Fort Worth, Texas 76122-0740, or by e-mail at admissions@swbts.edu.

The application for admission includes:

  • Official Application for Admission form. It should include a non-refundable application fee, basic demographic information, and a statement of call and commitment to Christian ministry. The written statement should document: 1) conversion experience; 2) family background; 3) spiritual development; 4) call to ministry; 5) vocational/ministry goals; and 6) educational goals.
  • Medical/Emotional/Social information. This section, completed by the applicant, asks for a brief medical and social history.
  • Spouse/Fiancé(e) information form. This form, completed by the spouse or fiancé(e) of the applicant, asks for biographical information as well as a description of present Christian service and understanding of the commitment to vocational Christian ministry.
  • Church Endorsement form. This form, completed by the church where the applicant is currently a member, gives evidence of the applicant's sincere commitment to Christian ministry. The current pastor should provide reference information on the church endorsement form. If the endorsement covers a period of membership for less than one year, an additional church endorsement from a second church may be required by the Admissions Committee. For student fee purposes, denominational affiliation is determined by the church endorsement form submitted with the student's application to Southwestern Seminary.
  • Personal Reference Forms. Two personal references are required from persons other than relatives who have known the applicant personally for at least two years.
  • Official transcripts of college credits earned at post-high school institutions. Official transcripts are those forwarded from the academic institution directly to the Director of Admissions at Southwestern. The transcript from the institution granting the baccalaureate degree is necessary for all applicants (including doctoral). If the degree program is incomplete when the application is filed, a transcript of work to that date must be submitted, and after graduation from college a final official transcript must be furnished indicating the degree received.
  • Any additional information as requested. For example, if an applicant or applicant's spouse has been divorced, a divorce statement may be requested.
  • Additional documents for permanent residents and international students. See next section regarding international student requirements.

The responsibility for approving or rejecting an application for admission belongs to the Admissions Committee. In order to protect the interests of the applicant, the persons supplying references, the Southern Baptist Convention, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the proceedings of the committee cannot be shared with the applicant or other interested persons.

When an applicant's file is completed, the applicant will be notified promptly by the Admissions Committee concerning action taken. The seminary reserves the right to require a personal interview before a final decision is reached.

Applications are valid for two years from the date filed. An updated application is required if a student does not enroll within two years.

All documents contained in the applicant's file are the property of the seminary and will not be returned or reproduced for the applicant or other interested persons.

What if I am a permanent resident or an international student?

International students on F-1 visas must contact the International Student Office to comply with the proper admissions procedures for internationals. International students are allowed to attend either the Fort Worth or Houston campus. New international students may begin only during the fall or spring semesters. In addition to the requirements listed above, international students (F-1 visas) must also supply the following:

  • Statement of Financial Support. The United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services requires that students on F-1 visas provide evidence of adequate financial support for the entire period of stay in the United States while pursuing a full course of study.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). All permanent residents and international applicants who are citizens of a country where English is not their first language must take the TOEFL and have the score sent to the Admissions Office. A minimum score of 213 on the computer-based exam or 79 on the internet-based exam is required for master level applicants. Southwestern's institutional code is 6668. Doctoral requirements may be higher; please consult the section of this catalog pertaining to the specific degree in question. Students applying for admission to a degree in the School of Church Music may be considered for provisional admission with a TOEFL score of 77 or 78. Those students applying for provisional acceptance must demonstrate musical ability through an audition and interview with the School of Church Music.
  • Transcript Evaluation. All transcripts of academic degrees earned outside the United States must be evaluated by a recognized credentials evaluation service such as World Education Services (www.wes.org), PO. Box 5087, New York, NY 10274-5087. A baccalaureate degree equivalency is required for entry into a master level program. If the applicant has post-baccalaureate work in theological study for transfer, it must be at the master level and include subject breakdown. A copy of the evaluation results should be sent directly to Southwestern from the evaluation service. This transcript evaluation is to be requested and paid for by the applicant.
  • Alien Registration Receipt Card. All resident alien (permanent resident) applicants must provide a copy of their Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551 (green card), R-1 visa, and an I-94.
  • Applicants classified as R-1 visa status for religious work must furnish a copy of their R-1 visa accompanied by an employment verification letter from their current employer.
What if my undergraduate degree is not regionally accredited?

Applications for admission from prospective students whose degrees are from institutions that are not regionally accredited may request consideration for conditional acceptance. This conditional acceptance will be based on review of the completed admissions application (including all supporting documents such as church endorsement, transcripts, and references) by the dean of the school offering the degree program to which the prospect is applying. Students who are conditionally accepted may enroll for no more than twelve hours and must achieve a GPA of 2.00 during their first term.

What if I have not earned an undergraduate degree?

Applicants who desire to pursue a master's degree without the prerequisite baccalaureate degree are strongly encouraged to apply to the College at Southwestern.

What if my undergraduate degree was completed outside the United States?

If the baccalaureate degree is from a college or university outside the United States, the degree must be evaluated by a recognized credentials evaluation service such as World Education Services (WES), PO. Box 5087, New York, NY 10274-5087. The evaluation must show that the work is equivalent to an accredited baccalaureate degree earned in the United States. The cost of the credentials evaluation is the responsibility of the applicant.

When may I apply for campus housing?

Once your application for admission has been completed and you have been accepted for admission, you may apply for campus housing. Please visit the housing website (www.swbts.edu/housing) for rates, amenities, and a housing application. If you have questions, contact the Housing Office at 817-923-1921, ext 2330.

Are students ever dismissed from the seminary?

The total record of the student is subject to review each semester the student enrolls. The seminary reserves the right to discontinue at any time the enrollment of any student whose quality of performance, active church involvement, conduct, or financial status is deemed unsatisfactory. In addition to academic requirements, the standards of ethical conduct outlined in the catalog are applicable.

Is church attendance required to attend seminary?

Applicants must demonstrate church membership and active church involvement to apply for admission to the seminary. Active membership and involvement in a local church is also required of all students for continued enrollment.

What if I am a former student wanting to attend seminary again?

Former students who have not attended classes within the last three years are required to reapply to the Office of Admissions. Former students who have attended classes within the last three years must contact the Office of the Registrar. Certain other supporting documents may be required for readmission.

Are applicants with divorce allowed to attend Southwestern?

When an applicant or applicant's spouse has been divorced, additional information may be required asking specific questions related to the divorce and the person's understanding of its impact on his/her life, family members, and future ministry. When all parts of the application are completed, the Admissions Committee may choose to contact the applicant to arrange for a personal interview. A person's divorce must be resolved for a minimum of one calendar year prior to applying to Southwestern.

What about campus jobs?

Campus employment is available for students and student spouses. Application is made through the Human Resources Office by visiting their website www.swbts.edu/humanresources. You may apply before arriving on campus for classes.

Is student financial aid available?

There are a variety of financial resources that can be utilized to help meet the student's needs. For more information contact the Office of Student Financial Aid, P.O. Box 22510, Fort Worth, Texas 76122, or Phone (817) 923-1921, ext. 3080 or www.swbts.edu/financialaid.

Will my admission and/or enrollment at one of the other five Southern Baptist seminaries transfer to Southwestern?

Application and admissions procedures are very similar but individual and separate for each of the six Southern Baptist seminaries. You must complete an application for admission and be approved for admission at the seminary of your choice according to the stated catalog requirements for that specific seminary.

May I transfer credits from another institution?

Credit earned in accredited institutions may be considered for transfer in accordance with the provisions of the transfer credit policy stated fully in the catalog.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas