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 and complete the online application. If you have taken class within the last two years, please complete the Returning Student Enrollment Update Request form with our Registrar’s office for readmission.

Frequently asked questions:

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 five schools of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: Texas Baptist College, School of Theology, Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, Jack Terry School of Educational Ministries, and School of Church Music and Worship.

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. In addition to these assumptions, certain general credentials must be present in a prospective student’s life for admission to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 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
  • commitment to 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's program through Texas Baptist College.)
  • 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 should apply to attend Southwestern?

Individuals seeking admission into any course of study resulting in earned academic credit should 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 These are also available by calling the Office of Admissions at 1.800.SWBTS.01.

Who should delay submitting an application?

Divorced students whose divorce has been finalized for less than one calendar year or who are currently separated usually must delay enrollment. 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 one calendar year after the sentence has been served (including probation) before submitting an application.

How do I apply to Southwestern?

For convenience, Apply Online. The online 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.

A background check to be filled out by the student and submitted through IntelliCorp.

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 SWBTS. The transcript from the institution granting the baccalaureate degree is necessary for all applicants (including doctoral). If the degree program is incomplete when 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 has been divorced, a divorce statement could 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 one year from the date submitted (three immediate semesters). If you delay enrollment for more than three semesters, you will be asked to complete an updated application before once again being accepted for admission.

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.

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

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

International students on F-1 visas must contact the International Student Services Office to comply with the proper admissions procedures for internationals. International students are allowed to attend only the Fort Worth 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 at least the first year of study (preferably 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. A minimum score of 250 on the computer-based exam or 100 on the internet-based exam is required for doctoral level applicants. 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 SpanTran: The Evaluation Company (, 450 7th Avenue, Suite 1004, New York, NY 10123. 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 information. 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 applicant 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 Texas Baptist College.

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 SpanTran: The Evaluation Company (, 450 7th Avenue, Suite 1004, New York, NY 10123. 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 for rates, amenities, and a housing application ( If you have questions, contact the Housing Office at 817-921-8530.

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 two years are required to reapply to the Office of Admissions. Former students who have attended classes within the last two years must complete the Returning Student Enrollment Update Request form with our Registrar’s Office for readmission. Certain other supporting documents may be required for readmission.

Are divorced applicants 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 finalized 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 the Human Resources Websites. 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 Student Financial Services, P.O. Box 22510, Fort Worth, Texas 76122, or Phone (817) 923-8525 or

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.

What catalog will I follow for my degree program?

Students follow the catalog in effect the semester the student begins taking classes, not the catalog in effect at the time the student applied.