Academic Policies and Procedures
While attending AGTS, it will be necessary to become familiar with details and procedures relative to academic policies and procedures for master’s programs.
In the section that follows, some situations have been anticipated and procedures or policies described.
When admitted to AGTS, the student is subject to the requirements in the catalog which is current at the time of initial enrollment, rather than the catalog that was current when applying for admission. The catalog is updated annually and published on the internet. The catalog can be downloaded in PDF file or requested in CD or printed formats.
Students who interrupt their studies and are out more than two semesters must formally apply for readmission and may be subject to the requirements of the catalog which is current in the semester when reenrolled.
Detailed information regarding registration, financial aid, and other academic matters is contained in the resident AGTS Student Handbook (see www.agts.edu).
Nonresident students enrolled in the continuing education program should secure the handbook prepared for them from the Office of Continuing Education.
Fitness for Ministry
As a theological seminary whose primary mission is the preparation of men and women for the service of the Church, AGTS is committed to the personal and professional growth of all students and reserves the right to require the following of all students, either as a part of their classroom experience or as a part of their personal and professional development:
- The completion of one or more personality and assessment inventories which become a part of the student’s seminary file. These inventories may be utilized in academic, personal, and professional guidance counseling.
- Periodic reviews of the student’s academic and personal growth may be required to assist in his or her adjustment to seminary life and his or her fitness for ministry as an ordained clergy person or professional. The student may be required to undergo counseling at his or her own expense or enter into particular growth contracts to address specific fitness for ministry concerns.
- A final review before graduation may be required to insure that all contractual expectations regarding fitness for ministry have been met.
The seminary reserves the right to suspend a student for a stipulated period of time to address specific emotional and behavioral fitness for ministry issues, or to dismiss the student with no hope of readmission if it is concluded that candidacy for ministry or other helping professions is not viable at this time.
The adviser-advisee relationship is important to the seminary’s curriculum. Each student will be assigned a faculty adviser. In keeping with the requirements of each program, the adviser assists the student in planning the initial academic program, keeping in mind the student’s background as well as professional goals. The adviser, chairperson, and academic dean will be available for counsel in academic, vocational, and spiritual matters. Each student is responsible for completing the requirements of the degree program maintained by the Registrar’s Office.
A student will remain in good academic standing at the seminary if maintaining a satisfactory grade point average (2.0, M.Div.; 2.5-3.0, M.A.; 3.0, D.Min.; 3.0, D.Miss.; 3.0, Ph.D. ), meeting financial obligations to the seminary, conducting personal life with spiritual and moral integrity. No student will be considered to have made satisfactory progress when failing or withdrawing from all courses taken in a semester. The administration reserves the right to dismiss any student whose academic, financial, spiritual, moral integrity is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.
Exceptions to Academic Policies
Requests by students for exceptions to academic policies and regulations should first be submitted to the appropriate faculty member, department chairperson, academic dean or the registrar. Requests should be in written form and submitted well in advance of the particular requirement or deadline change requested. In the event the request is a matter that must be determined by the Academic Affairs Committee, the written request should be submitted to the registrar.
A student may be admitted to the seminary on academic probation in either of the following circumstances: 1) Due to nonacademic strengths in the applicant’s file, the student has been admitted with a low undergraduate grade point average; 2) The student received a baccalaureate degree from a nonaccredited institution. In such cases, the probationary status may be removed upon completion of 9-12 credits with a satisfactory gpa (2.0, M.Div.; 2.5-3.0, M.A.; 3.0, D.Min.; 3.0, D.Miss.; 3.0, Ph.D.). A student may not register for more than 12 credits until satisfactorily completing the probation period.
Students admitted to the seminary on academic probation who are pursuing master’s level studies will be required to register for the 1-credit Academic Writing course during the first semester of study (contact the Registrar’s Office).
A student will be placed on academic probation at the conclusion of any semester in which the cumulative grade point average falls below the required grade point necessary to maintain satisfactory academic progress in the degree program being pursued, and will remain on probation as long as the cumulative grade point average remains below the level required. A student may also be placed on probation at the conclusion of any semester in which the semester gpa is not earned. Note: In unusual circumstances, the academic dean may, at his discretion, simply issue a letter of warning.
A written letter of appeal must be submitted to the Academic Affairs Committee following the first semester a student is either placed or retained (if admitted) on academic probation. The letter should include 1) an explanation of any exceptional circumstances that contributed to the student’s unsatisfactory academic progress, along with supporting documentation, if applicable, 2) how the circumstances have changed and 3) the steps the student will take and/or has taken to improve academic performance.
Students on academic probation who do not raise their cumulative average to the required level or higher by the end of the next semester of study, or who do not make a substantial reduction in grade point deficiencies while on probation, will be academically dismissed from the seminary. An exception on this policy will require approval by the Academic Affairs Committee before enrolling for further studies the next semester.
Students who have been academically dismissed and who have not been enrolled for at least one or more semesters may seek readmission to the seminary. In those cases, the Admissions Committee will consider applications for readmission to the seminary after academic dismissal only if readmission is warranted by exceptional circumstances and reasonable grounds are given for an expectation that the student can remove grade point deficiencies. Such appeals will require the approval of the Admissions Committee and academic dean before the student can be readmitted and register for classes. If approved for readmission, no student will be permitted to enroll until one semester (15 weeks) has elapsed following the student’s dismissal.
Students on academic probation may be required to review employment and other commitments with their academic adviser.
Writing Improvement Program
- Students admitted on probation may be required by the Admissions Committee or Academic Dean to take a course in Academic Writing as a condition for admission.
- Students who have been placed on academic probation will be required to take a course on Academic Writing the semester immediately following their unsatisfactory academic progress.
- If a student demonstrates insufficient writing skills for graduate-level studies, any professor may request him or her to take a course in Academic Writing.
Each instructor sets class attendance policies as announced in the course syllabus. Barring a serious emergency, credit cannot be granted for courses in which a student has been absent beyond 20% of the class time. The professor’s individual attendance policy may be stricter. Exceeding the absence limits shall be regarded as an unofficial withdrawal and result in a grade of F.
A student desiring to change to another degree program must first receive counseling from the currently assigned academic adviser. If the degree program is mutually agreed upon, the student must obtain the proper form from the Registrar’s Office and secure the required signatures (fee: $15). If the degree program change is approved, the student must complete all requirements of the new degree program as currently stated in the catalog without course substitutions.
Exception: Students who have been accepted for admission but have not yet registered for classes should submit a written request for a change of degree to the Enrollment Office.
Degree Time Limits
Students are expected to complete the requirements for their degree under the catalog in effect at the time of initial degree candidacy. They may elect to meet modifications in the program announced in subsequent catalogs with the approval of the academic dean.
All requirements for the D.Min. degree must be completed within six years. Requirements for the M.Div. degree must be completed within seven years from the date of initial admission to degree candidacy. Requirements for the Master of Arts degree must be completed within six years. Exception: Active missionaries may complete their degree within 10 years.
Degree Residency Requirement
All degrees require resident studies at AGTS (or, in some cases, an AGTS extension site). Minimal residency requirements, normally at the end of the degree program, are as follows:
M.Div.— one-third of degree program
M.A.— (professional) one-half of degree program
M.A.— (academic) one-half of degree program
M.A.— (continuing education) one-half of degree AGTS branch campus
Registration for Classes
Students must register for classes in the Registrar’s Office on the days and hours designated. Current students should register earlier (see Academic Calendar for dates).
The registration process includes obtaining registration materials, conferring with the faculty adviser, securing approval of course selections, completing financial arrangements, the implementation of the student’s class schedule, and the receiving of student identification materials. Course changes may be made after initial registration (see Course Changes).
Students who have not been formally accepted for admission prior to registration day may be required to register late for classes. Admission clearance must first be secured from the director of enrollment management.
A late registration fee will be assessed to students who are unable to register during the designated registration period. Late students should notify the Registrar’s Office in advance when possible so that special arrangements may be made to register.
Students are not permitted to register for credit in any course after the deadline for each semester or accelerated summer session designated in the calendar.
Students may drop/add courses any time after their initial registration until the semester begins. Course changes will continue to be accepted through the first two weeks of the semester (two to three days for summer sessions and modules). See the calendar for exact dates. In no case will a student be permitted to drop/add courses after the deadline denoted in the academic calendar.
To make a course change, obtain the proper form in the Registrar’s Office, secure the required signatures, and return it to that office. (Fee: $6)
Courses taken at the seminary in resident or through continuing education are worth three credits unless indicated differently in the course description.
Courses may be audited at one-fourth the tuition rate.
The average full-time course load for the master’s programs at AGTS is nine to 12 credits. The maximum full-time resident course loads are as follows: fall or spring semester, 15 credits; first summer session, six credits; second summer session, six credits; post summer session, three credits; or module sessions, six credits. Note: Regardless of the configuration of courses taken, no student may take more than 15 credits per semester.
Students must take a minimum of nine credits to be considered full time. Students working 20 hours or more should not take more than nine credits.
Course offerings are presented with flexibility in order to accommodate ministers, missionaries, and persons who cannot arrange their schedules for prolonged periods of time. A 4-4-1-1 calendar year is observed.
The fall and spring semesters consist of 15 weeks each. The summer semester consists of accelerated sessions of varying lengths. (See Academic Calendar for dates.)
Resident classes are usually held throughout the day and evening on Monday through Friday. Some classes are scheduled on weekends and in one-two week modular format
Withdrawal from Classes
A student who desires to withdraw from any class must secure approval. To withdraw from a class the proper form should be obtained in the Registrar’s Office, the required signatures secured, and the form returned immediately.
Students withdrawing from all courses for which they are enrolled should refer to the procedure for Withdrawal from seminary.
No refund of tuition or fees will be granted after the third week of a semester (three to six days for summer sessions and modules). Students receiving financial aid should refer to Financial Aid Refund Policy.
Grades for official withdrawals will be withdrawn passing or failing. After the eleventh week (third week during five-week summer sessions, first week during two-week session and modules), an automatic grade of WF will be given unless extenuating circumstances warrant special consideration. A nonexcused absence of two consecutive weeks (three days summer sessions and modules) shall be regarded as an unofficial withdrawal and result in a grade of F.
Withdrawal from Seminary
A student who desires to withdraw from seminary must secure a withdrawal form in the Registrar’s Office and schedule an exit interview with the director of spiritual formation prior to completion of the form. Instructions are printed on the form advising the student to file the form with that office after the necessary signatures are obtained. The student’s I.D. card must be returned with the form. Refunds and adjustments to the student’s account are governed by the Financial Information section of the AGTS catalog.
Failure to withdraw officially from seminary will result in automatic failing grades in the courses for which the student is enrolled and possible refusal of reentry.
Official withdrawals are graded the same as withdrawal from classes.
Grades are issued three times yearly: December for the fall semester, May for spring classes, and August for summer sessions. Master of Arts students are required to maintain a 2.5-3.0 cumulative gpa, M.Div. students a 2.0, and D.Min/D.Miss./Ph.D. participants a 3.0. (See Academic Probation.)
AGTS uses a 4-point grading scale. Grades are assigned the following numerical values for the purpose of computing the grade point average:
Grade points per credit:
* Affects grade point average
D.Min. grading scale (See Doctor of Ministry, Grading.)
D.Miss. grading scale (See Doctor of Missiology, Grading.)
Ph.D./IS grading scale (See Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies, Grading.)
Ph.D./BT grading scale (See Doctor of Philosophy in Bible and Theology, Grading.)
One credit equals one class hour per week for 15 weeks (summer and accelerated sessions are based on equivalent numbers of contact hours).
Students are expected to complete all course work as specified by the instructor by the end of the semester. An incomplete may be given at the option of the instructor and only under extenuating circumstances. In the event the instructor grants a grade of incomplete, he or she will have the option of lowering the final grade for the course one letter grade lower than it would have been had the work been submitted on time.
If an incomplete is received, all course work must be submitted by the date specified by the instructor (not to exceed 90 days past the course due date. A grade of failure may be issued if the work is not submitted. No student will be permitted to begin courses in a new semester if carrying more than two incomplete courses. Note: A $30 fee will be charged to the student’s account for every grade change even if the instructor has approved an extension for completing the work. Any exception to charging the fee will be made by the registrar.
When failing a required course (or earning a D in an admission prerequisite course where a C is required), the student may petition the academic dean for approval to repeat the course.
If the course is successfully repeated, the new grade rather than the F (or D) will be used in calculating the student’s gpa. However, the F or D will remain on the transcript.
Official transcripts are issued only upon written authorization by the student. The Registrar’s Office must be notified at least one week in advance if the transcript is to be issued by a given date (fee: $4). Each student receives a complimentary transcript upon graduating. No transcript will be issued for any student indebted to the seminary.
All courses taken at AGTS, including first-year Greek and other prerequisites, are averaged into the student’s grade point average and will appear on the transcript. However, when determining the student’s eligibility for graduation, with regard to the minimum gpa requirement, only those courses applicable toward the student’s degree program will be considered in calculating the gpa.
Students are encouraged to register for graduation by October 31 of the current academic year through the Registrar’s Office. If student is unable to meet that deadline, he or she must register no later than January 31.
Graduation requirements include the following:
- Satisfactorily complete all degree program requirements, including any prerequisite requirements and incomplete course work by established deadline(s). (See Academic Program for exact requirements.)
- Maintain a degree grade point average of at least 2.5-3.0 (M.A.), 2.0 (M.Div.) or 3.0 (D.Min./D.Miss./Ph.D.) and be a student in good standing at the seminary. (See Academic Status)
- Satisfy specific degree program graduation requirements (e.g., comprehensive examination, analytical reflection paper, field education research project).
- If seeking approval as a summer graduate, registration for classes in summer limited to six (6) hours.
- If a student has been approved to register for a course(s) for the purpose of transfer credit back to his or her degree program at AGTS, grades for that course(s) must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by February 15 of the student’s graduation year.
- All masters-level graduates must satisfactorily complete the Graduating Student Questionnaire. (Contact the Academic Dean’s Office if you have any questions.)
- A final review before graduation may be required to insure that all contractual expectations
regarding fitness for ministry have been met. (See Fitness for Ministry.)
- Receive approval for graduation from the Academic Affairs Committee and Faculty.
- Attend the commencement exercises (approval to be absent must be secured from the Academic Affairs Committee through the registrar by April 1).
Commencement is held once each year (see Academic Calendar). Students completing requirements during the summer months will participate in commencement but will not be eligible to receive recognition for honors until grades are posted in August.
Continuing Education graduates are encouraged to participate in graduation exercises at AGTS. Approval to participate at the branch site where the majority of their course work was completed must be secured through the AGTS Registrar’s Office. Commencement dates will vary according to location.
Students are personally responsible for following the course requirements for timely completion of their respective degrees and for confirming with the Registrar’s Office to insure that these requirements are satisfied. The requirements are published in the catalog under which the student matriculates or is readmitted. Suggested course-sequencing guides for degree programs are available in each department and utilized at registration. AGTS faculty advisers and staff are available to provide guidance in course scheduling but do not assume final responsibility for each student’s enrollment decisions. The published requirements of each degree prevail except for occasional and appropriate exceptions approved by the academic dean.
The degree earned is recorded on the transcript at the end of the semester in which all the degree requirements are completed. The last day of the semester as indicated by the academic calendar is considered to be the official graduation date. Diplomas will not be distributed prior to commencement (see Tuition and Fees for fee).
The following standards for honors are maintained:
3.90-4.0 Summa cum laude
3.80-3.89 Magna cum laude
3.70-3.79 Cum laude
These standards were implemented beginning with the graduating class of 1995. Honors cannot be posted retroactively before that date.
Eligible summer graduates must postpone this honor at commencement until all grades are processed at which time it will be posted on the transcript.
A limited number of graduates are elected into the Kappa Delta Chi Honor Society each year by the faculty. (See AGTS Student Handbook for details.)
Friday, May 31, 2013 11:24 AM