ACADEMICS > ADMINISTRATION
BUILDING ON AN OLD FOUNDATION
DEGREES & ACCREDITATION
All degrees are granted in accordance with the laws of the State of South Carolina and upon recommendation of the faculty and by the authority of the Board of Trustees.
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a school of theology, preparing men for pastoral ministry, offering undergraduate level degrees. Under the original plan of the Seminary adopted by the Board of Trustees and as subsequently amended, Greenville Seminary has the authority to grant the degrees of:
- Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.)
- Master of Ministry for Ruling Elders (M.M.R.E.) and Deacons (M.M.D.)
- Master of Arts (M.A.)
In order to guarantee complete freedom for Greenville Seminary to operate under the Lord of the church, without subjection to outside influences, the Seminary does not plan to apply for accreditation with any of the regional or national agencies. The Seminary is committed to maintaining academic standards equal to or higher than those set by accrediting agencies.
Accreditation cannot guarantee that any school indeed provides a quality education. To a great extent, the quality of education delivered by a school depends on intangibles - things that cannot be measured, such as the teaching ability of the professors, their dedication to their task, and the commitment of the students to profit from the education they are offered. Accreditation, however, depends on measurability - such things as the percentage of professors with an earned doctorate in their field; the number of books and journals housed in the library; the availability of computers to the students.
After reviewing the academic programs of Greenville Seminary, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has recognized its M.Div curriculum as being in compliance with the PCA's Uniform Curriculum without exception, and at least one Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) presbytery has consented to enter into an oversight relationship with the Seminary. After several campus visits by a reviewing committee, the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) denomination has put Greenville Seminary on its list of approved seminaries. It is the conviction of the Seminary that, as her graduates receive acceptance with the church, this is the ultimate accreditation for a seminary.
The Seminary will receive regular accrediting visits by Ruling and Teaching Elders sent by their presbyteries and sessions. The purpose of the visitation is to examine the Seminary as to how faithful she has been in achieving her stated goals. The visitation committees have full access to all Seminary records and may interview any member of the faculty, staff, or student body.
Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries
Greenville Seminary is a charter member of the Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries (A.R.T.S.), a private association of Reformed schools of theology. The purpose of this organization is to provide for the kind of mutual accountability that Christian brethren ought properly to provide one another. That is, the association serves to make sure that each member school continues to accomplish what it promises.
For more information about A.R.T.S., please visit their website: www.artseminaries.org.
Although GPTS maintains accreditation through the Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries (ARTS), that agency has not yet obtained recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), although an application for CHEA membership is in process. In response to the proliferation of “diploma mills,” some states have tightened their laws regarding which out-of-state institutions can offer classes and degrees to their residents. The tendency in those states is to exclude all institutions which do not have an accreditation recognized by CHEA or the U.S. Department of Education. While GPTS offers classes and degree programs of a very high quality as authorized by the state of South Carolina, prospective students from states other than South Carolina should be aware of this issue. If you live in a state which has adopted restrictions on out-of-state institutions of higher education like the ones described above, GPTS may not be able to offer you the distance education classes described on this website for academic credit. We encourage you to check with your state’s higher education department before enrolling in courses at GPTS.
Veterans Aid, International Students & Chaplaincy
The Seminary is approved by the U.S. government to enroll international students and to receive veterans' aid. Please note, however that veterans’ aid may be granted only for on-campus studies. The Veterans Administration does not allow GI bill assistance for off-campus studies (distance education).
Greenville Seminary is a Qualifying Educational Institution (QEI) for the purpose of preparing clergy for application as chaplains for the military services in accordance with the Department of Defense requirements.
Tuition currently costs $200 per credit hour. This makes the full cost of our 4-year M.Div. degree (122 credit hours) to be $24,400. This is only a fraction of the cost of comparable seminaries in North America. Our tuition is kept low because 70% of our operating costs are paid by sponsoring churches and individual donors.
The tuition charges and fees represent only a fraction of the cost of operating Greenville Seminary. Individuals, churches, and presbyteries that have chosen to underwrite the work of the Seminary provide most of the funding and support. Through their continued generosity, the cost of the education offered by Greenville Seminary is being kept to a minimum.
God established a Biblical pattern for the support of those who minister in His name. We see that principle demonstrated in the pattern of support for the Levites by the Israelites. This principle encourages the Seminary to ask that the churches and/or presbyteries that endorse men for the Gospel ministry support their candidates financially. In the light of this biblical principle and in order to foster a closer working relationship among the students, the sending bodies, and the Seminary - the Board of Trustees has determined that a student under care of a presbytery or session of the PCA, OPC, or any other approved denomination may have a full tuition waiver if:
- the sending church or presbytery supports the Seminary at the level of the student's actual tuition costs (approximately $5,000.00 per year for a full-time student); or
- the sending presbytery supports the Seminary at $1.50 per communicant member per year per student with the minimum of $1,500.00 per year per student; or
- the sending church supports the Seminary at $20.00 per communicant member per year per student with the minimum of $1000.00 per year per student (effective for new students enrolled on or after July 1, 2015).
Note: Students are expected to pay any portion of the tuition not so covered. Thus, if the Seminary receives one-half of the above amounts from a student's presbytery or congregation, he will be charged only one-half of his tuition. This will encourage sessions and presbyteries to take seriously their commitment to their candidates, and in turn the candidates will be encouraged by the support of their sessions and/or presbyteries. Students are responsible for all fees (including audit fees).
The Seminary requires the sending church*/presbytery to support the Seminary for at least one year prior to a particular student's matriculation. Also, in order to help keep the cost of administrative, janitorial, and clerical help to a minimum, it requires students whose tuition is waived due to ecclesiastical support to work for the Seminary at least one hour per week for every three credit hours taken, not to exceed four hours/week. These work hours must be satisfied during the normal semester unless other arrangements are made.
Regular tuition charges and fees still apply to all other students. Limited scholarship funds may be available to meet special needs. All students, including those whose tuition has been waived, are responsible for the Building, Library, and Computer Use Fees (see Catalog). The monies collected from these fees partially underwrite the expenses incurred in heating, cooling, and maintaining the building, the library, and the student computers.
All tuition and fees are due at the beginning of the semester unless other written arrangements have been made for payment by periodic installments. Students wishing to pay tuition by periodic installments must submit a request to the Registrar via a written form before the first day of classes for the semester. The form should be completed based on the tuition level at the beginning of classes, even if there is a possibility of adding or dropping a class during the semester. A $50 late fee will be charged for failing to make the first payment and to complete the required paperwork by the end of the first week of classes. A flat fee of $15 per semester will be applied for students using a payment plan. Each payment must be at least 25 percent of the total due. The first payment is due at the beginning of the semester, and the three others are due on the first of the month (i.e. March, April, May for the Spring semester and October, November, December for the Fall). The fee for late payments during the semester is $10. Payment plans are only available for Spring and Fall semesters. Exceptions for winter and summer terms may be made on a case-by-case basis for extenuating circumstances.
All students are expected to choose their payment method at the beginning of the semester. Students who pay by PayPal must add 2.5%. Students who pay by credit or debit card must agree to automatic payments. A 2.5% surcharge must be added for credit card payments. There is no surcharge for debit card payments.
Students may not roll outstanding book or library photocopying invoices into their payment plans. Books and photocopying charges should generally be paid within a week of purchase unless alternate arrangements are made with the Bookstore/Library. Students will not be permitted to register for new classes until all accounts in arrears (including all seminary, bookstore, and library accounts) have been settled. No transcripts will be issued for students who have not paid all of their tuition and fees.
Notwithstanding these guidelines, the seminary understands there may be particular financial stresses and is willing to negotiate with students concerning tuition payment plans. If an exception is needed, the student must contact the Registrar well before the deadlines.
* Sending church is defined as a church who has recommended the student for study at GPTS and of which student is a member in good standing. If a waiver student chooses, he may, while in residence at GPTS and with his sending church's approval, transfer his membership to a local congregation and still retain his waiver status.
SCHOLARSHIPS & FINANCIAL AID
Greenville Seminary does not have an endowment. We have established two scholarship funds from which we may be able to provide financial aid to incoming students as monies are donated to these funds by gracious and generous supporters. In some cases, the seminary itself has underwritten the expenses of certain needy students who come to our attention through faculty or administration relationships, but such arrangements are unique and should not be seen as potential generally available financial aid. We continually seek donations from our supporters for scholarship funds and have established special accounts for international students to which donors are asked to contribute. Many of our students attend the seminary on tuition waivers made possible when their churches, regional church bodies or denominations enter special supporting arrangements with the seminary. Financial aid is available to many veterans of the armed forces, and we encourage prospective students to seek privately available grants and scholarships. For additional information about scholarships and loans, go here.