One of our distinctives is Accessibility (see our Mission & Values Page). Our commitment to accessibility is most clearly seen in our full-service distance program. Since 2000, the Seminary has offered live distance education (at first through phone-based conference calling, and now much more sophisticated with live video feeds). Before 2000, the Seminary offered most classes by correspondence (through tape recordings).
Today, our programs are accessible to called men in a variety of situations and life circumstances. Some men are unable to uproot their families in order to move to Greenville, SC to join us in-residence, and so we offer a full-orbed distance program, in partnership with volunteer mentors around the country. In 2017, we added our MAR program to the Distance roster. For full information about the Distance/Mentor Study Program, please refer to page 8-9 in the 2019-2020 Academic Catalog, or contact email@example.com. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind as you further explore our program offerings:
1 – All students seeking credit from GPTS must make regular application for admission to the Seminary. In addition, each non-resident Divinity applicant must be under-care of presbytery prior to matriculation, have the formal approval of his overseeing presbytery to study via the Distance/Mentor Study Program (acknowledgment letters from his presbytery must accompany his application for admission), and attend orientation on campus in the Fall semester of his first year (exceptions are sometimes granted in extenuating circumstances).
2 – All Distance Study Program applicants must explain their reasons for desiring to study by distance, providing such explanation in a letter accompanying their application for admissions.
3 – Distance/Mentor Study Program students follow the course syllabus of the degree programs as they are taught at the Seminary. Students use either Internet-based class participation (video-conferencing) or audio/video download of class sessions as part of their study. Students are expected to complete all the regular assignments of their courses. Mentors and professors are granted the freedom to require additional work of students whom they oversee.
4 – As of the Fall of 2019, at least one semester of study for the BDiv/MDiv (no fewer than 12 hours) must be completed in residence at GPTS. This requirement does not apply to MMRE/MMD or MAR students. The residency requirement can be met by attending week-long intensive classes on-campus; fulfillment of the residency requirement may be spread out across a student’s program of study (over 4-6 years).
5 – The student must complete at least 16 credit hours per year, unless he has received faculty approval for fewer hours.
6 – Distance/Mentor Study Program Divinity students who have not completed at least 31 credit hours by the end of the second year will be dropped from the program. This requirement may be extended by faculty vote.
7 – Language classes generally may not be taken through the exclusive use of audio/video downloads of class sessions. They may be taken live by video-conference. Distant students who are unable to videoconference into first year Greek or Hebrew courses can “test out” of those classes by taking a proctored proficiency exam after pursuing a course of independent study to learn the rudiments of those languages on their own.
In general, the local pastor of a distance student will serve as his mentor for study. In lieu of a qualified local pastor or elder in a student’s church, the Seminary maintains a list of approved mentors who serve students in their areas. Please contact the Registrar (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on mentor requirements and the list of approved mentors.
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary broadcasts all of its classes via videoconference. Qualified students are able interactively to participate in classes in real time. If the remote site (the student’s home, office, church, or extension campus) has installed the recommended equipment and has a broadband Internet connection, the student can expect acceptable video along with high-quality audio. Students participating by interactive conferencing receive course materials through our Learning Management System, Populi. Further details on technical requirements and set-up recommendations are available from the Seminary’s IT team.