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Eastern Mennonite Seminary seeks to provide a setting for a study-fellowship-service experience which will prepare persons for ministry in a variety of settings. Anyone who is academically, personally, and spiritually prepared for serious and diligent graduate study of the Bible and theology is invited to seek admission.

A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution (or its educational equivalent) and a minimum grade point average of 2.5 are required for admission to a degree program. Students who apply with a baccalaureate degree from an international nonaccredited college or university will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ascertain whether the work completed was commensurate in kind, quality, and amount typical of North American baccalaureate degree programs. Persons without the baccalaureate degree or its educational equivalent may be admitted into a Certificate Program provided they show by maturity of age and experience in Christian ministry that they can benefit from graduate-level studies. All persons seeking admission must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Up to 10% of the students in a given degree program (except the MAR degree program) may be non-baccalaureate students who are admitted after completion of a Certificate.

A student admitted from a non-accredited school or on an exceptional basis with a grade point average below 2.5 will be conditionally admitted for the first semester. If the required GPA is achieved, the conditional status will be removed. If the desired GPA is not achieved, continuation at seminary will be reviewed. All students, including those with a conditional admittance, are evaluated after the completion of 20 SH for degree candidacy. The faculty together decide whether or not a student appears qualified to successfully complete a given degree program and makes a decision about degree candidacy.

Pre-Seminary Curriculum

Eastern Mennonite Seminary recognizes the importance of carefully planned pre-seminary studies. While it is desirable that all who pursue theological training have been exposed to certain basic disciplines, it is understood that not all will have chosen that option. In cases where deficiencies exist, the seminary reserves the right to request that such be met.

Differing ministries demand a variety of patterns of pre-theological preparation; therefore it is unnecessary to insist upon specific requirements for all students. In general, however, there are certain basic educational exposures that are considered highly significant for one entering theological education.

The general areas of concern are that the undergraduate studies of a pre-seminary
student should prepare one to:

  1. use the tools of the educated person;
  2. grow in increased understanding of and insight into the world in which one
    lives; and
  3. develop a sense of achievement and mastery in selected areas of

A degree in Bible and religion is not required for seminary admission. However, a student would benefit much if courses in these fields and in philosophy would be pursued.

Spiritual Commitment

Each student is asked to subscribe to the following pledge: “I understand that the seminary is a formational experience in the context of a Christian community. I will engage this formational experience with respect for faculty members, other students and staff, as well as the larger EMU community.”


Selecting a seminary is an important decision. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the campus and confer with the seminary admissions staff. Application should be made at least two months before the anticipated time of entrance. Deadlines for financial assistance may be earlier.

An application is complete when the following documents are received:

  • two-part application with essays
  • official transcript(s) of credit
  • non-refundable application fee
  • references from three persons named by the applicant

A shorter form will be provided to applicants who are not pursuing a degree and who wish to take only part-time studies (12 hours or less). After completing four courses a student will be asked to complete the full application process before continuing studies.

The Committee on Admissions reviews each application and notifies the applicant of the action taken.

For a campus visit or admission application, write to:
Director of Seminary Admissions
Eastern Mennonite Seminary
Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462
e-mail: fax: (540) 432-4598

Transfer Credit

Transfer applicants who plan to complete degree requirements at EMS shall communicate with the admissions office as soon as possible. A personal interview is desirable in order to clarify the transfer process and the amount of credit needed to complete the program. Any credit from an accredited seminary or other accredited graduate school will be considered for transfer. However, a majority of credits for a degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary must be earned from EMS.

The Associate Dean determines which credits meet our degree requirements and which are appropriate as elective credit. Any graduate level credit from a non-accredited institution is judged on a case-by-case basis by reviewing course descriptions, faculty credentials, and if needed, course syllabi to determine the academic strength of the school. Credit from a university is judged on the basis of its similarity to seminary studies. No grade below C- will be accepted as transfer credit. Any transfer of credit will be finalized only after candidacy is granted. Residency requirements for transfer students are defined under academic programs.

Time Limit on EMS and Transfer Credit

In compliance with the Association of Theological Schools accrediting standards, EMS policy is that all course credits applied toward degree requirements should be earned within ten years of the awarding of the degree.

International Students

Completion of the online application form constitutes the first step in the application process for the international student. Applicants whose native language is other than English must demonstrate competency in the English language by achieving a score of 550 on the paper version or 80 on the internet-based version or higher on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A score of 7.0 or higher on the IELTS is also acceptable. The institutional code for having scores sent directly to EMS is 5181. In addition to the above requirements, an international student must demonstrate “ability to pay” before a letter of admission or an I-20 form can be issued.

Application for Readmission

EMS students not enrolled at the seminary for one semester (fall or spring) or more may be asked to complete an application for readmission prior to re-enrollment. Applications for readmission may be obtained from the receptionist or admissions office. Students who were not on conditional status in their previous period of study at EMS may be granted unconditional readmission. Conditional readmission on a semester-by-semester basis may be granted to students who were on conditional status at the point of termination from their previous period of study at EMS.

Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

Eastern Mennonite Seminary annually informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This act, with which the institution intends to comply fully, was designated to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students also have the right to file complaints with the FERPA office concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the act. This policy is printed in the university student handbook. Questions concerning FERPA may be referred to the university Registrar’s Office.

Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students

Eastern Mennonite Seminary admits students of any sex, race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the university, regardless of handicap.

It does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, handicap, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other university-administered programs.

EMU’s designated coordinator for matters related to nondiscrimination policies is the provost, telephone 540-432-4105.

Academic Integrity

Personal integrity and mutual trust are essential to the learning community at Eastern Mennonite University. Students are expected to uphold high standards of personal ethics, including the professional ethics associated with academic life. EMU considers a student’s lying, cheating or stealing through the wrongful use or inappropriate attribution of information on tests, term papers or other academic assignments to be a serious violation of the standards of integrity in the academic community.

Plagiarism, the intentional use of ideas and words taken from another source without proper credit, is a serious ethical offense. Knowingly helping or allowing someone to cheat also violates the ethical standards of the community.

When there is confirmed evidence of academic dishonesty, the teacher deals with the student on an individual basis and may assign a failing grade for the particular assignment or for the course. In cases where any disciplinary action is taken, a written record of the offense and the action is submitted to the seminary dean. For full policy of academic integrity see the student handbook.

Intellectual Property

The purpose of this policy is to clarify issues related to the ownership, use, and sale of intellectual property created by university personnel.

Eastern Mennonite University wishes to foster an intellectual environment that encourages creativity, innovation, and excellence while managing its resources for the benefit of all constituents. In this policy the university seeks to foster these goals and honor traditions in the academic setting while recognizing federal laws.

Intellectual property refers to any copyrightable or patentable work.

This policy with respect to students attempts to balance student and institutional needs. Intellectual property created by students is considered the property of the student. The university, however, reserves the right to use such material, with appropriate discretion and attribution, in promotion of the university. Intellectual property created by students and employees jointly is considered to be jointly owned by the creators. (The employee shall have decision-making powers in regard to permissions and sales of jointly created property.)

To view the complete Intellectual Property Policy, contact the provost office at

Grievance Procedures

The grievance procedures are applicable to all students, faculty and staff of Eastern Mennonite University and Seminary as well as applicants for faculty, staff or student status. These procedures comply with the requirements of Title IX of the Federal Health, Education, and Welfare procedures and the general employee grievance policy of the Mennonite Education Agency.

The main concern in any grievance procedure is to bring reconciliation and growth in ways that enhance community. To implement this goal, the American Council on Education definition of grievance is adopted: “Grievable issues are those in which there is the possibility of an error in the institutional policies (or lack of them), in its prescribed procedures for carrying out the policies, in the administration of those procedures, or in varying combinations of these.” If it is determined that an institutional error has occurred, the second function of the grievance procedure is to provide a process to determine appropriate redress for the grievant.

The first approach to any grievance should be non-adversarial and open, undertaken with careful attention to fostering understanding, problem-solving attitudes. The expectation is that the majority of grievances can be resolved through a flexible process of conflict resolution. These procedures are based on the understanding that differences can be resolved within the institutions of the church without adopting adversarial positions and that the resources of the wider church community are available when mediation is requested. A complete copy of these procedures is available upon request from the President’s Office.

Open Communication Policy

Eastern Mennonite University welcomes open communication from students regarding its policies and practices. Student feedback helps administrators determine effectiveness and clarify and improve processes and procedures. If a student has a complaint, such complaint should be communicated to the administrator responsible for the area of the complaint. Most complaints can be dealt with through oral communication.

When a student wishes to lodge a more formal complaint in writing may use the Student Complaint Form. This form is submitted to the assistant to the president, who determines who will respond and address concerns. That person will respond within five days, and after hearing your concern, will officially respond in writing to you, with that response copied to the assistant to the president per the student complaint policy, detailed in the university handbook.

In the event that a student is not satisfied with the response to the complaint, the student may choose to follow the grievance procedure for resolution. The university recognizes its obligation to ensure that students who make complaints do not suffer adverse treatment as a result of the complaint. In the event that a student alleges such treatment, the student shall be referred to the grievance procedure for resolution and reconciliation.

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