Student Academic Integrity Policy
Registration dates for the beginning of each semester are designated on the seminary calendar. Orientation is held for new students at the beginning of the fall semester.Registration happens after students meet with their assigned adviser and are given registration clearance. Dropping and adding courses can happen online up to the first day of the semester. After that students must work through the registrar's office.
A student who registers for at least 9 hours a semester shall be considered a full-time student and is classified according to the number of hours completed and recorded in the Registrar’s Office at the beginning of the semester. Anyone taking less than 9 hours is a part-time student. Classification in the MDiv program is as follows:Junior: 29 semester hours or less of cumulative academic credit
Middler: 30-59 semester hours
Senior: 60 semester hours, or less if the student has an approved plan to complete requirements for a degree the following summer
Credit Outside of EMS
Advance approval should be secured from the dean or associate dean of the seminary before enrolling for work in other institutions with the intention of transferring credit to Eastern Mennonite Seminary for graduation, keeping in mind that the majority of credits toward a degree at EMS must be earned at EMS.
The seminary recognizes the value of residential studies to students but also the convenience of distance learning courses and non-campus-based programs, such as conference-based pastoral training programs. In order to insure a quality seminary education, a minimum of one academic year with full-time enrollment (27 credit hours) is required on campus to earn a degree. And when deemed appropriate, residency course requirements can be met by face-to-face class experience with EMS professors in other locations. Transfer credit from non-traditional learning modes (e.g ., distance learning courses) is limited to one academic year (27 credit hours).An important clarification concerns the seminary’s extension in Lancaster, Pa. Graduate Certificate and Master of Divinity students at the extension may complete the residency requirement in Pennsylvania. Master of Arts in Religion and Master of Arts in Church Leadership students must fulfill the residency requirement in a manner determined by their main campus advisor and seminary dean
Video Conferencing Policy
In light of the fact that Seminary culture increasingly includes video conferencing, we need to have in place policies that will guide how video conferencing is used. Our goal is to both make it easier for students’ to take courses and also make the instructor’s experience work as smoothly as possible.
- If any student has a legitimate reason why they must be absent from a particular class session and notifies the instructor in advance, video conferencing software may be used in place of in-person attendance.
- With agreement from the instructor prior to the start of the course, students who reside at least 75 miles from campus may connect to the class sessions via video conferencing on an ongoing basis. Students need to keep in mind that connecting via video conferencing for 50% or more of class sessions will mean that the course does not count toward residency for their degree program.
- Students using video conferencing are responsible to have appropriate technology and setting to connect by video and audio to class sessions without foreseeable interruption.
- Faculty are encouraged to develop pedagogy that allows for video conferencing in each of their courses, and, as necessary, to set appropriate limits to the number of students per course connecting in this way and/or to the number of sessions students may attend via video conferencing.
Advanced Standing Credit for Study
The seminary awards credit for Clinical Pastoral Education units offered by a CPE Center accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education other than EMS. With the submission of a CPE professional certificate of completion and the payment of a recording fee, a student will receive 6 semester hours of credit for a CPE unit applied toward the relevant degree at EMS.
Instructors will prepare a syllabus for each course describing its purpose, requirements, objectives and other appropriate information, such as bibliography and schedule. In general, 500 level courses are for first year students, 600 for second year students and 700 for third year students, representing through 700 courses represent increasing levels of difficulty. Students may request to see course syllabi when making course selections. Such requests should be made to the Dean’s Office.
It is advantageous to be in attendance from the beginning of a course, but students may add a course through the sixth day of the semester (the Tuesday of the first full week of classes). A student is permitted to drop a course through the fourth week with that course not appearing on the permanent record. Courses dropped the fifth week through the ninth week of the semester are recorded as W (withdrawn). No change is permitted after the ninth week. The after the first day of the semester official drop/add request requests must be made in the seminary Registrar’s Office. During the summer term comparable dates for changes are in effect (see Student Handbook).
If absences persist, the seminary associate dean and Academic Committee may counsel the instructor on the student’s class standing or determine the student’s future enrollment status.
Course schedules are planned to provide 15 hours of classroom interaction between the instructors and students for each credit hour. Students should expect approximately two and one-half to spend 2.5 hours of study outside of class for each hour in class.
Students who have a pastorate, job and/or extracurricular activities exceeding on average 20 hours per week shall take at least three years to complete the Master of Arts in Church Leadership degree and at least four years to complete the Master of Divinity degree. The maximum load for such students shall be 12 hours per semester and 24 hours per year (including summer terms). Approval of the associate dean is required to exceed this limit.every 1 hour of credit.
The university reserves the right to require students to participate in institutional testing programs as part of ongoing assessment of student outcomes.
Normally when nearing the completion of 20 semester hours of work, the formative process leads to a decision on degree candidacy. For transfer students, degree candidacy isn’t automatically granted based on transfer credit but will occur when the student nears completion of 20 semester hours of study at EMS. Any transfer credit will be finalized only after degree candidacy is granted. Degree candidacy . Degree candidacy represents a significant point of accountability in which the faculty together decide whether or not the student appears qualified to successfully complete a given degree program. The decision will be in the form of approval, approval with qualifications, or denial of degree candidacy. The decision is made in a regular faculty meeting where SCC student representatives are also present..
In the students’ final year, the faculty also do a summative ministry competency evaluation or competency in their chosen field of study for students preparing to graduate and make a recommendation indicating readiness for ministry in a faculty meeting where SCC student representatives are also present. The recommendation is placed in a student's ministry file.
Moving from Certificate to Degree
If a student without a college degree successfully completes a certificate program and wishes to continue in seminary studies, application may be made for acceptance into a degree program on condition that the person have a GPA of 2.50 or above.
This application process is a letter to the seminary dean formulated by the student and approved by the student’s academic advisor who will initiate the degree candidacy process described above.
A student who chooses to pursue the General Theological Certificate (Certificate Program) with the desire to pursue a graduate seminary degree should plan on the following sequence:
- Admission as a certificate student with the intent of pursuing a degree
- successful completion of the certificate (24sh)
- presentation by adviser to the faculty as a degree candidate
Normally degree candidacy is discerned when seminary students have successfully completed 20 sh of course work. The general theological certificate student, in consultation with their adviser, may pursue degree candidacy at 20 sh through a letter of request to the seminary associate dean. Assuming faculty approval of degree candidacy, the certificate will be awarded when the requisite number of courses are successfully completed.
A student admitted into the Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies (Certificate Program) may transfer all successfully completed courses toward a master's degree if requested within two years of the completion of the certificate. The student will proceed through degree candidacy at 20 sh (Degree Candidacy).
Students and community members may enroll in seminary classes (excluding courses in the Formation sequence) as participant auditors. The level of participation will be negotiated between the auditor and the course instructor. The participation fee is onetwo-half thirds the regular tuition rate. An audit designation will appear on their transcript. If a student chooses to complete all required coursework and get credit for a course previously audited, full tuition will be charged.
Senior citizens (65+) may audit a course with the permission of the instructor, at no charge.
Withdrawal from Seminary
A student considering withdrawal from EMS is asked to counsel with the associate dean or the dean of the seminary. They may be in a position to make suggestions which enable a student to remain in school.
Statement of Commitment
We recognize that all human beings—men and women alike—are beings are persons of infinite worth created equally in the image of God. Accordingly, we recognize that the language which we use to speak about each other is no negligible matter but one of crucial importance. The words by which we name and address each other are no less than the means by which we can recognize each other mutually as persons created in God’s image, and the means by which we can empower each other mutually to live out the potential God has given each of us.
Eastern Mennonite Seminary is an institution dedicated to the task of “equipping persons for ministries in the service of the kingdom of God.” As teaching faculty we recognize the centrality of language to our task. We are equipping persons to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ to the churched and unchurched alike in our communities and around the world. And because our task is that of equipping communicators, we recognize the crucial importance of language, the words which we use, to proclaim the Good News which we wish to communicate.
We therefore commit ourselves: