Advanced Standing & Course Validation
Incoming ThM and MA students can use their previous coursework in two possible ways:
- Advanced Standing - incoming students can take advanced standing exams to exempt them from taking certain courses. This lowers the overall number of credit hours needed to graduate. Please see the advanced standing page for details.
- Course Validation - if you took Bible courses at an approved institution, you may be eligible for course validation which allows you to replace a required DTS class with an advanced upper level DTS class. This does not change the total number of credit hours to graduate, but it does offer greater flexibility as to which courses you take. To see if you qualify, please visit the Bible class validation page.
For more detailed information please consult the text below.
Incoming ThM and MA students may apply for advanced standing in certain courses in the following areas: Hebrew, Greek, Bible Exposition, Theological Studies, Pastoral Ministries, Christian Education, and World Missions. A maximum of 30 hours of advanced standing may be credited toward the ThM degree, and approximately 15-16 hours toward the MA degrees, except for the MA in Biblical Counseling, which has a maximum of approximately 20 hours. Advanced standing is not granted for the Certificate of Biblical and Theological Studies or the STM program, nor is it granted for courses that are electives in the student’s program. Please note that advanced standing hours are classified as non-residency hours, as are online courses, independent studies, and transfer credit.
Entering students have one calendar year from the term of initial matriculation to take advantage of any advanced standing exams. In the case of Greek and Hebrew, advanced standing exams may be completed after the initial year of study. Application must be made through the Advising Center for each exam desired. A nonrefundable testing fee is charged for each exam taken, and must be paid before taking each advanced standing exam. When a student withdraws from DTS, all advanced standing will be deleted from a student’s transcript.
Validation of Courses
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to validate courses in their Seminary studies. Undergraduate course work not eligible for advanced standing credit may be validated and elective hours substituted for the validated courses in a student’s degree program. A student can validate a required course if he or she (1) has college credit for a similar course (in exceptional cases noncredit, self-study courses or extensive experience may qualify), and (2) gives the Registrar’s Office the proper form signed by a professor of the course and the department chair. This form can be accessed in the Registrar’s Office.
To validate a course the student must demonstrate to the professor (normally by either a written or oral examination) that he or she has proficiency in the course material. Validation of a course does not give credit for the course nor reduce the student’s curricular requirements, but it does allow the student to substitute elective hours in the same department unless the department chair specifies otherwise. When a student validates a Servant Leadership Internship, he or she must substitute the hours in another Servant Leadership Internship based on ministry and track requirements. Students who have received the maximum number of hours in advanced standing allowable toward their degree may still validate additional courses.