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Advanced Standing Details

Dallas Theological Seminary grants advanced standing to students who demonstrate current competency normally gained through the DTS curriculum. Advanced Standing is a curricular adjustment based on a student’s demonstrated competency. In order to expedite your seminary education and reduce cost, we encourage students to explore the variety of advanced standing opportunities.

Two types of advanced standing are available at DTS—reduction and substitution of credit hours.

1. Reduction of Credit Hours

Candidates may qualify to reduce their degree program by up to 25% based on a current demonstration of competency. Reduction of credit hours may be obtained in two ways, accelerated and course-by-course.

2. Substitution of Credit Hours

Candidates may qualify to substitute approved courses for required or core courses. While this does not reduce the number of credit hours in the degree, advanced or other courses may be substituted. Fill out the Course Substitution Form to start the process.

1. Reduction of Credit Hours

Candidates may qualify to reduce their degree program by up to 25% based on a current demonstration of competency. Reduction of credit hours occurs in two ways, course-by-course and accelerated:

A. Accelerated (for Dallas-campus students only)

The Dallas campus Accelerated program replaces core DTS courses with accelerated versions. The application requires objective exams, submission of an academic artifact, and an interview. Through accelerated advanced standing, ThM students can reduce their program by 30 credit hours. Depending on the program, MA students can reduce their program by 15-16 credit hours. Accelerated advanced standing is available only to Dallas-campus students who matriculate fall 2014 or later.

Students who desire to reduce degree program credit hours at the degree program level must:

Requirements for Accelerated Advanced Standing

  1. Submit evidence of formal or informal academic education
    Formal academic education includes satisfactory completion of significant undergraduate Bible and theology courses at an  ABHE (Association of Biblical Higher Education) or CCCU (Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities) school . Informal academic education includes validated parachurch ministry training programs.  These currently include the following organizations: Kanakuk Institute (Branson, MO), The Forge (Tyler, TX), Young Guns (Denton, TX), Grace Fellows Program (College Station, TX), Downline Ministries (Little Rock, AR), BTCP/BTCL, Missionary Training Institute (Denton Bible Church), Women’s Discipleship Program (Denton Bible Church), Saturate Austin Institute, and Trek-X.
  2. Complete an objective exam
    For the accelerated ThM program, students must take a 100-question objective exam that assesses a student’s competency in the following areas: Bible study methods and hermeneutics, spiritual life, evangelism, research methods, and biblical and theological knowledge. Students who desire to reduce language hours (either NT Greek or OT Hebrew) can choose to take an additional exam. For an accelerated MA program, a student must take a 75-question exam that assesses a student’s competency in biblical and theological knowledge.
  3. Submit a composition artifact of academic work (completed within one year prior to applying to DTS)
    A composition artifact normally includes a senior thesis, journal article, critical book review, or a research project in the area of Bible and/or theology. It is not a position paper. The artifact must be an unmarked copy of at least 2,500 words (no maximum) in the body of the paper (not including title page, bibliography, footnotes, etc.), have been completed, revised or updated within the last year, and reflect graduate-level aptitude in the following areas: biblical exposition, theological precision, logical and critical reasoning, awareness and understanding of contrary positions, research methods, communication in English, grammar and spelling, and the application of consistent writing form.
  4. Interview with a member or members of the Advanced Standing Committee
    The Advanced Standing Committee will meet with applicants as the final phase of the advanced standing assessment process. This may be conducted in person or through a video-chat service (e.g., Skype).
  5. Complete prescribed accelerated courses
    • In place of 28 prescribed MA hours, accelerated MA students (except MABEL) must satisfactorily complete the following 12 hours: AS103, AS104, AS105, and AS106. Additional reduction can occur through course-by-course examination, up to 25% of a student’s degree program.

Accelerated Master of Theology (ThM) Plan

wdt_ID Core ThM Courses Accelerated Program Saved
4 BE101 – Bible Study Methods & Hermeneutics
PM105 – Christian Life & Witness
RS101 – Research Methods
AS101 - Seminar on Practical Theology, Hermeneutics, and Research 5
5 EML101 – Introduction to Educational Ministries and Leadership
WM101 – Intro to World Missions
AS102 - Seminar on Educational Process and World Missions 3
6 BE102 – Old Testament History I
BE103 – Old Testament History II
BE104 – Prophets
AS103 - Seminar on the Old Testament 5
7 BE105 – Gospels
BE106 – Acts and the Pauline Epistles
BE107 – General Epistles, Revelation
AS104 - Seminar on the New Testament 5
8 ST102 – Trinitarianism
ST103 – Angelology, Anthropology, Sin
AS105 - Seminar on God, Creation, Humanity, and Sin 3
9 ST104 – Soteriology
ST105 – Sanctification and Ecclesiology
AS106 - Seminar on the Salvation, Sanctification, and the Church 3
10 NT101/NT102 – First year Greek,
OT101/OT102 – First year Hebrew,
NT101/OT101 – First semester languages
No courses, exams only, contact Advanced Standing 6
11 48 hours 18 hours 30 hours

Accelerated Master of Arts (MA) Plan

wdt_ID Core ThM Courses Accelerated Program Saved
6 BE102 – Old Testament History I
BE103 – Old Testament History II
BE104 – Prophets
AS103 - Seminar on the Old Testament 5
7 BE105 – Gospels
BE106 – Acts and the Pauline Epistles
BE107 – General Epistles, Revelation
AS104 - Seminar on the New Testament 5
8 ST102 – Trinitarianism
ST103 – Angelology, Anthropology, Sin
AS105 - Seminar on God, Creation, Humanity, and Sin 3
9 ST104 – Soteriology
ST105 – Sanctification and Ecclesiology
AS106 - Seminar on the Salvation, Sanctification, and the Church 3
11 28 hours 12 hours 16 hours

*For MACL, MACE, and MACS students the maximum hours saved is 15.

Course-by-Course According to Degree

Curricular reduction of a degree program determined by a course-by-course assessment of the student’s competency using diagnostic tools similar to those used to assess competency gained in a DTS course. Students gain advanced standing only for courses in which they demonstrate competency. Course-by-course advanced standing is available only within the first twenty-four semester hours of initial matriculation.

Students who desire to reduce degree program credit hours on a course-by-course basis must complete an objective exam for each course. At the present time, the exam fee of $30/exam is being waived.

All exams are available online. The sooner you take the exam and get credit for advanced standing, the easier it will be for you to schedule your classes. Below are the hours and courses for which you may apply:

  • ThM – 30 hours
  • MABC – 22 hours
  • MACE, MACM, MAMW – 16 hours
  • MACL, MABEL, MACS – 15 hours
  • MBTS – 7 hours

Type in your degree in the search bar below to see the list of courses according to Degree. 

wdt_ID Course Program Hours
6 BE101 - Bible Study Methods & Hermeneutics ThM, MACS, MABC, MACE, MACL, MACM, MAMW, MBTS 3
7 BE102 Old Testament History I * THM, MACS, MABC, MACE, MACL, MACM, MAMW 3
8 BE103 Old Testament History II ThM, MACS, MABC, MACE, MACL, MACM, MAMW 2
9 BE104 Old Testament Prophets * ThM, MACS, MABC, MACE, MACL, MACM, MAMW 3
11 BE105 The Gospels ThM, MACS, MABC, MACE, MACL, MACM, MAMW 2
12 BE106 Acts & Pauline Epistles * ThM, MACS, MABC, MACE, MACL, MACM, MAMW 3
13 BE107 Hebrews, General Epistles, & Revelation * ThM, MACS, MABC, MACE, MACL, MACM, MAMW 3
14 BE109 Ruth, Psalms and Selected Epistles MACS, MABC, MACE, MACL, MACM, MAMW 3
15 EML101 Introduction to Educational Ministries ThM, MACE 3
16 EML103/104 Teaching Process and Media Presentations MACE, MACL 3

*MABEL chooses BE 102 or BE 107

You can sign up for Course-by-Course exams using the Course-by-Course Form.

2. Substitution of Credit Hours

Candidates may qualify to substitute approved courses for required or core courses with no curricular reduction of degree program credit hours.

A student who desires to substitute approved courses should fill out the Course Substitution Form.

Contact the Dean of Enrollment Services for more information.