PROGRAM DETAILS

Why Enroll At CES
Denominational Identification
Credit Transfers
Residency
Semester System
Grade Points
Student Classifications
Transcript Request
Refund Policy
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

When did CES begin and where does the name come from?
When can I enroll?
When will I graduate?
Do you have graduation ceremonies?
Do you have audio tapes that I will listen to for my classes?
What kind of academic writing will be required for CES?
Is CES accredited?
Is CES a denominational seminary?
What is the basic theology of CES?
What CES professors will I be working with in my program of study?
Do I have to select my primary mentor from the CES faculty?
What exactly is required for each class?
Does CES have prefabricated classes like correspondence schools?
If CES is not a correspondence school, is some time on campus is required?
If there are no prefabricated classes, what syllabi do I use for my classes?
How many credits can I transfer into a CES degree program?
Can I get credit for ministry experience?
Is there a cost for ministry credits?
How long do I have to complete a degree program?
What if I go beyond the due date for my particular degree program?
Does CES supply my text books or do I buy them myself?
Can I use audio, video, DVD or Live lectures in my classes?
What are the methods of tuition payment?
What is the first step I need to take to find out where I stand with CES?
What are the basic steps to become a student and graduate from CES

When did CES begin and where does the name come from?
Columbia Evangelical Seminary began in April, 1991, as Faraston Theological Seminary. In January 1998, the Board of Regents changed the name to Columbia Evangelical Seminary. Columbia identifies us geographically. The Columbia River runs through Washington state; and, in its inception, our state was almost named Columbia. Evangelical refers to traditional Christian orthodox doctrines, with emphasis upon individual personal regeneration, and Seminary is a theological school.

When can I enroll?
CES has continuous enrollment. This means that students may enroll at any time throughout the year.

When will I graduate?
Students graduate when they complete their degree requirements. Since we are a distance learning school, we do not have a specific date of graduation like traditional schools do. Most traditional schools have a graduation ceremony that students go through in June (or thereabouts). CES, however, does not do that. You graduate the day your final class is completed and graded, no matter what month it is.

Do you have graduation ceremonies?
Because our program is distance learning, we have students scattered all throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world. In the early years of CES, we would have yearly graduation ceremonies, but most of the students could not come due to work or family responsibilities. So, rather than have a yearly graduation ceremony, CES now has a graduation/dinner every five years (or so). At this event, anyone who has ever graduated from CES, and anyone who is presently a student, may attend the ceremony. Even those who have graduated and attended an earlier ceremony may come back and go through the ceremony again for the fun and fellowship. Continuous Graduation . . . Also, since CES holds it graduation ceremony only once every five years, students may have their own private graduation ceremony anytime they want to, except during those years with a formal graduation ceremony planned. On multiple occasions CES graduates (some bringing family and friends) have come to Washington state for private graduation ceremonies. We’ve had CES graduates travel from as far away as Arizona, Georgia, and Florida to have their own personalized graduation. Students wishing to do this must make prior arrangements with CES.

Do you have audio tapes that I will listen to for my classes?
First, all regular CES classes are research classes. Rather than simply listening to some audio lectures and filling out a lesson plan or study guide, students do actual research. By this we mean that students will read and research their topic, and then they will write an integrative, academic term paper for the class. However, there is one class that is on audio tapes. See the next question for information about that class.

What kind of academic writing will be required for CES?
Every school has its own set of rules as to what is required for their term papers. In fact, sometimes, these "sets of rules" may vary from professor to professor. We have established a set of rules that all students are to follow in their academic writing, and to help all of the students with these requirements, a class has been developed that they can take that will help them thoroughly understand the writing protocols of CES. This class is available on-line and when it is accessed on-line, there is no charge for the class materials. In fact, anyone, even non-students may access this material. This class is required for all students. There are two options:
1) Take it for credit. This is the best method and students will gain the most information and learning from this option. In fact, students may take this class more than one time for credit. When they do, of course, they shall incorporate other texts and research materials so that are not simply duplicating the class.
2) Audit it. Students writing theses and dissertations may take this class as an audit. In this case, they will still list the class on their Learning Contracts, but they will list it as an audited class. There is a flat fee of $100 to audit this class. Students may access the class materials online here.

Is CES accredited?
No, CES is not accredited. According to Dr. John Bear "...there are schools which, by their very nature, are academically sound, legitimately and sincerely run, appropriately licensed, but unlikely ever to gain "traditional" accreditation because of the innovative or experimental or non-traditional nature of their programs...In evaluating an unaccredited school, the two crucial questions that must be asked are these: 1) who are the people behind it (and what are their credentials)? and 2) what is the quality of work being asked of, and done by, the students?" John B. Bear, Ph.D. (Diploma mill consultant to FBI, 1979-1992), author of, Bears' Guide to Earning College Degrees Nontraditionally (more than 300,000 in print).

Is CES a denominational seminary?
CES is non-denominational, but we are conservative evangelical.

What is the basic theology of CES?
CES holds to the fundamentals of the historical Christian faith, see our Statement Of Fundamental Beliefs for detailed information.

What CES professors will I be working with in my program of study?
Each student has one primary mentor (professor) with whom he/she will work throughout the degree program. Students, however, get to select the person that they want to work with. At the time of enrollment, the student selects and submits five or six names from the faculty list (in the order of his/her preference) that he/she would like to work with. We then check with those mentors in the order listed to see if one of them is available to serve as that student's mentor. If so, we then give the student the professor's phone number and (or) email, and the student either calls or emails the professor and discusses his/her educational goals with the professor. The student and the mentor together determine if they want to work together. If for some reason the student or the professor does not feel that this is a good match, we will contact the next person on the student's list, and so on until we make a match.

Do I have to select my primary mentor from the CES faculty?
Not necessarily. One primary asset of CES's programs of study is that not only may students select mentors from our faculty, but they may also bring mentors to their programs of study. Therefore, students may select pastors or educators from their own denominations or fellowships, and they may also build their curricula specifically to study the beliefs taught by their own denominations or fellowships. This is especially important for the person who desires to become a full-time minister with a particular church. The outside mentor must meet and agree with the confessional, educational, and professional standards of Columbia Evangelical Seminary.

What exactly is required for each class?
There is a basic answer to this question, and then a creative one. First, the basic: Each 4-credit class requires a certain amount of research and writing. Some students simply do those two learning activities, i.e., 1) research a topic and 2) write an academic term paper on that topic. Second, the creative: However, students may be more creative in their classes. Though there will always be a certain amount of reading and research required for each class, students may be more creative in their final product than simply writing an academic term paper for each class. For example, one of our students was completing a degree in apologetics. Rather than doing the two-pronged learning activity of "research and writing," he did all of his reading and research and then he engaged a non-Christian philosophy professor at another college in a public debate. Then, rather than handing in an academic term paper on a certain topic of apologetics, he handed in his debate notes along with a video tape of the public debate. His debate was then graded for his final class grade. Another student who was an associate pastor did his research and reading in an area of Christian history, and rather than handing in an academic term paper, he gave a series of lectures to his church on the topic of church history. Then, he handed in his lecture notes and a video of the lectures for grading. Other students have done other creative things, like leading short term missions trips, producing a television show that aired on a Christian television program, developing a study guide on a certain topic and text for future use in teaching, or teaching the topic under study at a college or adult study group.

Does CES have prefabricated classes like correspondence schools?
No. CES is not a "correspondence school." Typically in correspondence schools, students simply read a text or two, and fill out a study guide and then take a final exam. This might be appropriate for undergraduate level studies but this kind of "study" does not rise to true academic research.

If CES is not a correspondence school, is some time on campus is required?
No. CES is a Distance Learning program based not upon prefabricated correspondence classes, but it is rather based upon the mentorship aspect of true academic research.

If there are no prefabricated classes, what syllabi do I use for my classes?
With the supervision of their mentors, students create their syllabi to meet their own specific needs. Working with their mentor, they shall select the appropriate texts to be read and researched, and they will determine what the final product (e.g., an academic term paper or something more creative) will be for each class. CES supplies some "sample syllabi" so the student has a framework and a prototype to follow when building their own syllabi for their classes.

How many credits can I transfer into a CES degree program?
Students may transfer all but the last 24 semester hours into their degree programs (as long as the schools and credits are acceptable by CES standards and credits have not been used toward another diploma, degree, or certificate). The final 24 semester hours have to be done with CES.

Can I get credit for ministry experience?
Yes, for undergraduate (associate and bachelor's level): Up to six semester hours of credit may be granted for each year of full-time ministry. The limit is 64, and they cannot be part of the final 24 credits.

Yes, for master's level: For those who already have an undergraduate degree: Up to four semester hours of credit may be granted for each year of full-time ministry. The limit is 32, and they cannot be part of the final 24 credits.

No, for the doctoral level. However, there is Product Assessment. While no ministry-experience credits are given at the doctoral level, there is Product Assessment which is applicable to all degree levels, including the doctoral level. Product Assessment is the assessing of professional work done by the student for possible credit. For example, if the student has a professionally published book, or theologically astute articles published in professional journals or magazines, or has done a series of lectures, or has developed and taught college-level classes and the lectures have been professionally produced on CDs or DVDs or as verifiable school curricula, CES will evaluate and assess these professionally produced products for credit evaluation. Product Assessment credits are under the same tuition policies as regular credits.

Is there a cost for ministry credits?
Yes. The cost of Ministry-Experience-Credit is nonrefundable. It is the fee for the administrative time expended to convert the Ministry-Experience into acceptable credits and is not to be confused with regular tuition fees. The fee for these credits is the same as normal tuition rates and is applied to the student’s overall tuition costs.
Discount: Students may receive a 40% cost reduction for the Ministry-Experience-Credits (or any part thereof) if they pay for those credits in full at the time of enrollment, along with their initial tuition payment.
Note: Students using ministry-credits for deficit entrance into doctoral programs must pay (with the 40% cost reduction) for all of those credits at the time of enrollment.

How long do I have to complete a degree program?
CES allows more time to complete degrees than traditional schools do. Students are allowed one month for each credit in their program, with a maximum limit of six years for any program. For example, the M.T.S. is a 48-credit program, thus, one is allowed 48 months (4 years) to complete it. At this rate, it is typical that if a student completes at least three classes per year, he/she will be done on time. However, students may proceed at their own pace and may complete their programs in less time if they desire.

What if I go beyond the due date for my particular degree program?
If students do not complete their degree programs within the set time limits, they may send written requests to the Seminary asking for a time extension (this applies only to degree programs and not to individual classes). The time extension must be approved by the Seminary. Each extension is for three months, and the first quarterly fee is $175. Extension fees increase by $25 for each extension beyond the first one (i.e., $175, $200, $225, $250, etc.).

Does CES supply my text books or do I buy them myself?
CES does not supply text books. All students are required to purchase their own books from wherever it is that they buy their books.

Can I use audio, video, DVD, or Live lectures in my classes?
Yes. Students may know of a set of lectures on audio, video, DVDs, CDs, MP3s or even at live seminars that they wish to incorporate into their classes. There are many acceptable academic lectures via these various media that students may use as part of their classes. These will fulfill the General Reading Requirements. CES has established this chart of conversion:
-Freshman & Sophomore: 1 hour of listening = 50 pages of reading
-Senior & Junior: 1 hour of listening = 40 pages of reading
-Master's: 1 hour of listening = 30 pages of reading
-Doctoral: 1 hour of listening = 20 pages of reading

What are the methods of tuition payment?
See our Methods Of Tuition Payment section of this site.

What is the first step I need to take to find out where I stand with CES?
The first step–which is non-obligatory–is to fill out and mail in the application and evaluation form. Once we have received this from you, we will assess your application and your standing with regard to the degree that you wish to enroll in, and we will let you know exactly where you stand, what the costs will be and so on. At that time you can then make an informed decision if you want to enroll or not.

What are the basic steps to become a student and graduate from CES
Step 1: Application: Application is not the same thing as enrollment. Complete the no-obligation Application and Evaluation Form. Mail it along with the nonrefundable application fee to CES. Within four weeks (or sooner) you will receive a letter indicating whether you are accepted and the degree level for which you qualify. After you have been notified of your acceptance, your opportunity to enroll will be held open for two months, unless otherwise negotiated (which may be done by mail, email, or by phone).

Step 2: Enrollment: Enrollment (also called matriculation) takes effect when you pay your initial tuition payment.

Step 3: Mentor: You will select a mentor from our faculty, unless you have already chosen a person outside our faculty (providing the person you choose is accepted by CES).

Step 4: The Learning Contract (LC): You will (with a seminary representative as guide) develop a Learning Contract. In your LC, you will list the courses that you have selected for your program. The LC should also describe the thesis or dissertation if you intend to do one. (See the sample Learning Contract on this site.)

Step 5: Complete the courses listed in your LC: You will submit all of your course work to your mentor who in turn reports your final grades to the Seminary.

Step 6: Thesis or Dissertation: Not all degree programs require a thesis (for undergraduate and master's students) or dissertation (for doctoral students). The professional degree programs require only that you complete classes. However, for research degrees, a thesis or dissertation is required. You will prepare a proposal. Once your mentor and the Seminary have approved your proposal, you may begin writing your thesis or dissertation. While it is typical for the thesis or dissertation to be the last thing a student does for the degree, it can be started earlier as long as the mentor and Seminary approve.

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