Frequently Asked Questions
Will my age, occupation, education, faith tradition be a hindrance?
No, we have people come to seminary from all ages, occupations and denominations. If you are other than Christian you just need to understand that this is a Christian institution and we teach from a Christian and biblical perspective. If you do not have an undergraduate degree you may be eligible to enter our certificate program which would then qualify you for a degree.
Which of your degree programs will fit me best?
EMS offers a variety of degree programs
- If you are interested in a broad-based theological and practical degree the MDiv is a good degree. It is also required for many denominations for ordination.
- The MACL is good if you know you are interested in a particular area of ministry, like Christian education, Worship, or Conflict Transformation.
- The MAR is more of a typical academic degree with a thesis. It is good for advanced study in a particular area or in order to get a PhD.
- We also have dual degrees with Counseling, and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
What is your application deadline?
We have a rolling application deadline. We suggest you apply at least one month before the start of the term in which you’d like to take classes, but we accept applications all the way up to the beginning of the semester. Some financial awards have a deadline. Upon acceptance, a student has one year to enroll before needing to reapply.
Can I complete my degree online?
Our accrediting body, the Association of Theological Schools, does not allow students to complete an entire degree online. You need to complete 1/3 of the coursework for any degree in residency on campus. However, we do offer hybrid courses, which meet residency requirements and only require that a student spend one week per semester on campus. Online-only courses are also available.
I just want to audit a class. What do I do?
You need to fill out a part-time application (or from the seminary home page, go to the apply now button)
Can I sign up to just take a class or two?
Yes, you can take up to four classes on our part-time application
I do not have a college degree. Can I be accepted?
Yes, if you are at least 35 and have at least 5 years of ministry experience you can enter our certificate programand apply those credits to a degree. Ministry experience is broadly defined as church involvement and leadership positions. It does not need to be a paid position. If the person does not meet the requirement they will need to have a conversation with an admissions counselor. We do make exceptions but we need more information.
What kind of financial aid and scholarships do you offer?
- Financial aid and scholarships are only available to degree-seeking students.
- If the student studies full-time (9+ hours per semester) and is Mennonite they qualify for the Mennonite student grant- $750 per semester
- All students taking more than 5 credits qualify for the Church Matching Grant
- Students who demonstrate a strong sense of call, leadership skills and academic ability may qualify for other larger awards. These awards are determined by application materials and conversation with admissions staff.
- The Financial Assistance Office has additional information on grants and loans.
I have a job. Do you have classes at night or other alternatives?
- The Harrisonburg campus offers 1 or 2 night classes each semester and occasionally a weekend class. Courses can be found at www.emu.edu/seminary/courses
- We also offer online and hybrid courses
Is there a deadline for finishing a degree?
Our accrediting agency allows 10 years to finish a theological degree. We follow this guideline.
I am not a Mennonite. Can I still attend?
We have a variety of denominations represented in the seminary. Mennonite and United Methodist are the largest denominations, but there is a wide variety of others. Professors are intentional about incorporating other denominations traditions into class discussion.
I have been educated in Mennonite schools since first grade. Why should I consider a Mennonite Seminary?
Seminary provides you with a deeper understanding of theological, historical and contextual issues of Anabaptism. Each level of education takes you deeper into the subject. Just because you studied science in high school doesn’t mean you’re ready to be a doctor. Your understandings of the subject matter grow and are stretched as you go into them further. Because Mennonites are a small denomination it is unlikely that you will get to study them at any depth at a non-Mennonite school.
You will be exposed to other denominations at EMS. Nearly half our student population is other than Mennonite. Professors are intentional about getting other denominations to describe their traditions, practices etc. in class.
You will build a network of Mennonite Church leaders at EMS. If you intend to take a leadership position in a church organization you will likely meet future colleagues at EMS, since many of our students are preparing for leadership in MC USA.
What is the percentage of: Mennonites, women, internationals, minorities
- Mennonites- 61%
- Women- 45%
- There is a small percentage of international and minority students.
How do graduates find jobs?
Most pastoral positions are managed by a governing body within the denomination, not by seminaries. We do our best to help you navigate your own governing body, with the understanding that we know Mennonite and United Methodist systems much better than other denominations. We can provide references and we try to provide support in your workplace after graduation.
Do you offer international student scholarships?
We currently have a waiting list for international student scholarships. Mennonite
students are given priority for these scholarships. The scholarship is for tuition
only and the US government requires that you show proof of how you’ll pay your living
expenses when you are here. We do not help with living expenses and we do not find
housing for international students.
Currently there is a 4-5 year waiting list for the international student scholarship. To get on the waiting list you need to complete an application.
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). The institutional code for having scores sent directly to EMS is 5181.