ATS MDiv Equivalence Admissions Standards
As a degree program approved by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the DMin program supports ATS standard E.4.1, which states:
"MDiv equivalency is defined as 72 graduate semester hours or comparable graduate credits in other systems that represent broad-based work in theology, biblical studies, and the arts of ministry and that include a master’s degree and significant ministerial leadership. Ministerial experience alone is not considered the equivalent of or a substitute for the master’s degree.”
Pursuing a DMin without an MDiv - Steps to MDiv Equivalence
- Obtain an MDiv Equivalence Evaluation.
When one applies to George Fox Evangelical Seminary's DMin program without an MDiv and instead with a theological or ministry-related master’s degree other than the MDiv degree, the program director, or a member of the DMin program’s administrative staff, performs an MDiv Equivalence Evaluation to assess the degree to which the applicant’s educational background meets the educational equivalent of the 72-semester-hour MDiv degree. If it is determined that the applicant’s educational background does not meet the equivalent of an MDiv, the DMin program will provide specific ‘leveling courses’ as a pathway to gain equivalent. The meeting of MDiv equivalent does not result in the conferral of the MDiv degree. Its sole purpose is to qualify the applicant for admission to the DMin program.
First, to determine how closely your educational portfolio meets MDiv equivalent standards, submit an unofficial copy of all of your university transcripts to Trenton Corvino in the Graduate Admissions office together with any other documentation of ministry-related educational experiences that you believe may be relevant (ex. college courses taught, books published, ordination coursework completed).
Next, The DMin department will evaluate the portfolio and report their findings to you directly. The MDiv Equivalent Evaluation will yield one of three possible results:
- 18 semester hours or less of leveling work: Applicants with 18 semester hours or less of required leveling work may begin the DMin program. Their status in the program remains ‘provisional’ until all leveling courses are completed.
- 19-30 semester hours of leveling work: Applicants with 19 to 30 hours of leveling work may proceed with the application process, but they will not be permitted to begin program coursework until they have reduced the balance of required leveling work to 18 semester hours or less.
- More than 30 semester hours of leveling work: If the applicant needs more than 30 semester hours of leveling work to achieve MDiv equivalent, he or she is ordinarily considered ineligible for the DMin program.
- We invite prospective students with less than 30 semester hours of leveling work to continue the formal application process.
- Complete required leveling work as follows:
- Independent Study: Complete the courses through independent study at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Students may satisfy the required leveling work by completing independent studies under the guidance of GFES faculty. These tutor-directed, distance courses are available online and allow students a flexible option to complete their leveling work at a time and pace that fits their lives. Signing up for a course is a simple as filling out a brief survey. Financial aid is available for courses taken at GFES.
- Traditional Classwork: Complete the courses through traditional classwork at George Fox Evangelical Seminary or any other ATS-accredited institution. Students desiring to complete required leveling work through another institution must obtain approval from the DMin program director prior to registering for the courses in question.
Records of all leveling work: DMin office maintains all leveling work records. All non-George-Fox leveling work will be credited toward MDiv equivalent when the DMin office receives the institution’s official transcript (unofficial copies will not be accepted). All transcripts must be mailed to:
DMin Office, George Fox Evangelical Seminary
12753 SW 68th Avenue
Portland, OR 97223
Audits of leveling work: The DMin Office conducts regular audits of non-MDiv holding students. We will notify students in writing of outstanding leveling work once the student is eligible for candidacy. Students must complete all leveling work in order to graduate.