General Theological Seminary


Degree Programs at General Theological Seminary

General Theological Seminary appears in our ranking of the 30 Best Theological Seminaries in the United States.

General Theological Seminary offers diploma and certificate programs as well as graduate programs. Through the Lifelong Learning system, students can sign up as General Learners. They can audit classes that do not give them credits at the end of the term and take single courses that are worth one or more credits. The seminary offers a digital newsletter that lets students learn more about some of the upcoming classes that are available.

In the general certificate program, students can choose from four concentrations, including:

  • Anglican Studies
  • Ascetical Theology
  • Biblical Studies
  • Historical and Theological Studies

Students must take 18 credits from General Theological Seminary to complete a certificate. Once they earn a certificate, they can transfer those credits into any of the seminary’s graduate programs. The Anglican Studies concentration is also available as a diploma program that students can finish in one year. Students can earn a certificate in spiritual direction from the seminary too.

Several ministry education programs are available for students who currently work as ministers. These programs help them connect with their parishioners and became better pastors. The Master of Divinity is open to students who have less church experience but want to work as ministers. In the Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction, the seminary allows students to take classes on the history of the church and scripture while also taking classes that prepare them for leading their parishioners. There is also a Master of Arts in Ministry program that includes some similar classes.

At the graduate level, students in a theology program must pick from those four concentration options. They can earn a Master of Arts in Theology or a Master of Arts in Sacred Theology. The sacred theology is more selective than the basic theology program. It looks at students who have more experience working for their churches. The seminary requires that students in all degree programs do some fieldwork. They will work in one organization or ministry to ensure that they understand how it operates. General Theological Seminary offers a Wisdom Year Residency too. This is an optional residency that students can do once they finish their degrees.

About General Theological Seminary

General Theological Seminary is a seminary affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Established in 1817, it was the first seminary established by that Church and now ranks as the oldest school affiliated with the Church. Members of that Church met in New York in 1817 at the General Convention and decided to fund a new school in the city. Though some plans called for the school to open in New Haven, Connecticut, a wealthy member of the Church left a stipulation in his will that stated he would only donate money to the seminary if it operated in New York.

Also known as GTS, the seminary expanded significantly during the 19th century as both the campus and enrollment grew. During the 21st century, GTS tore down some of its old buildings to make way for new residence halls and other resources for students. Though the most popular program is the seminary’s Master of Divinity, it offers several other graduate programs too. All of these programs require that students take classes on the New Testament, Old Testament, history of the Episcopal Church and scripture. GTS offers financial aid packages designed to meet the estimated need of all students and to help them graduate without a lot of debt.

General Theological Seminary Accreditation Details

All of the graduate programs available from GTS have accreditation from the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (CAATS). This serves as the regional accreditation required of the Department of Education for students seeking financial aid. They can use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to get financial aid when they apply to the seminary.

General Theological Seminary Application Requirements

GTS has general admissions requirements that all incoming students must meet, including an application and an application fee of $75, which they can pay with a money order or check sent through the mail or with a credit or debit card used online. The seminary asks that students have a Bachelor of Arts degree or the equivalent of that degree as well as transcripts that show they attended a school in the United States. Those coming from other countries must demonstrate that they have English language skills. GTS asks for an autobiography and three letters of recommendation. At least one letter must come from a pastor or deacon. If the student took classes at GTS before, it will ask for a letter from one of their former professors.

Incoming students are responsible for making sure that the seminary receives their immunization records within 30 days of the semester starting. If it does not receive those records, it can ban the student from attending classes on campus. Some programs also require a personal statement that expresses the student’s reasons for choosing GTS. Most programs require that students interview with a faculty member who works in the department they applied to also.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The total cost of attendance at GTS is $15,400 for students who take a full nine months of classes. This includes all of the student’s fees but does not include their room and board costs. GTS estimates that students will pay $11,160 for their housing costs and another $2,820 for a meal plan. They will also spend more than $4,000 on a health insurance plan. Most students spend around $2,000 on their textbooks and other supplies during those nine months.

Through the Financial Aid Office at GTS, students can get help with filing the FAFSA and find out more about the seminary’s financial aid options. Students who take a minimum of nine credit hours of classes can qualify for grants and scholarships. Scholarships go to students who show need on the FAFSA and do not get enough financial aid to cover that need. Other awards go to deacons and others who work for a church organization. GTS will also accept the subsidized and unsubsidized loans offered by the federal government and can help students find positions that are part of the work-study program. All students enrolled in a degree program at the General Theological Seminary will need to go online and accept their financial aid packages.

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