Community expectation (evangelical or secular) does not ultimately determine the meaning of a seminary degree from Columbia Biblical Seminary (CBS). We are responsible to define our own purpose and establish our own achievement standards. All CBS graduate degree programs are intended to help students prepare for Christian ministry. Criteria for granting a degree, therefore, are designed to reflect the student’s character and competence in both general and professional areas.
Commitment to whole-life training designed to prepare Christians “to know Him and to make Him known” means earning a graduate degree from CBS involves more than meeting academic requirements. Graduating students also must reflect appropriate achievement of CBS educational objectives, including evidence of personal morality, positive interpersonal and family relationships, and local church involvement.
Although educational objectives cannot be measured with complete objectivity, we believe valid, fair, and useful assessment is possible and necessary.
To qualify for a degree, the student must demonstrate an accurate understanding of basic biblical doctrines and be in agreement with the institution’s doctrinal statement (with the exception of section 8). The student must also demonstrate an accurate understanding of and commitment to the inerrancy of the Scriptures.
Program 1 is designed for college graduates with no previous studies in Bible or theology. Program 2 is designed for college graduates who have at least 30 semester hours of Bible, theology, or Church history.
Program 1 purpose is to provide:
- Globally-focused, multicultural ministry training for college graduates whose previous study has not included biblical and theological disciplines.
- Ministry training for individuals who are changing careers.
- An opportunity for personal development through careful study of the Scriptures and application of biblical truth to life and ministry.
- An opportunity to test one’s call to vocational Christian service through ministry studies and supervised experience.
Program 2 purpose is to provide:
- Advanced ministry preparation that acknowledges and builds on prior studies in Bible, theology, and Church history.
- Specialized training for individuals who intend to serve in another culture.
- Professional development for individuals in ministry who desire the refreshment and growth stimulated by advanced studies.
- Advanced training in biblical studies.
The Program 2 curriculum has been constructed to ensure adequate coverage and balance in essential areas of preparation for ministry without unwarranted duplication of prior study. Where duplication occurs, a student may petition to substitute another course in the same field of study.
In addition to those requirements listed in the Admissions section of this catalog, applicants for Program 2 must have a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) or a minimum of 30 semester hours of previous study in Bible, theology, and/or Church history from a regionally accredited college or university.
Students with 18-29 semester hours of previous biblical and theological studies from an accredited institution may enroll in CBS as Program 1 students and complete the courses necessary to reach the 30 semester hour minimum for entrance into Program 2. Hours used to meet entrance requirements, however, may not be applied toward degree completion. Once students have met the 30 hour minimum they may apply for entrance into a Program 2 degree using the Record Change form available online.
All Masters Level Programs Requirements
- Completion of one of the prescribed curricula with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. Although faculty advisors assist students in planning their course of studies, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure all requirements for graduation have been met.
- Read the entire Bible following admission, including selections assigned in Bible courses. This requirement must be completed six weeks prior to graduation (not applicable to CBS certificates).
- Significant achievement of CIU’s CBS objectives (see above).
- Affirmation of the Doctrinal Statement, except section 8 (see below).
Program 1 Requirements
- M.A. (MS), M.A. (TS): 36 hours: 12 of the last 18 hours taken at CIU
- M.A.BE, M.A.CC, M.A.CH, M.A.MS : 48 hours: 12 of the last 18 hours taken at CIU
- M.Div.: 72 hours: 21 of the last 30 hours taken at CIU
Program 2 Requirements
- M.A. (MS), M.A. (TS): 36 hours: 9 of the last 18 hours taken at CIU
- M.A.BE, M.A.CC, M.A.CH, M.A.MS, M.A. YML: 36 hours: 9 of the last 18 hours taken at CIU
- M.Div.: 72 hours: 21 of the last 30 hours taken at CIU
Doctor of Ministerial Leadership: 32 hours: at least 20 hours completed at CIU
Doctor of Philosophy: 45 hours: at least 39 hours completed at CIU
Undergraduate-level students in the Church Ministry major and the Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture major as well as graduate-level students in the following degrees must complete an internship as the capstone experience of their studies:
- Master of Arts in Bible Exposition
- Master of Arts in Care and Counseling
- Master of Arts in Chaplaincy
- Master of Arts in Ministry Studies
- Master of Arts in Youth Ministry Leadership
- Master of Divinity (all concentrations)
Undergraduate-level students must complete at least 90 semester hours before beginning their internships. Graduate-level students must complete INT 6110 - Foundations of Internships before beginning their internships. They must complete INT 6110 at least one semester before the semester in which they plan to graduate. Students will not participate in commencement activities until they have completed their internships.
In addition to demonstrating progress in the practice of ministry, interns are also evaluated on their character and spiritual maturity. After completing all internship requirements, the student will meet with his/her academic advisor to discuss the information gathered during the internship. Should the advisor deem it necessary, the appropriate Student Life dean may be invited to the meeting. The student may also request a specific faculty member be included, if he/she desires.
The time limit for completion of all requirements for master’s level degrees is ten years.
No student who denies any of the doctrines as stated in the official doctrinal statement, affirms error in Scripture, or believes in the ultimate salvation of all persons will be admitted to candidacy for a degree (with the exception of section 8).
Earning Two Degrees at CIU’S CBS
Requirements for possible dual degree programs are outlined below. In order to satisfy the curricular requirements for each degree, a student’s total hours may exceed the minimums indicated. The degrees may be completed either simultaneously or sequentially. The student must satisfy the curricular requirements for both degrees.
M.Div. degree and M.A. degree
- Complete satisfactorily the integrative exercise or internship requirement of the M.A.
- Complete satisfactorily the internship requirement for the M.Div.
- Complete the following minimum total semester hours: 90
Two M.A. degrees
- Complete satisfactorily the integrative exercise or internship experience of each degree.
- Complete the following minimum total semester hours: 54
Earning the M.Div. Degree Following the M.A. Degree
Students occasionally decide to pursue the M.Div. degree after graduating with an M.A. degree. The student begins this process through the Office of Admission. Depending on whether the student wishes to surrender the M.A. for the M.Div. or keep both degrees, the remaining process differs.
Surrendering the M.A. for the M.Div.: The student works with an academic advisor to identify a plan that utilizes the credits earned in the M.A., includes all prescribed M.Div. courses, and fulfills the total credit hours required for the M.Div. The student must complete all M.Div. requirements within six years of earning the M.A. degree. Once the student completes the M.Div. requirements, he/she surrenders the M.A. degree, and it is removed from his/her record.
Keeping both Degrees: If the student has exceeded the six-year limit for surrendering the M.A., he/she may add the M.Div. as a second degree. The student works with an academic advisor to identify a plan that utilizes fifty percent of the credits earned in the M.A., includes all prescribed M.Div. courses, and fulfills the total required M.Div. credit hours. (See the total hours listed under the section on earning two degrees.)
Note: As with any CBS professional degree, coursework applied to the M.Div. must be taken within ten years of completing the degree.