Seminary Distance Education
A seminary distance education program is an excellent option for achieving a master's or doctorate's degree, especially for individuals who are considered nontraditional students. These adults often have families, jobs, and/or ministries. They have a deep desire to increase their knowledge, obtain an additional degree, and develop their professional skills and expertise. But it's not always practical to pursue this dream because of other commitments and responsibilities. In contrast, traditional students usually go straight from a bachelor's degree to graduate school. These students are still involved in the world of academia. They may continue their studies at the same college or university, but have the freedom to move clear across the country if necessary to get the desired graduate degree. Such an option is seldom available to adults who are settled in a community, are raising children, and working full-time. But a seminary distance education can be the perfect solution for these individuals.
Like so many other industries and fields, the availability and feasibility of college and seminary distance education has increased dramatically with the growth of the internet and communication technologies. Where the first distance programs relied on a combination of videotaped classes and on campus residencies, today's programs use CDs, DVDs, downloadable textbooks, and web-conferencing capabilities. Even traditional students often have the option to take several of their courses online they may even have the same professors for online classes as in traditional classroom settings. The major benefit of online classes and distance-learning programs is the flexibility provided to the student. Rather than trying to fit a traditional class into an already hectic schedule, the student can "attend class" over a lunch hour or in the wee hours of the morning. The specific program or professor may schedule required online sessions, but these are usually infrequent, especially when compared to taking a traditional class. Of course, the professor will probably set certain deadlines for homework assignments. To pass the class, the seminary distance education student should respect and meet these deadlines just as if he or she were in a traditional classroom setting.
One drawback of distance learning programs is the issue of honesty and integrity when it comes to taking tests. To meet this challenge, some professors may require essays or other written projects in lieu of tests and quizzes for online classes. However, even students attending more traditional programs may find that professors prefer written projects as an evaluating tool instead of a test. Other seminary distance education programs may expect the students to take tests in a proctored setting. To meet this requirement, the student will select an individual who will be mailed the tests for the course. This individual, the proctor, will give the student the test and then mail it back to the educational institution. The proctor may be required to sign a statement provided by the college that outlines the requirements and duties of the position. The student will want to choose a person of integrity to act as the proctor, so may seek a person like the one described by the psalmist: "He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully" (Psalm 24:4).
A quick internet search will result in numerous seminary distance education programs from which a potential applicant can choose. Many factors will need to go into making a decision on which program is the best fit for the applicant's goals. One major factor is whether or not the college or university is accredited. Accreditation ensures that the institution has met certain criteria set by the accrediting agency. More information about accreditation should be available on the institution's website. Of course, if the applicant is interested in only one specific degree, this factor alone may narrow the choices. Other applicants may be undecided about which specific degree to pursue. Here again, the websites for the different institutions offering distance programs will provide important information about the degrees that are offered and the varying requirements for obtaining them. The applicant will also want to look at the prerequisites for different programs. Some may require certain test scores, such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a standardized test required for almost all graduate programs. Some programs may require a bachelor's degree in particular fields; however, many programs have been established that allow students with secular degrees to obtain a seminary graduate degree. And some may require some expertise in a foreign language, such as Hebrew and/or Greek.
Additionally, many seminary distance education programs require some type of on-campus residency. For example, graduate students may be required to spend one or two weeks a year taking a class at the campus. Educational institutions appreciate having students spend at least some time on the campus so that they have more of a connection with the college. This also gives the student an opportunity to meet faculty and staff face-to-face, to utilize such resources as the campus library, and to mingle with other classmates. One other important factor in choosing a program is the educational institution's statement of belief. This information is also usually found on the college's website. Seminaries are almost always associated with a specific denomination or church movement. Applicants should be aware of the beliefs that are the foundation for the educational institutions that are on their short list of potential programs. The application process and information about tuition and fees should be easily accessible. Anyone who has the dream of pursuing a graduate degree should be encouraged by the variety and quality of seminary distance education programs that have been developed in the past few years. With the flexibility offered by these college and universities, that dream can become a reality and it won't be long before a framed diploma has a place of honor on an office wall.
Bible College DegreeA Bible college degree may be the answer to success for a student seeking after something other than a typical degree. A course of study such as that provided by a Christian oriented university gives rise to opportunities that aren't offered by other traditional degrees. Strong candidates for pursuit of a religious career are typically Christian students who choose to earn a Biblical studies diploma in order to grow both academically and spiritually. "Wherefore we labor, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him" (2 Corinthians 5:9).
Such a specific certificate can be attained online or though traditional methods and is invaluable. The difference between a Bible College degree and its traditional counterparts lies in the available majors. In addition to a traditional liberal arts education, these awards for study also encompass Christianity and its related careers. For example, a student could study social counseling or elementary and secondary education. Another option would be to study theology; this degree could be used to lead into seminary admission and a theological degree for the pastorate. Each institution that offers Biblical studies will offer unique course plans. If a student wishes to continue on to seminary, appropriate areas of interest should be emphasized. Such a course of study is not only for those wishing to continue on to seminary study, however.
Those who strive to earn a degree may find that they have better one-on-one instruction at these colleges. This is because the classes offered at a Bible College are typically smaller in size as compared to public universities, therefore allowing more personal relationships to develop between the instructor and the student. Students pursuing a Bible college degree may also find the student life more fulfilling than their traditionally taught counterparts. Campus life for those on campus is very lively, as there are usually fewer students enrolled at the Christian universities. However, those students typically have many things in common, which may lead to better bonding between one another and a better student body attitude and environment, as a whole.
All students who wish to pursue a bachelors at a Christian school should choose the academic institution wisely. There are a variety of denominations that have established Bible College academic institutions. A candidate for a Bible college degree should choose a sect of Christianity that most represents his or her personal beliefs. These students will typically be required to have a pastor or spiritual leader who knows them well to fill out a nomination form. Even though a student is not required to be a member of the Christian faith to attend a religiously associated university, all students who choose to earn a Biblical studies diploma will be required to fulfill a number of requirements in theology and Christian study, regardless of faith.
A distance learning seminary provides ministry-minded people a more convenient avenue by which they can obtain credentials for careers in the ministry. Distance learning seminaries provide many of the same challenges and rewards that students would have if they attended classes on a campus, but the flexibility of doing most, if not all, of the work online. The degree in the end is the same, but the means by which it is obtained is much more flexible through a distance learning program.
Many people have disregarded a call from God to pursue full-time ministry because they thought they would never be able to quit their current job, uproot their family, and live the life of a student. A distance learning seminary offers a possible solution to these fears (though prayer for the believer's unbelief is also necessary in these situations). By studying through distance learning seminaries, men and women have the flexibility and convenience of doing the coursework from their own homes, in their own time. In addition to using textbooks, most of these programs deliver instruction to students through what are becoming very popular electronic means: downloadable study guides, audio CDs, interactive DVDs, online tutorials, and chat room discussions.
Someone pursuing an education in this manner needs to be very discerning. An Internet search of distance learning seminaries can turn up all kinds of interesting schools offering all kinds of interesting theologies. First, the student should be sure that the program they choose emphasizes the Bible as the accurate, infallible, unchanging word of God. Second, it is important to check on the accreditation of the distance learning seminary. The student may want to research potential ministry employers and see if the accreditation from the chosen program is regarded well in those circles. Third, the student should ask about the specifics of the program. This will include asking questions about the level of challenge presented through the coursework, deadlines, instructors, and fees. Finally, it is crucial to ask for testimonials from people who have earned a degree through the program.
Education through distance learning programs is becoming a very popular approach to earning ministry credentials in this technological age. Distance learning seminaries offer theological training to people who may already be involved in full-time ministry or are considering a career change toward ministry. Whether God is calling someone to pastor a small church at home, evangelize on a mission field halfway around the world, or do some other work that He hasn't revealed yet, taking advantage of the programs offered by a distance learning seminary is step of faith in the right direction. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20)