Top 10 List - Seminaries/Theological Schools

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by stevestone, Feb 5, 2004.

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  1. stevestone

    stevestone New Member

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    In the opinion of those on the discussion list:

    1. What are the top 10 ACCREDITED Seminaries/Theological Schools that you can receive a graduate degree through distance education (MAR, MA, MDiv, DMin, Ph.D.)? (Accreditation by ATS, Regional, at the very least TRACS)


    2. What are the top 10 UNACCREDITED Seminaries/Theological schools that you can receive a graduate degree through distance education?


    Honest answers please and no beating up the unaccredited schools. Seriously if you had no other choice but to attend an unaccredited school what would be the best top 10. Some have to be than others!

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

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    Religious schools aren't my specialty by a long shot, but you might want to clarify your question. Do the programs have to be totally DL (no residency at all), or are you willing to do some limited residency?
     
  3. stevestone

    stevestone New Member

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    Bruce,

    Total distance learning would be preferable but if it were very light on the residency that would be ok.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  4. cbryant

    cbryant New Member

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    I don't know if this is a list of the top 10 per say but if you check out the bakersguide.com it gives a list of programs for Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D schools in the US and some interantional schools.

    It is my understanding that ATS doesn't accredit programs that offer their degress soley through distance education. There has to be some on-campus components to it. The ATS web site has their accrediation standards listed.

    Hope This Helps,

    cbryant
     
  5. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

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    I don't think any RA school offers the MDiv, DMin, PhD, or ThD entirely by DL. Some partly do. A research style doc may be done wholly by distance...at least it may at Unizul.

    And despite the attempt at response control , in the initial post, I reserve the right to critique any comment on UA schools. Such evaluation is more than a past time to me ; it is a passion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2004
  6. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

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    I think that rankings of seminaries or religion programs is an individual matter, based on one's own religious preferences.

    That's even more true for non-accredited schools. If one is going to choose a non-accredited school, that school needs strong positives to balance the lack of accreditation. In this context, most of those positives would probably be religious in nature, doctrinal or denominational. Those are individual tastes.

    The question of what a student wants from his or her education is central to ranking schools in the perceived order that they can provide it.

    If I were searching for a religion program, I'd start by identifying my religion and my denomination. I'd try to identify my doctrinal proclivities and academic interests. I'd try to clarify the reasons why I want to pursue additional education in the first place and the uses I anticipate for any degrees or certifications I might earn.

    Then I'd hit the published listings and Google, locate as wide a variety of DL programs as I can and try to identify those programs that can conceivably provide me with what I desire. In the course of doing that, I'd probably happen on some unexpected options that I'd never even considered and my selection criteria would evolve as I progress.

    I'd shortlist a few options that appeal to me for additional study and probably run them by Degreeinfo for comment.
     
  7. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

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    Something tells me that you aren't going to get a Top 10 recommendation for unaccredited schools.
     
  8. telefax

    telefax New Member

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    Steve,

    I don't think you will get meaningful responses unless you specify some categories. I think it would be interesting to get people's views on the top 5 seminaries in each of the following categories: liberal, evangelical, and fundamentalist. There are other ways one could break this down, but the worldviews are different enough in this field that it is difficult to compare apples to apples without narrowing the question.
     
  9. stevestone

    stevestone New Member

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    Top 5 Evangelical / Reformed

    Thanks for the input guys : )

    Maybe this will help make it more specific.

    How about the top 5 schools in the category of evangelical if the school is reformed all the better.

    The degree (MA, MAR or MDiv) needs to be done by distance learning preferable but if it were very light on the residency that would be ok.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  10. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member

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    The Australian Catholic University offers an MA in theology completely by distance learning.

    John
     
  11. cbryant

    cbryant New Member

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    Reformed Theological Seminary has a program where 54 hours of a 60 hour program can be earned through distance education http://www.rtsvirtual.org

    Also, Covenant Seminary has a Master of Theological Studies program where most of the credits can be earn either online or DL.

    Both of these institutions are reformed and have the westminster confession of faith as their statement of faith.
     
  12. stevestone

    stevestone New Member

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  13. CLSeibel

    CLSeibel New Member

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    Re: Top 5 Evangelical / Reformed

    Okay, I'll take a stab at the top 5 US schools fitting this description. Please bear in mind that the order of this list is impacted by your desire to go after schools with minimal residency requirements. If this were not a factor, I likely would order things differently.

    1) Reformed Theological Seminary's virtual MAR can be completed almost entirely at a distance, with only 6 on-campus courses required. This is a very strong institution. A few years back, the acclaimed British theologian Alister McGrath opined that RTS was one of the 5 best centers of evangelical scholarship in North America.

    2) Covenant Theological Seminary--They offer an MA that can be completed almost entirely on an independent/mentored basis. I'm not sure precisely of the residency requirements; however, I seem to recall that they are rather minimal.

    3) Bethel Theological Seminary--while not Reformed in perspective, this institution's stock within the evangelical community is rising. They offer the MDiv and the MA in transformational leadership. Insiders from Bethel tell me that the MA in Christian Thought is due to be offered by distance learning in the near future. The residency requirements are a bit more substantial than the first two. However, all things considered, the Bethel programs are perhaps the most well conceptualized distance learning programs offered by any school, anywhere.

    4) Western Theological Seminary--Sponsored by the Reformed Church in America, this institution couldn't probably be described as the most solidly evangelical seminary. However, there are many on the faculty with strong evangelical credentials, including the woman who was brought aboard to help birth the distance-based MDiv. This is a strong and exceptional program being run by people who I know and respect. Presently very new, this program has a bright future.

    5) Asbury Theological Seminary--Definitely not Reformed in perspective (Free Methodist). However, still worthy of consideration. The in-service MDiv requires 5 2-week residencies over the course of several years. Certainly do-able. This is a great school and a strong, well-conceptualized program.

    Honorable mention goes to Liberty Baptist Seminary, Southern Christian University, and Luther Rice Seminary. While I respect these schools, none of their programs belong in the the same category as the first four schools I've mentioned above.
     
  14. CLSeibel

    CLSeibel New Member

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    My apology--I failed to mention Columbia Biblical Seminary's modular MDiv and MA programs. This should probably be ranked in a tie with Asbury at #5.
     

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